Friday night was the reception organized by the African American Literature and Culture Society (FOLLOW THAT LINK OVER THERE AT THE SIDEBAR TO THEIR WEB SITE AND PLEASE CONSIDER JOINING), with co-sponsorship from several of the other author societies meeting at the conference of the American Literature Association. This year's reader at the event was Al Young, current Poet Laureate of California. We were pleased to welcome a contingent of scholars from Japan this year, with whom we have been working out a long-term series of exchanges. My own Penn State University Department of English has been helping out with support for the society's activities the past three years, so a word of thanks to Robert Caserio.
After the event, several of us retired to the lobby cafe to continue the festivities. Wilfred Samuels, who was the recipient of a surprise award for his contributioons to the organizations, rejoined us in his civilian clothes.
It turned out that the young staff person who helped us drag heavy furniture together at one side of the room and waited on us the rest of the evening was a graduate of Cal State University and an English major. We knew what needed to be done then, so we introduced him to the Poet Laureate. Made his day, as he helped make ours.
Next year's conference meets in Boston. Watch for the calls for papers and plan to join us.