Happy New Year! — STAN SZELEST’s rendition of “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On”

December 31, 2023

Among the many unexpected things that have come to pass in my life, the past 18 years I have worked at CSULB is certainly among the least likely. Thirty odd years ago, no one in Los Angeles was naming me as the one most likely to take the late Gerry Locklin’s place at CSULB. By that point, Gerry had been at Long Beach for almost 30 years, and while he would keep teaching there until almost the end of the first decade of the next century, his spot on the faculty would have to be filled by someone. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to his successor.

The only sad part about my own upcoming final years at CSULB is that no one will be hired to replace me. The College of Liberal Arts, as far as I can tell, has no inclination to hire someone who can teach both literature and creative writing to graduate and undergraduate students. So it goes. There’s not much I can do to change the culture of an institution that regards WC Williams’s dictum of “Only the imagination is real” as a heretical objection to the goals of perpetual modernization.

In the meantime, though, let us not cease contributing what we can to our critiques of contemporary social life. In celebrating our own affirmations, let us also not forget those who gave their all in lifting up our spirits in the past.

As this New Year’s Eve theme song, I nominate Stan Szelest’s rendition of “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On.”


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