Someone asked me to explain how I got to Basel, and I did, so here it is for the whole world to read.
In the fall of 1988, I went to Penn to do a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature. I was ABD in the spring of 1991, when I went to Berlin for a year to work on my dissertation (on Christa Wolf, Doris Lessing, and Marguerite Duras).
That year turned into more: I was in Berlin for about twenty months in all, and then I got a job teaching English-language courses in the English Department at the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken.
I taught there for two-and-a-half years, during which time I completed my dissertation and tried, unsuccessfully, to get a tenure-track job in a North American English or German department. Then I got my job here in Basel, starting in October 1995—more or less the same job I had in Saarbrücken.
I came here planning to stay for two years, and that has turned into a lifetime. When I began to be more interested in literary translation than literary criticism and to concentrate more on my own poetry, I stopped trying to get back to North America to be a professor. The decision was made easier since Andrea did not really want to move to North America.
So here I am still, happy to be living in a wonderful European city teaching English to support my literary habits and raising my three kids to be Swiss. :-)