9:00-10:15 a.m. 

S124. New America

(Wang Ping, Joan Silber, Jason England, Carlos Hernandez, Holly Messitt)

Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

We frequently see celebrations of American diversity through readings of individual ethnic or identity literature. This panel will gather contemporary fiction writers from New America: Contemporary Literature for a Changing Society to celebrate the diversity of American literature by featuring a polyglot of voices from across the spectrum that reflects a range of experiences and backgrounds and frames a contemporary American literature that is at once inclusive, substantial, and well-written.

S133. Poetics of Generosity: The Fine Art of Constructive Praise.

(Alden Jones, Lisa Borders, Kate Racculia, Ron MacLean, Christopher Castellani)

Room 305, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

Itemizing flaws tends to dominate workshop discussion. It’s a reflex that may make us feel smart as teachers, but it’s not what’s most helpful – or most rigorous. The real value in feedback is to articulate possibilities toward which that writer is reaching, and help them identify ways to realize those possibilities. In this panel, four Grub Street instructors will discuss how they’ve used constructive praise to help students improve their work and to build community within and beyond class.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

S136. Resisting Rise, Fall, Resolve: Strategies for the Anti-Memoir

(Elizabeth Kadetsky, Robin Romm, David MacLean, Joanna Smth Rakoff, Liz Scarboro)

Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor

Traditional memoir suggests a journey from tragedy to redemption with a sane narrator who provides a handrail through chaos. This panel discusses possibilities for disrupting the classic rise-fall arc of the confession, exploring ways to rough up the memoir genre. Authors can create danger through form: 2nd and 3rd person, graphics and text/image hybrid, novelization, fractured narrative, scrambled chronology, meta-textual deconstruction, or, simply, falling deeper and deeper as narrative arc.

S145. Poetry from WordTech

(Mary-Sherman Willis [2005], Marcene Gandolfo, Aimee Suzara, Zara Raab, Roy Mash)

Scott James Bookfair Stage, Washington State Convention Center, Level 4

Poets published by WordTech Communications read from their new books.

S146What We Talk About When We Talk About Subtext

(Catherine Brady, Marlon James, Thaisa Frank, Ilie Ruby, Pablo Medina)

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

Fiction writers from within and outside the traditional bounds of realism consider how elements of craft are orchestrated to generate subtext, examining how standard formulas for depicting character in conflict leave out essential dimensions of the relationship between the literal and the figurative, how the narrative arc can be exploited to generate subtext, and how patterns of imagery and diction are welded to plot development.

S161Sam Hamill & Friends.

(Bruce Weigl, Rebecca Seiferle [1989], Sam Hamill, Steve Kuusisto, Cyrus Cassells)

A reading in honor of renowned poet, translator, editor, and activist, Sam Hamill who, for nearly half a century has been at the center of American poetry, as a student of Kenneth Rexroth, founder of Copper Canyon Press, founder of Poets Against the War, translator of classic Japanese poetry, and author of dozens of collections of poetry. Joining Hamill are four poets whose work and lives have been influenced by his dedication.

S163. This is Not Your Country: Creating Characters Outside the Landscape of Our Lives

(Q Lindsey Barrett, Caitlin Horrocks, Donna Miscolta, Benjamin K. Drevlow, Sharisse Tracey Smith)

Room 303, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

To whom does the literary landscape belong? Memoirs of a GeishaThe Education of Little Tree, Patty’s memoir within Freedom: who gets to write about the female experience, indigenous people, an ethnicity or religion not the writer’s own? There are ethical considerations, yes, when memoirists speak for others, when fiction characters’ lives are quite unlike their creator’s personal history, but should there be taboos? Or is the quality of the writing what truly matters in our interwoven world?

12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

S186. Coming to Light: Evaluating Poetry Manuscripts

(Joan Houlihan, Jeffrey Levine, Ellen Watson, Jeff Shotts, Martha Rhodes)

Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

Book publication is a goal for most poets and a must for securing MFA teaching positions, but there is little information on how a poetry manuscript is evaluated by a publisher/editor. A rejection slip rarely contains any useful feedback. This panel will discuss teaching methods that demystify the editorial evaluation process and empower the author. Come with questions and expect a lively Q&A. Graduate level and above.

S187. The Supernatural School of Poetry

(Emily Warn, Brenda Hillman, Robert Polito, Dana Levin, Norman Fischer)

Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

Poets have long turned to the supernatural as muse and as source for symbolic systems which shape their work; such poets include Blake, Yeats, James Merrill, Margaret Walker, and H.D. to name just a few. Hear from a Merrill scholar and from contemporary poets who are writing in this tradition, using symbols, rituals, magic, and automatic writing to investigate the relationship between spirit and our worlds.

1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

S200. Reading Stevens for Writers: The Mind at the End of the Palm

(Linda Gregerson, Stanley Plumly, David Baker, Carl Phillips)

Willow Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor

“We think by feeling,” writes Roethke, but Wallace Stevens proposes more complex methods of inquiry. Our panel of poet-critics reads the poems, essays, and letters of this “philosophical” poet through contemporary workshop practices as well as both romantic and post-structural language theories to interrogate how this heady Modernist speculates, meditates, and reflects. We hope our examination will reveal how Stevens helps us sharpen and sustain our own ability to think in lyric poems.

S209. Lessons from The Grind: Fostering an Online Writing Community

(Ross White [2008], Michael Broek, Suzanne Parker, Jamaal May [2011], Matthew Olzmann [2009])

Room 606, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

Even the most isolated of writers must find community. The Grind has been one such online space, including now scores of writers, each committed to one demand—writing one complete piece every day and then sharing with each other. Over the last six years, writers in The Grind have produced dozens of published books and fostered exploration, innovation, and practice. Five participants share their work completed during the Grind and discuss how to (and not to) create online writing communities.

S221. Please Mind the Gap: Innovative Approaches to Writing Historical Figures

(Kelcey Parker, Caitlin Horrocks, Kathleen Rooney, Gretchen Henderson, Cathy Day)

Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2

The past, says Jessamyn West, is as much a work of the imagination as the future. Inspired by writers like Italo Calvino and Anne Carson, the writers on this panel embrace the fragmented nature of history and approach the depiction of historical figures more as collagists than as traditional portraitists. Panelists share literary examples, research strategies, and practical methods for portraying famous and obscure historical figures in prose, in poetry, and in the classroom.

S222. Comedy, and Errors

(Peter Turchi, Antonya Nelson, Steven Schwartz, CJ Hribal)

Room 301, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

Comedy isn’t easy, and characters conceived in comedy often have the dual task of being both amusing and serious, either alternately or simultaneously. Their stories often achieve sharpest focus at the intersection of the comic and the solemn, and it’s the author’s job to make sure one quality works in tandem with the other. The panel will discuss how a variety of such characters come to reach their fullest serio-comic potential.

3:00 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

S229. Beyond Kimchi: Writing Through Ethnicity

(Katherine Min, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Cathy Chung, Matthew Salesses,Krys Lee [2008])

Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor

Four novelists and a poet, all of Korean descent, will read from current work, followed by a discussion of how their work has evolved with respect to ethnicity, theme, and aesthetic vision. With changing publishing trends and readers’ attitudes toward “ethnic” writing, panelists will also discuss various perspectives of writing toward ethnicity, of writing “beyond” it, and of other ways to approach the gift/challenge of “double consciousness.”

S247. Modernism and the Lyric Essay

(Joey Franklin, Dinty W. Moore, Mary Cappello, David Shields, Lia Purpura)

Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

What can Joyce, Woolf, Pound, Eliot, and other modernists teach us about the poetics of the lyric essay? And can answering such a question help the lyric essay find its aesthetic roots? Join us as we discuss how modernist preoccupations with impressionism, self-consciousness, fragmentation, and free association (among other things) can not only inform the way we read, write, and teach lyric essays, but can also help us place this popular genre in the larger tradition of western poetics.

S254. A Tribute to the Poetry of Raymond Carver

(Justin Bigos [2008], Rick Ryan, Ashley Reis, Jynne Dilling Martin [2006], Carol Sklenicka)

Room 302, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

Raymond Carver is widely considered a master of the short story form, and yet Carver was also, from the time he began writing in 1957 and until his death in 1988, a poet. Carver’s partner, Tess Gallagher, describes the poems as the spiritual current running through the stories. While this is true, the poems also ask to be reckoned with in their own right. This panel gathers three poets, a poet/eco-critic, and Carver’s biographer in order to praise the poetry of Raymond Carver.

4:30 p.m.—5:45 p.m.

S262. Nothing to Prove, Nothing to Lose: Introducing People to Poetry without Scaring Them Away

(Michele Russo, J. C. Todd [1990]Crystal Bacon [1995], Renee Ashley, Martin Farawell)

Room 2B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2

What keeps people from embracing poetry? Were they taught it in a way that made it seem an intellectual puzzle they weren’t smart enough to solve? Did the poetry they were exposed to seem irrelevant to their lives? The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program staff and poets will share an approach for engaging newcomers in poetry that reduces their fear and values their individual response. The program has introduced thousands of teachers and students to the pleasure of reading and hearing poetry.

S263. Social Responsibility, Creative Writing, and the Urban-Serving University

(Liam Callanan, Julie Marie Wade, Nicole Cooley, Michael Kula)

Room 3A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2

Urban-serving universities, which serve a high percentage of diverse, first generational students, place high value on workforce development. This presents challenges and opportunities for Creative Writing programs in these contexts, and this panel will address questions such as: How can we balance a practical-minded mission with our artistic pursuits? What can our diverse classrooms teach us about authorship? What role can our programs play in serving the wide audience of an urban environment?

S273. Page Meets Stage

(Taylor Mali, Nick Flynn, Tara Hardy, Jamaal May [2011], Rachel McKibbens)

Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

“Where the Pulitzer Prize meets the Poetry Slam.” Taylor Mali returns to AWP for the third year in a row with another iteration of this popular New York City reading series. Four poets, from “page” and “stage,” are paired in several different ways to read back and forth, poem for poem, in an ongoing “verse conversation” on craft. Neither a competition nor an ivory circle, Page Meets Stage has built a vital bridge between two camps that keep forgetting they live under the same tent.

S283A. Small is the New Big: Publishing Story Collections with Independent Presses.

(Anne Valente, Molly Patterson, Alissa Nutting, Tim Horvath, Gabriel Blackwell [2009])

Room 301, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

Despite the rumors, story collections do sell. The contemporary publishing world is a rich marketplace for fiction writers, with independent presses taking up where the New York houses have left off. This panel explores the benefits of publishing story collections with small presses, the various paths to doing so, the process throughout, and the many opportunities offered for where to go next. Writers publishing with Bellevue, Dzanc, Five Chapters, Press 53, and Starcherone will present.

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