Except everybody does in fact walk in L.A., at least when it comes to the Annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference, where I walked and stood so much that my feet were swollen at the end of each day. It’s a cliche no doubt to refer to that Missing Persons song (actually titled “Walking in LA”), and yet ever since my sister moved out to Los Angeles from Florida when she was 16 (and I was 14), it’s stuck with me. This year — though the conference seemed to speed through faster than ever — I covered more ground than any other AWP conference I’ve attended. Or maybe I just say that every year; I mean, who can forget the tromp through the blizzard to get to Terrain.org’s reading at the Stone Gatehouse on the edge of the Fen in Boston (home of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy), or our reading at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park near Pioneer Square in Seattle, or spotting the quick red fox on the Auraria Campus in Denver as we made our way back from that gorgeous reading at the Tivoli, with the full-window view of the lights of downtown Denver behind us, giant copper vats gleaming, thanks to my friend Jake Adam York?
Point being: your geographic range is a wide one at this delightfully overwhelming conference. And the books, presses, journals, writers, and editors aren’t bad, either.
Observed at #AWP16
It’s important, I think, to give a shout out to Jessie Lendennie and Salmon Poetry here. I don’t know how they do it, but they continue to publish European, Canadian, and American writers of astounding poetic ability in beautiful books each year. I’m biased, of course — Salmon Poetry published my Riverfall in 2005 and Bloom in 2010, and Jessie continues to poke me for my next collection, bless her — but just look at Salmon’s rich catalog of poets.
At AWP this year, Salmon launched their 35th anniversary anthology, a wonderful collection of new work by Salmon writers. I was honored to participate in last night’s reading. Thank you, Jessie, for including me, for your difference-making in the world of poetry (and more), and for your friendship.