Wednesday, February 06, 2008

AWP - The Recap

I don't even know where to begin. This was my first AWP and I did it my way. I went late. I left early.

I arrived at 4PM on Thursday, checked in and caught up with my roommate, Gina Franco, who it was great to see in person again. Both of us had events starting at six and made our way to the lobby. The first person I meet? That long cool drink of water that is Simmons Buntin. Convenient since he's hosting the Terrain 10th Anniversary Reading at Cornelia Street Cafe and that's where I was reading. He was there with poets Shann Palmer, Deborah Fries and the essayist/landscape designer extraordinaire Scott Calhoun. Somewhere between the Hilton lobby and Cornelia Street Cafe, Simmons and Scott became my BFsF.

The highlight of the Terrain reading for me was meeting one of my favorite poets Jake Adam York who read from his just released A Murmuration of Starlings, a beautiful and powerful book that I highly recommend. Jake is in a word gracious. It was truly a pleasure to meet him in person and listen to him read.

A late dinner led to a late cup of coffee that apparently sullied my reputation. "Wild nights! Wild nights!" Whatever. Thank goddess for that cup of coffee. After returning to the Hilton I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Jensen for the first time (sweet, sweet!) who introduced me to those charmers James Hall and Eduardo Corral. First let me just say that I did not expect Eduardo to be such a sweet man. Don't let his blog fool you. Not only is he sweet and witty, he's also a gentleman. I had nothing but thanks for the coffee that allowed me to experience the experience that was James Hall, Jericho Brown and Eduardo Corral. When it comes to these three sleep is way overrated. They are hilarious! And they made my first night of AWP one of the best nights.

The next morning I had breakfast with Steven Schroeder, Gina, and Eduardo. At breakfast it was confirmed that I blog like June Cleaver. Great. (Other things I heard from bloggers: You're a lot younger than I thought you were. Really great.) It was lovely to meet Steven for the first time, he's reticent, but don't let it fool you because he's very, very quick. Eduardo bought us breakfast!

Paul Guest is handsome and wonderful and sweet. And he has groupies. A lot them. I had the distinct pleasure of introducing one of his biggest groupies to him.

A NYC moment in the lobby -- out of 7,500 writers who happens sit down next to me? My facebook boyfriend Blas Falconer. We had such a great time together. We were both reading at the Acentos Latina/Latino Writers extravaganza and hit it off right away. The Acentos reading was inspiring, and amazing. Rich Villar is a great host. So many amazing poets read at this marathon -- Sheryl Luna, Francisco Aragon, Eduardo Corral, Javier Huerta, Jose Gonzalez, Martin Espada, Rafael Campo the list goes on and on. Evie Shockley another facebook friend attended the reading and I was so happy to meet her. Afterwards a lovely dinner with Gina, Blas, Blas' friends June and Rosa, and another favorite poet of mine Steven Cordova.

Others I met briefly that I wished I could have spent more time with included Emmy Perez, Sheryl Luna, Ivy Alvarez, Lee Herrick and Matthew Thorburn.

Saturday afternoon I spent meandering the book fair with my dear friend Angleo Verga. Indiana Review recorded me for a feature on their blog -- that was pretty cool. Picked up as much as I could to send back to Jenni Russell who with her big generous heart changed the name on her registration to my name when she decided not to go to AWP. I was definitely ready to get home on Saturday afternoon so I did.

I had heard so much of the crazy machinations that go on at AWP, but I must say that every poet I met was very nice and many were also very generous. Am I going to fly out to Chicago next year? I highly doubt it, but I am happy that I attended AWP NYC. It really is what you make it.


Simmons B. Buntin said...

Something coming in the mail for you shortly; a preview's up at the bottom of my latest blog post....

Simmons B. Buntin said...

'Twas great, Suzanne, to finally meet you!

Anne Haines said...

Oh, fly out to Chicago! It will be even more fun. We Midwesterners are a good time. :)

Unknown said...

Cool you got to meet so many people. Never know, you may feel differently next yar about awp and want to go! (yeah riiight!) :)

Suzanne said...


Anne, hmmm I never thought of it like that....

LOL Jenni, you know me too well.

Robin said...

I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you this time around. In Chicago, maybe? R

Suzanne said...

I'm sorry I missed you too, Robin!