Thursday, April 9, 2015

AWP Picks for Friday, April 10, 2015

Here are the events on the program of the conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Minneapolis in the U.S. that sound interesting to me.

Offsite events listed at the end.

Bookfair: Check out Broadsided Press, Booth 1822, where you can use an old school ViewMaster to click through writings and images while listening to related sounds with earphones. The choices include a Road Trip, Hit the Beach, Into the Wild, etc. The writers whose work is featured include Jane Hirshfield, Dorianne Laux, Gabrielle Calvacoressi, Zachary Savich, and many, many more. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Auditorium Room 3, Level 1
F106. Preparing Students of Color for the MFA: Advice, Reflections, and Methodologies. (Tonya Hegamin,  Joanna Sit,  Marcelo Hernandez Castillo,  Patrick Rosal,  Leah Vernon) Writers of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds discuss their experience in MFA programs as students and teachers of creative writing. The panel will share their experiences, discuss coping mechanisms and insights they learned about themselves as writers and finally how those experiences influence their teaching pedagogy. Important topic on diversity in MFA programs.

Room 205 C&D, Level 2
F116. Writing is Rewriting: Teaching Revision in the Creative Writing Workshop. (Charlotte Gullick,  Doug Dorst,  Joe Hoppe,  Mary Helen Specht,   Jen McClanaghan) Creative writing students love to write; so why, then, is it often like pulling teeth to get them to revise? Drawing on their experiences teaching graduate, undergraduate, and nontraditional students, the writer-professors on this panel will discuss why students are resistant to revision and offer classroom-tested strategies and assignments that can help students revise everything from structure to language, fiction to poetry. This is a topic many students want to know more about.

Room M100 B&C, Mezzanine Level
F122. Literature as Visual Art: A Conversation on Collaboration. (Kate Shuknecht,  Deborah Keenan,  Regula Russelle,  Jean Larson,  Charles Jones) Book arts, art books, broadsides, collage, sculpture. These are but some of the ways literature and visual art collide. With writers, publishers, and artists utilizing a variety of texts and images, this panel explores a world of collaborative possibilities. From fine press limited editions to small press multiples, from traditional letterpress to evolving 3-D forms, from paper and ink to found media, panelists will discuss not just the gorgeous array of made objects, but the community around them. I have a particular interest in collaborating with artists, so I personally find this interesting.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

Auditorium Room 1, Level 1
F133. Four Weddings and an Inauguration: The Occasional Poem. (Liz Ahl,  Richard Blanco,  CM Burroughs,  Rita Dove,  Ann Hudson) Your sister asks you to write a poem for her wedding. Your president asks you to write a poem for his inauguration. How might your work in response to requests of such seemingly different weight or scope be somewhat similar with respect to audience, performance, and aesthetic? Why have certain poems endured beyond the occasions for which they were written? This panel, featuring an editor, an inaugural poet, and a former poet laureate, examines the occasional poem from a variety of perspectives. Stellar lineup with Rita Dove and Richard Blanco.

Room 101 F&G, Level 1
F140. Principled Protest in Academia: The National Significance of the University of Houston Sit-in. (Ashley Wurzbacher,  Kay Cosgrove,  Jameelah Lang,  Kevin Prufer,  Alexander Parsons) In 2013 graduate students and faculty in the University of Houston creative writing program staged a sit-in and other collective actions to protest teaching stipends that had not been increased in at least twenty years. Their efforts received national attention and resulted in a raise of over fifty-five percent. This panel will provide student, faculty, and administrative perspectives on the sit-in and will discuss its national implications at a time when funding for the arts is at an all-time low. Who knew? This is a positive development, worth spreading.

Room 208 A&B, Level 2
F149. Opting out of the Pyramid Scheme: In Praise of Teaching High School. (Scott Gould,  Kim Henderson,  Margaret Funkhouser,  Monika Cassel,  David Griffith) In a pyramid scheme-like job market where hundreds of newly-minted MFAs vie for poorly paying adjunct positions and no-pay internships at nonprofits, there is astonishingly very little discussion around teaching high school. A panel of writer-educators from the top arts high schools in the country discuss the huge upside to teaching writing outside of the Academy, from the impact on the future of literary culture, to the ways that early exposure creates a healthy, lasting relationship to writing. Teaching younger students is such a rewarding experience—worth exploring for many.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Auditorium Room 1, Level 1
F165. From Page to Stage: How to Engage with an Audience. (Stacie Williams, Amber Tamblyn,  Adam Wilson, Justin Taylor,  Jessica Anya Blau) Four authors discuss what they’ve learned from their time on the road. Sharing experiences from their most memorable events, whether reading to a crowd of three or three hundred, participating in a nudist colony’s book club discussion, poetry readings, or a dramatic performance, these authors will reinforce the importance of having an engaging and personal experience regardless of audience size, venue, or awareness. For those who like performing poetry.

Room M100 H&I, Mezzanine Level
F188. Cream City Review Celebrates Returning the Gift Native American Writers. (Kimberly Blaeser,  Janet McAdams,  Margaret Noodin,  Laura Tohe, b: william bearhart) In 1992, 500 years after Columbus, more than 300 Native American writers gathered at the first Returning the Gift Festival, bringing together more Native writers than at any other point in history. Cream City Review celebrated the legacy of this now annual gathering with a special issue entitled “Returning the Gift: Indigenous Futures.” Please join us for our Gathering of Words with a poetry and fiction reading from emerging and established Native American writers published in this issue. One of the few panels focusing on Native American writers at AWP.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Auditorium Room 3, Level 1
F198. I Know This is You: What Happens When Student Writing Reveals Too Much . (Luke Rolfes, Christie Hodgen, Bronson Lemer, Diana Joseph,  Richard Sonnenmoser) Teachers often receive nonfiction thinly disguised as stories or poems. Sometimes the skeleton closet swings open, and words and paragraphs spill out—a cathartic overflowing, a painful regret, an admission of guilt, a secret that has never seen the light of day. How do instructors handle these sudden outbursts of truth without jeopardizing the dignity of the writer or the workshop’s integrity? What obligation do teachers have when the workshop ends and the revelation still sits on the table? Good topic for creative writing teachers. Always an interesting subject, how to balance confession and literature.

Room 101 D&E, Level 1
F203. Readings from Every Father’s Daughter, a New Anthology of Personal Essays by Women about Their Fathers . (Phillip Lopate, Joyce Maynard, Ann Hood, Jayne Anne Phillips,  Jill McCorkle) Some of this century’s finest women writers from all over the country will read from Every Father’s Daughter, a new anthology of personal essays by diverse women about their fathers. The anthology is being published in April 2015 on the occasion of McPherson & Company's 41st anniversary. One of the most stellar event lineups at AWP.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Ballroom A, Level 1
F230. Three Decades, Four Poets: Cave Canem Presents Whiting Award Winners. (Alison Meyers,  Thylias Moss,  John Keene,  Tyehimba Jess,  Atsuro Riley) Poets Tyehimba Jess, John Keene, Thylias Moss, and Atsuro Riley read selections from their original work, including poems that earned them recognition as Whiting Award winners. Their presentation represents three decades of excellence and the diverse aesthetics that resonate with Cave Canem Foundation’s mission and values. Any reading with Tyehimba Jess and Thylias Moss is going to be great.

Room 101 D&E, Level 1
F237. Embracing the Unlikeable: How To Write and Teach Unsympathetic Characters. (Christopher Castellani,  Maud Casey,  Alix Ohlin,  Stacey D'Erasmo) Fiction rises or falls on the believability of its characters. Recently, media attention has been paid to whether those characters have to be "likeable," and what role, if any, the "unlikeable" sort should play in stories and novels. In this panel, four authors explore what this demand for likeability really means for writers of literary fiction, examine the craft of creating complex but compelling characters, and explore how to teach students confused by misleading publishing trends. This is a topic I would like to know more about.

Room 200 H&I, Level 2
F244. How to Survive as an Independent Literary Organization in an Age of University Monopolies. (Richard Newman, Tanner Curl,  Maribeth Batcha,  Gianna Jacobson) How does one start up or sustain a literary organization without university funding? Why are independent literary organizations vital to the literary landscape? december, One Story, River Styx, and the Loft Literary Center will discuss founding an organization, funding projects, building community relationships, and sustaining a nonprofit’s viability. Good topic in this day and age.

Room M100 B&C, Mezzanine Level
F252. Mentor/Mentee: Paying It Forward. (Julie Schumacher,  Edward McPherson,  Yuko Taniguchi,  Patricia Hampl,  Stephanie Vaughn) The teaching of writing involves close attention to the writer—to  his/her process, foibles, and development—as well as the work. What sort of mentoring should a student writer expect, and an adviser provide? Is mentoring purely professional/artistic, or is there a personal component? Faculty mentors debate these questions with former students who went on to become mentors themselves. How is mentoring paid forward? What do former mentees hope to bring to the next generation? An important subject for both students and professors.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 101 D&E, Level 1
F269. Writing the Broken Body: A Reading. (Peggy Shumaker, Judith Barrington, Anne Caston,  Cynthia Hogue, Eva Saulitis) Most cultures glorify the perfect physique, the lithe and lively body. Transforming disability, disease, trauma, and pain into art takes tremendous focus and skill. Come hear award-winning writers who demonstrate how the honest treatment of physical life is vital to a literature that includes all, whether or not they are fit and well. Each writer will read from relevant work and comment on the process of finding a form and voice for this difficult material. Great topic, great group.

Room 101 F&G, Level 1
F270. Translating Brazil. (Tiffany Higgins, Ellen Dore Watson, Hilary Kaplan, Alexis Levitin) Opening with a short reading, this panel will take up questions of how to transmit aesthetics and culture in poetry from an enormous nation with a complex history of race and class. What challenges does the translator of contemporary Brazilian writing face? The panelists will address the "Braziilianness" of the works they translate, and the issues that arise in bringing it to English. Eu amo a Brazil—I love Brazil, and these are some of the leading translators of contemporary Brazilian writers.

Room 101 H&I, Level 1
F271. This Poem Has Multiple Issues: Reimagining Political Poetry . (Kathryn Levy,  Samiya Bashir,  Sarah Browning,  Mark Doty,  Dan Vera) Wikipedia’s entry for Political Poetry begins, "This article has multiple issues." Precisely. Such lack of consensus could stem from the contentiousness of politics itself, but it might also be a product of conceptual neglect: when we think of a conventional political poem, what example springs to mind? And how current is it? This panel considers a diversity of approaches to the political poem—in its subject, poetics, or call to action—to update our understanding of its multiple issues. It’s always interesting to hear about new ways to do political poetry. And with Mark Doty.

Room L100 B&C, Lower Level
F277A. Mixing and Matching Languages for Narrative Riches. (Denise Low, DaMaris Hill,  Xanath Caraza,  Ruben Quesada) All writers encounter diverse, coded vocabularies. Here, panelists discuss use of Nahuatl, Spanish, Cherokee, and African American terms in English-language writings. What techniques weave translation into a single text? What stories require languages other than standard English? Published writers of African American, Costa Rican-Los Angelino, Mexican Indigenous, and Midwest mixed-blood Indigenous heritage share ideas. Thought-provoking topic, worth exploring.

Room 208 A&B, Level 2
F279. Making Diversity Happen: Editors Can Change the Literary Landscape. (Lee Hope, Martha Nichols, Danielle Georges,  J.W. Wang,  Margaret Elysia Garcia) Many literary editors now acknowledge the lack of diversity in the writers they publish. Yet the debate often turns into female and minority authors blaming the editing “guys”—and editors, male and female, wringing their hands but offering few solutions. This panel will focus on what editors and writers need to do to make diversity happen, be it networking outside their comfort zones, hiring editors of color, or running online social media campaigns to promote a truly diverse literary world. Important subject with a good panel.

Room 211 C&D, Level 2
F282. Ethno-Representations of War & Violence. (Nomi Stone, Tarfia Faizullah,  Jehanne Dubrow, Solmaz Sharif) Drawing on Carolyn Forché’s notion of a third space of the social, which bridges the personal and political, we interrogate and enlarge methodologies, languages, and source-worlds in writing poetry about war/violence. Panelists will engage poems drawn from interviews of Bangladeshi victims of wartime rape; of Iraq War refugees who reenact war in US pre-deployment simulations; and of Jews in Honduras after the Holocaust, as well as poems that re-imagine the Department of Defense’s security dictionary. Intriguing subject. Looks worthwhile.


7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Bust Magazine and the Loft Present Roxane Gay and Others
The Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Cost: Suggested Admission $5, no one turned away
BUST Magazine and The Loft Literary Center present a reading with Patricia Smith, xTx, Roxane Gay, Amber Tamblyn, Franny Choi and host Margaret Cho. Free and open to the public. First-come, first-served seating. Overflow rooms with live feeds will be available. This is one of the most high-profile events at the conference. Patricia Smith is a stand-out, and hosted by Margaret Cho! 

On Friday, April 10, 2015, from noon to 1 pm, Zack Rogow will be signing copies of Talking with the Radio: poems inspired by jazz and popular music at the Kattywompus Press table, Booth 307.

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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