AWP




It started out in the '60s when there were just a handful or two or three creative writing programs in the country and the directors of them wanted to get together to compare notes. Now it is this huge conference of maybe 7,000 this year (I heard it was 10,000 last year in NYC) because the number of MFA programs has exploded. Not to mention MA and BFA and PhD. I am talking about the Association of Writers & Writing Programs' annual conference, which started Wed. night and will end Saturday night at the Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. More info at www.awpwriter.org. If you go there, expect to see hordes of dazed non-biz types with name tags wandering around carrying bags of magazines and books. These are my people. This is my tribe. These are the people who believe words are important and that literature means something and that innovation is necessary. We may be insular but we're dedicated. There are still people who worship the short story even though the days of print culture might be numbered. These are people not writing screenplays or potboilers but poems that they hope will define some fraction of the universe so precisely and beautifully that others will commit their lines to memory. These are people who also know that Keats said his name was written in water, and though that's a little heart-warming because it means that Keats thought he'd be forgotten, and thus those of us who think we'll be forgotten might actually be remembered and revered as much as Keats. But it also means that our names might really be writ in water and soon we and our words will be forgotten, and Keats was 25 when he died and we're twice that and what do we have to show for ourselves?

9 comments:

Susan M said...

This is a very refreshing way to view the whole thing. Thank you.

Cancer Bitch said...

Were you there? I didn't see you.

Susan M said...

No. Not there. Too much work and too shy. I'll tell you about it some time. But that's why I like your "this is my tribe" view.

Anonymous said...

I must say it seemed like there were many more than 7000 people there Thursday - especially in the pre-registration lines at the beginning of the day.

You do manage to meet some interesting people in those lines though.

Sam

Cancer Bitch said...

I just guessed at the number. We'll have to stay tuned for info at the awp site.

Susan M said...

Saw the big ad for your book (and other Iowa releases) in Poets & Writers. Congrats. very nice. very visible.

Bastet said...

I wish I had gone. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of things. Planning a trip to see my son. Waiting to see if I was accepted for the MA program at NU. (I was turned down and everyone is scandalized.) I really needed to be there for connections. Maybe next time.
I'll be at the Midland Society of Authors at the Expo April 14 in the Cultural Center if you will be there.
Lynn

Bastet said...

Oh, I'm at lynn.voedisch@gmail.com. We met at the symposium during the summer at N.U. I also know Arnie Bernstein.

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