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The Green Room, Summer 1990


ISSUE:  Summer 1990

Just over a year ago—on June 3, 1989—the tanks clattered into Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the guns began to chatter, and China’s short-lived experiment in democracy came crashing to a terrible and tragic end. “This is not the West,” said, in Auden’s memorable phrase, a “voice without a face.” “It is China.”

This point is underscored by Hardy C. Wilcoxon in his discussion of Chinese students and the burden they bear from the past. Communism is merely the conformity of the present. Conformity, particularly in education, has been part and parcel of Chinese culture since the time of Confucius (551 B.C.—479 B.C.), who, in Mr. Wilcoxon’s words, “has cast a very long shadow indeed.”

Born in 1952, Hardy C. Wilcoxon grew up in Arkansas and Tennessee. He majored in philosophy and English at Amherst College, and later attended Yale University where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English. He has taught at Bowdoin College, Amherst College, and the U.S. Naval Academy. He is a former Fulbright Lecturer at Beijing Foreign Studies University. After working in China, Mr. Wilcoxon decided to live more extensively abroad and with his English wife has settled in Hong Kong, where he is a Lecturer in English at the Chinese University and presently coordinates a two-year writing program for the English majors.

In their discussion of the English Mystique, Nina Witoszek and Patrick Sheeran note that for the first time in their long history the English are confronted with an identity crisis. They, “of all people, have begun to question the nature of Englishness and to perceive it as beleaguered and threatened.”

The co-authors of this examination of Britannia’s mystique happen to reside in Ireland. They are both members of the Department of Modern English at University College in Galway. Nina Witoszek is a Polish writer currently lecturing in English. Her most recent book The Theatre of Recollection was published in Stockholm in 1989. Patrick Sheeran is a statutory lecturer in English and has published numerous articles on Irish literature and culture in collaboration with Ms. Witoszek. A collection of their essays will shortly appear under the title Facing the Formonians. Ms. Witoszek and Mr. Sheeran also write short stories under a pseudonym which they would rather not disclose since “we would thereby lose the advantage of having a pseudonym—a distinct advantage in a closed community such as Galway.”

One of the South’s most distinguished writers, Reynolds Price has recently published his eighth novel The Tongues of Angels, as well as a third collection of poems The Use of Fire, and a trilogy of plays, New Music. He continues to teach at Duke University as James B. Duke Professor of English. A graduate of Duke University, Mr. Price also attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

In his fourth annual “Poetry Chronicle” for VQR, Peter Harris examines the 40-year career of poet Richard Wilbur as conveyed in Wilbur’s recently published New and Collected Poems. An associate professor of English at Colby College in Maine, Mr. Harris has been teaching in Ireland for the past year.

A former Balch Prize winner and frequent contributor to VQR, Kent Nelson published his latest novel, All Around Me Peaceful, last year.

Roy C. Macridis is emeritus professor of politics at Brandeis, where he continues to teach on a part-time basis. He is the author of French Politics in Transition: The Years after De Gaulle and Contemporary Political Ideologies among many other publications.

Marvin Bell teaches at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop. His VQR poems are from his new collection Iris of Creation to be published this fall by Copper Canyon Press.

One of Spain’s famous “Generation of ‘98,” Antonio Machado (1875—1939) is considered by many to be the foremost Spanish poet of the first half of this century. His translator, David Johnson, lives in Watertown, Mass, and has almost completed his second series of translations from the Spanish of Machado’s poems.

An English teacher at the Geauga Campus of Kent State University, Grace Butcher also coaches the men’s and women’s cross-country teams there. Her most recent collections include Before I Go Out on the Road from the Cleveland State University Poetry Series and Rumors of Ecstasy . . . Rumors of Death from Barnwood Press.

Claudia Emerson Andrews graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979. She is presently in her first year of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She lives in Chatham, Virginia.

John Engman’s first collection of poems Keeping Still, Mountain was published in 1984 by Galileo Press. Mr. Engman has recently published poems in such journals as Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and New England Review/Bread Loaf Quarterly.

Marisa De Los Santos is a graduate of the Sarah Lawrence M.F.A. program and currently a graduate student at the University of Houston.

Robert Schultz received his Ph.D. degree in English from Cornell University and has taught at the University of Virginia. He now teaches English at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and was a recent winner of VQR’s Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry.

One of America’s most eminent poets, William Stafford has retired from teaching and lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

A native of Mississippi and former managing editor of Louisiana State University Press, Martha Lacy Hall is also an accomplished short story writer. Her latest collection of nine stories is due out from Louisiana this fall under the title, The Apple-Green Triumph and Other Stories.

Like his fellow North Carolinian Reynolds Price, Edwin M. Yoder is a Rhodes Scholar. After going down from Oxford, he entered the newspaper business and eventually became editorial page editor of the Washington Evening Star, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial writing. He is now a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post—Los Angeles Times news service.

Like Mr. Yoder, James P. Girard is a newspaperman by profession and for the past 12 years has worked for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon in Wichita, Kansas. A graduate of the University of Kansas and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, Mr. Girard is also a prolific fiction writer. His short stories have appeared in Kansas Quarterly, Cottonwood Review, and Black Warrior Review.

Fenton Johnson is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a James Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction from Stanford University. His novel, Crossing the River, was published last fall by Lyle Stuart/Birch Lane Press of New York. Mr. Johnson was born and raised in the Kentucky Knobs and divides his time between there and San Francisco, where he teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University.

Vincent Fitzpatrick is assistant curator of the H.L. Mencken Collection at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. He compiled the second supplement to the Mencken Bibliography (1986), and his critical biography, H.L. Mencken, was published last year by Continuum. He recently finished collaborating on a grammar and writing textbook that will be issued by D.C. Heath.

Greg Johnson is a member of the faculty at Kennesaw State College in Marietta, Georgia. He is the author of a critical study, Emily Dickinson: Perception and the Poet’s Quest, as well as a published short story writer.

The prolific Jeffrey Meyers, author of previous biographies of Katherine Mansfield, Hemingway, and D.H. Lawrence among others, is now at work on a new biography of Joseph Conrad and is researching it in Europe this summer.

A graduate of Smith College, Emily Couric is a regular contributor to The National Law Journal and The American Bar Association Journal as well as the author of The Trial Lawyers, published by St. Martin’s in 1988.

The former chairman of the department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia, David Gies is the author of Theater and Politics in 19th Century Spain, published by Cambridge in 1988, and most recently of El Romanticismo, a collection of articles published in Madrid by Taurus last year.

John Lukacs, a historian, is the author of 14 books of which the most recent is his memoirs, Confessions of an Original Sinner, published by Grove Weidenfeld in 1989. He is an authority on World War II.

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsRichard M. RortyJ.C. LevensonG. Edward WhitePatricia Meyer SpacksKenneth W. ThompsonCharlee Pawlina, Business Manager

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