I hope everyone is rested after all of the AWP madness last week. What an exciting time! I had a blast meeting some of my favorite poets, like Sandra Simonds, Kaveh Akbar, Danez Smith, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Emilia Phillips. And despite making a fool of myself in front of all of them (I’m really good at this) seeing them made my month. This was my first AWP, so it was a special time and a great way to launch into the giant world of literary mayhem. I was so happy to be at AWP that I bought TWENTY FIVE poetry collections. TWENTY FIVE. So, needless to say, featuring awesome poetry collections on this blog for the next few months will not be a problem. Here’s a couple of the books that I bought that I’m looking forward to reading and writing about:
- Because When God is Too Busy: Haiti, Me, & the World by Gina Athena Ulysse.
- Further Problems with Pleasure by Sandra Simonds.
- Field Guide to the End of the World by Jeannine Hall Gailey
- I’m So Fine by Khadijah Queen
- Ugly Time by Sarah Galvin
- Mad Woman by Shara McCallum
- For Filthy Women Who Worry About Disappointing God by Seema Yasmin
- Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar
I’m biased, but I do think I had the best AWP book haul! Aside from spending hours browsing the book fair, I also spent some time at a few really fabulous panels. The American Smooth: A Tribute to Rita Dove panel had me laughing and crying all over the place. Jericho Brown read (or rather cried through) the powerful Letter to the Editor by Rita Dove which protests the lack of black poets in Garrison Keillor’s anthology Good Poems (2004). I encourage you to click on the link above and read it. Brown explained how much this letter meant and still means to him today. Another great panel I attended was the Writing the Dual Self: Opening Spaces for Hybrid Identities. Panelists discussed what having a hybrid identity means, and Thrity Umrigar said “I wear the hyphen like a rose.” These words struck me, and I keep them in mind when I’m writing now. Other helpful panels I attended include We all Have to Start Somewhere: How Bad Writing Gets Good and Page Meets Stage.
I have so much gratitude for all of the panelists, organizers, and press editors who helped me find the wonderful collections I bought and all of the swag I came home with. The panels I attended gave me so much to think about, and I found them to be very helpful. I was overwhelmed by all of the beautiful events and people I was surrounded with for those three days. Thanks so much to all, and I can’t wait to see you all again next year in Tampa, Florida.