I survived my first AWP. It was a whirlwind but I had a great time. I’ve decided that the book fair is by far the highlight of the entire event. I came home with tons of free journals and ideas of places to submit to. I talked to a lot of different editors, students, and teachers. In line with my fellow AWP bloggers, I give you the highlights of my conference:
*Arriving at the Hilton Chicago and realizing that hotel parking was $53 a night. After cursing the expensive price and circling the surrounding streets (Garmin is a lifesaver) I found parking for $20 a night.
*Wandering the book fair Thursday afternoon with my friend and fellow poet Larry O’Dean while he made hilarious comments about small presses, big presses, and all things literary.
* Walking into our hotel room. You’ll see pictures of the beds. Enough said.
* Attending the AWP offsite event “Reading Between the Lines” at The Beat Kitchen. Out of twenty some readers (prose and poetry) yours truly was dead last.
*The Beat Kitchen. I had one of the best steak sandwiches I’ve ever had. Delicious.
*Waking up at 7:45 Friday morning to sit at Murray State’s table. We were a major sponsor and we had a prime spot. I liked promoting New Madrid to people. It was fun.
* Trying to convince some guy that even though his last two novels had been “well received by The New York Times” that New Madrid would be a good place to submit his short stories.
* Wandering the book fair on Friday afternoon and receiving a free bag from The Poetry Foundation with this Marianne Moore quote on the back ” I too dislike it.”
* Attending a panel (one of the few panels I attended) called Writing Our Passions: Forbidden Topics. To be honest, I wasn’t real impressed.
* Running into Corey Marks and Will Tyler at the bookfair and then eating Chicago deep dish pizza.
* Listening to Mary Jo Bang and Frank Bidart read.
* Buying Dana Levin’s new book.
* Eating sushi with Natalie and Michael.
* Reading a vampire story by Kim Addonizio in Indiana Review. I’m still trying to figure out if she was trying to be ironic or not…
* Paying $14 for a vodka tonic at the hotel bar.
* Riding in a limo because it was cheaper than a cab to Lou Malnatis for more pizza.
* Voting for the best ice sculpture in the park across the street from our hotel.
* Did I mention the bookfair?
A collage from AWP…
These first two pictures are from The Beat Kitchen where we had our reading. The nook is where we read and then there is a shot of the crowd.
Finally, some of my favorite snow scultptures from the contest across the street.
This is a sketch that Dmitry did of our reading at The Beat Kitchen. Check out his website.