To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, and do so badly, because I would not come to AWP, AWP kindly came to me.
AWP, generally pronounced by its letters rather than as rhyming with Walt Whitman's "barbaric yawp", is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. The initials also serve as shorthand for the annual conference, which begins today in Washington, DC, where I live.
Avoiding travel in a snowstorm of historic proportions is a stroke of good luck, and there are others. Without the burdens of representing an academic institution or speaking on a panel, I can take in readings and other events, as well as check out the Bookfair without any great pressure.
Of course, I will have a few goals and one scheduled event. Tomorrow, February 3, I will be joining edtor Jessie Lendennie and other contributing poets in a signing of Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology at the Salmon Press table.
Other projects will involve freestyle hawking of my wares. Newest among them is my sonnet "Botanical Garden," which is the February selection of Broadsided. I will be handing out copies myself, and others are encouraged to print out and post the poem, illustrated by Ira Joel Haber.
Also debuting at AWP is Issue 9 of Los Angeles Review, which includes my unusually long free verse poem "Labor Day at Venice Beach"--inspired, as they say, by actual events.
I am also in the pleasantly odd position of promoting a book I don't yet have in hand. My essay collection Dowsing and Science, described on page 49 of the Spring/Summer Catalog of the Texas A&M University Press consortium, will be published on March 1. It will be a challenge to make people remember the title of a book they haven't seen. Still, the collection contains essays of varying lengths, tones, and subjects, including a few personal essays as well as a preponderance of intellectual and cultural criticism, and that variety makes Dowsing and Science a compact and reasonably priced choice for classroom use as well as personal reading. (Yes, I am selling my book here.) It is presently available for pre-order from the publisher and online sellers in the United States and nine other countries.
Finally, I will be reminding people that they can still obtain my collection Settling for Beauty, which recently received a favorable review from poet and fiction writer Eric Hendrixson.
In the midst of all this I will have the opportunity to see friends and pass out my card, which includes the URL for this blog. Comfortable shoes will be crucial.
And now it's off to the fair or, in the word of British novelist David Lodge, "Whee!"