Sunday, April 6, 2008

RSA report

First, today’s poem, by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is--
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

I missed a few days. No internet connectivity at RSA, and therefore no poem-a-day. I’ll try to get back on that game.


In my view, RSA is the most boring of conferences in my field. At no other conference are folks so deadly serious, so committed to academic showing-off and social climbing, so dedicated to black or charcoal gray suits and subdued color schemes.

Having said that, my panel’s session was actually pretty lively—attentive and engaged audience, smart papers from my panel-mates (a FANTASTIC ONE by a UNC-CH grad student), and a near-brawl afterward about Milton’s misogyny (or lack thereof, as I contended). It was truly helpful, since the paper I delivered is in its very infancy, and I was glad to realize how my argument opened up (or failed to) into larger issues.

The high points:

- getting to know El Teorico Alto, a colleague in another department with some overlapping interests

- meeting another nearby colleague, not yet pseudonymed

- eating here (corn tortillas soaked in ancho pepper salsa and layered with carrots, potatoes, wild mushrooms, and cotija, topped with a watercress salad!) and of course here with Miss K (too many items consumed to list individually, but the buratta cheese deserves special genuflection)

- watching Once on the plane. Very cute. The opening scene with the brother probably my fave: very Irish.

The low points:

- spending Thursday at a walk-in clinic after my sinus-infected eardrum ruptured on the flight to Chicago

- not being able to smell for Thursday and most of Friday, and the attendant fear of not being able to taste my long-awaited feasts (FYI, I did recover the olfactory function, just in time, thanks to hardcore antibiotics)

- no internet connectivity, which meant that I returned home to 120 emails.

1 comment:

Lisa B. said...

You did NOT eat at the Rick Bayless restaurant! Extreme envy.

eardrum-sinus-no smelling thing sounds terrible. My God. I hope things are better now?

"El Teorico Alto"--very funny.

Glad you're back, missed your poems (adore Hopkins!), hope some of those e-mails are instantly deletable.