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Someone recently described the paper I am about to deliver as the keynote address of this conference. That sounds rather grand, and I was flattered to think of it as such, but my purposes today are far more modest. I will not be giving the keynote address. I will be delivering instead what might best be called the footnote address.
I do not mean to be facetious. One of the few poems I enjoyed in the otherwise dreary collection, The Best American Poetry 2002, was Jean Boully's "The Body." I found the poem's form intriguing. It is, in its entirety, twenty-one footnotes to a non-existent text. Boully makes this comment about her unusual poem: "I decided that whatever the story was, I would, as life so often seems to do, write the footnotes first and then construct the story later." Of course the footnotes, once written, will guide the story. They become its coordinates. Whatever the literary virtue of such an approach, it seems to me that, when transposed, Boully's method holds promise for the work of this conference. The paper that follows will offer coordinates for a conversation on office in the Reformed Church in America. Thus my footnote address.
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