Poetry at the Post: The Blonde Sonata, Anita Loos & Edith Wharton in Washington DC

Update: Check out the Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence Program here. Deadline August 31, 2015. 

The Blonde Sonata
by John Frederick Nimms

The waitress in the tavern brought me down.
Tiara lace on tassel of gold hair.
Trim breasted, crescent thighed, tulip ankled
Eye robin’s egg, impertinent moist lip…


“Edith Wharton called Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ‘the great American novel’ and declared its author a genius. Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, George Santayana and Benito Mussolini read it – so did James Joyce, whose failing eyesight led him to select his reading carefully. The 1925 bestseller sold out the day it hit the stores and earned Loos more than a million dollars in royalties.(Cynthia Haven, “Stanford News)

Anita Loos and John Emerson by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, July 1928
Anita Loos and John Emerson by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, July 1928

Anita Loos was a contemporary of some awesome writers, including Edith Wharton. We’ll be reading Wharton’s The Custom of the Country in The Global Reading Group, a virtual literary salon, this upcoming Fall. Free and open to all.  Click here to join.

Call for Papers

Wharton in Washington: A Conference Sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society

June 2-4, 2016

Please join the Edith Wharton Society for its upcoming Conference in Washington, DC. The conference directors seek papers focusing on all aspects of Wharton’s work. Papers might offer readings of any of Wharton’s texts, including the short fiction, poetry, plays, essays, travel writing, and other nonfiction, in addition to the novels. While all topics are welcome, the location of the conference in the U. S. capitol invites readings related to nationalism, cosmopolitanism, transatlanticism, seats of power, Americana, museum cultures in the 19th C, material cultures, and the work of preservation. Further, given the centennial years of World War I, papers offering new examinations of Wharton’s relationship to the war are particularly invited. Proposals might also explore Wharton’s work in the context of such figures as Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Adams or Wharton’s work in relation to that of her contemporaries, such as Gertrude Stein, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, Anita Loos, Henry James, and more. All theoretical approaches are welcome, including feminist, psychoanalytic, historicist, Marxist, queer studies, affective studies, disability studies, and ecocritical perspectives.

The L'Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792
The L’Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792

We plan to organize paper sessions, roundtables, and panel presentations. In addition, there will be a keynote speaker and opportunities for tours of local exhibits. Further details forthcoming at the conference website https://whartoninwashington2016.wordpress.com/.

Please submit 350-500-word abstracts and brief CV as one Word document toWhartoninWashington2016@gmail.com by July 15, 2015.

All conference participants must be members of the Edith Wharton Society at the time of registration.

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