#AWP15 is happening next week. Which means that, depending on who you are, you are freaking out, running around like a chicken, excited, already packing, already budgeting how many books you can buy or fit in your suitcase, training for the drinking marathons, or just going on with your daily life like it ain’t no thang because who cares about AWP anyway. In any case, if you are going to be in Minneapolis next week, you may already know that AWP tends to fall on the side of CHAOS. And if it’s your first time, the whole idea of thousands of writers gathered in one city is more than a little daunting.
So here’s Entropy’s guide to AWP. The guide covers official panels, the bookfair, off-site readings & events, general tips, and a few entertaining gifs.
Don’t forget to visit us (CCM-Entropy) at Table 1837 where we will have free stickers, shirts for sale, and lots of books. (Plus, be on the lookout for details on the AWP Scavenger Hunt).
Selected AWP Panels:
The schedule of panels is longer than the manuscript for your next novel. We know. So we’ve put together a schedule of excellent panels just for you. You’re welcome.
Thursday, April 9
9:00 am to 10:15 am
Stranger than Fiction: Personal Essay in the Age of the Internet
Ben Tanzer, Megan Stielstra, Jamie Iredell, Wendy Ortiz, Anna March
What does it mean to write a personal essay in the age of the internet? And how do we decide what is truth when we as writers are expected to tangle with the pressure to create public personas? The personal essayists on this panel will discuss how they maneuver through these challenges–building brand, navigating social media, defining creative nonfiction, and yes, finding the truth in our writing, when the truth is filtered through the endless platforms that comprise our lives today.
There Be Monsters: Poets in the World of Novel Writing
Ken Rumble, Mark Wallace, Kathryn Pringle, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Jillian Weise
To many poets, the world of novel writing may seem as if, as was written on old maps, “there be monsters.” Yet there is a vibrant history and contemporary practice of poet novelists; poets such as Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, Renee Gladman, and Tao Lin have all written exceptional novels. The panel participants, all poets, will discuss their experiences charting the seas of novel writing: our processes for writing a novel, differences and crossover between forms, and publishing the results.
10:30 am to 11:45 am
The Voyage of Graphic Literary Forms
Mercedes Gilliom, Erica Mena, Tomasz Kaczynski, Brian Evenson, Diana Arterian
Four panelists who work at the intersection of graphic literature and translation discuss the challenges and benefits of transporting graphic literary forms from one language and culture to another. These writers, artists, and translators with backgrounds in comics creation, translation, editing, and publishing come together to share their experiences in reaching new audiences and markets for this expanding element in the creative writing landscape.
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Dorothy, a Publishing Project: Anniversary Reading
Danielle Dutton, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Amina Cain, Joanna Ruocco, Suzanne Scanlon
Dorothy, a publishing project set out in 2010 to publish works of fiction by women, pairing books from different aesthetic traditions to highlight the variety of narrative art being produced by contemporary women writers. 2015 marks Dorothy’s fifth year and tenth title: time to step back and consider how the project has taken shape and to celebrate its books and authors. Dorothy’s founder will talk about the project, while its authors will read from and discuss their work.
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Literary Arts Institute 18th Anniversary Reading
Anne Carson, Marie Howe, Claudia Rankine, Kim Anno
To celebrate a dozen and a half years of serving rural audiences in Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro, this reading features three writers who have helped create and extend the reach of the LAI through their own luminous work. One writer will read from the newest book printed in the LAI’s book arts studio and reflect with the book artist on the collaborative process of combining text and image.
The Essay Blinks: Multimedia Writers on Crafting the Visual Essay
Mark Ehling, Amaranth Borsuk , Sarah Minor, Eric LeMay
As literary publishing adjusts to the presence of both small-scale presses and web-based magazines, more publishers are adapting to and even selecting for writing that experiments visually. But what makes a multimedia essay? And what makes a good one? Specifically, which techniques render multimedia elements inextricable from rather than extraneous to a text? On this panel, four writers focus on the craft of visual texts and address how ancient essay forms are thriving in the newest media.
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
A Fable for Horror
Joyelle McSweeney, Valerie Mejer, Daniel Borzutzky, Anna Deeny
How do poets of Chile, South Korea, and Uruguay imagine historical horror? A panel of internationally renowned poets and translators from Mexico, Chile, and the US will explore how domination, power, dictatorships, torture, and massacres are imagined through fables of animals, insects, and flowers in the poetry of Marosa di Giorgio, Raul Zurita, Kim Hyesoon, and Valerie Mejer.
Erica Mena, Cole Swensen, Eleni Sikelianos, Cal Bedient
What are the possibilities of the lyric in experimental/innovative poetry? What exactly do we mean by ‘lyric’ anyway? Is the lyric essentially lost to personal feelings, or is there a poetic mode we can call the lyric that expands beyond a personal subjectivity? These poets discuss the potential for lyric as a poetic mode, as a site of innovation, and as an expansion of the possibilities of experimental/innovative writing, exploring how the lyric informs their work and the work of others.
Friday, April 10
9:00 am to 10:15 am
Ekphrasis Goes Prose
J’Lyn Chapman, Danielle Dutton, Lucy Ives, Amina Cain
While ekphrasis often seems the province of poetry, interest in W.G. Sebald’s use of photographs in his fiction—inspiring novelists such as Aleksandar Hemon and Teju Cole—points to a growing recognition of ekphrastic strategies that open possibilities in prose narratives. Four panelists will discuss wide-ranging prose ekphrastic projects, from fiction that enlivens paintings to illustrated novels to the appropriation of visual art techniques.
Four Writers of Experimental Fiction Disagree
Jeff Jackson, Kate Bernheimer, Susan Steinberg, Alan Michael Parker
What is experimental fiction? Is there any value to the terminology, or merely the promise of obscurity? The four panelists here, all fiction writers, all of whom may have written “experimental fiction,” have been asked to prepare remarks in two ways: first, how they are in fact writers of experimental fiction; and second, how they are not in fact writers of experimental fiction.
10:30 am to 11:45 am
Mapping New Territories: Diasporic Writers from Regions of Conflict
Kazim Ali, Hayan Charara, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, Ken Chen, Mong-Lan
In last few years, we’ve seen a rise in global conflicts (The protests in Cairo during Arab Spring and self-immolation of Tibetan monks in China). Diasporic writers, such as Asian and Arab American writers, have had a profound and conflicted response to what’s happening in their places of origin. Our panel features four notable writers discussing what “territory” might be, both literally and metaphorically, and what role their work plays in engaging with social and political dynamics across the world
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
DIY Small Press Publishing
Joe Pan, Chris Tonelli, Tony Mancus, Mark Cugini, Shanna Compton
As the literary and publishing landscapes transform, and the writing population expands, small and independent presses proliferate and flourish. But what goes into the creation of a small press? This panel of rising small publishers (Brooklyn Arts Press, Big Lucks, Birds LLC, Bloof Books, Flying Guillotine) will discuss the ins and outs of starting your own press, handling questions concerning basics like funding, printing costs, marketing strategies, submission policies, contests, and more.
Echoes Without Saying: Coach House Books Celebrates Fifty Years
Ken Babstock, Christian Bök, Susan Holbrook, Jeramy Dodds, Sina Queyras
From its charming old home on bpNichol Lane in Toronto, Coach House Books has been publishing innovative and important poetry for fifty years. Award-winning poets Ken Babstock, Christian Bök, Jeramy Dodds, Susan Holbrook, and Sina Queyras read from their acclaimed Coach House books to help us celebrate this milestone anniversary.
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Ars Poetica, Ex Machina: On Race, Gender, and Machine Translation
Karen An-hwei Lee, Arlene Kim, Prageeta Sharma, Margaret Rhee, Tung-Hui Hu
In our age of post-mechanical reproduction, what is machine translation? On this panel, innovative poets will discuss their creation of experimental translations using digital technology. While the flaws of machine translation are multifarious, those limitations offer potential for language experiments like back-translation, recombination, or code-switching within contexts of race and gender.
The Uncanny Reader: the Art of Unease in the Short Story Form
Marjorie Sandor, Karen Russell, Kate Bernheimer, Steve Stern, Kelly Link
From the unsettling to the (possibly) supernatural, the uncanny dissolves the borders between the familiar and the unknown, offering writers and readers a way to explore our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet. Four contributors and the editor of a new anthology, The Uncanny Reader, will discuss the influence of great uncanny writers on their own work. What new light might the uncanny, with all its weird habits—shed on the creative process and the art of teaching literature?
Computers in My Classes: A Pedagogy Roundtable on Workshopping (with) the Digital
Julie Lein, Amaranth Borsuk, Robert Glick, Matthew Kirkpatrick, Nick Montfort
From entire courses devoted to building collaborative, computational, and interactive literature to traditional workshops that incorporate apps, tools, or games only briefly, computers offer writer-teachers many opportunities beyond Internet research and social media. How might we make the most of the Digital in our classes? In this exploratory session with an extended Q&A, panelists will share approaches and discuss challenges, including questions about evaluation and varying technical expertise.
Breaking the Body: Women Writers Reconfiguring Creative Nonfiction Forms
Melissa Febos, Elissa Washuta, Lidia Yuknavitch, Joy Harjo, Sarah Dohrmann
Within the evolution of creative nonfiction lie specific challenges for women writers breaking traditional forms—through the writing process, publication, and reception. Craft is often overlooked when a woman’s writing includes personal elements, especially of body and sexuality. Four writers with distinctly varied styles discuss scrupulously crafting innovative work, and then navigating its reception in a culture with still rigid
conceptions of form, its limits, and who can break them.
Poetics Theater: A Textual and Theatrical Performance and Discussion
Kaveh Bassiri, Rodrigo Toscano, Joyelle McSweeney, Magus Magnus, Patrick Durgin
For centuries, major poets have also been playwrights. Modernist poets continued the tradition, exploring the possibilities of theater and its elements. More recently, by experimenting with language in physical, personal, and social bodies, a new generation of poets has been writing a hybrid Poetics Theater, that, like the prose poem, challenges the conventional notions and the expected boundaries of poems and plays. Join us for a unique reading and discussion of Poetics Theater.
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Argonaut, Citizen, Empathy, Inoculation: New Nonfiction
Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine
New nonfiction and the essay are reaching new aesthetic heights and receiving unprecedented readership in the next generations after Didion and Sontag. These four award-winning writers are at the forefront of new nonfiction writing. They will discuss the role of the first person, lyric innovation, and the essayist as citizen, as well as their own recent works confronting queer identity, race, empathy, and vaccination. Introduced by Fiona McCrae, publisher of Graywolf Press.
Fail Better: Successful Writers Talk About Failure
M. Molly Backes, Roxane Gay, Megan Stielstra, Dean Bakopoulos, Rebecca Makkai
Rejected stories, unfinished novels, bad reviews, poor sales, unmet expectations—failure is an unavoidable part of the writer’s life, and yet we rarely acknowledge it. In this lively and honest conversation, five writers will share their experiences and reflect on questions of success and failure. How do you define success for yourself when the literary world can feel like a zero-sum game? How does failure, by any measure, affect your work? And what does it mean to fail better?
Saturday, April 11
9:00 am to 10:15 am
The Bump-and-Grind of Meaning: Intuition and Formal Play in Hybrid Nonfiction
William Stobb, Jenny Boully, Matthew Frank, Elena Passarello, Caleb Curtiss
A thoroughly exploratory creative nonfiction tests the parameters of form and fact, talks back to narrative swagger, and bumps-and-grinds with logic. In hybrid essays, flashes of intuition and textual play brighten the corners of conventional meaning. Instead of defending claims, hybrid essays invite readers to an interpretive funhouse where they may be delighted, dismayed, refreshed. Recent contributors to Passages North discuss innovative works with the magazine’s hybrid category editor.
Split/Selves: Performing Poetics, Politics, and Identity
Neelanjana Banerjee, Chiwan Choi, Nicholas Wong, Samantha Chanse, D’Lo
In this cross-genre panel, we ask four internationally renowned queer, mixed race, transgender, and immigrant poets and theater artists: What constitutes the self in poetry and performance? How can that self be communicated to an audience? How do poetry and performance inform each other on both the printed page and stage? This panel will feature mini-performances and a discussion about how performance and poetry can work together to convey the truth of complex identities in a modern world.
The Politics of Empathy: Writing Through Borrowed Eyes
Matthew Salesses, Prageeta Sharma, Tess Taylor, Aimee Phan, T. Geronimo Johnson
When writers create characters nothing like themselves, it can inspire empathy. But authors often wrestle with their right to borrow another identity or feel confined to writing only about their own race, gender, or community. Asian Americans rarely get away with white protagonists; straight male authors shy away from gay characters. This diverse panel will consider what’s at stake when you cross the identity line, whether
white writers are guilty of appropriation, and other touchy topics.
10:30 am to 11:45 am
Wesleyan University Press Poetry Reading
Rae Armantrout, Sarah Blake, Fred Moten, Honorée Jeffers, Heather Christle
A dynamic reading reflecting the breadth of Wesleyan University Press’s esteemed poetry series. These five poets represent diversity of age, race, aesthetics, and poetic voice, and are among the strongest voices in poetry today. Each engages his or her subject matter in distinct, unexpected ways through the use of language and imagery. Their work contemplates popular culture, history, ethics, race, and politics, as well as their personal experiences.
I Am We As You Are Me: Exploring Pronouns In Experimental Poetry
Elizabeth Robinson, Ramsay Breslin, Laura Mullen, j/j hastain, Jai Arun Ravine
We live in a fast-paced world, in which our language is evolving as quickly as our technologies. Identity too has taken on a more fluid character. If, as Czeslaw Milosz writes, the purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, how might we talk about the history of multiple selves as expressed through pronouns in contemporary experimental poetry? What can shifts in pronoun usage tell us about the people we believe we are becoming?
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Action Books’s First Decade: An International Reading
Johannes Goransson, Don Mee Choi, Valerie Mejer, Daniel Borzutzky
For ten years, the midwest press Action Books has been ardently advocating for international writing, publishing both US-based and global authors in translation and serving as a raucous agitator for translation in the process. This event celebrates Action Books with readings by five authors of international renown, from Chile and Mexico, and Korea, including their translators.
The Book as Object
Mary Austin Speaker, Jen Bervin, Nancy Kuhl, Matvei Yankelevich, MC Hyland
A book artist, a scholar, a designer, a curator, and a publisher will weigh in on the field of book production in the wake of significant changes in technology. Some questions we will explore are: How important is a book’s “objectness” now that the means of production has become widely available? How has access to the means of production changed the face of self-publishing? What are the economic consequences of being labeled “poet” vs “artist”? How does a book become regarded as an art object?
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Publishing Translations: The Small Press
Matvei Yankelevich, Kendall Storey, Chad Post, David Shook
Publishers and editors at small presses will discuss the role of small presses in publishing translations. We will discuss practical considerations like finding translations and rights; editorial strategies; and the role of small presses in introducing important new works to an English readership.
Tender Buttons Press 25th Anniversary Digital Relaunch
Lee Ann Brown, Anne Waldman, Bernadette Mayer, Julie Patton, Katy Bohinc
Tender Buttons Press is a leader in avant-garde poetry publishing. Twenty-five years ago the press began with Bernadette Mayer’s Sonnets in Lee Ann Brown’s apartment. Design was by hand, distribution by person, marketing by mouth and the cost was “Free.” In 2014 the press relaunched on a digital platform with print-on-demand, and an aim to give fifty percent of sales directly to artists. A discussion on changing
possibilities of independent poetry publishing through shifts in community and technology.
You. Yes, You. I’m Going to Write About You. Mom.
Marie Mockett, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Porochista Khakpour, Ellis Avery, Alysia Abbott
If all the world is a stage, then your Mom, your ex-husband, your best friend, and even your teachers are fair game to become characters in your memoir. Right? Or maybe not? We are all writers of memoirs and have come up against the question of how ethical it is to write about people we know. Can a reader sense when a writer is lying? When a writer is just out for revenge? Does the truth always serve the story? Come listen to us talk about what we learned while writing our very different memoirs.
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Slow Publishers in the Fast Lane
Brent Cunningham, Lisa Pearson, Martin Riker, Anna Moschovakis
Independent publishers who value a noncommercial aesthetic of crafted bookmaking, editorial collaboration, and a cooperative approach to artistic production face unique challenges. Either they stand apart from the commercial industry and risk limiting their readership, or they find ways to exist in two worlds. This panel brings together innovative publishers whose unique publishing models work to cultivate an ethos of attention and care while navigating a fast commercial culture.
Essaying as Event
Roxanne Power, C.S. Giscombe, Rachel Levitsky, Elizabeth Robinson, Kristen Orser
Thoreau said essayists should be like saunterers. “Writing prose that gives up completion for process…never intending to arrive,” in Renee Gladman’s words, helps retain the kinesis of writing-as-event while drafting. How can essaying be an event beyond mere representation of it? Emphasizing digression, play, and genre interventions, five writer-teachers present strategies to resist static forms through recombinant approaches to teaching creative nonfiction and lyric and cross-genre essays.
The AWP Bookfair is perhaps one of the most simultaneously exciting and overwhelming literary spaces in existence. On one hand, there are awesome books and publishers at every corner. On the other hand, there are awesome books and publishers at every corner. In your mindless wandering, it might be hard to prioritize which tables you want to stop at. So here’s a little guide of places you may want to stop at on your literary journey.
The Account 1331
Action Books 727
Ampersand Books 1922
Anomalous Press 1527
Archipelago Books 1232
Area Sneaks 236
Ahsahta Press 1029, 1031
Belladonna* Collaborative 241
Birds, LLC 728
Black Ocean 731, 733
Black Warrior Review 1126
BOA Editions 830, 832
BOMB Magazine 1022
Brooklyn Arts Press 627
Canarium Books 726
Civil Coping Mechanisms/Entropy 1837
Coach House Books 1228
Coconut Books 1633
Coffee House Books 703, 705
Curbside Splendor Publishing 322
Deep Vellum 1527
Dorothy, a publishing project 1129
Dzanc Books 1112
Electric Literature 1838
Ellipsis Press 1253
Essay Press 239
Fairy Tale Review 1432
Fence Books 729
Fiction Collective 2 343
Futurepoem Books 232
Gold Line Press / Ricochet Editions 226
Graywolf Press 800, 802
H_NGM_N BOOKS 2019
Insert Blanc Press 1637
Kaya Press 2041
Kelsey Street Press 228
Lambda Literary 406
Lazy Fascist Press / Eraserhead Press 1843
Les Figues Press 1229
Letter Machine Editions 724
The Lit Pub 1922
Litmus Press 230
Magic Helicopter Press / NOÖ Journal 2018
Melville House 1008
Nightboat Books 1026, 1028
Noemi Press 936
Octopus Books 725
Phantom Limb Press 2038
Poor Claudia 2040
Real Pants 1337
Red Hen Press 1401,1403, 1405
Rose Metal Press 732
The Rumpus 824, 826
Sidebrow Books 723
Small Press Distribution (SPD) 1402
A Strange Object 1522
Subito Press 623
Tin House 1006
Triple Canopy 237
Two Dollar Radio 1837
Two Lines Press 227
Ugly Duckling Presse 231
Wave Books 926, 928
Writ Large Press 2041
Wednesday, April 8
Festival of Language / 4:30 – 11PM / Brit’s Pub
The New Century: Bloof + Coconut + Saturnalia / 7PM / New Century Theatre
Gazillion Strong Presents: Writers of Color Showcase / 7PM / Aster Cafe
Come and Take It: Texas Lit Party / 7:30PM / Liquor Lyle’s
AWP Small Press Night / 8PM / Crooked Pint Ale House
Thursday, April 9
THERE WILL BE CAKE: Quarterly West / 5PM / The Third Bird
The Broken River/King Shot/Ladybox Reading / 5PM / Boneshaker Books
a reading eXperiment / 6PM / Hilton Minneapolis
C’mere, Honey: an AWP off site Reading Event / 6:30PM / Honey
SpringGun, Noemi, and 1913 Present: The Event 3 – An AWP Off-Site Reading Party / 6:30PM / Harriet Brewing
FC2 Flash Reading / 7PM / Instinct Art Gallery
THE SPOON IS TOO BIG / 7:30PM / Kieran’s Irish Pub
Harper Perennial AWP Party / 9PM / Red Stag Supperclub
Friday, April 10
HEAT 2015: Hotter than Hell, A Benefit for VIDA / 11:30AM – 6PM
AWP Party 2015: Readings + Music w/ Third Man Books + The Pygmalion Festival + Mission Creek Festival / 5PM / Lee’s Liquor Lounge
AWP IRL / 5:30PM / The Local
Curbside Splendor & featherproof book’s AWP Cocktail Hour / 6PM / Grumpy’s Bar & Grill
Anomalous / Argos / Autumn Hill / Circumference / Deep Vellum / M–Dash / Ricochet / 6PM / Gamut Gallery
Two Dollar Radio Presents An Evening Too Loud to Ignore at AWP / 6:30PM / Smith-Sharpe Fire Brick Supply
Unwin-Dunraven Literary Ecclesia / 7:30PM / Azonic Lounge
Saturday, April 11
Tiferet Reading at AWP Conference / 2PM / Magers & Quinn Booksellers
Good News! Insert Blanc Les Figues Wonder AWP / 5:30PM / Acadia
Bizarro Bash 3000 / 5PM / Grumpy’s Bar & Grill
Real Pants, Submittable, Curbside Splendor present: Scrollbar / 6PM / Gamut Gallery
Sidebrow presents the Volta Book of Poets / 6PM / Harriet Brewing’s Tap Room
Embawdied Lit: A Drag Reading / 7PM / Kieran’s Irish Pub
Coconut + Bloof Wrap Party #AWP15 / 7PM / Mason’s Restaurant Barre
Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence two-year birthday party! / 7PM / The Crooked Pint
Ahsahta Press Reading at AWP / 7:30PM / The Nicollet
LIT + ART PARTY / 8PM / Public Functionary
Big Lucks x Black Cake + Magic Helicopter: GET OVER IT (an AWP party) / 8PM / Black Forrest Inn
Are we missing any? Let us know in the comments!
AWP Survival Tips:
AWP can be overwhelming, daunting, stressful, anxiety-inducting, exciting, hyperactive, fun, energizing, draining, exhausting, and many other adjectives all at once. It’s an annual happening, and there’s really no other gathering like it. Really, thousands of writers in the same city around the same event. So on one hand, it’s amazing to be around so many writers. These are other souls who are passionate about the same thing you are and finally you can discuss things here you might not be able to discuss with your friends back home. But on the other hand, it can be seriously exhausting to be around so many writers. Everyone is trying to “get ahead” and “network” and it’s hard to get a handle on what “you’re supposed to be doing.” Here’s some major advice though: you’re not supposed to be doing anything. Everyone’s personality and therefore AWP experience is utterly unique. Some people take advantage of the panels and official events. Others avoid all official conference proceedings like the plague. Some revel in the excitement and efficiency of the off-site marathon readings – so many readings from so many of your favorite readers! Some take the opportunity to see friends they only get to see once a year and spend the nights drinking, gossiping, and wandering the streets. Don’t go with any single goal in mind. Don’t try to kiss ass and don’t try to sell your manuscript. Just be your genuine, sincere, awkward self and have fun!
Some great advice on making the most of AWP at The Review Review: Making the Most of AWP: Advice from Editors and Writers
More advice from 2013, but still relevant, at Ploughshares: The AWP13 Post You’ve Been Waiting For
AWP is hard for introverts, but not impossible: An introvert’s toolkit for AWP
Follow CCM-Entropy #AWP15 updates before, during, and after the conference at Enclave.