The AWP Book Fair, Or Financial Peril For Writers

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Depending on who you talk to, AWP is mostly about one of two things: the off-site events or and the book fair (the panels are alright). This year I went to one panel on rhyme with my old professor Laura Kasischke. It was great, though the Q&A was spotty, and I’m glad I left on that note. I already wrote on my experience with one of the off-site events. If you haven’t checked that post out, you should. I called it “borderline best night of my life” and I definitely meant it.

But this post is about the book fair. Oh my goodness. The picture above doesn’t really do justice to the overwhelming nature of the thing. It’s a picture of The Rumpus table, which was rocking the whole fair. I should have stopped to say hi, but they were all so busy the whole time. It’s what you get with a super high-energy guy like Isaac Fitzgerald being your principal hawk.

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I went into the fair with a pretty simple game plan: get subscriptions to and make relationships with poetry magazines. You can see the beginnings of a synopsis of my haul above. I ended up buying a few books along the way, because they were on sale and just looked too good, but that could be said for so many books on the floor that if you play that game you’re going to blow your budget quickly.

Did I mention you should have a budget at this thing? It’s kind of scary how many items look incredibly awesome at this event. If you don’t have a budget, you might spend next month’s rent money.

The experience in general made me feel a lot closer to the poetry community, and I hope that subscribing to the journals I did will make me feel closer still. I imagine starting to place some poems in these bad boys wouldn’t hurt either!