8 November 2021

Dear Everyone:

It was so great to see so many faces gathered for the spring course preview on Friday. Many thanks to all  for introducing us to your classes. It is just plain happy-making to hear the range of work and thinking organizing the courses offered next semester, which will undoubtedly inspire engaging work and thought in turn. From the canonical to the contemporary, from writing-focused to those grounded in multiple forms of mediation, the expansiveness of the curricular horizons on offer is just really, really good. We know that courses, as arguably the main component of curriculum, is the core of what we do, and I’m very grateful to be a part of a program that features such vibrancy! Special thanks to Karl Steel, chair of the Curriculum Committee, for planning and moderating the session.

If you weren’t able to attend but are interested in hearing more about the classes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the faculty members teaching them.

As I noted on Friday, seeing everyone gathered on zoom was both great and made me miss in person gatherings more acutely. It seems for spring semester, we/CUNY is heading toward less virtual and more in person, and more importantly, that we/the English program peoples might however unevenly and cautiously, collectively be starting to incline similarly…I’ll confer with the Friday Forum committee to start conferring about programming in the spring accordingly and keep you all updated, of course. We will absolutely be mindful about ongoing issues of access that have been sharply illuminated by the foreclosures and affordances of remote work life, even as we refamiliarize ourselves to the idea of gathering in person. More to follow!

I’ll close by noting that it’s persimmon season now in the northern hemisphere. It has been for a while, but the colder weather makes it feel as much these days. If you’ve never had one, try it! It provides such a specific sense of season — with all varieties, just make super sure they’re ripe! It is the stuff of poetry (surely many of you will know Li Young Lee’s poem

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43011/persimmons) and just plain joy. I try regularly to remind us of a sense of place even/especially as we’re in virtual mode; a sense of season is of course a related way of grounding us collectively in world. I look so forward to sharing (maybe chocolate covered?) persimmons and everything else with you all!

abundant well wishes, as ever,


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