Oliver, why haven't you been posting?
Well, for a number of reasons, really. I didn't want to pay for internet at the Hyatt Regency in Denver. Way too expensive for the little time that I would eventually find to be on the internet. And for another reason, as soon as I got back from Denver, I suffered from flu-like symptoms which I had Tuesday and Wednesday, and which, subsequently, I passed on to my toddler and my wife. Let's just say the de la Paz household has been on high-alert for awhile now.
That said, I'm posting now, and I feel like I owe you a few snapshots and tid-bits about AWP.
I got into Denver and shared a cab with Sarah Maclay, my host for the Third Area/Pharmaka reading at the end of the month.
Once I got into my hotel, Vikas and I met up with some other Kundiman fellows, and also met up with Iris Law, editor and founder of a new online literary journal, The Lantern Review.
Later that evening, I went to and participated in the Cave Canem/Kundiman reading at the Mercury Cafe.
The readers were Paisley Rekdal, Dawn Lundy Martin, Kazim Ali, Toi Derricote, myself, Cornelius Eady, then the hosts--Ching-In Chen and Tara Betts read, followed by an open reading of Kundiman and Cave Canem fellows.
So great to share the stage with such a fierce cadre of writers and activists.
I was super nervous and there was a python on a piano behind me.
You can see it next to Cornelius.
After the reading (which ended at 11PM), we milled around, chit chatted with everyone, sold a few books, and then set back out to the hotel. Of course, Vikas and I got lost, and so wandered downtown Denver, passing the capital building, a few monuments, etc. Nice to see area, but it would've been better had it been planned.
The next day brought the Kundiman panel. It was quite a thing to see Bao Phi, David Mura, Pimone Triplett, Kimiko Hahn, and a few other notable Asian American poets in attendance to hear the Kundiman fellows "testify."
From left to right, Rick Barot, Ron Villanueva (obstructed), Vikas Menon, Esther Lee, Matthew Olzmann, and Janine Joseph talked about the organization. There was much laughter and a few tears. Sarah and Joseph were missed and were mentioned more than once.
Afterwards, I wandered the book fair and encountered some of its denizens:
John Gallaher and Mary "The Boss" Biddinger.
Charles Jensen and Sandra Beasley
And there were other happenings too. I attended and participated in the CSU/Akron reading at Paris on the Platte which was great. No one was "that guy." You know "that guy." That guy who reads twice as long as everyone else. That guy who reads for 20 minutes when they're supposed to read for five minutes. That guy.
Of course, John Gallaher was being his usual self.
I don't think I have a single photograph of him making a "serious" face.
John Gallaher (he's really being goofy, you just can't tell in the photo)
Allison Benis-White (lovely and lovelier in person)
David Dodd Lee
Beckian Fritz Goldberg
So there was that reading. It was a heck of an evening and, as I said, no one was a jerk and read too long.
Outside of that, I'm pooped. I felt like a dude who'd climbed up a wall for several days: