Tuesday, April 20, 2010

AWP Readings and Bookfair

Those were the two events I most enjoyed, and wish there had been more of, less overlapping times, and more time to enjoy. The Bookfair especially was a kick -- a carnival of rickety tables and hopeful staffers with displays that made me wish for a UPS packing station and drop box right there on the premises (idea for the future, guys!). I met Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash. She's not twenty minutes away from where I live, and we've been on the phone several times, but we only met in Denver. I met  Facebook friend Susan Schultz of Tinfish Press, Stephan Reichert of the marvelous Smartish Pace (which has published my work), the good people at New Pages, Tupelo Press, Copper Canyon, the outgoing staff of defunct Triquarterly,  and many more (forgive me for forgetting to mention you, and/or please remind me). 

The Bookfair brought a lot of my literary life alive for me. I suppose that's the best reason to have a conference: to create a forum where those of us who only can correspond (unless we skype) can meet in person. The literary arts community is a fragile backwater of contemporary culture; it's good to become real people to each other, especially those of us who don't toil in academe and have few opportunities to meet and talk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Associated Writing Programs (AWP) in Denver

It was, as someone quipped to me, a tornado inside a whirlwind of activity. Too many panel discussions and readings all going on at once, too many people to meet and have coffee with, many I didn't get to and will have to catch at another conference or retreat. The Bookfair alone was a blast of meeting and greeting, not to mention picking up cheap or even free books. I just wish I could have packed in more of all of it.

I did two readings, one at Cannonmine Coffee in Lafayette, CO as the featured reader, a series coordinated by poet and editor Bryan Roth. There I met many lovely, welcoming, and talented poets. The other was an offsite AWP reading,  a group reading for Beyond Forgetting, Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer's Disease, organized by the indefatigable, wonderful Holly Hughes, editor of the book. I'm so pleased to have had those opportunities, and thrilled to have gone to my first AWP. Everyone told me I'd be overwhelmed, but they didn't mention what a delightful overwhelm it would be. And hearing Gary Snyder read was a special thrill.