AWP 21 has come and gone. It will likely be remembered as the Pandemic Conference. The conference that was to be in Kansas City, Missouri, and for me it was, but not in the way I had hoped or wanted. I did the conference from my living room on my laptop virtually. I would like to tell you it sucked, but it didn't. I would tell you it was great, but that too would be incorrect.
In the end, I benefited from it. It was cheap with no hotel or air flights. No meals out. No Uber rides to off site location.
It was in some respects a lonely event. It was harder to connect directly with friends and meet new people, although I was able on a very small scell to do so. There was no swag. There were no hugs. I did enjoy some readings and a couple of the panels i felt were very beneficial to me. There were quite a few instances where my mind seemed to be challenged in my thoughts about literature in various genre, not just my own. I also feel the conference suggested to me that I should try to move beyond to poetry in some ways. Memoir and essay most came to mind. But these thoughts were more like giving me permission to try, to explore a bit, not driving me to abandon poetry or even implying that I should follow such efforts seriously. I
I of course ordered books and they have started to trickle in. I missed not bring a suitcase full of new books home and promptly unpacking them and exploring them right away.
So far I have received the following:
Meet the Poet Car. This is my new Kia Soul. In a recent email exchange with Kelli Agodon she has asked if I got my new car. Upon telling her that I had, and that I got a KIA SOUL, she responded... "Can I say--I cannot imagine what a better car for a poet than a SOUL!!!---I hope you write about that." The challenge is there, so I must get busy.
We have had a terrible cold spell here and snow. The snow has not exactly been that problematic, but the stretch of over a week with sub freezing days, several sub zero, have compounded the pandemic doldrums here.
I have started receiving the first of several pre-ordered books. The number of new titles by poets I adore is unreal. Sandra Beasley's Made To Explode has arrived . Also ordered are Kelli Agodon's Dialogues with Rising Tides, and Jennifer Moore's Easy Does It. Then there will likely be more as a result of AWP 21.
Moving into March brings us to the AWP Conference. The one that was supposed to be in Kansas City (he says bitterly) but instead will be virtual. No AWP HUGS, No AWP SWAG.... trying to remain optimistic but it isn't easy. There are some presentations that look really good, but the atmosphere of sitting at home for this is not exactly alluring. I want to be able to interact with friends and meet new ones.
If anyone sees me virtually at AWP - be sure and say hi!
Poetry Submissions off and it's not even 1 p.m. yet. Time yet to read and write for the day.
Presently I am reading The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm. Biographical work on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. I've read so many bios on the two. Malcolm pretty much trashes Anne Stevenson's Bitter Fame. Stevenson just passed away Friday or Saturday. I'm not far into Malcolm's book to provide a critical assessment. I'd say I am open minded, but slightly critical of some of her commentary, but I'm hopeful she will provide more substance to support her statements. Stay tuned.
Currently I am reading Floating True by Deborah Jung. Deborah was a Writer to Writer alumni the same time I was (2017). This is her first book and it is a perfect read for the uncertain times we are trapped in. There is a centering to it. A generational span of love and memory through life that is not always so kind.
Two very thoughtful gifts from my wife, Cathy. I now have both volumes of the Letters of Sylvia Plath.
Going into the holiday was kind of rocky as I was ill between Thursday and basically Sunday and part of Monday. My eyes hurt too much to even read so I felt like those were days of waste. But, I'm back and ready to meet life head on.
My night stand becomes a catch all for things that I go to from time to time to read from, in addition to new titles that I am reading for the first time.
So what’s on my nightstand right now?
April 1st it is, and I have taken on the poem-a-day challenge for National Poetry Month. I've got off to a good start, completing my 1st poem by mid-day. The task of a poem a day for 30 days is no small task. It's easy to get discouraged when you aren't getting quite what you want out of the piece you've been working on for several hours and throw everything up in the air and utter a choice word or two. I've don that, so I know. Thinking back over the years I've attempted this I believe only one have I actually finished with 30 or more. Sometimes I've given up mid way though or once I think I ended with 27 or 28. Anyway, I have every intention in completing the challenge this year.
On another note, Marie Howe's Magdalene came out on the 28th & my copy arrived yesterday and I finished today. Magnificent work by Howe, though I've read another book by her that I loved. I will say, she overdid herself with this one. I will be writing a review of it soon.
Michael Allyn Wells - notes & musings