I recently(ish) returned from AWP. Last year I had a whole big list of all the books I bought. This year I did not buy so many books, but there were many very cool things worth offering shameless plugs for, some moments worth remembering/noting, and and a few other things I am psyched about. Here’s a running list. NOTE: These appear in no particular order, and some of them are not exactly AWP-related.
* New issue of Phoebe is kicking some major butt with a sweet DC local scene section and rad woodcut cover art and inserts.
* Finally made friends with those fellow Chestertonian cats over at Idiot’s Books. Watch out world, that’s an AWP panel in the making.
* Joe Hall and Julie Carr represented 1913 in an awesome trade off reading inside of which Julie Carr made fun of Joe’s urban cowboy look. This was at Comet Ping Pong. It was a small press mash up with ACTION, OCTOPUS, LETTER MACHINE EDITIONS .
* My hotel-mates Joe Hall and Robb St. Lawrence are awesome. Just sayin’.
* I heart 1913 generally. It’s funny because I know the Dollers without knowing the Dollers — like, we’re facebook friends and Ben is now at Mason and we’ve been in circles of people talking together but I don’t know that they would remember my name and sometimes I think it’s a little late for that. The very cool thing is that they have taken a good selection of Mason people under their poetically kick ass wings (even if just to help work the 1913 collection at TABLE X). That is pretty awesome. You should donate to them to keep them alive.
* The GMU faculty reading, moderated by Eric Pankey who was on too many panels so they wouldn’t let him read, but that didn’t stop him from speaking fondly of his colleagues and the crowd in front of him. Sally Keith, Jennifer Atkinson (who said Eric was her favorite poet and also got super sweet mushy great), Ben Doller, and Susan Tichy read beautifully. I couldn’t have imagined landing a better faculty than I did while I was at Mason… I am so grateful.
* Eating bad/good Mexican food with Keith Montesano was fun. He also spoke the next day at a pretty excellent panel on electronic media and poetry — getting the word out about First Book Interviews (in the tradition of Kate Greenstreet) — alongside Brian Brodeur (fellow Mason alum) who spoke about his How A Poem Happens blog. Makes me want to have a blog beyond this blog.
* The party via Brian Fitzpatrick and Dan Guttstein was fantastic (woot, Mason and DC poetry crews), got there at midnight, stayed until early/late.
* The Ashahta reading at Big Bear (man, I miss Big Bear and Cheryl’s Gone) was (as always) incredible with readings from Brian Teare, Susan Tichy, Dan Beachy-Quick, Julie Carr, Rusty Morrison, and super nervous but good stuff James Meetze who read from Dayglo.
* The research and poetry panel with rockstars Susan Howe, Thalia Field, C.S. Giscombe, Jonathan Skinner, moderated by Cole Swensen, pretty much rocked my world. Except when I learned that Skinner is working on an Olmsted project, when my heart sank a little (perhaps there is still time for me to scoop Skinner with my own Olmsted project).
* I almost literally ran into Mark Nowak, Lit House Director at Washington College, who (it turns out) had pneumonia at the time. He felt well enough to host an excellent talk from Jeff Biggers the next week on campus. Sadly I did not get to any of Mark’s talks or panels during AWP, but I’m sure they were fantastic.
* DC was… well, DC. Good to be back, in many ways.
Now please immediately go follow all of those links to amazing things.
More love than love,