AWP Chicago 2012 Recap

As all the stuporous writers that attended AWP 2012 flit back to their homes, the few that have been able to make themselves tweet or update their statuses have remarked what a great conference this was. And it was.

Things That Really Happened

1. The Pinch‘s party with The Normal School was an all-out success. If you wanted to get from one side of the room to the other, you had to plan. People were still coming in at 11:45 when last call was at 11:30.

2. The party was such a success that Matthew McConaughey stopped by, got drunk, and took his shirt off. He then hit on all the ladies. His game must have been slacking though because no one stuck around to talk to him for very long. He is getting a little too old to hit on women without his shirt, but his abs are still pretty stellar.

3. I flexed my courage muscle by talking to David Lynn, the editor for The Kenyon Review. I also had the pleasure of talking to the editors from The Normal School, 32 Poems, Cave Wall, The Journal, Pank, New Delta Review, Grist, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, The Los Angeles Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, among probably a bajillion others. I worked the Bookfair like nobody’s business.

4. I shared a room (and a bed) with the amazing Courtney Santo.

5. I got to have coffee with Sandy Longhorn, fellow blogger. It was a pleasure!

6. At 3:07pm on Friday, I went with Alyssa Kopanyi, the current Pinch managing editor, to pass out invitations to our amazing Pinch party. We stopped by Harpur Palate‘s table and chatted with them. We went back to The Pinch table, and I decided to check my e-mail. Harpur Palate rejected the piece I had sent them at exactly 3:10pm. I’m still having trouble not taking that as a personal affront.

7. From Wednesday to Sunday, I received 5 rejections from journals that were in attendance at AWP. I have no idea where they found the time to read and reject pieces or where back home they caged people to do it for them.

8. I attended Margaret Atwood’s keynote address. She was super goofy.

She started out with an anecdote about how she had some writers her attend her house. One of the young writers was so excited to be at Margaret Atwood’s house that she thought she was having a heart attack. They called 911 and the paramedics arrived. (Atwood read the following just as I’ve written it with “First paramedic…”)

First Paramedic: Do you know whose house this is?

Second Paramedic: No. Whose is it?

First Paramedic: Margaret Atwood’s.

Second Paramedic: She’s still alive?

Patrick Ross gives a good summary of the rest of her address here.

9. I also saw her bent like a question mark dragging bags behind her at the conference. I was so stunned that I stopped in my tracks, and a woman behind me almost ran into me.

10. I figured out what to title the section breaks for my manuscript, Predator’s Tongue, and what quotes to use (I figured this all out without my manuscript in front of me, so we’ll see how it actually works out).


Even though I’m grateful to be home with my husband and my pets, it was a total blast. Boston anyone?

7 thoughts on “AWP Chicago 2012 Recap

  1. I’ll be in Boston next year for sure!

    Thanks for linking to my Margaret Atwood post, and for this great summary of your AWP experience. I received a lit journal rejection the first day of the conference, and had the same thought you did!

  2. Very jealous! But glad you had a nice time. If I met Margaret Atwood, I probably would not have a heart attack…..

    but new pants would be in order. 😉


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