So Apparently I’ve Got this Reputation at #AWP13

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By Simmons Buntin


At the Emerald Necklace Conservancy: editor-in-chief Simmons Buntin, reader Bill Roorbach, Hawk & Handsaw editor-in-chief Kathryn Miles, and Ecotone editor-in-chief David Gessner.
Photo by Janine DeBaise.
So apparently I’ve gained this reputation at AWP, at least among those close to me, for stealing pint glasses with logos. It’s true that I have a collection of about 130 pint classes with different brewery logos at home, most from my time working for the U.S. Department of Energy and traveling across the west, back before 2000. And the vast majority of those purchased fair and square. But on occasion, as the other evening at Orleans, if a glass is not for sale but is a worthy, let us say essential addition to the collection… Then, yes, I will liberate it. But hey, I didn’t take the Samuel Adams glass so readily available at the seafood restaurant last night following the very excellent “Wild Lives / Raucous Pens” reading. So perhaps I’m on the road to reform—or at least I’ve already got a Sam Adams pint glass.

On to yesterday’s conference review:

Biggest AWP Pain

Easy: my feet. Damn these attractive but not-so-comfortable Italian shoes I got at DSW Shoe Warehouse! Lots of walking and standing, which is why I’m wearing my sneakers today.

Biggest AWP Pleasure

The “Wild Lives / Raucous Pen” reading hosted by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and featuring readings from Ecotone, Hawk & Handsaw, and was fantastic, if I say so my biased self. Co-host Kathryn Miles was as lovely as ever (this following her earlier NPR interview and some really exciting news I’m not at liberty to share); the audience was friendly, engaged, and admirably weathered the snow to get to the lovely stone venue: the Shattuck Visitor Center; and the readers were quite fabulous, beginning (and ending) with David Gessner and then rolling with Sheryl St. Germain, Joe Wilkins, Hannah Kreitzer, Derek Sheffield, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Bill Roorbach, and Cynthia Huntington. The mix of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction was moving, passionate, humorous, and altogether right. Thanks, everyone, for once again making our literary reading the highlight of my time at AWP, and special thanks to Janine DeBaise for letting me put her on the spot to take photos.

Cynthia Huntington
Poet Cynthia Huntington held the audience in rapt attention during the “Wild Lives / Raucous Pens” reading at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
Photo by Janine DeBaise.

Best Character

David Gessner came through on the beer and wine for the reading last night, which is qualification enough for this slot. But he really sent us out with a bang with his closing reading last night, from his book Sick of Nature. Bravo, David.

What I Learned About Boston Today (or Yesterday, Actually)

Snow goes sideways.

What I Look Forward to Today

More visitors on the second floor (Exhibit Hall D) please. The crowd was decent—and it’s always wonderful to see contributors and meet new folks who I hope will become contributors or at least avid readers—but the remote second floor exhibit space had half the traffic of the first floor, at best. Come on peoples, make your way upstairs!

A Final Word on Beer

Sports writer Peter King, in his Monday Morning Quarterback Series, always sings the praises of Maine’s Allagash White. So when I saw that on the menu, it was an easy choice. And as King contends, it’s a smooth and altogether delicious brew.


Header photo: editors Derek Sheffield, Simmons Buntin, and Andrew Gottlieb working the bookfair at AWP. is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.