This year we were spared the ice storm, but a killer rain ran through Louisville on the first day of the conference formerly known as the Twentieth-Century Literature Conference (now the unpronounceable "LCLC"). The opening keynote for 2011 was a poetry reading by Michael Heller. I first became aware of Heller when I read his critical study of Objectivist poetry, Conviction's Net of Branches. Finally got to know the man himself, and Jane (a fine poet herself) in Maine years ago in the
course of a mad bus trip through the fog.
Heller's reading was followed by two critical panels addressing his work, to all of which Michael responded graciously and with humor.
We all bussed over to the Muhammed Ali Center for the evening keynote, a rousing cultural studies reading of Jackie Robinson (with nods to Ali along the way) from Grant Farred. Grant edited the collection Rethinking C.L.R. James and is the author of What's My Name? among other works.
Then it was off to Proof Restaurant to celebrate with these delightful creatures.