open for proposals

May 5, 2022

The next annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) will be held March 8–11, 2023, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The in-person Conference & Bookfair will feature hundreds of events and thousands of presenters. In addition, a select number of events will be made available virtually for both in-person and virtual-only attendees to enjoy.

Event proposals for #AWP23 are now being accepted. Please see the 2023 Event Proposal Guidelines, and read the Presenter Guidelines before submitting a proposal. Additional resources for crafting and submitting an AWP event proposal can be found on the Proposal Overview page.

And mark your calendar for March 8–11, 2023!

This is a guest post by Susan Rich

I’ve recently returned to the joyous quiet of my home after attending the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Philadelphia. Once again, I was made acutely aware of my discomfort at sojourning with 7,000 of my peers. And I would bet I am not alone in this uneasiness. Those of us who enjoy a well-lit stanza or the swagger of an em dash may not be equally at ease at a cocktail party or karaoke bar. However, over time, I’ve adopted several strategies for managing my shyness because honestly, I do want to connect with other poets. I hope you find some of these ideas helpful.

  1. Write notes of appreciation to poets you admire. Don’t be afraid to be a fan girl. Poets are not like John Legend or Taylor Swift; they do not sell out stadiums (okay, Edna St. Vincent Millay did). I believe even a “big” name poet wants to hear how their words were important to you. Anytime I’ve written to a “famous” poet, I’ve always received a generous reply.
  2. Invite a poet to lunch! Perhaps this is pushing you out of your comfort zone but it might also be the best way to get to know someone whose work you admire. Twenty years ago I wrote a “brave” email to Kelli Russell Agodon asking her out to lunch to talk about publishing in this new way — on the internet. I’m so glad I did. Kelli is now one of my closest friends.
  3. Thank poets who approach you: someone who comes up to you after a reading or an elementary school student who needs to write a report due tomorrow or a poet who saw your work on-line. They are reaching out to you, why not reach right back?
  4. Post poems you admire on social media or on a blog. This is a very easy way to make friends! It’s a great surprise and an honor. This can be done in whatever way that you would enjoy; match a poem with a photograph or a color. Make it fun!
  5. Find a couple of close poet friends that you can share work with, and laughter. These are the people that will keep you going: attending readings together, sharing favorite poems and lots of laughter. Keep them close. One of my closest poetry friends is Geraldine Mills whom I met in Ireland when our first books had just come out.
  6. Be generous. Push yourself to approach a poet at AWP (the writing conference comes to Seattle next year). This year, I went to a couple of different poets’ book signings as I know how awkward it feels to sit at a table and watch people walk right by.
  7. Know other poets are probably as shy as you are. Broadly speaking, we poets are not extroverts. And yet, we want our poems to touch the lives of other people. We want to connect.

. . . . .

Susan Rich is the author of five books of poetry; most recently GALLERY OF POSTCARDS AND MAPS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Salmon Poetry, 2022). Until it launches more widely in July, you can find her new book at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Company. Visit Susan at http://poetsusanrich.com.

Author photo by Kristie McLean.

. . . . .
NOTE: Raven Talk, Raven’s online podcast, will present Harold Taw in conversation with Susan Rich this Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 7:00pm, discussing Susan’s new book, Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems. Details and registration link here.

planning ahead

December 20, 2021

Last here in 2014, the AWP Conference is returning to Seattle… March 8-11, 2023.

Will the Convention Center be ready? The expansion is well underway. The July 2021 construction update said, “The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) Addition — also known as the Summit building — is one year from completion” and the Summit page on the WSCC website projects a January 2023 opening.

AWP 2021 was all virtual; AWP 2022, scheduled March 23–26 in Philadelphia, is expected to be a hybrid event, with virtual components. AWP 2023 is anyone’s guess. Mark your calendar and watch for details.

. . . . .
photo: 2014 AWP Conference & Bookfair

This is a guest post by
Kelli Russell Agodon

I did not screenshot the one-on-one Meet and Greet with Copper Canyon Press, but I wore a paisley button-down shirt and people arrived, to ask questions and just to talk. I had been a little nervous about that event for two reasons. The first was, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would work: would I be chatting with people via text or would we all arrive on Zoom (Zoom it was)? The second reason was, what if it was just me sitting in a Zoom room by myself because no one showed up? Oh the sad life of a poet!, I thought. But thankfully, people did show up, Zoom worked well, and as usual, my worries were for nothing.

The rest of AWP felt like wandering around an empty virtual game. Since you can’t see other participants unless you go to the tab with a list of attendees, it felt like an AWP of one’s own, which for me is the opposite of why I go to AWP. I go to AWP to walk the bookfair and for the surprise encounters with favorite poets and friends I haven’t seen for a while. I go to AWP to hold books, to flip the pages of poetry books, to sit in an audience and listen to a panel.

In my current world, I am Zoomed out, so clicking on a panel (many pre-recorded) and tuning in seemed like another opportunity for too much screentime. But I discovered that because everyone is just sitting in their offices off screen, I could click on a panel, listen, and clean my office! The panels I listened to were good and if they weren’t, there was no awkward leaving mid-panel, just a click of the pause button or shutting the laptop.

While Two Sylvias Press had a virtual booth, we mostly set it up and answered questions by message. We didn’t sell as many books as a normal AWP, but we didn’t have to carry any books from a van to the conference center either!

While this wasn’t the most inspiring conference, I admire AWP for coming up with something that wasn’t too hard to navigate, had a virtual bookfair, and allowed us a little bit of the AWP feel through panels and readings (even if they were on a screen).

This would have been the AWP my book, Dialogues with Rising Tides, would have been released with Copper Canyon Press, or almost (it’s due to be published April 27, 2021). Do I feel cheated or sad that my book is coming out during a pandemic? Not really. Actually, not at all. Mostly, I am thankful for the new ways we unite online, how we find our way through this difficult time. I’m reminded of the many ways we still have to connect and know we are turning the corner for more in-person time.

Since I’m not doing in-person events right now for my book, the online world has oddly become a stage (one I’m occasionally falling off, due to too much screentime). Virtual AWP was a way to meet some new readers, hear my favorites talk about their poetry lives, and actually sell a few more books. During the pandemic I have learned that things do not need to be perfect; good enough suits me just fine these days.

– – – – –
Kelli Russell Agodon is the author of Dialogues with Rising Tides from Copper Canyon Press (which you can preorder here or on Amazon.) Kelli is also the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Weekend Retreat for Women. On May 1, 2021, she will be teaching a workshop on The Surrealists Toolkit, writing poems from prompts and play of surrealist artists and writers. Visit her website to read more of her work.

it’s not too late!

March 2, 2021

The AWP Conference & Bookfair begins tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, and continues through Sunday, March 7. If you are interested in attending this year’s all-virtual event, you can still register. Plus, registration gives you full access to all presentations through April 3, 2021. Check out the featured presenters, the schedule, the bookfair, and then sign up!

interview

February 27, 2020

In case you missed it, The Common has published “Poetry-Making as Empathy Play: An Interview with Oliver de la Paz,” in which the poet reflects on his most recent book, The Boy in the Labyrinth (University of Akron Press, 2019).

Previously a Bellingham resident, Oliver de la Paz teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University. He will be participating in several events at next week’s AWP Conference in San Antonio.

P.S.: Today, February 27, is his birthday and we wish him the best.

tomorrow in Portland

March 27, 2019

As if you didn’t have enough to choose from, Mountain Writers Series will host an off-site event, free and open to the public, during the AWP Conference in Portland. This event will celebrate 45 years of programming and serving the literary community in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 28, 2019, from 11:00am until 10:00pm at the Hotel Rose in downtown Portland, dozens of Mountain Writers Series alumni poets and writers will pay tribute to poets past and share some of their own work.

You’re also invited to join Mountain Writers Series poets and writers during a wine-and-appetizers reception, 5:00-7:00pm at Hotel Rose. Many of the authors will have their books for sale and will sign copies for guests. Mountain Writers Series will also be giving away dozens of books, broadsides and flyers from the archives of its 45-year history.

See the complete program.

AWP offsite

March 22, 2019

In addition to the zillions of people, readings, panels, books, and so on, at AWP, one of the major attractions is events held offsite. AWP has helpfully assembled a list of offsite events to be held in Portland and nearby communities, Tuesday, March 26, through Sunday, March 31, 2019. It’s still growing, so check back.

register!

August 4, 2018

Early-bird registration for AWP 2019 in Portland, Oregon, is now open (and continues through October 11, 2018).

The conference features over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The bookfair hosts over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. AWP’s is now the largest literary conference in North America.

AWP will happen at the Oregon Convention Center March 27–30, 2019. Not sure? Check out the list of events.

Planning WAY ahead…

March 22, 2018

Mark your calendar for March 27–30, 2019, when the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference & Bookfair will be held in Portland, Oregon. The AWP Portland Subcommittee has just issued a call for proposals, which opens today, March 22, and closes May 1, 2018. (Guidelines here.)

The AWP Conference was last in Cascadia in 2014, when some 12,000 attendees thronged the Seattle Convention Center. Prior to that, AWP was held regionally in Vancouver, BC, in 2005, and was last held in Portland in 1998. Early-bird registration typically begins in late July. AWP membership is not required for attendance.

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