AWP Days 2 & 3
Our reading on Wednesday night (Day 1) went better than I thought it could. All of the readers and editors were friendly, everyone read very well, and I enjoyed meeting Darren and getting to see Jeff. Thanks again to Folio and Phoebe and especially to Big Lucks for letting Gigantic Sequins be the "Plus" in the "Local Plus" reading event.
Having not drank entirely too much on Wednesday night, we made it to the bookfair by about 9:30. I went to my first panel on WAMfest, a words and music festival put together by Farleigh-Dickinsin and spear-headed by one of my former professors from Emerson (who now works at Farleigh-Dickinsin), David Daniel. John Wesley Harding and Josh Ritter discussed how they compartmentalize some of the pluralized visions of art: fiction and music. They discussed why they chose to write, though being musicians, and they both read from their new books. They talked a lot about the ballad, which I had just taught in my Experiencing Literature class recently. It was a great slot, and it involved hearing some music.
The other panel I attended was a reading by Marie Howe, Gregory Orr, Bob Hicok and Kevin Young. It was fantastic.
I spent a lot of time running around from the bookfair to the panels and doing things in between. I bought two books: Justin Taylor's new novel and Jeremy Schmall's book of poetry, from which Gigantic Sequins published one of his poems before the book came out. (I'll add the names of the books in when I get home. All of my belongings are in the corner, chaotic.) I went to many of the tables I had wanted to go to and met a lot of people. I feel like at the end of this whole thing I will make a list of this, but it's too much for this moment. I had dinner and went to a few different bars before drinking entirely too much and then finally falling asleep. It was a great day.
I got off to a late start, but made it in time to be at the bookfair briefly and go with Andi Quinn and Kathleen Rooney to see Joyce Carol Oates read from her forthcoming memoir. I bought a book from Rose Metal Press on my way back (see above note on names of books). After that, I met up with Mike Young and along with people from a few different collections of people, we walked over to the DC zoo for a reading.
The idea of the zoo reading was brilliant: poets would read a piece "About" an animal of their choice standing near that animal. Though this didn't exactly happen (except a woman, Stephanie, read about otters near a real otter), the reading still went well. It was great to be in open spaces imagining cheetahs as compared to the indoor cage of AWP. Matt Bell and Mike Young read. (I'll add in these names, if I can get ahold of them.) I liked everyone's work, and I *really* liked some people's work.
I ate an Asian-inspired dish alone at Ipoh after putting one of my stickers up on the lone walk back. I had to leave the zoo early because I was starving. I sat at the bookfair until it ended, and then walked with K. Rooney and crew to a bar for the Table X reading. I spoke with Joey C. and David, who used to work in the Strand basement, before the reading. David complimented our Gigantic Sequins website for the amount of updating we do. He said it was "just enough" or something like that, and I was flattered. I really appreciate the compliment because sometimes, I'm not entirely sure I'm coming at this thing at the right angle. Things like that reassure me that I'm doing just fine. Thanks, David.
The Table X reading was interesting to say the least. I will list some people who I saw read eventually. I had a happy walk from Steve's Bar to The Black Cat, where The Literature Party was to be held. Tao Lin, Amelia Gray and someone else whose name I'll find when I gather all of my names all read and then there was a dance party. I'd been hoping that the music would prove interesting and/or appropriate, but found myself vaguely disappointed with a lot of it. I wandered around and met and talked to a lot of people. We were there for awhile, but it didn't feel that way.
So far so good, I keep saying, though the thing is almost over! Day 4: let's do it.