Thursday Schedule // Meridian Contributors at AWP 2014

AWP 2014 Seattle
It’s that time again, y’all: AWP is again upon us. Below you’ll find our first Meridian guide to AWP 2014, which includes a list of panels featuring past and present Meridian contributors; their names are bolded.

Thursday 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Room 606, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R116. Eco-Spectacular Vision: Post-pastoral Poetics in the 21st Century. (Ravi Shankar,  G.C. Waldrep,  Arielle Greenberg,  Melissa Tuckey,  Marcella Durand ) Somewhere between when Frank O’Hara wrote “it is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass” to Jane Griffiths writing in Orion that “a series of artifices has caused climate collapse,” a paradigm of poetics has shifted in ways that shake the roots of the pastoral away from myths of Arcadia to what William Empson has written is “the process of putting the complex into the simple.” Five vital poets and editors explore.

Thursday 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Room 101, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 1

R154. Goodbye, Lenin: Poets Write the Cold War and Its Aftermath. (Jehanne Dubrow,  Michele Chan Brown,  Michael Dumanis,  John Drury,  Jacob Shores-Arguello) 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. In this reading, five American poets explore landscapes of the Iron Curtain: East Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, and the Ukraine. These poets present their direct encounters with the Eastern Bloc, exploring what it means to have witnessed firsthand the traumas of Communism and to have watched as the region made its delicate transition to democracy.

Thursday 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Room 303, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

R158A. Booklift: The Author Cooperative Model for Launching New Work. (Kelli Russell Agodon,  Susan Rich,  Elizabeth Austen,  Sarah Callender,  Janna Cawrse Esarey) What is an author to do when publishers’ marketing budgets evaporate? Many in Seattle are forming their own marketing collectives, such as Booklift, wherein authors become the promoters of one another’s work, utilizing a cooperative rather than competitive model. In this panel, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction writers will discuss author collectives and the promotional strategies they have used to lift one another’s work.

Thursday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 400, Washington State Convention Center, Level 4

R168. Fabulist Fiction for a Hot Planet(Christian Moody,  Tessa Mellas,  Alexander Lumans,  E. Lily Yu,  Matt Bell) This panel of fabulists explores how eco-conscious fabulism is changing the literary landscape and public imagination. Panelists survey this trend in a collage of eco-fabulism from Kevin Brockmeier, Paolo Bacigalupi, Julia Slavin, Blake Butler, Alissa Nutting, and others. They dissect its writerly effects, pedagogical uses, and potential political and social reach in the world. Read it. Write it. Teach it. Eco-fabulism is the future and a way that writers can help save the world.

Thursday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R177. Literary Politics: White Guys and Everyone Else.(Lorraine Berry,  Roxane Gay,  Amy Hoffman,  Aimee Phan,  Mat Johnson) Even when women writers lean in, they’re rarely afforded equal respect. This we know, post-VIDA counts and other depressing statistics. But race and sexual orientation can also brand you as an identity author constrained to talk about your people rather than the big questions of literature. Rather than the usual one-note focus on gender discrimination, this moderated panel of diverse writers discusses the challenges they’ve faced and why it’s still mostly a straight white men’s club.

Thursday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 101, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 1

R183. Sounds Through the Wall: Writing about Music and Musicians. (Phong Nguyen,  A. Manette Ansay,  Will Boast,  Constance Squires,  Tom Williams) This panel brings together writers with experience writing about music and musicians to discuss the unique challenges encountered when representing something as visceral, immediate, and sensory as music in a literary medium. How can such attention to auditory experience enhance one’s storytelling, and how do these authors evoke music without relying on abstraction, cliched language, or assumed familiarity with certain songs?

Thursday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 304, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

R188. Writing the Monster Body(Carrie Shipers,  Andrea Scarpino,  Aaron Raz Link,  Kwame Dawes,  emily danforth) Under the bed, in the real or proverbial closet, in movies, in politics, in history, and even in our own bodies, today there are more “monsters” than ever. In this panel, five writers from three genres discuss the risks and rewards of writing the monster body. Some questions to be considered: How do we depict what’s human about what’s monstrous, and vice versa? How do we best question socially constructed monster-hood? And what does it mean when the monster is us?

Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 3B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3

R197. Writing Rules I Break, Presented by The Southampton Review. (Lou Ann Walker,  Susan Scarf Merrell,  Dinah Lenney,  Robert Wrigley,  Rachel Pastan) Writing workshop leaders often focus on the rules of narrative arc, point of view, characterization, and punctuation. But the rule breakers of today are the rule makers of the canon. How can we know when to stretch and bend literary principles? A craft talk by writers who know the rules and know when to circumvent them, this panel, which includes fiction writers, memoirists, literary review editors, and a poet, considers when and how rule breakers are able to create livelier, more exciting work.

Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R201. Before the Door of God. (C. Dale Young,  Mary Szybist,  Bruce Beasley,  Mark Jarman,  Jacqueline Osherow) Before the Door of God is a poetry reading in celebration of the publication of Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry, edited by Jay Hopler and Kimberly Johnson, and published by Yale University Press.
(This one is a Meridian contributor bonanza!)

Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R206. You Can’t Go Home Again: Post-Iraq Assimilation, Trauma, and Narrative Art. (Arna Bontemps Hemenway,  Roy Scranton,  D. Jason Morris,  Phil Klay) How does one write in the long shadow of the Iraq War? While the war is now largely elided in the popular consciousness, a new American postwar fiction and nonfiction is surfacing. Three author-veterans of Iraq and two civilians take up the issues of writing about PTSD, Iraq’s effect on contemporary narrative, and the intersection of national memory and creative work, as well as the struggles, advantages, and best practices of writing about the war as a civilian, or as a Veteran.

Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 101, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 1

R214. The Floating Bridge Press 20th Anniversary Reading Featuring Washington State Poets. (Kathleen Flenniken,  Nancy Pagh,  Molly Tenenbaum,  Dennis Caswell,  Timothy Kelly) A reading by four poets celebrating the merit and variety of Floating Bridge Press, a small but respected and regionally significant all-volunteer press dedicated to publishing and publicizing emerging Washington State poets through an annual chapbook competition, the annual publication of a journal, Floating Bridge Review, public readings, and beginning in 2012, a few remarkable full-length poetry collections.
Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 301, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

R216. Under-the-Radar Trends in Contemporary American Poetry. (David Roderick,  Tomas Morin,  Shara Lessley,  Paul Otremba,  Rachel Richardson) What cultural forces are shaping how younger writers compose and imagine their poems? How have recent political events, social dynamics, and technological advances influenced their aesthetic and ethical concerns? While it is impossible to map out the entire landscape of contemporary American poetry, members of this panel will report on current developments that have not yet come to our collective critical attention.

Thursday 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 302, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

R217. From Borges to the Gnostics: Tribute to the work of Willis Barnstone. (Sholeh Wolpe,  Yusef Komunyakaa,  Stanley Moss,  Robert Stewart) For sixty years, Willis Barnstone has been opening up American poetry to the rest of the world through his more than seventy books of poetry, translation, memoir, criticism, and religious scholarship. Winner of numerous awards, mentor to generations of younger writers, Willis Barnstone is a national treasure. The panelists will share anecdotes and analyses and read from his work, followed by a reading by Willis Barnstone himself.
Thursday 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2

R245. The Legacy of Richard Hugo . (Laura Scott,  Lois Welch,  Richard Robbins,  Greg Pape) The legacy of Richard Hugo is a powerful force at the University of Montana. This panel pays tribute to Hugo’s continuing influence on the creative writing program at the University, as well as the lasting impact of his career on the larger writing community.

Thursday 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R267. CW at the U: A Poetry Reading. (Andrew Feld,  Linda Bierds,  Richard Kenney,  Heather McHugh,  Pimone Triplett) Founded in 1947 by Theodore Roethke, the University of Washington Creative Writing Program is one of America’s oldest MFA programs and the preeminent literary institution in the Pacific Northwest. Current faculty members will read their own work along with selected poems by former UW CW faculty members Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, William Matthews, Denise Levertov, and David Wagoner.

Thursday 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

R269. The AWP George Garrett Award: Who Exactly was George Garrett?. (Erika Seay,  Richard Bausch,  Robert Bausch,  Kelly Cherry,  Casey Clabough) This panel, consisting of several celebrated writers who knew Garrett intimately, as well as his biographer, relates the work and life of this AWP co-founder and former president with a conceptual focus on educating younger conference participants about the person and qualities which lie behind an important AWP award. Interspersed with lively tales from Garrett’s career, topics broached include his wide-ranging writings, his tireless and prodigious support of younger writers, and his immense service to the profession (including the co-founding the Fellowship of Southern Writers). The panel hopes to articulate Garrett’s unfailing dedication to professional service and personal encouragement in the writing life as models for younger writers.

Thursday 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 303, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

R279. Wesleyan University Press Reading. (Yusef Komunyakaa,  Brenda Hillman,  Peter Gizzi,  Brenda Coultas,  Joseph Harrington) Since 1959, Wesleyan University Press has demonstrated a continued dedication to the literary arts. Best known for its award-winning poetry series, the press has also ventured into fiction and hybrid works. This reading shares the diversity of voice and style that is characteristic of Wesleyan. From jazz poetry and politically charged verse to provocative fiction and forms that blur the lines between poetry and prose, Wesleyan continues to nurture exceptional literature in a variety of forms.

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