My AWP 2015 experience.
After our panel, Celina and I decided to hang out together. We headed to a panel featuring (gasp) Ana Castillo! The panel was put together by Feminist Press and featured her and one other author. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately?) we were late because our own panel's conversation went on a little long, and so by the time we found the place and walked in, Ana had already read. But we did catch the conversation afterwards, which was just as enlightening. The main thing I took away from this panel was that a lot of women really don't feel like they have permission to write. One woman asked Ana who gave her that permission, and Ana said, quite frankly, she gave it to herself.
How can we do that as women? Give ourselves permission to be this outspoken, out there writer? I think supporting one another is hugely important, encouraging other women to be brave and bold, but my goodness, at the end of the day, I think it's just a matter of allowing ourselves that space and freedom. In a world that silences women, it's hard to do, but, if Ana can do it, then it's possible. I teared up. I got goosebumps. I had to go up and meet Ana after the panel... (again, I met her for the first time back in 2007).
So Celina and I get up the courage to go and say hello, but once we get there, we're blabbering idiots and Ana Castillo looks a little annoyed/worried. Oh well. At least we left without regrets! :D
Anyway, after that, we head out to lunch. And then to the bookfair. Which was huge, overwhelming, scary, and beautiful. The best part? As we were walking through the aisles, we hear a voice call us over.
Hey! Hey! You ladies? Katherine? Celina? You were just speaking at a panel, no?
We turn around.
I just wanted to say "hi." You're like, famous and stuff.
Celina and I look at each other, blush, and laugh. Famous and stuff? Well, alrighty then!
That was probably my most favorite moment at AWP.
Anyway, we spent most of the afternoon at the bookfair. My back was starting to hurt, so I needed to take a little breaksie anyway. I wanted to meet so many more people, but I just didn't have the energy, either physical or mental, to do too much. I was happy to at least find the editor of Free State Review and thank him for his amazing comment at our panel (and he gave me a free t-shirt! Score!). So many more people I wanted to bug! But oh well. Next time. There WILL be a next time.
Oh, did I mention?
I brought my mom to AWP. Yes. I'm THAT nerd.
Anyway, if you follow my blog you know I have some health/mobility issues, so mom coming with was a real blessing. She didn't attend my panel or come with me to the actual conference, but she was hanging out at the hotel, helped me through the airport craziness, and made sure I was able to find my way around and get where I needed to go. Did I ever mention that I have the world's most amazing mom?
So, after an afternoon of... that, Celina and I decided to check out an offsite reading together at a nearby pub. How cool is that? I call my mom and see if she wants to join us, and what do you know? She does!
So the three of us trek over to the Yes Yes Books celebration. It. was. awesome. Truly. One of the best readings I've attended in my life. Danez Smith was my absolute favorite. New poetry crush? You know it. I wanted to buy his book, but they were totally sold out. Phooey.
Anyway. After the reading, I was tired and achy. It was time to head back to the hotel. After all, the next day was going to be just as full of events and craziness, starting with a 4am shuttle ride to the airport to catch a plane! :-O But I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.
Meanwhile... Napo 10?
I cheated a little with 10 in that, well, I kind of revised 9 and reworked it. I'm thinking to turn this little thing into a series of poems about the four seasons, comparing gardening to love/marriage. This topic is heavy on my mind lately. I was invited to read some poetry at a friend's wedding this weekend, which I'll blog more about soon, too.
The Gardener’s Song
Everybody falls in love in spring.
It’s easy with the pollen in the air,
sun peeking through the slate clouds, shy
at first, a smile held back, about to burst
into radiance. The naïve come
eager to work their clean hands through the soil.
Your garden gloves are stiff, a price tag dangles
From your sunhat. Pansies fill your arms
with blooms in every shade of love, mauve
of tongue, pearl like skin the sun has never
touched, or golden like the way her voice
feels against your ear. You tuck the seeds
into the earth and wait, water, dump
Miracle Grow, although the earth’s already
wet with dew and love. The first bud opens
its petals, slips into the lips of March.
The world is different now. Her flowers bloom
in every corner of your lovesick mind.