1 February 2021

Dear Everyone:

I’m watching the snow coming down hard as I write this – where I am in northern NJ, we’ve got about six inches already. I’m so sorry we aren’t having a proper snow day, with classes canceled and all (virtual classes and work continues today, per the institutional message we received yesterday evening), and for the hardships I know snow imposes, and/but hope you’ll find some way of letting in the quiet that accompanies big snow, too.

There’s a poem I love by a Korean poet, Ko Un, called “The Snow Path”  (translated to English by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid), which includes the lines:

The world is at the edge of meditation,
a world covered with exuberant peace
no country that I have traveled has ever seen.

I know I’ve been in search of/deliberately open to – things that speak at once to hope and mourning and history and possibility (vaguely apologetic that I write of these things so often in these messages and trust you ignore in favor of informative bits!); grateful for Ko’s poetry in this vein and very glad to recommend to you…

…which is of course my pivot to recalling our first Friday Forum on Recommendations!  Thanks so much to everyone who came and recommended a thing or two or three, and/or who sent a thing or two or three to be shared. You can see the list here – a fantastic range of genres and texts and the thing that’s been my family’s weekend obsession, music for plants! (thank you, Luke!)  Not surprisingly, wonderful insight accompanied the offerings – from thoughts on the affect and mood of particular genres and styles, to the scenarios of engagement for reading and listening and escape, to the infectious joy of newly discovered gossip!  

The awesomely multi-talented Jojo Karlin captured us this illustrious/ illustrated way – thank you hugely for the art, and for allowing me to share it!  (everyone, see http://Instagram.com/jojokarlin for more — so good!)

I’m so looking forward to future Friday Forums not least to hang together again!  Our next public one is 12 February, Queer Valentines! (with thanks to Maddie Barnes for organizing)  And the slate of what else is coming down the pike is available here, and includes registration links for those who are early planners.  (please note, we’re using some Fridays to conduct some of the faculty appointment related business, hence not every Friday is scheduled as a public event this semester, but many are!)

Some other nuts and bolts and bits of news sorts of things:

  1. As you might have seen from the Chancellor’s message a little while ago, CUNY intends to be open for in-person classes in fall 2021.  I want simply to note that the Grad Center administration recognizes the distinctive characteristics of our building – the absence of windows in seminar rooms, the size of the rooms, the limited capacities of the ventilation systems among them – and believe we will continue to be flexible about our own arrangements and teaching and work modalities. (Returning at least to hybrid mode – contingent on federal regulations – would potentially allow international students more flexibility, so I am myself rooting for that.)
  1. The budget news continues to be rotten, and for us in specific, the immediate impact will be to cut our incoming cohort from the already cut 15 to 8. It’s not impossible we’ll get the lines (or some of them) back for this admission season, but I think it’s unlikely. More specifics about plans for the money from the cut lines will follow once our administration has them sorted out (in negotiation with CUNY central, hence the delay). I’ll share when I know!
  1. Admissions!  Huge thanks to everyone and especially our Admissions DEO, Siraj Ahmed, for moving us through the almost 300 applications we received this season! 
  1. Faculty appointments: as the semester progresses, more information about appointment candidates in rhetoric and composition, and the search we’re conducting in US Latinx studies, will follow.
  1. Finally for now, a reminder that I don’t typically respond to work email on weekends and to ask you please to resend your message if you’ve not heard back from me in several days, with apologies for delays – not intentionally ignoring you…

I think that’s it for now. As we did at the Recommendations Friday Forum, I’ll invite us all in moving through this spring to hold close our absent friends and colleagues and beloveds, and to extend that intentional embrace also to those who are present to and for and with us, with whom we build toward exuberant peace….

Warmest wishes for this first full week of this new semester!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.