Saturday, April 4, 2015

AWP Picks: Thursday, April 9, 2015

Here are my picks for events at the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Minneapolis in the U.S. from April 9 to 11. Below are events for the first full day of the conference, Thursday, April 9. Offsite events at the end of this post.

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Room 200 F&G, Level 2
R110. So You’re a Writer. (Sha na na na, sha na na na na) Get a Job!. (Beth Concepcion, L.P. Griffith,  James Lough,  Jonathan Segura) What job am I going to get with my degree? Administrators hear that question and often answer, “Teaching.” But not all writers want to teach. For those who do, full-time positions are dwindling. Fortunately, there are more creative job opportunities than ever before for talented writers. This panel discussion will show poets, storytellers, and essayists how to earn a paycheck by channeling their expertise into careers such as reviewing, copywriting, news, social media, and promotional writing. A practical topic of interest to anyone hoping to make a living in a field related to writing.

Room L100 F&G, Lower Level
R126A. Discovering the Diverse Voices in Blue Lyra Review. (Matthew Silverman, Lucille Lang Day,  EJ Koh,  Ken Lamberton,  Tim Tomlinson) The poetry editor and four contributors to Blue Lyra Review, an online and print journal founded in 2012, will read their work. Coming from California, South Korea, New York, Arizona, and Georgia, writing in the fields in poetry, fiction, translation, and nonfiction, they exemplify the journal’s mission to feature writers from ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse backgrounds, paying special homage to Jewish writers and other underrepresented communities. BLR has published more than 200 writers and growing. I don’t know all these writers, but any magazine that publishes Lucy Lang Day is on to something.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

Auditorium Room 2, Level 1
R129. Rejection! Everything You Always Wanted to Know (but Were Afraid to Ask). (Jill Bialosky,  Rob Spillman,  Melissa Stein,  MB Caschetta,  David Baker) Top editors from W. W. Norton, Tin House, and the Kenyon Review join emerging writers (including a literary-rejection blog author) to dish about exactly how submissions are evaluated, what it’s like to rebuff so many labors of love, the mysterious hierarchy of rejection slips, whether and how the best work really gets published, tips to avoid surefire rejection—and how to maintain faith in your work and your voice even when rejections keep piling up. Audience questions encouraged! Another practical session on a topic of interest.

Room 211 A&B, Level 2
R145. Flat Lands and Open Waters: Reading Hybridity into the Midwest. (Nickole Brown,  Re'Lynn Hansen,  Madelon Sprengnether,  Alison Townsend,  Rochelle Hurt) The paradigm of form has shifted to include hybrid works such as the poem novella, the lyric essay, the prose poem, and flash nonfiction. How do the challenges and rewards of living in the flatlands yield to a fluidity and hybridity in writing? These Midwestern authors, all published by the White Pine Press Marie Alexander series featuring prose poem and hybrid forms, will read work and discuss the confluence of aesthetics between living/writing from the midlands and having an openness to form. Nickole Brown is an important poet to hear, and the topic is very relevant to this conference’s setting.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 200 D&E, Level 2
R169. A Lifetime of Experience in One Hour: The Art of the Craft Talk. (Zack Rogow, Wilton Barnhardt,  Sena Jeter Naslund,  Wesley Brown) With the rise of low-residency programs and writing institutes, craft talks have become an important medium to inspire and to transmit methods to the next generation of writers. Experienced faculty members from low-residency programs will discuss their ideas on what makes a compelling craft talk. How do you generate a theme or question? What techniques, aids, or tools help in presentation? How do you create a talk that is dynamic and useful to students and stays with them in their lives as writers? A panel I organized with three faculty from low-residency programs who are renowned for virtuoso craft talks.

Room 101 J, Level 1
R167. Page Meets Stage Tenth Anniversary Showdown Hosted by Taylor Mali. (Taylor Mali,  Mahogany Browne,  Nikola Madzirov,  Richard Blanco,  Bao Phi) Academic poets can’t read, and slam poets can’t write. For ten years, the Page Meets Stage reading series in NYC has been refuting that tired claim. Taylor Mali returns to AWP for the fourth year in a row with a new combination of poets—ostensibly two each from page and stage—who will answer one another, poem for poem, in an ongoing effort to prove, as Horace said over 2,000 years ago, that the poetry most deserving of our approbation is that which can delight and instruct at the same time. Richard Blanco is amazing, and Page Meets Stage is always a strong event.

Room 200 H&I, Level 2
R171. Adaptation. (Shawn Otto, Thomas Pope) A panel whose members have a dozen film adaptations between them talk about the process: what filmmakers look for, the differences between novels and films, and the business side of how movies do and don't get made. Is there something a novelist can do to improve the chances of selling movie rights? What sorts of novels make good and bad movies? Should you try adapting your novel for film? Should you take the money and run? How does the narrative structure of film differ from novels? Not many AWP panels on screenplays, so worth a try.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Ballroom A, Level 1
R190. The Pink Tuxedos. (Carol Muske-Dukes, Rita Dove,  Sophie Cabot Black) The poem-doo-wop singers, The Pink Tuxedos, appeared as a special event at AWP in Palm Springs in 2001. Their new, re-styled performance will reprise that earlier presentation (Great Poems sung to doo-wop melodies—i.e. Donne's, "Batter My Heart, Three Person'd God" to the tune of "One Summer Night", etc.). New arrangements by composer Reena Esmail include Plath's "Daddy" sung to "Dream Lover", Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" to Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and beyond. The performance will feature a guest appearance by Marilyn Nelson. This sounds really fun!

Scott James Bookfair Stage, Level 1
R195. Word and Music with Kim Addonizio, Peter Kline, Sam Ligon, Gary Copeland Lilley, and Brittany Perham. (Kim Addonizio,  Brittany Perham,  Sam Ligon,  Peter Kline) Nonstop Beautiful Ladies, a word and music group featuring poet and fiction writer Kim Addonizio; poets Peter Kline, Gary Copeland Lilley, and Brittany Perham; and fiction writer Sam Ligon performs intersections of language, music, and song to celebrate their latest books. Blues, spoken word, guitars, harmonica, and bringing down the holy spirit! Another fun event, with the inimitable Kim Addonizio.

Room 200 F&G, Level 2
R203. The Making of Originals: Translation as a Form of Editing. (Susan Harris, Karen Emmerich,  Bill Johnston, Valzhyna Mort, Rowan Ricardo Phillips) When is translation a form of editing? For various reasons—multiple versions of texts, different standards in editing, needs of publishers—translators often find themselves in the position of revising and shaping the original text. Four translators discuss their experiences in rewriting and editing, collaborating with authors, and establishing definitive texts, and suggest approaches to producing a “new original.” Good topic, good panel.

Room L100 H&I, Lower Level
R221. The Big No: Taboo and Black Sexuality in Contemporary American Poetry. (Kyle Dargan,  Kima Jones,  Chet'la Sebree,  Kevin Simmonds,  Lamar Wilson) Historically, African American artists’ depictions of sexuality have conformed to or been forced to confront what scholar Evelyn Higginbotham refers to as the politics of respectability. This panel will examine how contemporary African American poets, though clearly writing on the other side of the sexual revolution, continue to wrestle with the ways in which their work troubles the political divisions between honest, expansive sexual expression and the idea of social respectability. Provocative topic, sounds worthwhile.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Room L100 A, Lower Level
R249. Intimate Communities: How to Form and Keep a Writing Group That Works . (Daisy Hernandez,  Minal Hajratwala,  Kristin Naca,  Lorraine Lopez,  Julie Iromuanya) While writing groups are often seen as pit stops on the way to the MFA or as a post-MFA transition experience, they can be challenging to create and sustain. Five authors in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction share practical strategies for forming an in-person or online group, dividing time wisely, and critiquing fairly. They discuss how groups were essential in drafting, revising, and publishing their books, and how to create a stellar mini-community even if you live far from a literary epicenter. Writing groups are key to sustaining a career for many authors, and this sounds useful.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Ballroom A, Level 1
R256. When Poetry is About Something: Evaristo, Ostriker, and Weaver, Sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund / Prairie Schooner . (Chris Abani,  Alicia Ostriker,  Afaa Michael Weaver,  Bernardine Evaristo) There's poetry, and then there's important and necessary poetry. Bernardine Evaristo, Alicia Ostriker, and Afaa Michael Weaver will read work that has emerged from an engaged and intensely felt awareness of the world around them—within their national borders and without. This work has earned them the respect of readers around the world. Following the readings, there will be a conversation moderated by Nigerian poet and fiction writer Chris Abani. This panel seems like it’s going to be informative.

Room M100 J, Mezzanine Level
R280. Ut Cinéma Poesis: Using Film in Poetry Workshops . (James Pate,  Sandra Lim,  Lisa Fishman,  Arda Collins,  James Shea) Pasolini wrote poetry. Frank O’Hara made a film. Poetry and film have long found inspiration in one another. This panel of five poets explores ways to use film (Bergman, Eisenstein, Maya Deren, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Trecartin) in poetry workshops. How can film lead to writing exercises and discussions about poetic form, image, repetition, sound, and juxtaposition? We also address new, evolving technologies, such as iMovie and the iPhone, and consider how they might be used in a poetry class. Interesting topic on how poetry can reach a different audience.

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Room 203 A, Level 2
R293. African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner Reception. The African Poetry Book Fund celebrates its new publications, Ladan Osman's The Kitchen Dweller's Testimony and the Eight New Generation African Poets chapbook boxset. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Creative Writing faculty, including Ted Kooser, Kwame Dawes, and Jonis Agee, will also read excerpts from their work. Ladan Osman gave a terrific reading at last year’s AWP in Seattle, introduced by Kwame Dawes. Also former U.S Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will read.


6:30 to 9:30 pm

C'mere Honey: A Live Performance, Book Launch & Party!
Honey, 205 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Join Calypso Editions, Carolina Wren Press, Drunken Boat, LNC, Manor House, Midway Journal, Poetry International & Small Po[r]tions for a live performance & worldwide book launch just blocks from the conference hotel. Join Marilyn Chin, Patrick Rosal & Forrest Gander, among others. Good readers.

8:00 pm to 10 pm

Kattywompus Press reading
Kieran’s Pub, Poetry Corner
85 N 6th St., Minneapolis

This reading features new releases from Cornelius Eady and his band, Rough Magic; a new play and prose poems by Christopher Shipman; poetry about music by Zack Rogow; Leah Umansky‘s Mad Men poems; Robin Messing’s gentle wisdom; with drinks and dinner available throughout the show.

On Thursday, April 9, 2015, from 3 to 4 pm, Zack Rogow will be signing copies of Shipwrecked on a Traffic Island and Other Previously Untranslated Gems by the French author Colette at the SUNY Press table, Booth 325. The book is cotranslated by Zack and by Renée Morel

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

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