Monday, February 23, 2009


... by an unpleasant bit of stomach flu. The norovirus is going around this area, and I'm pretty sure that's what it is (which is a good thing in a way, as its incubation period is short enough that I can't blame AWP for it!).

Before this thing hit me like a ton of bricks (seriously, it was one of those "one minute you're okay and the next you're definitely NOT" things), I was having a very pleasant Sunday. I went out for brunch at the Runcible Spoon, where I had a lovely omelet and lots of lovely coffee and started reading D.A. Powell's new book, Chronic (about which I may have more to say when I finish it, but it's pretty great). Then I set the book aside and started drafting a something or other. Eventually I got up and left the Spoon and thought I'd drive home, but realized as I was driving that my head was definitely still in the middle of the poem & that in fact there was more. So I bypassed my street & went to Starbucks (because lately I write better when I'm not at home), where I had a skinny vanilla latte and wrote some more. I haven't had a chance to work on it yet (that whole "sick as a dog" thing sort of interferes).

So because I am still ill enough that my judgement is probably impaired, here's the draft. I'll take it down in a day or so, as per usual. I'm actually not sure whether this is my voice, or the protagonist in my current project. I'm okay with that confusion, though. (And actually I think it's more the persona. The snowflakes are all mine, though. And the fox.)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saddle, back in the

Always lovely to come home from AWP and find an acceptance note in ye olde email. Thanks to the kind folks at fiore, a new local journal, who will be publishing "Forte, Fortissimo" and "My Clothes" in their upcoming issue.

Starting to get back on track with the minutiae of po-biz. I've missed a few contest deadlines that I didn't mean to miss, but tonight I'm getting the book manuscript ready to go out one more time. And as I was paging through it I think I caught, out of the corner of my eye, a glimpse of what I can do to make it stronger. So maybe this weekend I'll get out the hard copy and mess with it for a while. But for now, I'm going to go ahead and send out what I've got.

This weekend I'll work on the journal submissions. I hardly sent out anything last year because I was so focused on the book ms., but now that the book-thing seems to be at least somewhat housebroken and capable of visiting others on its own without making an embarrassing mess, I want to turn my attention back to some of the poems.

This poetry stuff, it's hard work.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One last AWP post

3 other things seen during AWP:
* an off-duty Secret Service dude in an elevator at the Hilton, official Secret Service bulletproof vest slung over one shoulder, very adamantly not making eye contact with anyone (I later found out Obama was in town & in fact had dinner not too terribly far from us... sigh!)
* ice sculptures in the park! Very cool, in both senses of the word.
* I already mentioned this, but bloggers, bloggers, bloggers! I think I must have met 30 of y'all, and even then there were several of you I didn't manage to cross paths with. It really was fun, even though I'm basically a shy person and overcompensate by babbling on. ;)

#1 advice I have to pass on to others:
* The coffee in your hotel room is bad. It barely counts as coffee. However: it is coffee. And it is in your hotel room. And if you're too poor for room service, like me, it will get you sufficiently awake to stumble downstairs.

The other #1 advice I have:
* Someone, and I have no recollection who, told me to go get my conference badge as soon as I got checked into the hotel. I did, and it took like thirty seconds once I found the registration counter. This turns out to have been fabulous advice because I hear that people who came in later were standing in line for a really long time, even if they were already pre-registered. If you get in on Wednesday, by all means get your badge and stuff that day. (And actually, getting in on Wednesday & having the evening to relax & acclimate a bit was another really smart thing that I did & will absolutely try to do again next time.)

My 2 resolutions for Denver 2010:
* I really want to read. Editors who've published me, take note! Random poets who can use another random poet in a reading, take note! I know it's egotistical as hell to want to read my stuff, but it is, after all, the Attention Whore Paradise conference (thanks Laine). And I love reading, and I'm really good at sticking to my time limit. ;)
* I really, really want to be there. I have no idea how I'm going to fund it, but I'm going to start working on some ways.

Some good news, just in from the Indiana Coalition for the Arts:
Update on Indiana State Arts Budget!
House Ways & Means Committee Releases Budget

Today the House Ways and Means released its budget which includes an 8% reduction for the Indiana Arts Commission, rather than the Governor’s recommended 50% reduction. This would make the proposed appropriation around $3.68 million (the last biennial budget was at $4 million). This is terrific news, as it treats the IAC on par with other state agencies.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

AWP index

Number of people whose names I mispronounced upon meeting them: At least 1, possibly as many as 3

Number of official panels attended: 7 plus the keynote address

Number of those panels which were readings: 3

Number of offsite events attended: 3, depending on what you count and depending on what happens tonight

Number of books bought or taken for free at the den of iniquity bookfair: DON'T ASK

Number of my own chapbooks sold, traded, or given: 11 so far

Number of meals eaten in restaurants: 2 so far

Number of bloggers I have gotten to meet in person: I can't count that high!

Number of poets I've hugged: I can't count that high x 2!

Number of free drinks imbibed: [redacted]

Number of people seen Trying Way Too Hard: [redacted]

Number of people seen looking glazed and overwhelmed: all of them, at some point!

Number of hours left before I have to check out of this room at the Hilton with the extremely comfy bed: 17

Number of bizarre dreams dreamed in said aforementioned extremely comfy bed: 0, actually

Number of new poems drafted: 4 (I know, I'm shocked too)

Number of "f-bombs" dropped in one of those poems: 10 (12 if you count the epigraph)

Tonight I'm headed for the Jeffrey McDaniel/ Susan Somers-Willett/ Patricia Smith reading. If you're at AWP and you don't know what to do tonight, this oughta be a good one!

Friday, February 13, 2009


... to everyone who stopped by my chapbook signing today and made me feel like a rockstar!

... to all the poets who've been so gracious about signing books for me and listening to me gush (I swear, it truly is sincere)

... to all the bloggers, facebookers, etc. who have peered at my nametag and said "Anne!" and greeted me happily and made me feel welcome -- I can't believe how many of you I've been able to meet here! Maybe now I'll start having interesting dreams about bloggers too. ;)

... to all the poets and editors for getting words out there in the world. Never doubt that it matters.

* * * * *

Started off my Friday the 13th with the most incredible French toast at the Eleven City Diner. Made with challah, battered just right, piled with strawberries & bananas & coconut. It was just the comfort food I needed this morning.

Walked around the bookfair until I was overwhelmed again, then spent some time chilling in my room.

Went to the Graywolf reading, which was terrific. Eula Biss and D.A. Powell both sent the room into that absolute still silence that happens once in a rare while at readings.

Then I had my chapbook signing, which was a lot of fun. Sold a few, signed a few more, chatted with a bunch of people.

Then I went to something else, I forget.

Shortly I'll head out to the diode/Anti- offsite reading, which should be a lot of fun.

Yep, definitely loving AWP! :)

Overheard at AWP...

..."A couple of times I thought somebody was somebody, and they were."

Yeah, there are some somebodies here. But also, there are so many people here that if you think you are a special snowflake just because you write or even just because you've had a book published or whatever, you will quickly be disabused of that notion. I think that's probably good for a person now and then. Boy, there are a lot of poets with a lot of books. Also, if you're thinking about starting up a literary journal? Think again. Because we have a crapload of them! There are tables for journals I've never heard of, and I've heard of a heck of a lot of them.

Having a lovely time, though. Every time I turn around I meet another blogger or facebooker or somebody I know from Provincetown or someplace else. I've even run into somebody I know from my undergrad days!

By late afternoon I had a splitting sinus headache, so I retreated to my room and took some Excedrin and closed my eyes for a while -- as a result I missed the 7 pm offsite reading I wanted to go to (Lambda Literary Fellows, which I'm sure was very good) but was feeling better enough an hour later to go to the keynote speech, which was Art Spiegelman. The sinus headache that changed my plans was sort of a blessing in disguise, because Spiegelman's presentation was absolutely terrific, and helped me understand some things about the relationship between structure and time. That's vague, but I know what I mean by it, and it's making me think in new ways about my current project... can't ask for much more than that. Plus he's just a terrific speaker.

A bunch of people have said they are going to stop by my chapbook signing at 3:00 tomorrow, which is really cool! And if 25% of the people who said they're going to stop by actually do stop by, it will feel like a very successful signing. (I know that people often have very good intentions and then don't make it -- goodness knows I've failed to show at several things I meant to be there for, just today! -- I've been saying that I'll be happy if two or three people stop by and say hi during the hour I'm at the FLP table, and that is seriously how I feel about it.)

Other stuff I went to today: the book fair (duh), a panel on narrative distance in fiction (which really did help me understand some stuff for my current project), the NER reading (which was terrific -- 3 fiction writers and 3 fantastic poets [Jennifer Grotz, Carl Phillips, & Natasha Trethewey]), and a panel on online poetry communities. And the book fair again.

And I've heard bloggers describing crazy dreams they've had about other bloggers' hotel rooms, and hugged a whole bunch of people, and gushed to the point of inappropriateness about people's work that I like. (I seriously do mean it when I do that, I just don't know when to shut up sometimes. Better that than not knowing when to shut up when I'm saying things that aren't so nice... right?? *grin*) I still have a few people on my "people I really want to run into here" list, but not many at this point. It has surprised me how easy it is to run into people here.

There are a few things I want to do tomorrow, but mostly the Graywolf reading and the Diode/Anti- reading. And if anybody wants to do lunch or dinner, I really need to have a proper meal at some point; the trail mix & Luna bars in my room have saved me a lot of money yesterday & today, but I'm starting to feel the need for actual food! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chasing angels in Chicago

A sunny day in Chicago, after lots of rain yesterday (I think I managed to catch one of the few brief dry spells for my short hike from the South Shore train station to the Hilton -- pure luck). I'm at AWP -- yes, my first AWP. Last night I already ran into maybe a dozen people I know, some of whom I'd never met in "real life" before -- which eased the "fish out of water" feeling considerably! I do have to say I am not the sort of girl who habitually stays in fancy hotels, so I'm suffering from a bit of sticker shock... I did splurge on 24 hours of internet, but after today I may just purchase an hour a day to stay minimally caught up. If you think you might want to get hold of me, ping me for my cellphone number.

I'm getting a slow start this morning, drinking bad in-room coffee and looking out at the windows of the Essex Hotel next door and the little patch of sky I can see. I'm trying not to be excessively ambitious; there are a bunch of panels and readings I defintely want to get to, but I know that I will miss more than I make. And that's okay. I want to spend some time wandering aimlessly and overstimulated through the bookfair (who started that Facebook group? that cracked me up when I saw it!), and just people-watching in general. I think I'm actually going to go to a fiction panel (I know... I'm just a poetry mutineer) because I found one that covers some ground that will likely be helpful to me in my current series of persona-ish poems.

Today I'm wearing my "tramps like us, baby we were born to run" T-shirt (last night I wore the midlife-crisis motorcycle jacket everywhere, but I think it will be too warm and heavy for all day) and jeans. If you're at AWP and you see me, please say hello, because I'm probably too shy to say hi to you! :) I may be a chatterbox here online, but in real life I am sometimes hesitant -- but harmless, really. *grin*

Monday, February 09, 2009

poems and prizes and piscatorial plans

Looky what I found!

* * * * *

Did anybody else watch the Grammy Awards last night? I have to say that M.I.A. should get a special award for performing at 9 months pregnant... on her actual due date no less. Maybe we should call it the "ovaries to the wall" award.

* * * * *

Looks like I'll be getting to the Hilton right around 3 pm on Wednesday. Trying to decide if that gives me enough time to dash over to the Shedd Aquarium before they close at 5. Probably not, depending on how long the check-in process takes me. It's been ages since I've been in Chicago! If anyone wants to get together, I'll be easy to find... I'll be the one wandering around wide-eyed, overwhelmed and overstimulated. Oh wait... that doesn't help at all, does it?

See (some of) you there!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fun and games, the AWP edition

Reminder: I'll be signing chapbooks at AWP at the Finishing Line Press table, 3:00-4:00 pm on Friday the 13th. (it's your lucky day! *hee*) And unless I get desperate and eat it all myself between now and then, I will have milk chocolate hearts and dark chocolate kisses for the taking. So stop by and say hello!

* * * * *

Of course, scant days before checking into the most expensive hotel I've ever visited in my life, my trusty '91 Corolla decides it needs a huge amount of money put into fixing it. Doesn't that just figure? Thank goodness my mechanic came up with a "twelve months same as cash" offer for me. Still... I'll be the one subsisting on Luna bars and peanut butter (the non-salmonella variety) in her hotel room next week. I'll probably go out for dinner once or so, but let's just say that "free appetizers" will be the magic words when trying to decide which offsite events to go to. Sigh! I'll still be buying a few books, though. Because I'd rather read than eat.

* * * * *

I do plan on blogging from AWP, although if I get busy and overwhelmed I reserve the right to take a nap instead. Rest assured I'll refrain from posting incriminating photos though. For a small fee. Muahahahahahahaha!

* * * * *

I managed to land tickets for the upcoming Springsteen shows in Denver and Chicago. After the Super Bowl halftime performance, demand for these shows was ridiculous, so I'm pretty relieved to have gotten these. I actually thought about trying to hit the tour opener in San Jose on April Fool's Day as well, but rationality and good sense won out.

This means I have three trips to Chicago in my future: next week for AWP, mid-May for Bruce, and July for the American Library Association conference. Even though it's only a couple hundred miles away, I just don't get to Chicago that often, so it's funny to be going there three times this year.

* * * * *

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to meeting some of my fellow poet-bloggers in Chicago. Please do say hi if you see me!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

AWP scheduling and a non-football draft

For those who are going to AWP: I will be at the Finishing Line Press table from 3:00-4:00 on Friday the 13th. I'll be happy to sell you a chapbook or sign one you already have -- or just stop by and say hi! I'd love to meet a bunch of folks.

* * * * *
Yesterday morning it was 5 below zero. Today it is 45 above, with brilliant sunshine. Everything is melting and the whole outside world sounds like a waterfall. We Midwesterners complain about the weather, but it's the fond complaint one makes about someone you've lived with forever and can't imagine leaving. Snow and ice, summer humidity -- it's the socks left on the floor that you know you'll be picking up every week for the rest of your life.

Granted, some socks are stankier than others. And we've had some pretty rancid snow & ice this winter.

* * * * *

Here's a drafty draft for everyone who's not preoccupied with that football game today. (Me, I'm just counting down till the big halftime show! Awwwwyeah.) This draft will go *poof* in a day or so.