So, it comes down to this.
I won’t be writing about AWP anymore. Until next year, at least. And then only if I decide to trek to the windy city for four days in February.
For anyone who has been following my AWP round-up, I wanted to leave you with one last post. While I was there, I pretty much blew any book budget I have for the year. Maybe a few more (I somehow missed Jessica DuLong’s My River Chronicles at the conference, so there’s one…) will be snuck in here or there. But mostly, I’m set. I thought I’d post some pictures of the books I bought. If you are interested, the books can be ordered through websites and bought at your local bookstore. I’ll do my best to provide linking/author/publisher info with each photo. Something about each of the following books caught my eye, and although I’ve not read them all (what am I, superman?) I’ve read enough to know that the authors are most excellent and deserving of your reading attentions:
1. Scary, No Scary by Zachary Schomburg and Objects for a Fog Death, by Julie Doxsee, both published by Black Ocean. The folks at the Black Ocean table loved their authors. All of their books are lovingly (and arrestingly) crafted. Plus, they look as though they’d be just as comfortable at a Motorhead concert as they would at AWP, and that’s a plus in my book. Here’s a link to the Black Ocean website: http://www.blackocean.org/
2. Death-Defying Acts, New Poems by Erin Keane, published by WordFarm. As I walked by the WordFarm table, I looked down at this book and someone (who turned out to be the author, Erin) said, “it’s about the circus.” And I think I was hooked at that moment. Perhaps it was the subject matter, or the author’s cheerful voicing of the book’s topic that caught my attention, but it is the careful, compact lines that are keeping it: She is giving it her all,/teeth bared straight/at the lens. Write this/her eyes throw back/at us. Here’s a link to the WordFarm site: http://www.wordfarm.net/books/
3. The New Guard, Vol. 1. Not a book, but a literary review edited by the talented Shanna Miller McNair. It is Maine’s only independent literary review and is really quite wonderful. Check out the “Fan Letters to the Dead” that open the volume, writers writing to the dead. Lovely, haunting, hopeful. If you’d like to get involved supporting writing at the most basic level, The New Guard is funding itself through Kickstarter. It’s a very worthy cause and every little bit helps. Here’s a link: http://kck.st/hf6k4j
4. Fortune Teller Miracle Fish by Cathryn Hankla, published by Michigan State University Press. Lovely collection of short stories from a very nice person. The stories are surprisingly lyric, often quite brief. From what I’ve read so far, it’s easy to see that there are no wasted words here. Nothing left in for the sake of leaving in. They all count. Here’s a link to Cathryn Hankla’s website: http://www.cathrynhankla.com/
5. One Story. A wonderful and aesthetically pleasing journal. Every three weeks you get a short story nicely bound in the mail. Just one story, hence the name. One of the cool things about going to the One Story table was getting to talk with Editor-in-chief, Hannah Tinti, a fine, luminous author (The Good Thief) who presides over a staff of folks that bring good words into many homes. Although I’ve read a number of volumes of One Story, this year, I subscribed. With all the great journals out there, it’s often hard to choose which to subscribe to. This one turned out to be an easy choice. Here’s a link: http://www.one-story.com/
6. Pank. A nicely put together journal edited by M. Bartley Seigel and Roxane Gay, each fine and accomplished writers. They do an online version throughout the year, and one printed version. It’s a wonderful book full of stories/poems both strange and moving. Plus, I’m in this one, page forty-four, if you’re looking. It’s a wonderful collection, though, with or without me. Link: http://www.pankmagazine.com/
7. And last, but certainly not least, is this fascinating book: Everything Sings; Maps for a Narrative Atlas, by Denis Wood, put out by Siglio Press. The books at this table were as much art as book. They demanded to be picked up. In a world where more and more folks are turning to the digital for reading needs, Siglio reminded me that the book as an object is a far different thing than some pixels. Everything Sings is a book about maps, but not the sort of maps you’d expect. The author, a noted cartographer, mapped everything about his hometown, including the trees that had been disfigured (for power lines, for instance) and the paper boy routes. The maps are exquisite. Here’s a link to Siglio: http://www.sigliopress.com/index.htm
Okay! Enough! I have reading to do! Please support these authors and presses. They’ve done the hard work of drafting and revision so that their writing seems like it never had to be revised at all. The world is a better place for these volumes. Good reading!