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An Upbeat Assessment of AWP

February 20, 2009


laura moriarity might be too retardedly optimistic for vowel movers, but she makes some good points about AWP in these two posts.  and we aren’t total haters.  fair and balanced, fuckers, fair and balanced!

true, lm says “i mean” a lot but she’s sincere.  and, truer still, the general thrust of these posts is the critical equivalent of “what does not kill us only detains and annoys us”.  but that’s pretty rad where appropriate…like when your profession is so janky and uncouth that your annual conference is more like burning man, less like a meeting of the minds.  lm takes it all in stride, emphasizing the upside (increased attention to writing and books!) and downplaying the bs.  cuz, duh, AWP is supposed to be about WRITING not WRITERS.  so if yer on the fence about denver, keep reading…


  • I was delighted to be there at all and to have readings to read at and this leads me to my first piece of advice. It’s nice to have a piece of the action, of whatever size, so that you feel that you have a role.
  • There is a certain amount of crossover with MLA at AWP, but AWP is a very different environment. Much more causal in terms of dress – don’t get me started about eccentric poet outfits and the wisdom of dressing like a 16 year old when you are not one
  • There are job interviews but not as many. And let’s face it the scholarship is just not at the MLA level.
  • I mean you could hang with Jen Hofer and her new sweetie. What could be wrong with that?
  • I mean if what you want to do is see Kasey Mohammad in an incredible suit purchased from a thrift store, you can do that at AWP.
  • I ended up explaining Flarf to dozens of people and no the irony is not lost on me, not least because I brought it on myself.
  • Was that when Bin Ramke gave me this cold? Am laid low by a giant chest cold gotten either from Bin, from opening my hotel windows to the icy wind or from the eighty degree hotel weather which surely sucked all the moisture out of my body and replaced it with recycled poet germs. But wait, could that be a metaphor for what happens otherwise at AWP? And if so why avoid it? Build up your defenses, strengthen your genotype. Take your fondly held beliefs and best laid plans and gang aft a-gley.
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