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The Green Room, Autumn 1999


ISSUE:  Autumn 1999

Although Michael Nelson turned out to be a political scientist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and at Rhodes College in Memphis and has published several books on the presidency and national elections, his interest in Frank Sinatra, the subject of his essay, predates his interest in politics. He recalls being the only 13-year-old he knew who, in the era of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, preferred Sinatra to rock. “There is not an emotion I ever experienced that Sinatra has not articulated in his singing,” Nelson says. “As I have gotten older, the range of those emotional experiences has widened, but I have always found at least one song by Sinatra there waiting for me.”

Russell Fraser’s travels have taken him from the Arabian Desert to Antarctica, from Sicily to Scotland. In his latest travel essay for the VQR, Mr. Praser portrays St. Petersburg, now that the Iron Curtain has fallen and communism has wound up in the dustbin of history. Mr. Praser has also described Constantinople, one of the cities featured in his book, The Three Homes, the others being the Italian capital and Moscow. He is the author of 16 books, most recently Signing Masters: Poets in English 1500 To The Present, He is emeritus Austin Warren Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

Stephen Cushman is Professor of English at the University of Virginia and on VQR’s advisory board. He is the author of William Carlos Williams and the Meanings of Measure (Yale, 1985), Fictions of Form in American Poetry (Princeton, 1993), and Blue Pajamas, a volume of poems (Louisiana State 1998). His discussion of Civil War buffs is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle, the battle being that of the Wilderness in 1864. The book is being published by the University Press of Virginia this month.

In VQR’s summer 1999 issue, R. H. W. Dillard produced a non-fiction appreciation of the writer, George Garrett. Now in the current issue, Mr. Dillard has turned to fiction producing a story called “Forgetting the End of the World.” Mr. Dillard is Professor of English and longtime chair of the Creative Writing Program at Hollins University. He is the author of five books of poetry, three books of fiction, and two critical monographs. His most recent publication is a verse translation of Aristophanes’ Ecclesiazusae for the Penn Drama series.

J. A. S. Evans spent the 1998—99 academic year as a Whitehead Visiting Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, a city with which he first became acquainted in the early 1950’s. He is now writing a book on Theodora, wife of the emperor Justinian (527—65). Theodora died in 548, but until she died she filled the role of loyal opposition to the emperor. Mr. Evans has now returned to Canada, where he is a classics professor at the University of British Columbia.

Kirk Robinson is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. He holds an M.F.A. from Ohio State University. His poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest and American Literary Review.

An instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Jennifer Militello has recently had poems in such journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Quarterly West. She was awarded third place in the 1998 Salt Hill Poetry competition.

Ricardo Pau-llosa’s third and fourth books of poetry, Cuba and Vereda Tropical, are both published by Carnegie Mellon Press. His latest book of art criticism is Rafael Soriano and the Poetics of Light, and he has forthcoming titles on artists Julio Rosado del Valle and Olga de Amaral. He is one of the guest curators of this year’s Lima Art Biennial.

Mark Cunningham holds a Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky and an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia. His prose poems have appeared in The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Key Satch(el), and Quarter After Eight.

A resident of Eugene, Oregon, Robert Hill Long is the author of the prizewinning The Work of the Bow (Cleveland State University Press, 1997) and The Effigies (Plinth Books, 1998) which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

Miguel Hernández was one of the greatest 20th-century Spanish poets. He served in the Spanish Civil War on the Loyalist side and was subsequently imprisoned several times by Franco before finally dying of tuberculosis in prison in 1942. Ted Genoways, his translator, is a recent graduate of the M.F.A. program at the University of Virginia and founding editor of Meridian, a new literary journal based at Virginia.

As he notes in his essay, Pat C. Hoy II is a native of Arkansas and a graduate of West Point, where some years after graduating, he became a tenured faculty member. He served in Vietnam and, after retiring from the U.S. Army, taught writing at Harvard. He is now a professor at New York University where he directs the Expository Writing Program. In a recent letter, Mr. Hoy noted that the Vietnam war caused the nation to lose “something it hasn’t yet realized: its ability to draw young men and women into binding relationships—something like that. Now there is no invitation, no call to serve that includes danger, nothing to compel young people to think about the values they might be willing to die for, nothing any longer that obligates them to take a stand. How then do they measure themselves today but by a money standard?” That, for Mr. Hoy, is an open-ended question young people must answer for themselves. He wonders about where the nation fits into their answers.

Mimi Seydel lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she teaches French in an urban elementary school. Her fiction will appear in upcoming issues of Nimrod International Journal, Orange Willow Review, Portland Review, and Eureka.

One of VQR’s most consistent contributors, Sanford Pinsker is Shadduck Professor of Humanities at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His last book was Worrying About Race, 1985—95: Reflections During a Troubled Time which was published in 1996 by Whitston Publishing. In addition to VQR, Mr. Pinsker has written for a number of journals including The Georgia Review and The Sewanee Review.

Edward L. Schwarzschild is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. His short stories have appeared in such journals as River Styx and The Seattle Review, and a story is forthcoming from Southwest Review. He also has an essay forthcoming from the Yale Journal of Criticism.

Harold H. Kolb Jr. retired from the English department at the University of Virginia this spring after serving there for 32 years from 1967 to 1999. Mr. Kolb received his Ph. D. degree from the University of Indiana and specialized in American and British literature. He also served as director of American Studies and director for The Center for Liberal Arts at the University of Virginia, a center designed to provide university faculty guidance to secondary school teachers. He is currently writing a book entitled Mark Twain: The Gift of Laughter. As his essay indicates, Mr. Kolb lives in a rural area of Albemarle County near Covesville, Virginia.

Michelle Bobier is a resident of Chicago, Illinois, and has contributed her stories to numerous journals including VQR.

Morris Freedman is professor emeritus of English at the University of Maryland. He also taught at The City College (CCNY) and Queens College, both of the City University of New York. Other teaching posts included the University of New Mexico and the University of Vermont. He is a former chairman of the English department at Maryland and a former associate editor of Commentary. He has contributed numerous articles to various journals including The American Scholar, The South Atlantic Quarterly. His books include two academical critical studies, The Moral Impulse: Modern Drama from Ibsen to Ionesco and American Drama in Social Context. He is now working on a memoir of his academic career and on collections of his critical essays.

Since graduating from Yale University, Jessica Francis Kane has worked in publishing, first with W.W. Norton & Company in New York, and then with Counterpoint Press in Washington D.C. She now lives in London with her husband.

Jack Fischel is chairman of the department of history at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania. He was co-editor of Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia published in 1992 by Garland and serves as co-editor of Holocaust Studies Annual. His book, The Holocaust, was published by Greenwood Press last year.

Eric Miles Williamson grew up in Oakland, just blocks from Jack London square, and at New York University he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Jack London. He has recently published his first novel, East Bay Grease (Picador USA), and is at work on his second novel and a book on Jack London titled, Oakland, Jack London, and Me. His essays, fiction, and reviews have appeared in American Book Review, Chelsea, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. He is a visiting assistant professor at Oregon State University, having left a tenure-track post in Silicon Valley, where mobile homes cost in excess of $200,000, and two bedroom houses can cost half a million dollars.

Cover Picture Credit—Photofest

Research Credit—Heather Burns

Cover Design—Thomas McDaniel

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrpoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsEdward L. AyersG. Edward WhiteLorna MartensStephen B. CushmanKenneth W. ThompsonPatricia Meyer SpacksPaul BarolskyRobert H. Kretsinger
Janna Olson Gies, Managing EditorCandace Pugh, Circulation Director

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