Report: Atlanta Queer Literary Festival

Over the weekend I made a jaunt down to Atlanta for the AQLF. It was super fun!

I got in Friday night and had a nice dinner with friends, then went back to my hotel and hit the hay. Saturday I had breakfast with Jim Elledge, which is one of the nicest ways to start a day, and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading my poems to people, listening to other people’s works, and chatting with other writers.

The festival was small, but it was nice. There was a very collegial and intimate feel to the day. It’s the most fun I’ve had at a literary event that I didn’t plan myself. LOL.

Other highlights were running into Michael Montlack, who edited My Diva, hearing Andrew Bierle read the opening of First Person Plural, hearing Collin Kelley, Dustin Brookshire, and Megan Volpert read their work, then spending various amounts of time hanging out. Jim’s new chapbook is amazing, by the way. H, the full length version, is going to be fantastic when it comes out.

Odd story: I rode MARTA (their metro) to and from the airport and around town. On my way in, suitcase in tow, a woman struck up a conversation on the platform with me. (Mostly, she wanted to talk.) It turned out she was born in Milwaukee and had lived in Tempe for some time, and also loved DC. Then she went on and on about all the awful things that have happened to her–losing jobs, losing savings, etc, and I was totally sure I was in for the long-form panhandle like I got last time I was in Atlanta (guy talked to me for 15 minutes about how he was a Katrina refugee…then, did I have $5?). But when we got off in Decatur, she very kindly asked me where I was staying, then gave me clear directions to get there. And she said, “Enjoy your visit.” And was gone. I have a theory on stuff like this that I’ll share another time.

Even weirder, as I walked out the MARTA exit, another woman asked me if I understood the directions or needed more help. I looked around and was like, “Um, me?” And she was like, “Yeah, you.” I thanked her but said I knew where I was going. I couldn’t believe people were so friendly. It was a nice change of pace. In DC, when strangers talk to you, they just want to know what kind of shaving cream to buy, or if they can skip you in the line at Target because they’re so much busier than you are.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun, and I needed the mini break from DC!

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