The Exile of Not Exactly

From Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann. CB Editions (2013). 152-161.

ralph james savarese

Michael had come to give a reading at the small Iowa college where I teach – it was as much an excuse to see me, his former student, as it was a chance to sell copies of his latest book. He was shocked, I think, by just how isolated the college is. Halfway between Des Moines, the capital, and Iowa City, where the University of Iowa is located, the town boasts a population of 9,000 and is surrounded on all sides by big, agribusiness farms. You can travel an hour in either direction on I-80, one of the highways that span the US, without seeing much of anything. You can travel downtown, for that matter, without seeing much of anything. And the food, well – let’s not go there, as Americans like to say.

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