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?

AWP Chicago 2012

I’ve been so excited/nervous/stressed out about AWP that I haven’t even been able to blog (let alone write or work on my thesis…)! The last time I went to AWP was when it was in Denver, two years ago, and it was my first time. I was a newb, and I remember wandering around in a cocoon of fog. There were all these people with names that now had faces. It was probably like going to the Oscars for some people.

I went to a lot of panels–some helpful, some not. I saw a lot of people read that I now love (James Allen Hall, Nicky Beer, Bruce Bond, Tom Franklin). I bought a lot of books and brought home a ton of free journals. I skipped out on the famous Pinch party because I was too tired.

This year, I’m not planning much. I know I will be going to The Pinch/The Normal School Party Friday night. I know I’ll probably attend a few, as-yet-determined panels and book signings (Bruce Bond and Nicky Beer will be signing at The Pinch‘s table!). I know I’ll be attending Margaret Atwood’s keynote address. I’ll be stopping by The Los Angeles Review, Gristand Booth  tables to pick up my contributor copies.

Here’s some links on some other things to do this year:

NANO Fiction is hosting a AWP Photo Scavenger Hunt

PANK has some great panels and readings to go to, plus a Literary Death Match, Journal Porn Edition!

Michael Nye, editor for The Missouri Review, makes some suggestions here.

For the newbies, here’s a post for you.

Tin House also offers a field guide for newbies and jaded old-timers alike here.


AWP is nearly here! Time for writerly abandon! Hope to see you all there!

AWP, Acceptances, & Other News

Yesterday, I spent the morning perusing the massive AWP schedule. I didn’t go to AWP last year in Washington D.C., and I don’t know if I’ll go next year when it’s in Boston, so I want to take full advantage of it while it’s in Chicago, one of my favorite cities. There’s at least four different exhibits I’d like to attend each time slot, and I found myself scheduling for every section every day regardless of the fact that I’ll need to be able to do things like eat, sleep, attend off-site readings, etc.

This is the first year I’ll be attending with no real affiliation. I don’t have to volunteer at The Pinch booth, so I don’t have to schedule my time around anything other than The Pinch and The Normal School party Friday night.

I also get the opportunity to room with the wonderful writer, Courtney Santo, who, I imagine, will blow up the world once her book hits the shelves.

An AWP newbie? Heed this advice!

I’m grateful to announce that Spillway Magazine has accepted my poem, “Ms. Fox,” and Crab Creek Review has accepted my poems, “Daughter” and “Myrrh.” I’m grateful to my workshop group that helped me make “Myrrh” a little more concise and fiddle with the language a bit more. Crab Creek Review is a journal I’ve really wanted to get into because they publish some amazing work, and I’m so glad they accepted my pieces.

Crab Creek Review‘s acceptance also reinforced how important it is that we respond to personalized rejections in the time indicated and direct the submission to the person (if they’re named) that wrote it. I had sent a submission to CCR in the fall and received a personalized rejection from the poetry editor, who encouraged me to send work after the first of the year. I made a note in my phone to remind me to do so. When the reminder popped up, I put together another packet similar to what she had liked before, thanked her for her nice comment , and mentioned that I hoped she would find something she could use in this new packet. She came back with wanting a poem from the new packet (“Daughter”), and then asked if they could also publish a poem that had been in my first packet (“The Tanner’s Wife”). That particular poem had already been accepted elsewhere, so I asked if she was interested in seeing some new work if she wanted to publish a second poem. I sent her a new packet, and she accepted “Myrrh”! Woo!

The last bit to announce is that I heard back from Kenyon (which I talked about applying to here). I wasn’t a finalist, so I didn’t get invited to an interview, but they encouraged me to apply again next year and submit to The Kenyon Review. I was disappointed by the news, but not really devastated. Since I got sick and am now having to deal with planning for a surgery and moving my life around that, I really had little desire to pick up my life in August and move it to Ohio. Things really do happen for the best. I’ve applied for some other things, and I’ll see how those go.

Hope to see you at AWP! Keep writing!

Check out what The Pinch will be doing for AWP!

The Pinch will be hanging out at F3 for the bookfair. Poets Bruce Bond and Nicky Beer (who is also the poetry judge for our 2012 contest) will be signing their books at our table on Friday. PLUS! our great AWP annual bash with The Normal School (invite below) will be Friday night at Elephant & Castle.

I will definitely be stopping by to see Bruce Bond and Nicky Beer and dropping it like it’s hot at The Pinch/The Normal School shindig. Hope to see ya’ll there!