Hello, folks. What a pleasure to have a space to write on culture and ideas at such a regularly smart publication. I am grateful to Daniel McCarthy and Maisie Allison for the opportunity.
As some of you may know, Prufrock is a daily arts and letters newsletter. If you haven’t subscribed, you should, or at least I think you should. The newsletter will stay the same (other than a redesigned header). On the blog, I’ll expand on the morning newsletter, flesh out some of other interests, post worthwhile newsletter comments, and so forth. Whether you subscribe to Prufrock or not, I hope you’ll check in regularly. My hope is that this will be a space where conservatives (and liberals!) can come to keep up with what’s interesting and what’s not in art and literature, debate, and share.
Rod interviewed me this summer for a piece on conservatives and storytelling in which I say a few things about conservatives and art. I’ll have more to say on this topic in the future, but let me keep it personal for this first post:
So, I teach for a living at Houston Baptist University and divide my time between Houston and Ashe County, North Carolina. Before HBU, I did the fellowship and lectureship rounds at UNC at Chapel Hill, Yale, and a few other places.
My wife is Swiss, and we lived in a small farming town called Gimel for a number of years while I taught at the University of Geneva and did my Ph.D. at the University of Fribourg. We still miss it on occasion, sometimes sharply. There’s the pull of friends and family, of course, and the sheer beauty of the place. (The train from Lausanne through the vineyards on the slopes of the Lavaux offers what I suspect is one of the most remarkable views in the world.) But there is also the way of life that retains something (though less and less) of the old communal feel of local villages where one’s day is ordered by the seasons, the cows, and God. Perhaps we’ll move back one day, but most likely not. Life goes on.
We have four children, who have done public school, private school and home school (both in French and in English). Currently they are all at our excellent local public schools here in Ashe and flourishing, thankfully.
I write regularly (mostly on modern and contemporary poetry) for The Wall Street Journal and a number of other places. If you’re looking for some good contemporary poetry, you should check out The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry, edited by David Yezzi. Some of my favorite living poets at the moment are Dana Gioia, Yves Bonnefoy, Bill Coyle, and Aaron Belz.
A couple of odds and ends: I am a Presbyterian (though I grew up in a non-denominational evangelical church), and, as you might expect, I love Calvin and Edwards, though I find they are frequently misunderstood—perhaps more on this at some point. I love Polka, the Tour de France, and cheese. My son and I are currently trying to master the art of Wing Chun, mostly unsuccessfully. We plan on avoiding dark alleys for a while.
There. If you want to know more, ask. Look forward to the interactions.
Prufrock is a daily newsletter on books, art and ideas, edited by Micah Mattix. It contains links to the best reviews and most worthy literary news items, a daily essay with relevant responses, and a little bit of literary smack. Best of all, it’s free! Subscribe today.