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The Green Room, Spring 1981


ISSUE:  Spring 1981

However much they may have disagreed on such matters as the ERA amendment, the economy, or human rights, there was one banner around which both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan rushed to rally in the 1980 presidential campaign—the banner of increased defense spending. If there was disagreement about the dollars involved or the details entailed, there was no disagreement about the need for more and better arms to counter the military might of the Soviet Union. That a renewed arms race only increases the risk of nuclear annihilation, the end of all that man has aspired to and achieved over the course of some 20 centuries, today seems ignored in Washington, where renewed militarism is very much in vogue, both on Capitol Hill and in Foggy Bottom (now the domain of Alexander M. Haig, a hawk in statesman’s clothing). Yet what will a bomb with a bigger bang actually accomplish? Very little beyond global suicide, argues Bernard P. Kiernan in refuting what he calls “the peace through strength myth.” One may not agree with everything Mr. Kiernan says, but he deserves to be heard. In our obsession to be Number 1, he contends, we are pursuing a policy that is at best dangerous, at worst absolutely disastrous. A student of history and political science, Mr. Kiernan is a professor at Concord College in West Virginia. He is the author of The United States, Communism, and the Emergent World, and his articles have appeared in such publications as The Yale Review, Contemporary Review, and The American Scholar. He has lived in and traveled extensively throughout Europe.

Foreign policy is also the subject of James A. Nathan’s essay, but rather than moving forward, it is a look back at the tortured course of U.S. diplomacy during the four years of the Carter administration. Mr. Nathan is no stranger to the world of foreign policy. He has a doctoral degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and has studied abroad at the University of Madrid and the London School of Economics. He is, moreover, a former member of the U.S. Foreign Service. “I quit the Foreign Service,” he explains, “because cocktail parties and flat feet can be pernicious, especially if you don’t drink all that much. Besides, I couldn’t stand the idea of spending the rest of my working days looking down countless dresses and forgetting languages about as quickly as I learned them.” Mr. Nathan recently concluded a book on foreign-policy planning, which is to be published later this year by Little, Brown.

Although he is appearing in VQR for the first time, Lamar Herhin has published short stories in numerous other magazines, including The Paris Review, The Bennington Review, Epoch, and fiction international. He is the author of two novels, The Rio Loja Ringmaster and the forthcoming American Baroque. He is also the author of a collection of short fiction, The 35 Years of Franco’s Spain. Since 1977 Mr. Herrin has been a member of the faculty at Cornell University, where he teaches creative writing.

One of America’s most respected historians, Carl N. Degler is also a prolific author. His most recent book is At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present. An earlier work, Neither Black nor White, won both the 1972 Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes. His other books include Out of the Past, The Other South: Southern Dissenters, and Place over Time. A former member of the faculty at Vassar College, Mr. Degler has been a professor of American history at Stanford University since 1968. He was the Harmsworth Professor at Oxford in 1973—74.

Mary Ruefle writes that she is a “caretaker in Shaftsbury, Vermont.” Her poetry appears widely in magazines. Her VQR poem, “As When I Did Not Exist,” is the title poem of an as yet unpublished manuscript, which was an AWP Series finalist last year.

Forugh Farrokhzad was born in Teheran in 1934 and died there in 1967. About a dozen of her poems have been published in this country and abroad, and a book of her work will be published late this year by Westview Press of Boulder, Colorado. The poet Jascha Kessler teaches at UCLA, as does fellow translator Amin Banani, a member of the Near Eastern Languages and Literature Department.

Laurie Sheck’s first book of poems will be published by the University of Georgia Press next fall, and her work will be featured in the next issue of Ark River Review.

Chris Bursk is the author of Standing Watch, which Houghton Mifflin published as part of its New Poets Series.

A well-known poet, Daniel Halpern founded and still edits Antaeus magazine and The Ecco Press. His most recent book, Life Among Others, was published by Viking/Penguin.

Frederick Morgan is the founding father of The Hudson Review, which he still edits. He is also a widely published poet, his latest book being Death Mother and Other Poems.

Tom Hansen teaches English at Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His poems have appeared in various magazines, including Poetry Now and The Minnesota Review.

Also a teacher, Brian Swann is on the faculty at Cooper Union in New York City.

Albert Goldbarth teaches at the University of Texas in Austin. His book-length poem, Different Fleshes, published last year by the Hobart and William Smith College Press, was awarded the Texas Institute of Letters Award.

The subject of John Bovey’s latest story, General Charles de Gaulle, was no stranger to the author, since Mr. Bovey served as a diplomat in the American Embassy in Paris during de Gaulle’s domination of French politics in the 1960’s. After he retired from the Foreign Service, Mr. Bovey, a Harvard graduate, returned to Cambridge, where he writes both fiction and nonfiction. His first book of stories, Desirable Aliens, was published in December 1980 as part of Illinois’ Short Fiction Series.

Irby B. Cauthen, Jr.’s essay, “Shakespearean Tragedy and the Nostalgic Vision,” was first given as an address, now slightly revised, for a convocation at Furman University last May. A graduate of Furman, Mr. Cauthen was also awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters on that occasion. He is a professor of English and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia.

In recent years Samuel Pickering, Jr. has had occasion to leave many books behind him as he has moved from Dartmouth College to the English Department at the University of Connecticut, then to Syria, where he spent a year teaching as a Fulbright Scholar, and now back at the University of Connecticut. Mr. Pickering had an earlier foray to the Middle East, spending a year teaching in Jordan. His overseas travels also include a stint at Cambridge University, where he was a member of his college’s rowing team. The peripatetic Mr. Pickering is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and received his doctoral degree from Princeton University.

While Jane McDill Anderson has lived in New York’s Rockland County for more than 30 years and is the author of Rocklandia, a collection of “facts and fancies, legends and ghost stories” of life in the county, she has had an active and varied career. After graduating from Vassar, she worked for W.W. Norton & Company, then as an associate editor for Vogue and Cue magazines, and later had her own radio program in Newburgh, New York. Her short stories and articles have appeared in such publications as Ladies’ Home Journal, McCalls, and Woman’s Day. She is also an artist who has exhibited and sold her paintings.

A frequent VQR contributor, Louis D. Rubin, Jr. is University Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Considered one of the leading contemporary authorities on Southern literature, Mr. Rubin is also one of Chapel Hill’s resident experts on the great American pastime, baseball.

Richard H. King is the author of A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South, a study of Southern intellectuals published last year.

A Democrat by birth and most times by conviction, William C. Havard is chairman of the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

An associate professor of English at Southeastern Massachusetts University, Margaret Miller has given a number of papers on 19th-century women writers and is presently working on a book about feminist Utopian fiction.

Townsend Ludington is spending this year as resident scholar in American studies for the International Communication Agency. A professor of English and American studies at the University of North Carolina, he is the author of a highly praised biography, John Dos Passos: A 20th-century Odyssey. He also edited the letters and diaries of Dos Passos.

Leslie W. Dunbar served as executive director of the Southern Regional Council during the turbulent and triumphant years of the civil rights movement. He later moved to New York, where he held the executive directorship of The Field Foundation until last year.

James H. Justus has been a member of the faculty since 1961 at Indiana University, where he teaches courses in American and Southern literature.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsW. W. AbbotJ. C. LevensonKenneth W. ThompsonIan StevensonG. Edward WhiteRoger ShattuckElisabeth R. Aaron, Business Manager

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