For me, AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) is usually a mix of excellence and exhaustion, so I give you a list of all the excellent I encountered at this year’s conference.
1. Welcome booth sponsored by Rain Taxi at the Minneapolis airport
2. Fun sights seen on my way from airport to hotel: giant mural of sheet music on a brick building, penguins from the film Madagascar peering out of an office window, statue of Mary Richards & a little boy in a batman costume.
3. Friendly helpful staff at the Millennium Hotel where I made my home for four nights.
4. A king sized bed. Hello.
5. Electronic AWP registration via email confirmation #
6. The AWP app.
7. The skywalk. YES.
8. A sturdy tote.
9. Dinner with Sam Snoek Brown
10. An absolutely amazing reading by the the Dark Noise Collective Thursday morning & purchasing The Break Beat Poets Anthology immediately upon leaving said reading.
11. Participating as contributor to “The Full Time Professorship: From Application to Hire to Continuing Life as Writer” panel.
12. The Two-Year College Caucus and networking with community college colleagues.
13. The book fair.
14. Attending the “The Bigness of the Small Poem” panel.
15. Seeing my former mentor & poetry professor from Allegheny, Christopher Bakken.
16. Buying books and having them signed by amazing poets.
17. Meeting folks face to face to that I know through Twitter & Facebook.
18. Attending the “Publishing Sucks, Even When You’re Good At It” panel. I laughed. A lot.
19. Meeting Marie, Kaylie and a bunch of previous contributors at the 30/30 Meet & Greet.
20. Walking the greenway through Loring Park on a beautiful, spring Saturday in Minneapolis.
21. Spending a few hours at the Walker Art Center & Sculpture Garden. Free admission!
22. Writing a 30/30 poem inspired by a sculpture in the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center. I also drafted said poem sitting outdoors, in the sunshine at a picnic table when it was snowing the day before.
23. Attending the “Finding Voice” panel with Roxane Gay, Pablo Medina & Michael Thomas.
24. Attending the Kevin Young & Carolyn Forché reading. This was my final event at this year’s AWP and it was incredible.
25. Discovering a plethora of moose merchandise at the Minnesota gift shop at the airport.
I am now home, sitting on my couch while my dog sleeps on the love seat, my finches chatter from the kitchen and my husband types on his computer. I had a glorious time in Minneapolis but I’m glad to be home and I can’t wait to start working through the stack of books I brought home from the book fair. Below is a list of titles and books I picked up (complete with links):
A Sweeter Water, by Sara Henning
Confluence, by Sandra Marchetti
The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, by Maggie Smith
The Octopus Game, by Nicky Beer
Train to Agra, by Vandana Khanna
Citizen, by Claudia Rankine
The Middle, Angela Hume
Bat, Renee Beauregard Lute with paintings by Susan Solomon
Chthonic, by John James
Blood Dazzler, by Patricia Smith
The Last Two Seconds, by Mary Jo Bang
The Breakbeat Poets, Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana & Nate Marshall (Eds.)
The Art of Syntax, Ellen Bryant Voigt
Streaming, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Book of Hours, by Kevin Young