Jean Valentine read at the ALSCW local meeting in New York City just now, on November 28, 2016, at Barnard, in an evening graciously co-sponsored by Saskia Hamilton and the program Women Poets at Barnard. The audience filled the handsome Sulzberger Parlor where, as Valentine noted, the portraits of earlier presidents of Barnard, thoughtful, formidable women, seemed also to be listening. Valentine read from her two most recent books, Break the Glass (2010) and Shirt in Heaven (2015), followed by new poems of quiet force and mystery.
We are grieved at the loss of William Louis-Dreyfus, the noted businessman, philanthropist, art collector, and poet who died on September 16, 2016. William was a staunch friend to the ALSCW. In the past decade he hosted quite a few of our literary “salons” in his apartment in New York City, where writers presented their work, discussion eddied, and wine flowed in the presence of noble works of art (including, I especially remember, a small flower painting by Fantin-Latour, and a landscape by Stanley Lewis). In 2012 William sponsored a memorable evening at Poets House for ALSCW, a panel discussion about “What Makes Poetry Good,”at which Paul Keegan spoke about Beckett’s French poems, Christopher Ricks discussed John Crowe Ransom’s critique of Hardy, and Jill Rosser spoke about Donne. In 2014, William made possible a series of three lectures in New York by Christopher Ricks, sumptuously presented and catered. He understood the Association’s ideals, and supported us materially and spiritually.
Dear ALSCW members and friends:
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Meringoff Secondary School Essay Contest. The Meringoff Secondary School prizes are given annually for analytical essays by students in grades 9 through 12 dealing with works of recognized literary merit. Papers may examine style, characterization, rhetorical technique, or structure, and may be about individual poems, short stories, novels, plays, or essays. Papers may also compare two carefully selected works. This year’s awards include a prize of $1,500 for the winning entry and publication in the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers online journal, Literary Matters. The runners up each receive a prize of $250.
Long time friend of ALSCW, William Craig Rice passed away in June. We have included an excerpt from his obituary published by The Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University:
For nine years, Dr. Rice worked at the National Endowment for the Humanities and, before that, served as the 12th President of Shimer College, a great books institution in Chicago where, according to The New York Times, “books, not professors, are considered the teachers, and the path to learning relies on the Socratic method of discussion.” As an educator, Dr. Rice’s commitment was always to the humanities and arts, as well as to what, in an interview with the University of Michigan, he called “that neglected good thing.” Concerning his leadership at the NEH, Dr. Rice, who always sported a bow-tie, said, “I wanted to find causes that needed support, including unpopular causes like the great books, just as poetry needs support.”
Celebrating Lady Byron: A Reading and Conversation
THE CULTURE CENTER
410 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
“A Celebration of Lady Byron: Reading and Conversation” was a combination of refinement and literary gossip befitting Annabella herself. Introductions by Phillis Levin and Margaret Ducharme kicked off the evening at one of New York’s subtler salons, the New York Cultural Center. Amidst monastic Buddhist art and stoney arches, acclaimed biographer and fiction author Julia Markus, gave a sweeping (and at times shocking) overview of the Byrons’ relationship and subsequent separation, sparking an intimate and lively conversation between members and guests alike. Ranging from the slave trade and upperclass Recency era bawds to the social function of gossip, the works of Henry James and Tom Stoppard, and how Ada Byron helped NASA, the discussion lasted well beyond the evening’s end. The extensive and enlightening chat was complimented by gourmet refreshments, including prosciutto wrapped asparagus, caprese kabobs, and fine wine.
On April 21, novelist Mary Gordon read from the manuscript of her nearly-completed novel about the Spanish Civil War at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. Lively discussion followed, about the complex politics of the war, the nature of political idealism, Orwell’s simplification of the role of the anarchists in that conflict, Simone Weil, and the way fiction can treat matters of ethics, conscience, and politics.
David Hertz, Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington, presented a lecture titled “Eugenio Montale and the Great Modern Cycle of Love Poetry” at the University of Chicago. The event was co-Sponsored by the Committee on Social Thought and the Association of Literary Scholars, Writers, and Critics
The lecture was followed by a reading of Montale’s love poems by Silvia Guslandi, David Hertz, Rosanna Warren, and Rebecca West