Yes, this time all the other gypsy scholars joined us in our encampment in central Pennsylvania. Our second day kicked off with a keynote from Charles Nero, who turns out to have been a friend of the late poet Essex Hemphill, who had been a fellow student with me at Federal City College. Essex had gone on to found the literary journal Nethula with Kathy Elaine Anderson, a journal well worth rereading today. Marci Blackman offered a reading in the second session before we all devolved into our panels again. It was a panel on the Harlem Renaissance that was the occasion of another reunion for me. I hadn't seen Jacqueline Jones, now of Francis Marion University, since she had gone to Africa some years ago. We first met back in my Silicon Valley days, and it was wonderful to catch up with her family news and just to see her again. An afternoon panel included a paper on J.J. Phillips's novel Mojo Hand, which I first heard of from Ishmael Reed -- It's a wild novel that needs recovery. A final plenary roundtable brought reflections on the conference and its themes from L.H. Stallings, Sharon Holland, Trudier Harris, Robert Reid-Pharr and Magdalena Zaborowska.
But it was the after dinner performance I'd been looking forward to all weekend. I got to introduce what was billed as a "reading/performance" by Duriel Harris. At our last African American literature conference, Howard Rambsy had speculated that Maryemma Graham might be more than one person. Duriel brought an entire cast to the stage as she enacted several pieces from her two books of poetry, fully inhabiting the personae of those poems.
Then it was off to Buffalo for Modernist Studies -- I'll be back with postings from that one in the coming days.