Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AWP: I Arrive, *Emily Dickinson's Coconut Face* in Hand

Cover illustraton for Emily Dickinson's Coconut Face.
My AWP experience hit two high points, maybe the only two, but that's enough.  One was today when I picked up my badge at Hynes Conference Center in Boston: I didn't feel hostility. I didn't feel jealousy (over what, you might ask, all you did was stand in line and register). Believe me. When I'm comparing myself to anyone, an easy breezy task at a conference of writers, I am more than capable of insecurity masked as hostility. But my internal work this year has been freeing. Plus I'm taking a great class in New York, studying Hopkins with very smart people, which reinforces the beatifying effect literature can have. Which makes me feel good.. So today I just felt happy, relaxed, part of something but not attached. The feeling's going to last for the duration.

Second high point came yesterday in New York when I picked up my chapbook from Staples.  I'd volunteeredfor an AWP chapbook swap organized by Susana Gardner of the Dusie Kollektiv, agreed to show up with 30 copies. At some point 30 poets are going to meet and share. I was ridiculously proud of the results of my two days of work: a selection of five poems, a cool illustration on the cover, the Dusie Kollektiv seal, a bio. 

The poems--there are five--are orphans. With the exception of "Longing for a Blue Sky" which was published in Lavender, I've never been able to place them. I assumed they were early shots, good starts and nothing more, but together they work. At least I think so, and confidence adds a glow to the book. Books of poems need a glow.

I procrastinated pulling the chapbook together because I couldn't find the instructions and was generally panicked. Then I emailed a fellow swappee, publisher, poet, editor T.A. Noonan who graciously and immediately sent what I needed, bless her. Even though I have too many blank pages and committed an infinitude of infractions (I'm sure), these poems are happy to be with each other and proud of their presentation. So for me, without having started, AWP is a success.

Above cover illustration of my chap, Emily Dickinson's Coconut Face, is from S. Sekiya and Y. Kikuchi: The Eruption of Bandai-san, in Transactions of the Seismological Society of Japan. 13(2), 1890, pp. 139-222.} 

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