A Letter from Ruth
May 14, 2020
When poet Rick Kenney was here with us this past fall he said, “The world is both horrible and gorgeous.” I’ve been thinking about his words as we witness what feels like the most spectacular spring I can remember, walking our way through explosions of blossom and leaf, the muting and un-muting of the scent of petal-filled breezes as we put on our masks, take off our masks.
At SAL, we’ve been deeply engaged in reimagining. Our annual gala, Words Matter, has been transformed into an online event from June 3-6. In the past, this special evening could only accommodate just over 300 of us in a ballroom, and it would quickly sell out. A silver lining of shifting to a virtual event is that now we can welcome everyone near and far—our world is both constrained and expanded all at once. As we shift our events and the ways we serve schools and students online, we are adjusting to decreases in ticket sales and school contributions—support from the community is thus more important than ever to allow us to continue to engage, inspire, and connect.You’ll be hearing more about Words Matter over the coming weeks, and we hope you’ll join the festivities by either sharing the event or making a gift as your circumstances allow.
To begin, we’re delighted to share this video celebrating our two 2020 Prowda Literary Champions whose work helps nourish and sustain readers and writers: Books to Prisoners and Amy Wheeler, outgoing Executive Director of Hedgebrook.
In the next week, we’re looking forward to online events with Rick Barot and Luis Alberto Urrea—tickets are still available for both if you’d like to join us, and their post-lecture conversations (with Jane Wong and Kristen Millares Young, respectively) will be free and available to everyone. And, of course, two weeks into “Summer” Book Bingo (at least the weekend weather got the memo!), I’m curious what category you’re tackling first and with what book. Drop me a note to let me know! I gobbled up The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.
In these days, I’m reminded how we each are holding such multiplicities of experiences. The world is both horrible and gorgeous. We feel new constraints as we are able to connect in new ways. We are full of gratitude and fear, confusion and hope. As always, poems and stories bring me such solace and are the vehicles through which I make sense of the world. Whether its writing by a WITS student or the work of writers who will join us this spring, reading continues to be a buoy and a lifeline—I hope for you as well.
All my best to you and those you love,
SAL Executive Director