Kelly’s AWP Round-Up

I’m back from five hectic but fantastic days at the AWP conference in Chicago. Those who went (and even those who didn’t go) are likely tired of hearing about the conference and the book fair, but I felt the need to throw my hat into the round-up ring:

1. The people at the conference this year were, with very few exceptions, very friendly and kind.

1a. I don’t know if the snow storms last year were to blame for the stand-offish attitude at the DC conference, but I will take Chicago any day. I love that Midwestern niceness.

1b. LAR contributors are the best people in the world.

2. I saw fewer beards this year. Are we over the beards at this point?

3. Chicago is not goofing around with that wind. I lost one earring and a hat to the elements.

4. Panels on how to promote your book/zine/site/etc. are played out, friends. Unless you’re completely new to the world of publicity and promotion, you can ignore these panels completely. You’ll do better to walk around the book fair and meet people.

4a. A guy on one publicity panel I attended–and I am not making this up–suggested that the more degrading the publicity approach, the better. Dude told a very detailed story about plaster-casting his own nether regions as a publicity move. I (and quite a few others) stood up and left.

4b. If you plaster-cast your naughty bits, I don’t think we can be friends any longer.

5. I was given more hugs than business cards this year. I think that means I’m doing something right.

5a. Spend time meeting people and making real connections at conferences like these. Knowing people beats networking every time.

6. I was mistaken for Eloise Klein Healy. I felt inexplicably proud.

7. Mark Cull, publisher of Red Hen Press, is the hardest-working man in publishing.

8. I have learned not to have the audacity to be female in the presence of a strange guys with infants, as guys with infants will first hand you their offspring, then walk away while the offspring vomits on your sleeve. True story, friends. I’m still not quite over it.

8a. If you are a stranger, please don’t hand me your baby. Both the baby and I will thank you.

9. I am too old to stay out late.

10. I must be getting very old indeed, because when one guy on a panel was feigning disaffection for the writing world, I wanted to pat him on the head and say “cheer up, little one.”

11. I am incredibly happy to be a writer and a journal editor, and I feel galvanized by the energy of the 9,999 other writers at the conference.

12. We sold out of all the LAR Issue 11s that we brought to Chicago, and went through the bulk of Issues 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6.

12a. Thank you to everyone who became a subscriber! You, our readers, keep us in print and keep indie publishing going strong.

See you next year in Boston!

10 Replies to “Kelly’s AWP Round-Up”

  1. Actually, some of us only got to follow AWP this year because people like you were good enough to blog or tweet about it. Thank you!

    I hope you get at least a poem and a short story out of that lost earring.

  2. 4.a. that’s an old one. Groupies called “plaster-casters” made plaster casts of the genitalia of Jim Morrison and the like. i mean after the lizard king, who would really dare make a cast of their “thang”?

    12. congrats! it’s a lovely journal and you’re doing a lovely job with it!

  3. Stefon, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! And I’ll bet the lost accessories can be made into a little something.

    Stephanie, you’re kidding! I’m speechless. I’d google this phenomenon, but I’m scared of what I might find. I’m sorry to say I surmise that the guy who suggested this in the panel was probably not going to compare well with the lizard king.

    Thanks so much for the kind words on LAR! Keep an eye on your mailbox for your copy shortly…

  4. Thanks, Yi Shun! I hope you’ll make it out to the conference in Boston next year.

  5. you owe me two hugs next year!

    also, a former hair stylist of mine used to say this about networking: “In my day, networking was just called ‘being friendly’!”


  6. Two hugs in Boston, Laura. 🙂

    Joe, I hear that. I may do the same next year (though there were two panels I’m very glad I attended this time).

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