I’ll post more detailed comments about the sessions and bookfair on Sunday, before the Super Bowl, but here are a few comments my time here thusfar.
These were written Friday morning. Haven’t had time or a reliable Internet connection. More photos to come.
I’m having a FABULOUS time! Better than I imagined. Arrived on Thursday afternoon, and immediately hit the ground running by meeting up with friends for dinner and drinks. Then went to the Bowery Poetry Club/CC Fundraiser (see last post for pics.).
CC is such an amazing collective of poets. Here’s a cool moment to share. In a session with the heads of the Poetry Foundation, Poets House, Academy of American Poets, and Poetry Society of America, on the state of poetry today, I heard a surprising comment from Alice Quinn.
Quinn, former poetry editor for the New Yorker and current head of the Poetry Society of America, said that the biggest change to happen in contemporary (U.S.) poetry is the success of Cave Canem and of so many African American poets. Wow! To hear something like that is amazing. Despite the fact that the New Yorker never really published poets of color until recently, this public acknowledgement is a personal victory for those of who have worked so hard for legitimacy within the poetry community.
Hmmm … maybe I should write an article about the rise of CC.
Thursday was full of terrific sessions. I mean, the conference book alone is enough to give you a workout! Lots of sessions conflicting with one another, which is a good sign of the variety topics. So far, navigating between two hotels has been OK. It’s just really, really cold and windy here.
The conference goers range from MFA students with little to no publishing experience, to heavy-hitter poets. But most attendees are mid-level: those with lots of poems published circulating manuscripts, or those with first or second books in print. Many teach at the college level. And I should mention that AWP is 60 percent poets, 40 percent fiction and other genres.
This year’s book fair takes up 3 floors of the hotel! It’s so massive that I couldn’t find my publisher. Oops! Hope I can pick up the trail of breadcrumbs to find the CavanKerry table later today.