AWP Day 3: Wrap Up

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.

  1. Wish I could have attended the evening events. Missed out on seeing Cornelius Eady and Thomas Lux, among others, read on Friday night.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Picked up a copy of Mariko Nagai's Histories of Bodies. We were classmates at NYU—one of the most talented writers I know. She also took the cover photo. Congrats, Mariko!

  9. 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!


J - thanks for all the awp posting. So envious of your seeing Beth Ann Fennelly read - adore her, I do! And your yummy-looking lunch with Evie Shockley!

I will say that I am of the ilk that you can talk about a work and say where you think it could have been better or where you think it really succeeded, but to rip a work apart in the name of humor or readership is useless and mean-spirited. Frankly, I think the reviews in Poetry magazine are borderline mean under the (dis)guise of "academic." I happen to really like the reviews of poetry in Entertainment Weekly, because they are to the point - here's why you should read them. I sort of feel like: if you don't like it, don't review it. Let someone else review it. Many a great book and movie was lost to me because I listened to someone's bad review of it. In a world of more than a billion people, a ripping review serves no purpose other than to feed the review-writer's ego. Welcome back from AWP!
January said…
I knew you would appreciate the post. Beth Ann is funnier that I thought she would be.

One of the panelists was from a small press and he said the same thing--if you don't like a poet's book, don't review it. But all the other reviewers felt that, when done well, there's value in the work. But I tend to agree, a snarky review can hurt a career and serve no real purpose.

Coincidently, the panelist did not like the reviewing style of William Logan. (I'm being kind here.)
chiefbiscuit said…
Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad Ella was a gem. Glad you had a great time.It was certainly fascinating reading - very informative.
FatCharlatan said…
I LOVE this: 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.

I have a writing bud who says he can't stand poetry--and I tell him it's important for this I can point to an expert.

Also, I was not familiar with Cosmoetica until I clicked on "snarky reviews." I'm now fascinated with this site and not doing any work thanks to your link! :)

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