AWP Conference 2012

Today marks the end of AWP 2012 and what may be a brutal return to reality. We're checking out of our hotel this afternoon and flying back to our children in Virginia (and rescuing my mother, who's been run ragged by them, I'm sure). Tomorrow bright and early we'll drive back to New York, and then Tuesday I'll jump right into the thick of things by beginning the day with a guest lecture at Stony Brook Southampton, followed by a 50 mile commute to Suffolk's west campus for our "Professional Development Day," which promises to be as exciting as the title portends.

But let's not start this post off on a negative note, shall we? The Wednesday-Saturday of AWP was filled with lots of interesting discussion, lovely moments and fun, unexpected events. I managed to see 2-3 panels per day, and even spend a fair amount of time walking around the Bookfair, where I picked up the following:

The Gray Issue of The Fairy Tale Review (I've already read two stories in here and I'm infatuated with this annual labor-of-love run by Kate Bernheimer. Such a lucky find, and I have A.P. to thank for it, who pointed out her table.)

We Are Clay by Russell Evatt, Movie Plots by Nick Admussen, and In Search of Mariachis by David Shumate, three beautifully constructed chapbooks from the awesome publishers of Epiphany mag. Oh, and also a back issue of Epiphany.

Nocturnes by Kathleen Kirk, Book Four by Niina Pollari, and Thirteen Designer Vaginas by Juliet Cook, all from Hyacinth Girl Press.

The 2011 issue of Arsenic Lobster, a poetry journal run by fellow HGP author Susan Yount.

Mortal Geography by Alexandra Teague.

A book titled Sonnets, edited by William Baer and printed by the University of Evansville Press.

Volume 9 of the Cider Press Review, featuring two poems by A.P.

Volume 16 of Poems and Plays.

So I have lots of reading to do.

I haven't managed to do any writing this trip, but I've given myself a reprieve from feeling any guilt over this. I'm going to get back into my early-morning writing schedule on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I'll probably (hopefully) be refreshed and recharged and ready to do some good work with the play! (I attended a panel on playwriting that was really helpful -- it's the genre I know the least about, so I'm a sucker for anything related to drama, including a discussion about 10 minute plays!)

Yesterday offered the highlight of the conference, which was seeing A.P. do his moderator thang in a large ballroom with 50+ people who gathered to hear him and Kathleen Graber, Adam Day, Julie Sheehan, and Matthew Zapruder speak about "The Care and Feeding of Long Poems." Each poet spoke about a particular author and a long poem that he/she wrote, and this was especially nice in contrast to a panel I attended the day before, where at least three of the panelists took the opportunity to pimp their own work instead of simply sticking to the topic of discussion. (This is so, so irritating. But perhaps a topic for a later post.) They followed their prepared talks by answering questions A.P. had about their own experiences writing long poems. The audience had good questions for the panelists afterwards, and it felt like everyone, audience and panelists, had a good time. I'm super proud of my good friend, and happy the panel was so successful for him.

But now it's time to slowly ease back into the real world. Rather miraculously I've managed to get full nights of sleep during this conference and remain relatively well-hydrated. So let's hope that the next two days of travel and chaos don't completely undo the benefits of those things.


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