AWP wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. I felt like I was trying to have a good conference and a good time in the city and failing miserably at both.

Maybe some of you noticed that as I sped by you running here, there.

I didn’t get to see many of the people I care about, which was a big disappointment. But I did get to spend some wonderful quality time with a few people and that made me very happy.

I was also shut out of getting Mary Biddinger’s book for a second consecutive year because it sells out every time.

I drowned my sorrows by doing the entire book fair in an hour and getting these:

The Octopus Books 8-pack of chapbooks
White Boots: New and Selected Poems of the West, William Pitt Root
Key Bridge, Ken Rumble
The Bad Wife Handbook, Rachel Zucker
Sanctuary, Adrienne Su
Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link
Protection, Greg Shapiro
Want, Rick Barot
Lawnboy, Paul Lisicky
Horror Vacui, Thomas Heise
Columbia Poetry Review
Court Green
Our Aperture, Ander Monson
Jacket of the Straights, Vincent Zompa
A Conventional Weather, John Pursley III
Creation Myths, Mathias Svalina
Exit Interview, Paul Guest
In the Particular Particular, Stephanie Anderson
Harlot, Jill Alexander Essbaum
The Myth of the Simple Machines, Laurel Snyder
Never Cry Woof, Shafer Hall
Shy Green Fields, Hugh Behm-Steinberg
Mid-American Review
Your Ten Favorite Words, Reb Livingston
The Man Suit, Zachary Schomburg
Glean, Joshua Kryah
Scorpionica, Karyna McGlynn
Some Nights No Cars at All, Josh Rathkamp
Anne Boyer’s Good Apocalypse, Anne Boyer
World Jelly, Tony Tost
National Anthem, Kevin Prufer
A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow, Noah Eli Gordon

I will spend the rest of my life reading.

NYCboy872 ISO bookz

It’s time.

I’ve carefully selected my blazers and shirts, matched the ties, dusted off the Kenneth Coles, packed the cufflinks.

I’ve recharged the camera battery, loaded up the iPod with new albums.

I’ve woken up the boyfriend and told him to get his stuff together.

I picked a book for the flight (Persepolis) and packed my homework for the week, charged my laptop battery.

I’ve done the dishes, taken out the trash, turned off the heat, closed the blinds, made the bed in case my home is robbed and I need to show the thieves I have a modicum of self-respect while hoping they don’t notice the dirty underwear on the floor that I am too lazy to pick up today.

I am going to New York.

See you there. Or not.

Sealed with a Commission (SWAC)

Today I’ll spend the day in Glendale attending the 31st Southwest Arts Conference (SWAC), a gathering of artists, arts leaders, and arts administrators from across the state.

SWAC always has an interesting agenda; last year, Cheech Marin provided the keynote and discussed pieces in his collection of Latino/Latina art, the largest collection in America.

This year the conference will feature a reading by Eva Valencia, ASU MFA Alum and wonderful person, and Frances Sjoberg, Literature Director for the University of Arizona Poetry Center and wonderful person. I’m eager to hear their work!

As conference season begins, this is a nice home-spun way to begin.

See you in NYC.

O Canadia!

It was a long journey, but we made it to Calgary for WordFest, the international writing festival. The city itself is beautiful—although quite large, it has an intimate feel that belies its cosmopolitan vibe. And it is full of hot Canadian men. I might just get married this weekend…we’ll see if I can snag myself some Canadian citizenship.

On the docket: readings, readings, readings, and hopefully a lot of writing, and seeing an old friend, and some new ones.

It’s cold here. Very cold, by Arizona standards. Although some of my travel companions are from cold climates and haven’t been Arizonized yet, me? I’m freezing. I bought a special wool winter coat for this trip (and for January’s frosty AWP in New York) and have been bundled up in it and a scarf. Tomorrow: buying a hat, probably. It’s that cold.

But, beautiful.

Vegas, More

I was in Vegas last weekend to attend the annual Americans for the Arts (AFTA) convention. It was my first time attending and it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. There were sessions on Leadership, Community Development, and Economic Development that were of interest to me, and I attended a few things every day. It was so unlike AWP—which, I have to admit, I enjoyed much more this year.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I took much away from many of the sessions. I did attend a really nice discussion of issues surrounding revenue-generating programs in nonprofits, and I also attended the absolute worst leadership session I’ve ever encountered in my whole entire life. Those were the highs and lows, aside from what I mentioned yesterday.

There were two parts that were of great value to me, though. The first was meeting and listening to the other members of the “Emerging Leaders” group (professionals in the nonprofit arts industry who have only a few years of experience or are new leaders in their organizations). They are an amazing, dynamic, smart, and interesting group of people, all so invested in what they are doing and why they’re doing it.

I also got to spend time with some other arts professionals from Arizona, and they were dreamy. Thanks, all!

As someone who organizes a conference, it is so interesting to attend other conferences. I routinely found myself thinking, “Oh, I would not have done it that way at all,” and “What a great idea!” depending on the situation. It’s helpful to experience–as an attendee–other approaches to conference structure and planning. I got some good ideas from them this year.

Announcing: Good News and a Week of Lists

I have stellar, unimaginable news to announce sometime next week, but until I can spill the beans I’ll have to leave you in suspense.

Next week I’ll be posting a week of lists because I will be busy coordinating the 2007 ASU Writers Conference.

I work all year long pulling together the finer details of this four-day event, including selecting and contracting the faculty, arranging the venues, planning the schedule, answering questions, strategizing a marketing plan, and then: ensuring everything runs smoothly.

I’m really excited about the people who’ll appear this year:

Marilyn Bowering
Bernard Cooper
Carolyn Forché
Diana Gabaldon
Lee Gutkind
Tony Hoagland
T. R. Hummer
Tania Katan
Kevin McIlvoy
James Masao Mitsui
Walter Mosley
Laurie Notaro
Peter Pereira
Claudia Rankine
Aaron Shurin
Richard Siken
Gail Tsukiyama
Tom Wayman
George Witte
and more…

The conference is one of my favorite events we do at work. I remember attending the first two as a participant and just was blown away by the collection of talent on the faculty.

In any case, all of you: have a great week, and hopefully I can pop back in next week with my announcement. It’s a good one.