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Random Thoughts re AWP-Atlanta

The 2007 AWP Conference and Book Fair were quite helpful but a bit intense or rather perhaps some of us might have over done it.

Several of the session I sat in on were helpful. I recall Robert Olen Butler\’s session on teaching writing and helping students develop \”yearning\” in their work. I couldn\’t agree more in that if writers know the skill of writing what is often missing is the \”energy\” to keep the reader reading. Something in the work needs to keep the reader wanting to continue; technique in and of itself is not enough. But the key here is that students need to be at that level of writing.

Then there was the session on the Breadloaf Approach which equally has a place among students who might have the \”energy\” but who lack the technique. But with all things, it doesn\’t hurt to be recharged by any means, with other writers. The poetry workshop I participate in is an example of what happens when one can write and share with others of like mind.

The other interesting session I attended was about Con Tinta, a collective group for Latino writers. As the speakers stated, its important for writers to support each other and promote their work. I couldn\’t agree more and have always held this belief.

The other treat of the conference is hearing poets/writers read from their work. Several come to mind: Thomas Lux, Cornelius Eady, Charles Wright. Then the Book Fair itself is like walking into a chocolate store, but the only problem is that one can become too satiated to the point that one doesn\’t want to see or hear anything because the mind can\’t process it all. That is why like the Book Expo, one truly needs to pace himself and not try to take in too much at once.

And finally getting to see and get to know friends (thanks, Julie Wakeman-Linn, Katherine Smith, Richard Peabody, Kim Roberts, Sarah Browning, Paula Goldman, Beverly Burch, and C. M. Mayo) better and to meet new friends is invaluable because as great as email can be, meeting someone in person simply cannot be substituted.

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