Sunday, April 11, 2010
AWP Bits, For Eduardo
I'm back in St. Louis after an amazing and utterly exhausting AWP. I don't mean to rub it in for all the folks who couldn't make it, but this year's AWP in Denver was one of the best I've ever been to. Aside from the obvious beauty of the city itself, and the fact that it is clean and walkable and friendly and ringed by mountains so beautiful they make my heart hurt, the convention center itself was large enough to gracefully handle the bedlam of panels and people milling about. Since most of the panels were in the conference center, the hotel was less jammed up, and the bookfair was in an expansive room with wide aisles for walking and high ceilings. All in all, it made navigating the conference easy and enjoyable, and unlike the conference in Chicago last year, I didn't feel stifled or claustrophobic at all. Good call, AWP.
Here are some highlights, for Eduardo:
Meeting Sandy Longhorn on the plane from St. Louis out to Denver. I never strike up conversations on planes, especially when I have my two favorite people in the world sitting next to me to talk to, but there was something about Sandy, who was sitting across the aisle reading a back issue of a journal, that made me want to chat with her. We hadn't landed in Denver yet, and already I'd met one of my Facebook "friends." (I think that was the most overheard comment this year--"I recognize you from Facebook!") And once I met her, we ran into each other again and again, which was great. We even shared a pedi-cab back from the Copper Nickel reading with Allison Benis-White.
Thursday I signed books at the C&R Press table, milled around the bookfair, and ran into and met delightful folks like Suzanne Frischkorn and Mary Biddinger. (I can't even try to list everyone for fear I'll leave people out. Suffice it to say I met great people and saw old friends, you know, the AWP way.)
Later that night, I read for Copper Nickel's 8 Debut Poets reading with Jericho Brown, Dan Albergotti, Michael Dumanis, Farrah Field, J. Michael Martinez, and the lovely and exceptionally talented Allison Benis-White. It was a great event, and a great space and turnout, and I was thrilled to be in such company. Thanks to everyone who organized and attended it!
Friday I met up with my oldest and dearest poet-friend, Brian Turner. Since he's been abroad on the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, we hadn't seen each other in almost a year. So good to see you, Bri. Come home soon.
Friday I also went to the From the Fishouse Reading, which featured my man Adrian Matejka, my fabulous co-editor Oliver de la Paz, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Jeffrey Thomson, the lovely Erika Meitner (who read one of my poems and got a better audience response than I ever do), and Major Jackson. Later, we got this group shot of the Oregon MFA contingent representing:
(Brian Turner, Keetje Kuipers, Major Jackson, me.)
That night, I had a two-hour window of free childcare (thanks, Mom, for flying out to help take care of the little one!), and I maximized it by having drinks with some friends on the 27th floor of the hotel, complete with panoramic views of the city and mountains. At altitude, 2 drinks = 8 drinks for me, so I was pretty well buttered. No pictures of that.
All in all, it was a great conference. Glad to meet you, good to see you, missed you. Hope to see you next year.