Back from Nashville. What a conference! A lot of sessions to attend. Electronic medical records are really coming of age, and I come away much more optimistic about our organization and the upgrades we are facing. Great fun over dinner and drinks with colleagues. The Gaylord Opryland is like a huge snowglobe or terrarium. Completely enclosed by glass ceilings, it seemed to have its own weather.
A group of us had a terrific jaunt to Broadway one night, to have dinner and check out the live bands play at the clubs downtown, the night before the CMA's. We stayed to listen to a set by Broadband, an all-women group, sort of like the Dixie Chicks, but without the glamour: more rough-edged and real.
To top things off (in a way) NextGen had Huey Lewis and KC & the Sunshine band give a concert at the hotel ballroom the last night (Hmmm . . .so this is where all that money we pay for our EMR is going?). A lot of the people who lived (and partied) through the 70's and 80's were having a gas, dancing around and reliving (relieving) their heyday in a big way. But it was not quite my cup of tea. Ah well.
Reading around online this afternoon I found a link to this interesting Camile Paglia essay from Arion, about the writing of her anthology of close readings, Break, Blow, Burn, and the poets/poems that did not quite make the final cut--and the ones who/that were not even close. It's a fascinating read:
. . . I was puzzled and repelled by the stratospheric elevation in the critical canon given to John Ashbery in recent decades. “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” (1974), Ashbery’s most famous poem, is a florid exercise in strained significance that could and should have been compressed and radically reduced by two-thirds. Can there be any wonder that poetry has lost the cultural status it once enjoyed in the United States when an ingrown, overwrought, and pseudo-philosophical style such as Ashbery’s is so universally praised and promoted?
Given my distaste for Ashbery’s affectations, it would come as no surprise how much I detest the precious grandiloquence of marquee poets like Jorie Graham, who mirrors back to elite academics their own pedantic preoccupations and inflated sense of self. That Graham, with her fey locutions and tedious self-interrogations, is considered a “difficult” or intellectual poet is simply preposterous. Anointing by the Ivy League, of course, may be the kiss of death: Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney, another academic star, enjoys an exaggerated reputation for energetically well-crafted but middling poems that strike me as second- or third-hand Yeats. As for the so-called language poets, with their postmodernist game-playing, they are co-conspirators in the murder and marginalization of poetry in the United States.
She's tough. But I have to admit I agree with most of what she has to say.