Top Five Photos of AWP 2013 and one un-Photo

1. Galahad seeks the holy grail.

Boston Public Library is a beautiful building. One room contains a sequence of giant paintings by Abbey describing the Holy Grail legend. This I saw the day before the conference began, and thousands of nervous writers and teachers flew into the city.

2. Hannah Tinti teaches novel design with yarn.

AWP, as described in my previous post, is full of panels and presentations on topics dear to writers. 13,000 people attended the conference this year, and so the most popular panels were filled beyond bursting. This panel on “Keeping track of your novel” had another hundred people outside the door, unable to get in. Claustrophobes beware!

3. Me reading for Burlesque Press

Burlesque Press ran a reading in The Crossroads Irish Pub.

I have recently had a piece accepted by McSweeney's (yes! Amazing, right?) and so I read it to the crowd. Comedy is a good choice at public readings: people laughed: the piece worked.

I'll link as soon as the piece goes live on The Internet Tendency…

4. Poetry Magazine gives us some useful advice.

As one entered the conference hall, we were all greeted by television screens displaying advice for poets, all of it couched in terms of “don't.” This was one of the suggestions.

Negative injunctions, ripped from their context and neighbours, some of it utterly incomprehensible, glowing in giant letters from on high: the sequence seemed, sadly, very fitting for a creative writing conference.

5. My slogans for Burlesque Press

A few hours each day, I worked Burlesque Press's table in the book fair. My primary role was to write slogans to attract the attention of passers-by. This was the most popular of my offerings: several people stopped to photograph it.

6. Boston's Omni-Snow.

On Wednesday, Boston's clear skies were replaced with terrifying omni-snow. Omni-snow differs from normal snow in that it flies in all directions simultaneously at incredible speed. There is no picture of omni-snow because it cannot be photographed, merely endured.

Overall, I had a great time. I heard great lectures by Janet Burroway, Cyndi Reeves, Dawn Tripp and many others, met editors who have published my work, including the excellent team at the Fiction Writers Review, talked to David Jauss and other writers I admire.

Now I am back in Knoxville, and back to work.

Best wishes,



One thought on “Top Five Photos of AWP 2013 and one un-Photo

  1. Wow! And like your dancers, you are quite coueagrous as a photographer to get up and into the faces and fortresses of these establishments and career paths. Because for these men and women, this is their art and as for you, you are the link between these hidden palaces and us; the constant observers, the voyeurs that we are safely on the other side of the screen, safely in the street peeking in through the swung open door, safely sheltered from the world of light flashing, red silk, skampy dancing night Love them!


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