54 degrees with bright sun in D.C. for a layover
Friday morning at AWP, I discovered that Dunkin Donuts does not have soy milk. What? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in the world who can't drink cow's milk. Hmmmm. Luckily, there was a proper coffee shop/bakery in the Prudential mall, just a 3 minute walk away.
Coffee fulfilled, I made my way to one of the best panels. I don't have the full title here but it was on the "Colloquial Baroque," a term coined by Lisa Russ Spaar, whom I dearly wanted to hear. Alas, she was snowed in. Brinda Hillman, Brian Teare, and the other panelists were amazing. This was a panel on what Keats calls "the fine excess" and on the blending of dictions in contemporary poetry. Bingo! Bullseye! It's definitely going to take me a few days/weeks/months to sort through my notes and thoughts on this one.
More bookfair encounters occurred, followed by a lunch with Carol Berg, whom I'd only ever known by her poems and by her blog/Facebook. Sadly, after lunch I realized that I'd completely overdone it on Wednesday afternoon/evening and Thursday all day. I managed to go to Adam Prince's and Charlotte Pence's signings at the Black Lawrence table before stumbling back to my room and falling into a deep, dark nap. This revived me enough to be passing fair for a dinner with the lovely women of Tupelo Press, Marie, Dylan, Rose, and Georgia (Marie's dear baby girl). Much laughter and good conversation accompanied California Pizza Kitchen.
By Saturday, I was running on Fumes, but managed to get up for a breakfast meeting with poet Martha Silano. Martha is coming to Little Rock in April to be part of the Big Rock Reading Series and the Arkansas Lit Festival. Wahoooooo! I spent some more time in the bookfair before attending a panel reading from the University of Arkansas Press anthology Breaking the Jaws of Silence, in which 60 American poets were asked to write poems in response to the protests in Iran and the death of Neda Agha-Soltan. I was bummed that Quincey Troupe got snowed in, but the rest of the panel blew me away, including and especially, Yusef Komunyakaa.
Then, there was lunch and shipping books home to Arkansas. I shipped home 16.2 lbs of books and my suitcase was 15 lbs underweight, so I could have save the $$ and lugged the books home, putting two more in my carry on, but I was tired and didn't want to have to wrestle the big suitcase. While I had spent a few moments here and there with good, good poet friend Al Maginess, we didn't manage to find some time to sit and catch up until coffee Saturday afternoon. Such a great benefit of AWP these small moments of calm with an old friend.
I wrapped up AWP with an off-site reading where I got to meet a few more friends previously only known via Facebook and blogs, and then I put myself to bed early. Yes, this means that I did not attend any of the major evening events sponsored by the conference. I had hoped to see Lucie Brock-Broido read with Anne Carson, but my body betrayed me. These readings don't start until 8:30 and are often attended by great swarms of people. Too much.
This morning, I slipped out of the hotel and due to a clock fumble, wound up at the airport unbelievably early. I thought my AWP moments were over, when lo and behold, Kerry James Evans woke me from a Facebook stupor and I managed to have one more good talk over a cup of coffee as we both waited for our plane. By a stroke of luck, Kerry's plane had been changed. AWP blessings?
And now, now I'm just ready to be home, to see Chuck, play with the cats, and sleep in my own bed. AWP 2013 was definitely a success! (Pictures wouldn't load from my iPad, so expect those in the next few days.)