Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Random Post-AWP Memories

--The first day, a woman said, "Your shirt looks so soft."  It was my wonderful purple shirt that makes me feel very artsy, but I have owned it for a long time.  I said, "It is," and I held out my arm so that she could touch my sleeve.  For the rest of the day, I pondered this encounter.  She seemed sincere enough, not snarky.  I did wonder if that was a polite way of saying that my shirt looked like it had been washed too many times.  My friend who has seen me wearing this shirt for many years said that it has taken on a luminous look, and that I should not worry.

--I got to one panel presentation, and Joy Harjo was at the table.  Her name hadn't been in the big book of a printed program, and so I wasn't expecting to see her.  Joy Harjo and Marilyn Chin sat on the same side of the podium.  I felt starstruck.

--The woman sitting on the row with me for that session with Joy Harjo and Marilyn Chin has an interesting art project.  She's taken the teeny tiny figures from her husband's miniature railroad and glued them on pieces of plastic.  She gave one to me, and she left one on the floor when she left.  I wonder what the next session group made of it.

The figure on the catalog size program

 --I did notice the interesting tattoo that Joy Harjo has on her hand and lower arm.  Above the tattoo sits her smart watch, and on her finger, a delicate ring.  I thought of all the ways that art speaks to us, all embodied right there:  tattoo, technology, ring, and poetry.

--I also saw Marilyn Chin later, eating lunch with Kamiko Hahn.  Luckily, I only realized who I had seen as I was already at the door of the restaurant.  I like to think that had I recognized them earlier, I wouldn't have behaved like a starstruck poetry geek, that I'd have let the women peacefully finish their lunch.

--Maggie Smith, the poet not the British movie star, gives great readings.  She, too, has interesting tattoos on her arm.

--I felt that there were many attendees who were students of all sorts, and lots of older folks of the retired or at least established sort.  But not many people in the early stages of careers.  That's based entirely on my random sampling, and my very iffy ability to judge ages.  But still, it makes a sort of sense:  it's an expensive conference, and many people in their 20's or 30's wouldn't have the ability to partake.  I'm guessing that there are dollars out there for students to attend--how else could they come?  Or do they use loan money?  Or credit cards?

--It was strange to wander the bookfair and to think about how many years I've been submitting to some of those journals.  One very young person staffing a booth of one journal said, "Do you know about our journal?"  I resisted saying, "I've been submitting to this journal for more years than you've been alive."  I've been young--I know how that sounds.  Still, it was strange.

--I am also surprised by how many paths crossed mine in the bookfair.  I saw Lynn Domina, who was also wandering, and Sandy Longhorn, who was staffing the booth for her school and the C.D. Wright festival.  These were unplanned encounters.  The next time I go, perhaps I shall feel organized enough to plan some encounters so that we can really catch up.

--I brought back many more books and periodicals in 2011 than I did this year.  I was careful--and there weren't as many great last day deals.  I saved my money for books, not periodicals:

--I took a book with me each day to the amazing breakfast that Embassy Suites offers each morning.  I was happy to be able to recommend Leslie Pietrzyk's latest novel Silver Girl to one of my fellow breakfasters.  She commented on the cover, and I gushed over the content of the book, with its perfect capturing of the early 80's.  She wrote down the name of the book, and I have hopes that I made an extra sale for a writer friend.

--I am irritated that I have to finish The Sellout for my Saturday book club before I can return to Silver Girl.  I am grateful to have good books in my life.

--I am grateful that I ignored my petulant feelings last week, my worries that this AWP would be a pale comparison to the 2011 AWP.  I am grateful that I went and had a great time.

1 comment:

Dr. Monika Reuter said...

Soooooo glad you enjoyed the conference. I hope you have come back home refreshed and full of energy for the next batch of poems and stories. I am very (VERY !) envious of all the books you picked up ... a cup of nice coffee, and a big mountain of spritz cream on top, and a book ... what's better? Well, maybe an amazing book and a glass of Prosecco.