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February 13, 2009 - 11:15pm
There was a small incident ten minutes into today’s AWP panel “Shameless Promotion: Get the Book to the Readers.” It was advertised as a session where “two poets, a novelist, and a nonfiction writer with books out in 2008 [would] describe strategies they’ve used to garner readers: book tours, book clubs, personal publicists, and the Web….”But two panelists, true to their title, had read or recited their own work, and a third was about to begin, when a woman in the back of the standing-room only crowd shouted, “Some of us were wondering, is this the session on self-marketing?”
February 13, 2009 - 3:16pm
Here's a pre-recorded version of the nonfiction reading I did today at AWP. Parts of it have appeared in different form in the journal Brevity, in my column at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and here at Inside Higher Ed. It was long enough that it needed to be broken up into two parts (here and here), so just click each in turn. It's called "On Fathers."
February 12, 2009 - 10:01pm
This week I've been a part of some very difficult conversations on campus about budget cuts and their implications for our cc. Some of the difficult parts were easily predictable: impact on jobs, impact on students, impact on various programs. But the hardest part was one I hadn't really anticipated. It was the almost palpable desire for a fixed target, a final figure that once we had hit, we could exhale and know we'd be okay. That, we can't do. The state budget is a moving target. And this makes inclusive, good-faith planning incredibly hard.
February 12, 2009 - 9:35pm
Today is, as we've all been informed ad nauseum, the 200th anniversary of the births of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.
February 12, 2009 - 9:32pm
By now we have all heard the numbers telling us how large the stimulus package will be that we hope will help turn around the economy. As an economist, I am interested in this attempt to help the economy recover more quickly. However, I am struck by the size of the numbers being thrown around, as we will most likely spend $800 billion dollars for the stimulus package that will help begin this economic recovery. These numbers are so large, they are hard to picture. What do these numbers mean?
February 12, 2009 - 2:18pm
There are many temptations in the big city for a couple of fellers in from the literary countryside. Today was opening day of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Chicago, and my old friend Frenchy and I hit the irresistible book fair, sponsored by Columbia College Chicago, English Department, Poetry and Nonfiction Programs.
February 11, 2009 - 9:43pm
Peggy Orenstein’s recent column in the New York Times about parental fears in response to a USA Today report on poor air quality around schools struck a chord with me.
February 11, 2009 - 6:27pm
Greenback U has a lot of recycling containers on campus. Many are for paper only, some are for paper and cans/bottles/plastics in a single stream, and some are for paper and cans (etc.) separately. In addition, we have specialty recycling/disposal containers for batteries, for aerosol cans, for corrugated cardboard. If I get my way, we'll have a couple of specialty recycling containers for cell phones.
February 11, 2009 - 6:56am
I’ve been planning a birthday party this week with my daughter. Her birthday is Feb. 13, sandwiched right in between Charles Darwin’s birthday on the 12th, and Valentine’s Day. With Darwin and my daughter both celebrating big decades this year (my daughter her 10th, Darwin his 200th), love, family and Darwin’s legacy have been on my mind.

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