WRAPPING UP IN WARP SPEED: AWP & PREPARING FOR THE JUMP

WRAPPING UP IN WARP SPEED: AWP & PREPARING FOR THE JUMP


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Whoever said you can only yolo once was wrong.

Last Tuesday morning I missed my flight to Seattle. The United Airlines attendant told me the next available flight wasn’t until after 8pm. (This would’ve been fine if it weren’t that I was supposed to read that night in Bellingham.) I dragged my bag to Chili’s and sulked over a screwdriver, coming to terms with the limbo. But all’s well that ends well at an airport Chili’s bar, that’s what I always say.


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This weekend was AWP (this is the CAA of the writing world) in Seattle, and it couldn’t have come at a better time to wrap up a warp-speed February, where I know I wasn’t the only one initiating FTL drives. The shortest month has been chock-full: thesis planning, CAA conference blogging and panel crashing, having an art opening, hosting Set 4 of the reading and performance series I co-curate, and AWP to underscore the end of the month.

Last year AWP was in Boston and, in addition to demystifying the cogwork of the publishing world and providing some on-the-ground professional development opportunities, the experience was one where our cohort really connected. And this year, although we are already close, was no different.

After I arrived Tuesday afternoon—a single seat opened up on a full flight at noon, so we were back on schedule!—Joshua Young and I drove down to Bellingham to give a reading at Village Books. Having grown up in Seattle and Bellingham, Josh narrated the drive with anecdotes, thoughts on poetics, all punctuated with bits of excitement at being back home.

Wednesday was check-in, table set-up, and a walk around a clear and crisp 50-degree Seattle. A friend had recommended a handsome little pizza joint in Seattle’s North Ballard neighborhood, so a couple poet-friends and I decided to treat ourselves.

Speaking of treats:

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We were off to a great start.

Thursday and Friday during the day I worked CCC’s Department of Creative Writing and Columbia Poetry Review tables at the book fair. In addition to giving out department swag and selling issues of the magazine, this is a great time to promote the program and what our graduate students are doing—not just publishing poems, but I’m talking about starting presses, online journals, and a reading series. Take a look for yourself: The Dollhouse Reading Series, Pinwheel, Phantom Limb, The Swell, Ghost Proposal, Lettered Streets Press. (BOOMTIME.)

Thursday night I read from my new chapbook (i.e., jump) (Two Steps Press) at the Black Coffee Co-op sponsored by Lettered Streets Press, Ghost Proposal, and Apostrophe Books. Here’s a video trailer for the chapbook:

After the reading, a group of us went to a reading hosted by Octopus Books, Poor Claudia, and Magic Helicopter, and then closed the evening by catching the tail end of the Rescue Press event. Rescue Press has just put out a dynamite anthology of contemporary American poetry, and you can read my review of it here.

The highlight of the week was probably the Wave Books reading at Sole Repair. The lineup was staggering, which is why getting in the door was no easy feat. But when we did, we weren’t left wanting.

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I’m writing this on the airplane now headed back to Chicago, and the guy across the aisle in 37E looks just like Javier Bardem from No Country for Old Men. He is reading Water for Elephants. He keeps looking over here. I think he has book envy.

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Heading back to Chicago, there is much to look forward to in the coming weeks—finishing my thesis, Manifest, and graduating. So in the words of Ted Berrigan, optimism for the jump!