4 April 2022

Dear Everyone:

Here we are in April! A month introduced by the cherishing of fools! I gave a lecture last week on the subject of Asian Americanist pedagogy, and in the Q&A, was asked why I was so optimistic about the work we can do in and through the academy despite, well, everything. It’s a version of a question I get pretty regularly, and I think not uncommonly though mostly inadvertently, asked as a means of diminishing the ideas I share (or maybe just me, tee hee!). It doesn’t work, lol! Because the ideas I share come of and through long genealogies of intellection that quite foolishly and robustly are unaligned with normative thought, because it strikes me as sad that others can’t (or wont’) find their way to that source of energy/life/thought, because siding with the fools (the artists, the musicians, the writers, the poets!) remains necessary to the address of power — and because, in history, there are so, so many people who have collectively created life and living with loud joy despite, despite, despite…I remembered this poem by Alicia Ostriker — simply titled “April” — and (to me) it sings a version of this foolishness…I hope you’re able to revel in the “concerto of good stinks” that is the present, and to hold some measure of compassion for those who can’t or won’t…

Thank you to Dainy Bernstein, Hillel Broder, Meira Levinson, and Miriam Moster, for the Friday Forum last week — an event that brought not good stinks but great artifacts and thought and people together! Do keep an eye out for Artifacts of Orthodox Childhood, edited by Dainy, which, as sampled by this event, is clearly a rich archive of material that registers the intimacies and joys and curiosities traversing the personal and the intellectual.

This Friday, 8 April, 4p, please join us for another event organized around a book by one of our people! Eric Dean Wilson will give us a taste of After Cooling: On Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort — a beautifully written book that is deeply discomfiting — and remarks by the fabulous Cindi Katz and Wayne Koestenbaum will frame the discussion that follows. As ever, free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Finally, a quick note to students: please keep an eye out for and respond to messages from the registrar’s office regarding uploading of COVID vaccine booster status — this, ahead of Fall 22 registration. If you’ve not recently updated your contact information in CUNYFirst, please make sure to do that so that you get official correspondence in a timely manner. CUNYFirst is going to be upgraded this month — just in time for registration (!) — so, leave yourself plenty of time to get this kind of business done, okay? I cannot imagine the upgrade will happen without glitches…

Abundant well wishes,


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