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The Green Room, Summer 2001


ISSUE:  Summer 2001

Conventional Republican wisdom decrees that Ronald Reagan deserves a place on Mount Rushmore alongside Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Not so, argues Robert Erwin in his retrospective look at Mr. Reagan’s career as governor of California and president of the United States. Mr. Erwin thinks the former Republican president has been overrated, and he argues that future historians will not regard the movie star turned president as highly as he is rated by current GOP conservatives.

Robert Erwin is now retired from book publishing after many years as one of the country’s leading history editors. He is the author of The Great Language Panic as well as numerous uncollected essays. A town meeting regular and activist in local politics, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

A former professor of history at Tulane University and Georgetown University, Wilfred M. McClay now holds the Sun Trust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Mr. McClay is the author of The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America which won the Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians, and coeditor of the forthcoming Refurnishing the Public Square: Religion and Public Policy in the Twentieth Century. He is completing work on a biography of the American sociologist David Riesman, which will be published in 2002 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. In addition, Mr. McClay has been the recipient of fellowship awards from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Academy of Education, and is a frequent contributor to such journals as Public Interest, First Things, American Scholar, Reviews in American History, and Wilson Quarterly.

Raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Alyson Hagy now teaches creative writing at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Wyoming is the setting for her latest VQR short story. She is the author of the novel, Keeneland, which is the famous Kentucky racetrack outside of Lexington. She is also the author of three collections of short fiction, Madonna On Her Back, Hardware River, and Graveyard of the Atlantic. Her work has also been included in Best American Short Stories, 1997.

A native of Budapest, Arthur A. Bardos came to this country before World War II to study cinematography and comparative literature at the University of Southern California and Harvard. The U.S. Army taught him psychological warfare in WWII and at war’s end, he helped recreate a Frankfurt radio station into a democratic institution. He was recruited to be in the Foreign Service in charge of a radio station in Austria. Mr. Bardos eventually became a cultural attache or public affairs officer in such places as Casablanca, Paris, West Africa, Saigon, Brussels, Vienna, Bonn, and Turkey. He taught public diplomacy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Now retired, he lives and writes near Washington.

Steve Scafidi earned his M. F. A. degree at Arizona State University and works as a cabinet-maker in West Virginia. He is author of Sparks From a Nine Pound Hammer (Spring 01) from LSU Press. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner.

Len Roberts’ two most recent books of poetry, The Trouble-Making Finch (1998) and Counting the Black Angels (1994) were published by the University of Illinois Press. His next book of poems, The Silent Singer: New and Selected Poems, will be published this July by the University of Illinois Press.

Frances Richard is the non-fiction editor of the literary journal Fence and is at work on her first collection of poems, to be published by Four Way Books in 2003. She teaches at the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Victor Lodato was the recipient of the Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry published in VQR in 1998. He is also a playwright, and has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Nathan Whiting is a dancer who has published nine books of poems. He has performed with Sara Pearson, Douglas Dunn, and others. Recently he toured Japan and the U.S. as part of Bhutto dancer Nim Tanaka’s “Poe Project” with libretto by Susan Sontag.

W. D. Erhart has published frequently in VQR. His most recent collection, Beautiful Wreckage: New and Selected Poems, appeared in 1999 from Adastra Press.

Lisa Russ Spaar directs the M. F. A. program at the University of Virginia. She is the author of a recent collection of poems. Glass Town, (Red Hen Press) and the editor of the anthology Acquainted With the Night: Insomnia Poems (Columbia University Press).

Elise Asher is a well-known artist. She lives in New York and Provincetown and is married to the poet, Stanley Kunitz. Her most recent collection, Night Train, was published by Sheep Meadow Press.

Anthony Pirnot is a Polish American whose grandmother immigrated to this country in 1930 and who never returned to her native land. Mr. Pirnot has a B.S. in physics (minor in literature)from Drexel University. He later studied at the University of Virginia before joining the Peace Corps and then taking a job teaching English at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He is currently writing a novel, and will be returning to the U.S. this summer to attend The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University where in the fall, he will begin a Ph.D. program.

A winner of the 1996 VQR Emily Clark Balch Prize in fiction for “Escaping,” Brad Barkley is the author of Circleview, a collection of stories published by SMU Press. His first novel, Money, Love, published last year by W.W. Norton, was a Barnes & Noble “Discover New Writers” selection. He has recently had stories in Southern Review and Glimmer Train. He is a past recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA and he teaches at Frostburg State University in Western Maryland.

Meg Waite Clayton lives in Nashville with her husband and her two young sons. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Ms Magazine, Shenandoah, and The Literary Review, and her personal essays have appeared in Runner’s World. She has written two novels and is now working on a third.

Sanford Pinsker is a professor of English at Franklin & Marshall college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and one of VQR’s most loyal and prolific contributors. His most recent contribution was a discussion of three works involving race relations in America. In his latest contribution, he turns his attention to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Roberta Silman is the author of Blood Relations, a story collection and three novels, Boundaries, The Dream Dredger, and Beginning the World Again. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Redbook, McCall’s, and many other magazines here and abroad. Several have won awards. She has just completed a new novel called A Country of Their Own.

Patrick J. Maney is a professor and chairman of the department of history at the University of South Carolina. His discussion of Joe McCarthy’s first victim, Robert La Follette, was first presented at a conference last year commemorating the 50th anniversary of McCarthy’s Wheeling, West Virginia speech in which the Wisconsin senator alleged the State Department was penetrated by Communists. Mr. Maney wrote a biography of the younger La Follette some two decades ago, and is now returning to his last years and the role McCarthy played in his suicide in 1953. His latest book is entitled The Roosevelt Presence: The Life and Legacy of FDR.

David Wyatt is professor of English at the University of Maryland, and a native of California. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, and his account of his last spring at Yale was one of the essays included in VQR’s 75th anniversary anthology We Write for Our Own Time. His books include The Fall into Eden: Landscape and Imagination in California (1986) and Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California (1997).

Joan Waugh is the author of Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell, published in 1998 by Harvard. She is an associate professor of history at the University of California at Los Angeles who researches and writes about the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is currently working on a book about the memorialization of Ulysses S. Grant.

Martin Ochs is a former New York Times correspondent who served in that newspaper’s London, Paris, and Berlin bureaus. He later became editor of The Chattanooga Times and held that position during the stormiest years of the Civil Rights Movement. Subsequently he served ten years as a journalism professor at the American University of Cairo where he acquired a Ph.D. degree and wrote a book about the Third World press.

Edward T. Chase is a former editor-in-chief of New York Times Books, and former editor at Putnam’s, Scribner’s, and Macmillan. His essays have appeared in The Yale Review, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Dissent, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Nation. He lives on Park Avenue in Manhattan.

A native of Wales, Richard Jones is a freelance writer who now lives in London. He served as a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation in the Middle East, and is the author of five novels. He is quite familiar with “the art of being British.”

Cover Photo: Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

THE VIRGINIA QUARTERLY REVIEWStaige D.BlackfordEditorGregoryOrrPoetry Consultant

Advisory EditorsEdward L. AyersG. Edward WhiteLorna MartensPaul Barolsky, ChairmanKenneth W. ThompsonPatricia Meyer SpacksStephen B. CushmanRobert H. KretsingerJanna Olson Gies, Managing EditorCandace Pugh, Circulation Director

A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Individual subscriptions $18.00 one year, $25.00 two years, $33.00 three years; Institutions $22.00 one year, $30.00 two years, $50.00 three years. Outside U.S. (individual and institution) add $6.00 per year. Single copies $5.00 each. Title page and annual index available in November. The journal is distributed by B. DeBoer Inc. and Ubiquity Distributors.

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