The year unfolded in ways that we could have never imagined. In light of COVID-19, producing a journal became an unprecedented challenge, but nevertheless a challenge necessary to match. The entire social, political, and economic world is drastically and forever changed, and that includes how we make art. To make art, whether it be literary, physical, visual, or otherwise, is an act of bravery every single day, these days in particular, one which we wanted to honor however we could.
Because the artistic landscape is evolving, it is necessary we evolve with it. That is why we are introducing a fully reimagined Spires Literary Journal, which for the 2020 year, will be online. Our contributors have submitted impressive and relevant work, as they do every year. This, our 20th edition, is a fitting example of how, even without printers and paper, art can connect us across any distance.
The work in this journal is candid, experimental in new and inspiring ways, and exemplary of the artistic community that North Adams and MCLA have to offer. We believe that this edition proves the malleability of both the art and the artist, to be reflective and ever-changing. At times, the work is thoughtful, paced, and at others it demands—demands justice, demands attention, demands careful and thorough inspection. Transferring to an online format allowed us the space to fully display the work that moved us over the year, and we hope it will allow inspiration to a wider audience as well, at a point where we so desperately need that connection.
In a time where the necessity of many practices are in question, we believe art is necessary — this journal, other writings, and pieces being created in the current landscape show just how much merit and value is placed in art. Art promotes so many things, but one thing it truly promotes is community, one based in a mutual need and respect for creation. We believe that Spires 2020 participates in this sort of landscape, and it couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of several people. We want to thank Dr. Zack Finch, who for years has been a mentor to the Spires staff, and who’s generous advising has helped carry the journal through many of its successful editions. We also want to thank Dr. Caren Beilin for her unwavering commitment and guidance throughout the year, especially in helping to develop the online format. Her advising and innovation has helped bring Spires to a new generation and in a new way, which helps promote the longevity and breadth this work can reach. We also want to thank the MCLA English Department and Spires staff, including the many dedicated members who have stayed with us through their senior year. Lastly, we want to thank the many talented and thoughtful contributors, without whom, this journal would not be possible.
Allison O’Keefe and Jacob Valenti