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The Flood Lights of Louisville

Updated: Mar 26, 2018

I just returned from the 46th Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900. Predictably, most academic conferences are saturated in egotistical posturing, pedantic and/or hermetic "discourses," and the oleaginous outpourings from professorial boors' pores. Not in Louisville, not at this conference. While horrendous floods brought havoc and hardship to the city and across the state, the weather inside the conference was congenial as the occasion became a gathering of the tribe: poets and their high-powered affiliates gracing space with powerful presence. Legend Nathaniel Tarn (pictured directly below), indomitable at 89 and younger truly than most attendees, read at the Brown Hotel with his wife and fellow poet Janet Rodney near midnight on Friday. Also on hand were Michael Heller, Peter O'Leary, and Jane Augustine, all pictured below. But there were also Tyrone Williams, Joseph Donahue, Norman Finkelstein, and Mark Scroggins, to name a few more. These artists are all marvelous and modest, dedicated to their craft with a vitality and scrupulousness so rare and exquisite. It is an honor to be among them, these Louisville sluggers all hitting it out of the park in the hometown of one of my favorite poets ever, the late, also great Muhammad Ali. Sting like butterflies, dear Poets!

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