Notes on Different States & other things having to do with AWP

I drove to Chicago and back for the AWP conference in late February through to earlier this month. Here are some notes on the states that I drove through.

Pennsylvania is full of old dilapidated barns. People can actually drive in PA as long as you are not near a major city (Philly/Pittsburgh); if you are near a major city, they don't understand the "keep to the right/pass on the left" thing that makes highway driving amazing. I drove through four mountains, one back to back. I don't think I had ever driven through a mountain before. 

On the road again! in PA
Ohio has the best rest stops. They are clean and bright and very modern and make you feel welcome. I stayed overnight in Ohio and went through a drive-through for the first time in, like, forever? Since high school maybe? The food was actually good. Then I took a bath. That was nice. Red Roof Inn, mofos! Free wi-fi!

Indiana was very windy on the way there, and not as windy on the way back. But it snowed a little on the way back. It actually snowed in every state on the way back except Illinois. I drove through various snowglobes. I don't recommend it. If I see a snowglobe any time soon, I might break it open, set those people free.

Illinois was city driving, so I hated it. Also, on my way back, I got a ticket in Illinois because I was going 68 in a 45. I was in "Get-Home-Fast" mode, and I didn't realize I had just paid to go over a bridge that was far from where I had just paid. I liked the Chicago part of Illinois that didn't involve the driving part of Illinois. Chicago was like Philly but less organized, like New York but smaller. Chicago was probably most like itself.

The state of AWP: it was my sophomore AWP, so it "wasn't as good as the first time". I mean, it's like that, and I knew it would be like that. In contrast, it was the first time I had a "legit" table, one that Gigantic Sequins shared with Big Lucks, and that was "more fun" than last year. I got to see Mark Cugini read for the first time and he was awesome. I think that the reading we put together went extremely well, despite the bachelorette party. (How often do you get to say that?) You can catch some of the readers from it here if you missed this event. Also, this AWP was the first time we at Gigantic Sequins incorporated actual sequins with what we do. We just had them strewn across our table (eventually on the floor). That was fun. At one point. Sophie, Zach and I were all in the same place at the same time. Thrilling! Also, Matthea Harvey walked by our table, and I was like, "oh! I love you!" and chatted with her for a few minutes. Her poetry has always been really inspiring to me. Oh! And I got to see Kathleen Rooney as Vivian Nightwood and Martin Seay as the Consumptive at the Chicago Poetry Bro--Bordello, the Chicago Poetry Bordello. 

bird's eye view of our AWP Chicago 2012 table!

My favorite grabs from the conference so far are Big Lucks #4 (Christie Ann Reynolds, Justin Sirois, Kathleen Rooney and Elisa Gabbert? love it--), Stonecutter #2 (typewriter portraits of the contributors? Are you KIDDING ME? they're impressive, really, really, impressive,) Edward Mullany's If I Falter at the Gallows (buy this book of poetry from Publishing Genius NOW, you will not regret it), Alice Notley's two new books (she remembered me when she was signing them, from the time she read at Rowan and we had sushi before her reading and talked about Jim Behrle), Paper Darts #3 (so incredibly colorful well designed that I'm jealous), Mississippi Review vol. 39 #1-3 (selected works from those MR's edited by Frederick Barthelme-- everything I've turned to so far has been great and it's over 900 pages long, seriously), and Betty Superman by Tiff Holland (a deserving Rose Metal Press chapbook contest winner!)

I haven't gotten a chance to break into Joseph Riippi's The Orange Suitcase, the Ben book, Ben Pease's chapbook, or the latest Agriculture Reader, but I am sure I'll have great things to say about them soon enough! I am sure, also, that I am forgetting to mention something wonderful that happened/I saw, like meeting the rad chicks from Whole Beast Rag, or meeting so many of my twitter followers (hi guys!), or the Literature Party (that play thing? are you kidding? SO GOOD,) or hanging out with my friends from the 'other' Gigantic and saying nice things about them, or meeting upcoming GS contribs for the 3.2 issue!! ...etc. So, this is for anything/anyone I forgot.


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