Dear PAMLA Members and Friends,

I’m writing to you as PAMLA’s new Executive Director.

First, I want to thank PAMLA’s nominating committee, officers, and Executive Committee members for this great honor, and Salah Khan, our out-going Executive Director, for all of his wonderful work on our organization’s behalf and for his kind assistance in guiding me through this transition.

I’m almost unnaturally excited about serving you as PAMLA’s next Executive Director for a number of reasons. Even though I now live in Denver, I have strong ties to the west coast, having grown up in California and graduated from the University of Southern California (a B.A. in English), California State University, Los Angeles (an M.A. in English), and the University of California, Riverside (a Ph.D. in English). My family all live in southern California and most of my friends come from or live in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Bellingham, Honolulu, or the Bay area. Most importantly, I’ve loved my years as a PAMLA member, loved attending years of wonderful PAMLA conferences, and enjoyed reading so many fabulous essays in Pacific Coast Philology. Most of my dearest friends are PAMLA members already, and I’m looking forward to making more friends as I work with you all to continue to strengthen our wonderful association. PAMLA is the oldest of all regional affiliates of the Modern Language Association, having been founded as the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast in 1899 and affiliated since 1917 with the MLA. PAMLA is also arguably one of the warmest and most welcoming of all scholarly associations dedicated to language and literary studies. I hope, nonetheless, that together we can continue to improve PAMLA.

If you have any suggestions, questions, concerns, or comments, please contact me at [email protected]. Or you can always call me at my office number (I never answer my office phone, however, so please leave a complete message, and I’ll get back to you): 303-556-4461. Or, if you have a hankering to use your quill and ink, by all means send me an actual, old-fashioned letter via the U.S. Postal Service:

Craig Svonkin
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Campus Box 32
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362

I’m looking forward to getting to know many of you better—so please feel free to contact me any time about any concern, and if I don’t have an answer right away, I’ll find one! Now, on to some important reminders and announcements. I’ve numbered them for your reading convenience:

1. Annual Conference: Our 107th annual conference is going to be held at San Francisco State University on the weekend of November 6-7, 2009. Given how socially and intellectually-stimulating PAMLA’s conferences always are, and given the exciting location (with Sunday left wide-open for your flâneur/touring needs), you really don’t want to miss this conference! And we want as many of our members to participate in the conference as possible. So, please consider submitting a paper proposal by the extended deadline of March 30, if you haven’t already done so. Submitting paper proposals is easier than ever, thanks to the hard work of Salah Khan and our webmaster, Heather Wozniak. Simply go to to see what sessions you might wish to send off a proposal to, and then submit your proposal via the Online Proposal Submission Form: A few reminders about our rules, straight from our website:
“Members may present only one paper per conference. Papers may not be read in absentia. Please, no multiple submissions of the same paper to different sessions, but requests to have the paper rerouted to another session are encouraged. It is not necessary to be a member of PAMLA in order to submit a paper proposal. However, all presenters must be current on their PAMLA dues by April 15, 2009.”

Which leads us to …

2. Membership: If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute to rejoin PAMLA for the 2009 year. And if you could, please also encourage your friends and colleagues to join. It is easier than ever to renew your membership to PAMLA via our convenient online registration method (but, for those who insist, you can still join through a mail-in form as well): . A membership in PAMLA is one of the most reasonably-priced forms of cultural, intellectual, and social stimulation around—even if membership only paid for your subscription to Pacific Coast Philology, you’d be getting more than your money’s worth. Memberships last from conference to conference, so if you paid before the 2008 conference, it is now time to pay again for the 2009 year. Remember, only members who are paid up receive Pacific Coast Philology and are eligible to vote for officers and Executive Committee members (and there is a special election to fill my vacated seat on the Executive Committee coming up right away). So, please take pity on a new Executive Director, and pay your dues today (I’m evidently not too proud to beg!).

3. Nominations: If you wish to nominate someone to serve PAMLA as our new Second Vice-President or as one of our two new Executive Committee members, you may do so by creating a petition with the signatures of 25 PAMLA members and getting it to me by April 1st. Of course, our nominating committee will be coming up with a slate of nominees as well.

4. Hawaii: It isn’t too early to begin to plan for your trip to Hawaii for our fall 2010 conference. Yes, it is over a year off, but just think about visiting beautiful, warm Hawaii as you struggle through this unusually cold, damp, rainy season. You can, at the very least, visit ebay or your local thrift store in search of that perfect Aloha shirt to pack.

For those of you still reading (yes, this was a long message), thank you in advance for all of your assistance in our common work of continuing to improve and strengthen our association. I’ll see you in San Francisco!

All my very best,

Craig Svonkin
Executive Director, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association