In this age of specialization, this era in which the Ph.D. degree is the required union card for admittance to any English department worthy of the name, the career of R.P. Blackmur seems more extraordinary than ever. Here was a New Englander who never got past his junior year in high school becoming a professor at one of the country’s finest educational institutions, Princeton University. Here, too, was the dean of the New Critics whose essays set a standard to which American criticism adheres to this day. Allen Tate, no slouch as a critic himself, thought Blackmur was this nation’s best critic. Russell Fraser explains why in his VQR essay, as he does at greater length in his volume on Blackmur for the Scribner’s series, American Writers, Supplement II. Like Tate, Mr. Fraser was personally aquainted with Blackmur, having been a member of the English faculty at Princeton from 1956 to 1965. Besides Princeton, Mr. Fraser has taught at Duke, Vanderbilt, and Michigan, where he teaches today, having come to Ann Arbor in 1968 as English department chairman.
U. S. foreign policy is the concern of George C. Herring, a professor of history at the University of Kentucky, where he served as chairman of the history department from 1973 to 1976. Mr. Herring’s particular concern in recent years has been that tragic era in American history known as the Vietnam War. In fact, he is the author of America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950—1975, published by John Wiley in 1979. During the past two years Mr. Herring has lectured in many parts of the country on the subject of the Vietnam War and its “lessons.” His VQR essay on this subject is based on a lecture given at the University of Louisville earlier this year. A native Virginian, Mr. Herring received his B.A. degree from Roanoke College and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. His other books include Aid to Russia, 1941—1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins of the Cold War and (with Thomas M. Campbell) The Diaries of Edward R. Stettiniusjr., 1943—1946.
Kent Nelson is no stranger to VQR readers, having received an Emily Clark Balch Prize in 1975 for his story, “The Humpbacked Bird.” A collection of his stories was later published by Illinois under the title The Tennis Player, and Dodd, Mead recently brought out a novel, Cold Wind River.
Carol Frost’s poem, “The Fearful Child,” is the title poem to her third collection of poetry, which will be published shortly. She is the author of The Salt Lesson, a collection of poems published in 1978. Ms. Frost lives in upstate New York.
Sandford Lyne teaches poetry writing at the University of Virginia. An earlier VQR poem by Mr. Lyne was the recipient of an Emily Clark Balch Prize in 1978.
Elaine Rubenstein is a California poet.
Joyce Carol Oates is possibly America’s most prolific writer today, producing a constant flow of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her latest novel, Angel of Light, was published by Dutton in August and is set in present-day Washington, D.C.
David Bottoms is the author of Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, published at Morrow, which received the 1980 Walt Whitman Award. Mr. Bottoms is a member of the faculty at Florida State University.
A member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Fred Chappell is both a poet and a fiction writer. His latest book of poetry is Earthsleep, published by Louisiana. His collection of short stories, Moments of Light, was brought out by the New South Co.
A resident of Georgia, James Frazee is making his VQR debut. He also has poems forthcoming in Poetry Now and North American Review, Colette Inez teaches in New York City. Her most recent book is Alive and Taking Names, published by Illinois.
Martha Collins is director of the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She has poems in the current issues of Field, Poetry, and The Agni Review, and other poems are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and New England Review.
Hans A. Schmitt was born in Germany, and his recollection of the day Hitler came to power there in 1933 will be published in the Winter 1983 issue of VQR. His parents sent him to this country in the mid-1930’s, and he graduated from Washington and Lee University just before joining the United States Armed Forces in World War II. Becoming an historian after the war, Mr. Schmitt not surprisingly became a specialist in European history, particularly modern European history. He is a former member of the history faculty at Tulane University and is now professor of history at the University of Virginia. His books include The Path to European Union, a study of the efforts to form the Common Market.
Susan Resneck Parr is an associate professor of English and a Dana Scholar at Ithaca College, where she was English Department chairman from 1976 to 1979. Her Gatsby essay was written while she was a visiting professor at Princeton in 1979—80, and an abbreviated version of the paper was presented at the American literature section meeting of the Modern Language Association in December 1980. Ms. Parr received her A.B. degree from Wellesley, her M.A. from the University of Chicago, and her Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin.
A native Virginian, Anne Hobson Freeman is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Freeman writes short fiction, is working on an historical novel which will open with the burning of Richmond in 1865, and, as though she had nothing else to do, teaches a course in nonfiction writing at the University of Virginia.
It was 20 years ago last August that West Berliners suddenly witnessed a new aberration of totalitarianism, the wall which sprang up between them and their fellow countrymen in East Germany. And two decades later the wall still stands. One of those present at its creation was the wife of an American diplomat, Mildred Raynolds Trivers. A native of Columbus, Ohio and a graduate of Hollins College, Mrs. Trivers is the wife of a former Foreign Service officer, Howard Trivers, whom she married in 1935. In addition to their Berlin stint (1958—62), the Trivers’ other posts include Copenhagen and Zurich. After Mr. Trivers retired from the Foreign Service, he taught at Southern Illinois and later at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, where, Mrs. Trivers writes, “we built a house big enough to accommodate, if need be, our seven children and their children.”
An earlier story by W. D. Wetherell, “Spitfire Autumn” (Autumn 1978), was listed in the honor roll section of Best American Short Stories, 1979. In addition to writing short stories, Mr. Wetherell, a native of Long Island, has just published his first novel. Entitled Souvenirs, the book was published by Random House this past August and is about the danger of trying to alter the past.
An authority on post-Revolutionary America, Ralph Ketcham is a professor of history at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University. He served as an associate editor and editor of The Papers of James Madison, His biography of Madison, published in 1971, was nominated for the National Book Award.
Stephen Corey’s collection of poems, The Last Magician, was published in May as the 1981 winner of the Water Mark Press’s “North American Poets First Book Award” series. He co-edits with Lola Haskins The Devil’s Millhopper, a poetry magazine, and he teaches in the College of General Studies at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Janet McNew is a member of the English department at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, where she recently taught a course entitled “Short Fiction of the Seventies.” Though all her scholarly work has been concerned with 18th-century British literature, she is as “immoderately fond” of reading contemporary American short stories as Samuel Johnson was of reading the popular romances of his time.
August A. Imholtz, Jr. studied classics at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Gottingen in West Germany, and The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
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