It’s been a busy February in writing land, with many miles crossed in the name of literature. Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the South Coast Writers’ Conference in Gold Beach, Oregon. The drive itself was a little harrowing, with a speeding ticket, a flock of wild turkeys, lots of elk, some small avalanches, and some feral cows in the roadway (or, at least a lighted sign warning us of feral cows in the roadway), but the conference was well worth the trip. On Friday, Tanya Chernov and I co-taught an epic class on the art and craft of writing dark material, and we were moved and honored by the fearlessness and honesty of the students in the class. The following day, I had the chance to speak to several groups of smart, professional poets about getting their work into literary magazines. A small typhoon blowing in from the coast gave us a good soaking, but we’ll chalk it up to communion with nature!
While at the conference, I learned that my collection, Burn This House, is a finalist for the Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry. I am delighted to be in the company of the other eleven finalists, and feel that I’ve already won something simply by being grouped with such excellent writers. Many thanks to Jacar Press and Richard Krawiec!
Last week also saw the debut of Tahoma Literary Review’s website, and Joe Ponepinto and I are enthused by the great response we’ve received so far. It’s still a few days before we open for submissions (we begin our reading period March 1, so get those short stories and poems ready), but we’re delighted by the warm welcome we’ve received in the literary world thus far. By the way, while TLR won’t have a booth at AWP, we have compiled a brief list of places at which you can come and say hello!
Finally, I’m gearing up for next week’s annual AWP conference! I’m enthusiastic about the conference’s being on my home turf here in Seattle this year, and look forward to other writers discovering what makes Seattle such a great place to be a writer, a reader, and a literary citizen. And because I can’t help myself, I’ve created this year’s list of advice for AWP conference attendees, and have posted it at Tahoma’s blog.
Tell me, reader friends, what’s your best advice for attending AWP? Did I miss any words of wisdom?