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The Worst-Read Poet in Boston

Emily O'Neill & the restored Ariel.jpg

I am unofficially the worst-read poet in Boston, but I have been doing a lot of literature-related things in the past few weeks.  Beyond the regular endless submission marathon, I have news of leaps and bounds forward in my word world.

First, AWP happened.  As the third writer convention I've attended (CUPSI 2009 being the first, and NPS 2010 the second), it had big shoes to fill, especially since all my writer convention situation up to this point involved performance poetry, which can be a great deal more engaging than academic discussion panels and networking events.  Happily, my apprehension about being bored was overwhelmed by the fact that I was busy every minute of all three days and found it nearly impossible to juggle both the panels I wanted to see and face time with all my favorite people.  The book fair was enormous (it spanned two floors of space) and even more intimidating than seeing Nick Flynn walking around wearing a lanyard and backpack like the rest of us.  Other writer-celebrity sightings included Cheryl Strayed on an escalator, Roxane Gay slinging schwag at the book fair's PANK table, and Rebecca Lindenberg helping to make a large dent in the bourbon available at the offsite reading I attended on on the 7th.

Speaking of which, I kind of ignored the networking aspect that everyone was on about, content instead to spend time clinging to my already-established friendships and taking copious notes, but for one new friendship.  The host of the aforementioned offsite reading, G.M. Palmer, is the one new friend I made at AWP.  He lives in Florida and writes excellent poems that repurpose mythology in a way even non-poets can appreciate (ask my friend Wayne--he is on his way to chef-dom and LOVED Palmer's set).  John Mortara is the one old friend I ran into at AWP.  He lives in North Carolina, runs this excellent project called Voicemail Poems (910-703-POEM), and we pretty much spent our adolescence together in various New Jersey parking lots while somehow never discussing that we both wrote poetry.

I'll be blogging more specific thoughts on AWP over at the Printer's Devil Review blog  this month in anticipation of our spring issue.  Please read, especially if you are interested in the panel where a mountain man wished death upon young lovers, or if you care about Sylvia Plath (I've got both lascivious gossip to talk about, as well as deeply compelling critical views).  I will also be sharing my pictogram notes from panels, which I'm pretty damn proud of as far as doodles go.  The first entry is live today!

Speaking of live today, My poem "Litany For The Waning Moon" can be found in Word Riot's March issue.  It's about space travel and guilt, among other things, and belongs to my as-yet unfinished series of moon poems.  So far, only its brother "Truces For The New Moon" has found a home for itself, but these suckers just keep multiplying like Gremlins after midnight, so expect more of them to turn up soon.

Finally, I signed up for a Monday night fiction workshop that starts in the month of April. I can't wait to get back in the classroom for the first time in nearly three years.  On that note, I've been researching fiction MFA programs, trying to ascertain if I could make such a thing happen for myself.  With full funding, of course.  As always, big plans, even if I am deeply under-qualified.