Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve been able to post here. It has been an insane month and a half at work, and I had to step back and get that stuff under control before I could have time to work with you here.
I have been reading the poems you guys have posted, and I love that you both continued to write poetry and post it here even when there weren’t actual “assignments.” I think that using this blog as a place to write and give feedback to each other is the best thing this blog can be. I hope to keep using it for just that.
Since we last “talked,” both Isabella and I have been to big gatherings of writers. I was at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP) in Denver, and Isabella was a featured poet at the Austin Poetry Festival. I’ll tell you a little about what I experienced at AWP, and I hope that Isabella will share her experience at the Austin Festival (’cause we want to know!).
The coolest thing about AWP is the sheer number of writers there. 9,300 people were at the conference, some of whom were publishers and other people involved in the business of writing, but most of whom were writers. LOTS of poets. There were over forty poetry readings held in restaurants and bars at night, and that’s not counting the multiple readings held as conference sessions during the day. My favorite official poetry reading was one celebrating the 60th anniversary of a poetry journal called Beloit Poetry Journal. I got to see Sherman Alexie read there, as well as Albert Goldbarth, who wrote one of my favorite poems to teach, “Library.” I also saw novelist Michael Chabon give a long talk (he was the keynote speaker), and I talked to him afterward while he was signing a book for me.
The most exciting thing for me, though, was getting to hang out with other poets and talk about writing. I did a reading on Friday night as part of a six-poet performance organized by three journals: the Lumberyard, Forklift, Ohio, and Hangman. Each journal had two poets who had been published in them read. I read for The Lumberyard along with Karyna McGlynn. They held the reading in one of the really large stairwells in the hotel. At midnight. Quite a lot of fun, and very bizarre. There are pictures of the reading here.
So I’m back and really jazzed up about writing in general. I’m trying to finish my novel, which looks like it might get published (another thing that I worked on at AWP), and I’ve also gotten inspired to polish up some poems to submit to magazines. There were 600 magazines at booths at the conference, all of whom want poetry.
BUT, as cool as all that, it pales in comparison to a poem first posted on this very blog being performed at the Austin International Poetry Festival. So, Isabella–can you tell us what it was like?