I’m back in chilly Massachusetts, and now the conference seems a distance memory. But I received the best hug of my life from my son at the airport. Anyway, here are a few closing thoughts on AWP Atlanta.
- Wish I could have attended the evening events. Missed out on seeing Cornelius Eady and Thomas Lux, among others, read on Friday night.
- Biggest highlight came when I was speaking with Cave Canem alums and Walter Mosley joined our conversation. He knew a few of the CCers but I had never met him. Funny, funny, generous man.
- In his session on novel writing, Walter said, “80 percent of what you need to know about fiction comes from poetry.” Story and plot can be figured out. But rhyme, meter, line breaks, looking for the precise word—that’s poetry.
- At the Online Literary Journals panel session, no one on the panel could get an Internet connection, nor could they figure out how to use the lcd projector for their screen shots until halfway through the presentation. That sucked.
- I will do a separate, longer post on this. But blogs are making an impact on all aspects of poetry, from book reviews to marketing. A book review on a blog can garner as much attention as a print review in an established publication, and that attention is immediate. You don’t have to wait weeks or months for that publication to arrive in the mail.
- As for marketing, online journals get numerous hits from blog entries. Good news does spread fast; therefore, a recommendation or link on a blog can be an online journal's best source for publicity.
- At a session on book reviews, there was debate on good reviews vs. bad reviews. Is it valid and fair to critique a poet's first book? Is there value in a negative review? Is a negative review synonymous with an honest review? The panel seemed to think so. A clear, objective review can offer constructive criticism on the mechanics. However, the panel was firmly against the snarky, mean-spirited review. Snarky reviews puts a negative spin on reviews in general.
- On three separate occasions, folks came up and said how much they liked my blog—never would have guessed. That just goes to show that there are more readers out there than those who post. Thanks again for reading the blog—I truly appreciate it!