AWP Highlights

I give you my highlights from AWP, although because AWP also coincided with The Great Ice Storm of 2011, my highlights actually started before I arrived at the airport.

  1. The great ice storm of 2011. Enough said.
  2. Falling off of my deck while attempting to feed the birds (this happened the morning I left).
  3. When RJ and I attempted to leave for the airport, we went out the back to the garage. When we got to our little wooden gate, we were able to get the latch open but there was about an inch and half of ice holding the door shut. See next item on list.
  4. We had to go around the front, so while RJ walked around to get the car, I had to scoot on my butt down our front steps because there was so much ice on the steps that I couldn’t walk in them.
  5. My flight from Indy to D.C. boarded on time. Win!
  6. The jetway was frozen to the ground, so we had to walk across the tarmac to board. This was tricky because everything metal (hand rails & stairs mostly) had about an inch of ice covering it.
  7. Descending into D.C. and seeing the capital, the Washington Monument & The Jefferson Memorial.
  8. My shuttle driver (who had the most beautiful African accent) asking me if it was OK if he got lost going to my hotel. I think he was kidding…
  9. Meeting a fellow writer/conference attendee on the shuttle and having a nice chat that resulted in receiving a business card and having a new blog to follow.
  10. Discovering that the hotel I’m staying at has a great gym and a killer veggie sandwich.
  11. Attending a really interesting first panel sponsored by Writers in the Schools.
  12. Meeting a group of writers from Texas and commiserating about Governor Perry.
  13. Hearing Katrina Vandenberg read at the Fullbright panel. If you have not read her collection, Atlas, do it. It’s an excellent book.
  14. Making my first pass at the book fair and seeing old friends, making new ones and picking up free copies of New Madrid & American Literary Review (publications from Murray and UNT).
  15. Hearing Gary Jackson, Natasha Trethewey, Rita Dove & Yusef Komunyakka read. Wow.
  16. Hearing Marie Howe read. What the Living Do is one of my top 10 favorite poetry collections of all time.
  17. Attending a fascinating panel about writers of color and their role in environmental writing. I usually write down all of the names of books I want to buy after AWP and then add them to my Amazon wish list at the end of each day because if I bought all the books I wanted to while here, I’d be broke. That being said, after this panel, I’m going to buy The Colors of Nature tomorrow.
  18. Listening to Jhumpa Lahiri’s keynote address.
  19. The bookfair. It is amazing.
  20. Going to a table at the bookfair of a journal that I’ve sent poems to in the past and chatting with editor only to find that not only did she remember me, she remembered my poems. Maybe I can do this poet thing for real…
  21. Running into old mentors and friends.
  22. Attending the two year college caucus.
  23. Attending a panel about how to approach disturbing undergraduate writing.
  24. Sharing a cab ride with Khaled Mattawa.
  25. Going for dinner with Natalie & Zach and later meeting up with Michael and other friends.
  26. Driving by the Lincoln Memorial at 6 am. It was all lit up and mystical looking. I think Abe would have liked to see it like this.
  27. Arriving back in Indy in the midst of a snowstorm. I believe the pilot’s exact words were “I just landed in a white out.”
  28. Returning home in one piece after a harrowing ride on the interstate.
  29. Finis.
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