We have discussed the 2020 annual conference, scheduled at Yale University from October 22-25, with the ALSCW Executive Committee and the Conference Committee, and regret to announce that we are postponing it for a year. We have asked the session leaders for the Yale conference if they could commit to October of 2021, and are pleased and grateful that many already have responded affirmatively. If you have submitted a proposal for the conference, we will keep it on hand for 2021. We plan to circulate the Call for Papers for the 2021 annual conference in early February, and hope to see you in New Haven in October of 2021 (the precise dates TBA).
Despite the postponement of our annual conference, the ALSCW remains committed to keep promoting the study and creation of literature. We are in the process of putting together a monthly series of live readings, interviews, and discussions broadcast via Zoom. Once we’ve finalized the program, the schedule will be sent via email to the membership and posted on our website. If you have not renewed your membership, we hope you will soon. Our memberships have increased steadily over the last several years, and strong membership numbers are vital to the health of our organization. A membership form, which can be printed out and mailed to the address on the form, is attached. To join online, please visit our join page. Many, many thanks for your support.
Let me add that we plan to continue with as many of our other activities, including the Meringoff Writing Awards, as possible. Our Executive Committee and Council will extend their terms for a year and are determined to keep moving the organization and its mission forward. Literature and the arts engage questions about what it means to be human. The challenges the health crisis presents make the study and creation of literature more vital than ever. During a time of “social distancing,” Walt Whitman’s words remind us of what distinguishes and unites:
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
All the best,
David Bromwich, Vice President
Ernest Suarez, Executive Director