Well, that was a great way to spend four days!
Not only did I get to hang out with literary people, listen to invigorating panels and inspiring readings, and spend quality time with my husband, but I also managed to visit a new city (Chicago) in a state, nay a whole region of the US, that I had previously only known from literature–a fitting juxtaposition.
A few highlights: the panel on Multiformalism with Annie Finch, where violence was invoked so often as a metaphor it almost seemed as if audience and panel members were about to come to blows; the reading by Mary Jo Bang (whose beautiful book Elegy I had finished only days before) and Frank Bidart; the West Chester reading, where I had the opportunity to chat with Director Mike Peich and broach my idea for a panel in 2010; the Tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks; the VIP party Major Jackson snuck us into, where I hung out (a little) with Kim Addonizio; the Tribute to Jason Shinder, which was unexpectedly uplifting.
Shout out to: my Bennington buddies both from my own graduating class (Maureen D., Susan M-S., Laura N., Jenn S-K., David S., Shubha) and from other classes (Amy J., Leigh J., Ralph., Ann., Jan., Dara-Lyn, Did I miss anyone?) and of course faculty etc. (Victoria and Elaine); my Bread Loaf buddies (Dan–sorry we didn’t manage more than a quick hello, Steve W.) and other people I’d known previously either online or from other events (Tess T., Dick A.–get yourself that Facebook profile!) Also, once again to Rachel and Donna for moving into my house and providing onsite child and dog care for the four day period.
Things I’m Glad I Did: left the conference to actually see a bit of Chi-town, for which I have to thank my husband, whose patience for literary gatherings could only go so far. The view of Lake Michigan from the 96th Floor Lounge of the Hancock Tower was breathtaking, and Jilly’s Piano Bar fun-fun-fun!
Things I’d Do Differently: walk around the Book Fair earlier and for longer–I didn’t get there until Saturday afternoon by which time many exhibitors had packed up; not go to so many panels on electronic publishing–they really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.
Future Plans: AWP 2010 for sure! I don’t think I’ll get a table for The Raintown Review, but I would like to come up with an idea for a Panel that will promote Raintown, plus there’s a bunch of literary websites and journals I need to look up.
First though: LAUNDRY!!