introduction to Al Filreis's "60-second lecture"
by Aaron Levy

There is an ongoing debate at the Kelly Writers House, over email and dinner, in the kitchen and the classroom, as to its very objectives, its fundamental principles. It is a discussion which has remained vibrant, vociferous, and, needless to say, unanswered for as long as I can remember. For the members of the planning committee can agree, at the risk of banality, only that all voices must be lighted, divergences pursued, thought unthought from within and without. It is all perhaps an institutional luxury, the institutional irony, that a true community - one as cohesive, productive, and wondrously experimental as that which comprises the house - be able to embrace such divergent, discordant, and thus, oddly enough, harmonious opinions towards the past and future potential of writing - of writing a house into and through its very own existence. While it is an art to effect such dialogue at the classroom level, one at which Al has already proven himself and others quite adept, it is an equally astounding feat to do so at the institutional level. And yet, as faculty director of the house, and, needless to say, its invisible hand, always present, always opening the door, always founding space and foundation, Al has privileged this diversity and had the privilege of seeing it develop and mature and come to fruition. It has been a pleasure to learn quietly from him this past year, as student and friend, to watch him welcome students and adults alike into his world, his work and his life with the utmost enthusiasm and organicism. As such, it is an honor to introduce to you Dr. Alan Filreis, Class of 1942 Professor of English, Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House, and 1998 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year.


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Last modified: Friday, 11-Jun-1999 06:14:06 EDT