The AWP Conference was happening in Seattle this year, so I checked it out for the first time.
I waded past the sea of very serious writers typing in their MacBooks in the lobby, followed the trails of mini-zines and flyers strewn across every ledge, got my hands on the program, and was promptly overwhelmed. Trying to pick which writers and workshops to attend was painful. I’ve heard there’s an illness that happens to art lovers when they go to Italy for the first time, and become so saturated with amazing sights that they get dizzy and fall down. It felt like that, only vertical.
My favorite author (not counting local writers), was Ursula K. Le Guin. It was inspiring to see such a force of nature, so fierce and witty. Her passion for writing is contagious.
At a poetry reading honoring David Wagoner, he uttered my new favorite quote on the art of reading poetry, after letting loose with a few “loaded” words
“If you don’t piss off at least one person in the room, you’re not doing it right.”
He is still doing it right.
During the break when I visit the Lady’s, I noticed that someone had scraped the “W” off of the women’s restroom sign, so it read, OMEN. I wonder how many aspiring writers took that as a sign from the universe? I filed it under “good omen.”
A gang of folks who worked on the Pulitzer Remix were in town, and decided put together a reading. Meeting everyone and verifying that they are in fact real people and not just head-shot icons on the internet was lovely. It’s hard to describe the strange bond I feel toward these folks after thirty straight days of frantic, scrappy, poetry-writing together, but the word kindred comes to mind.