Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Countdown to AWP 2013: If you were me on March 9

The annual AWP conference is less than a month away.  Here at What She Might Think, I'm highlighting the top events for each day of this year's conference, which will be in Boston.

We're on the third installment of the series, which brings us to Saturday, March 9, the last day of AWP.  The last day of any conference is tricky because attendees who have been thorough in their attendance begin to suffer fatigue and will be more inclined to spend the last day seeing the sights or making their way to airports because they have 60 papers to grade before Monday.  I tend to be one of these people, but if I were feeling especially focused, these are the Saturday events I'd most likely attend. (For the full schedule of Saturday events, click here.)

Saturday, March 9

9:00-10:15 A.M.

"Translating Slippery Dreamers:
French Surrealist Poetry in the Hands of American Authors"
Room 204, Level 2

Summary: The presenters, who are both poets and translators, will talk about the peculiar difficulties in translating aspects of French surrealism into English, such as automatic writing. 

Why I would attend: Translation in and of itself has always interested me, especially in terms of what can't be conveyed. I'd be interested in what the particular experience is with surrealism since its expression is already an attempt to defy reality and often visual surrealism is difficult to describe, so I imagine the language of surrealism would be interesting to learn about.  Seems like a panel that would be inspiring.

10:30-11:45 A.M.
"Lower Your Standards:
William Stafford in the Workshop"
Room 107, Plaza Level

Presenters: James Armstrong, Philip Metres, Alissa Nutting, Jeff Gundy, Fred Marchant

Summary: The discussion will center on poetry workshop and the classroom experiences these instructors have had in using Stafford's teaching philosophy, and the benefits of integrating this view in the Creative Writing Classroom.

Why I would attend: Any discussion about changing the workshop experience, and hearing other instructors share advice, would be useful now that I'm finding myself on the other side of the desk these days. 

Conflict: George Saunders and others will be reading at this panel: "The Lake Effect: A Celebration of Fifty Years of Creative Writing at Syracuse." I've heard Saunders read before, enjoy his work, and would like to hear him read again. (Room 200, Level 2)

Noon-1:15 P.M.

"Carol Shields: 
Her Language and Craft"
Room 109, Plaza Level

Presenters: Eric Freeze, Aritha van Herk, Anne Shields Giardini, Genni Gunn
Summary: The work of Carol Shields will be discussed, with a special appearance by her daughter.
Why I would attend: Carol Shields is one of my favorite writers--of both short form and novels. Originally from northern Illinois, Carol Shields became a writer later in her life, and by that time was a full-fledged Canadian. Her work shares many Midwestern themes.  She died of cancer in the last decade. Oh, and she won the Pulitzer Prize.

1:30-2:45 P.M.

"Countering Stereotypes of Disability through Contemporary Fiction"
Room 107, Plaza Level

Summary: The writers will discuss what it is to write disabled characters, and read from their work.
Why I would attend: I would like to be part of the dialogue and listen to what other writers have encountered.

3:00-4:15 P.M.
It is more than likely that this would be a time to go tour the book fair, or have a sandwich, but in the event that neither seemed a worthwhile pursuit, then I would go to this:

"Salt: The Home of Beautiful Books
An International Reading"

Summary: England-based publisher will showcase readings by some of their writers who live across the globe.  And while there is no promise of this, perhaps there will be some discussion about Salt as a publisher since it's a small press and nearly went under a few years back.
Why I would attend: I've been interested in Salt for a while, and would like the opportunity to meet some of the writers. I have a special affinity for writers who aren't from the U.S.

4:30-5:45 P.M.

"Counterpoint Press Reading"
Room 309, Level 3

Summary: The writers published by Counterpoint Press in 2012 will read from their memoirs and novels. The press's editor will reflect on the aspects of each work that drew his attention, and the authors will then discuss what it is to be a Counterpoint author.
Why I would attend: Counterpoint is one of the presses that published Carole Maso, who is one of my favorite writers.  The press has a reputation for publishing innovative work, and so I would attend this panel in order to hear what it means to be innovative in Counterpoint's term in this newest of decades.

6:00 P.M. to 8:25 P.M.
As always, I would take this time to myself, but unlike the past two nights in which I scheduled myself nowhere, this night does have an event that I would want to attend:

8:30 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.

"Academy of American Poets Presents 
Lucie Brock-Broido and Anne Carson"
Hynes Ballroom, Level 3

Summary: Self-explanatory
Why I would attend: Anne Carson is one of my favorite poets.  I am always pleased to run across her work, and I would be pleased to listen to her read and converse.  She is a brilliant, interesting voice.  I don't think she could be a writer who would disappoint in person, or irrevocably change my opinion.


What events would you most want to attend on Saturday?

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