Post-Conference Report

I was one of the lucky ones. I had no travel issues, whatesoever. It was a straight shot from SEATAC to Reagon Intl. for me, so I thank my lucky stars and the temperate Northwest weather.

It was a very different AWP for me this year. I had to arrive in DC a little earlier than in the past. I got in on Tuesday and met with my fellow AWP Board Members for dinner with many of the staff members (who are the backbone of the organization).

The conference was a blur for me, so this synopsis will be a bit of a blur, filled with half-completed thoughts, brief mentions, and a highlight here and there:

Wednesday consisted of an all-day meeting and worried words about travel delays and whatnot. I learned a lot during the meetings, and it was interesting to rediscover AWP from an "insider's" perspective.

Friends started trickling in on Wednesday and I managed to have dinner with Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Sarah Gambito pictured here:

On Thursday, I had a few meetings here and there. A few panels I was obligated to attend as a board member, but I managed to head off-site for the Blackbird/Diode reading which was a hoot. I ate dinner with Papatya Bucak, Susan Allspaw, Elissa Minor-Rust, and Deborah Ackerman, ASU alums who were in Tempe when I was a graduate student. I had, perhaps, some of the most amazing onion rings at Bucks.

Let's see . . . I had a panel on Friday. I then attended Sarah Gambito's panel, then another panel with Kundiman fellows. It was a hectic day. I forgot to eat lunch, so I wound up eating at the hotel restaurant with Sue, Pops, and Elissa again.

And then Saturday, Jon Pineda rolled into town. I hung out with him quite a bit. I had a panel talk with Ross Gay, Curtis Bauer, Camille Dungy, and Elaine Sexton, which was fun. Camille joined us via Skype which had some issues, but overall, it added to our larger discussion about communities.

Other things to mention . . .

These guys kicked ass on their panel. Not pictured is Neil Aitken, Jennifer Chang, and Andre Yang. They did Kundiman proud.

I also ran into a bunch of my former students who are attending PhD, MFA, and MA programs all across the country. It was a very strange sensation to see them, but wonderful, of course.

I didn't get a chance to go off-site as much as I had hoped because of board duties. I attended almost all the big evening readings (save Jhumpa Lahiri 'cause I had my own reading).

Other regrets--I wish I had more time to hang out with my friends. That's always my big regret for AWP, but such is the conference life.

I hope you had a great time in DC. I know I did.

Oliver de la Paz