January 24, 2008

Woo, Doggie

Am I the only one slightly crazed in anticipation of AWP?

Go over to Paul Guest's blog and congratulate him on this news. Worth noting that the second author mentioned in the Publisher's Weekly article, Doug Anderson, is one of my panelists for AWP. Congrats Doug!

Speaking of which, my AWP panel: you should come. It's on Saturday--the same day the book fair is open to all--and if you sneak in without a badge, I certainly won't tell anyone. Here are the details:

"Breaking Lines on the Battlefield: Poetry of Wartime" featuring Brian Turner, Doug Anderson, Kevin Bowen and Susan Tichy; moderated by Sandra Beasley

SATURDAY, February 2 at 1:30 PM at the Hilton New York
in New York City - "Beekman & Sutton North" Rm., 2nd Fl.

There are some other fine panels during the same timeslot. But I have to say that, after looking through the whole conference schedule, our panel has a unique pitch and urgency. I'm really intrigued by the questions that we've been circulating amongst ourselves in prep for the event. This is a conversation you'll want to witness (and they'll read a few poems, too). And it is Brian Turner's first AWP since Here, Bullet came out.

Ten things I have learned from AWPs past:

-Pick two readings or panels per day that you're REALLY excited about. Other than that, keep yourself free to improvise.

-If you've got a large group of friends you want to see--MFA alumni, maybe--pick one of the sponsored receptions and use that as a meeting place. Typical misstep: people say "I'll call you!" to coordinate, then everyone has their cells off all day because they're in events, and then it never comes together in time. Also, be considerate: some of your friends are really trying to save money. Pick a gathering place that's free, so to speak.

-When you meet someone, don't immediately angle your head to see on their namebadge who they're "with." It's rude.

-Pack as if you're going hiking. Bring nuts and raisins and refillable water bottles (you can spend a fortune just trying to stave off hunger pangs) and comfy shoes. I'm also bringing my flask of scotch; damned if I'm going to spend $14 for a cocktail every time I want to hang out in the hotel bar.

-Use a shoulder bag that will stand out among the 7,000 identical conference tote bags.

-If you show up to a panel or reading because you wanted to see one person and that one person flaked out on showing, it's okay to leave. Just do it quickly and quietly. Life is too short.

-Don't wait until 4 PM on Saturday to drop by the bookfair for your first time; a lot of cash-strapped university programs and journals will have packed up by then. That said, you can get a lot of free swag if you do one last sweep around 4, because people leave what they don't want to pay to ship home.

-Don't commit to an offsite event until you understand just how far offsite it will be. This could be particularly salient on the cold, cold, cold, streets of New York. The subway will help; otherwise, it can be hard to catch a ride (or even a taxi) back at the end of the night.

-If you're going to have coffee with friends, do it early--make it the thing that gets you out of bed. Beyond 11 AM or so your schedule will get away from you, making it hard to be on time for social dates.

-And: have fun. Because I don't know about you, but no one's paying me to do this. It is a labor of love, every bit of it...and a chance to act just a hair crazier than usual.


Don said...

Good luck at AWP!

Anonymous said...

Damn good idea about the flask--I think I'll bring a nice spiced rum... See you there!

Justin Evans said...

I will be sleeping and dreaming of the time when I can some day attend AWP.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Good advice -- thanks!

Matthew Thorburn said...

P.S. I love the flask idea.

Ivy said...

Thanks for the useful tips, Sandra! :-)

Oliver de la Paz said...

It's going to be a crazy conference. I'm ALREADY overcommitted.

When I'm not at my panels, I'll be lurking the bookfair. See you there!

J.D. Smith said...

See you there.

I'm bringing my colleague, one James Beam.