Poetry editor Matthew Landrum (pictured left with issue 12 author Lawrence Schimel) reflects on the recent AWP Conference in Minneapolis.
With twenty official hourly events, many offsite offerings, and an 18-row book fair, AWP is overwhelmingly wonderful and wonderfully overwhelming. I heard Willis Barnstone and Donald Revell hold forth on translation theory, Anne Carson read a lyric hybrid essay/poem on Proust, and the editors of top presses talk about the trials and delights of publishing work in translation. Such are the joys of AWP.
This year held new Structo-related joys. We participated in a table of journals and presses from Germany, England, and The Netherlands. There were juniper gin shots and great conversations with new authors. But the greatest privilege was the chance to talk to the Structo writers who stopped by the table, people I’d corresponded with and published over the last three years and finally had the chance to meet or re-meet in person. I got the chance to have drinks with six of our poets, had dinner with one of our translators, and randomly met another author while working on my ALTA translator’s bingo card.
“AWP fatigue is real!” a friend and previous attendee texted when I wrote that the conference had tired me out. It is. But it’s a good tired. I have a suitcase full of books and a brain teeming with ideas. Structo ran a postcard contest during the fair – any piece that could fit on the back of a 5×8 postcard was eligible to win a subscription and/or be published in issue 14. Now to sit back in the non-AWP quiet of my porch and read submissions from new potential authors. And who knows, maybe I’ll run into them at the next conference!