All posts tagged: conference

Consider a Workshop or Conference This Summer

If you follow this blog frequently, you probably fall into one of three categories: Applying for an MFA this year and anxiously waiting for the results of all your application labor. Highly or hardly considering an MFA and wanted to find out if current or past candidates got the most out their experience. Currently in an MFA and looking to help out who are navigating the treacherous waters of MFA applications or are considering one. Regardless of where you are, I highly recommend thinking about a workshop, conference, and/or retreat this summer if you aren’t already. Some of these places have their applications due this month or the next (VONA, Kundiman) or in March (Clarion West, Sewanee). Like the MFA program, a workshop or conference experience can vary. When I first started to get serious about writing and wanted to know more about craft, writing lifestyles, and the business, I went to my first local writer’s conference at the time, the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. I got a feel for others in the community, learned a …

What I Want to Remember from AWP

At AWP last week, I felt fortunate for the opportunity, yet overwhelmed about “making the most of it” and also, walking around D.C., I felt like an imposter. People wore business suits and bluetooths and walked with purpose, while I felt dazed and hungry and underdressed, and if that isn’t a metaphor for adulthood (at least early adulthood), I don’t know what is. AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) is the largest literary conference in North America. This year, over 12,000 people took part: ranging from graduate students to publishers to poets to memoirists to teachers to editors. Each day offered dozens of panels on a variety of topics. Here are some of the ones I attended: “What Journalists Can Teach Literary Writers,” “Writing from the Wound,” “Success, Failure, and The Green-Eyed Monster: Thriving in a Competitive Environment,” “The Craft of Empathy,” and “Writing Neighborhoods: (Re)Creating the Places We Live.” I think too often we feel inspired and motivated at these types of conferences, but when we return to our lives, we remember laundry, grocery …

Manuscript Review and Mentorships Available from The MFA Years Contributors

Image: Francisco Daum Reservoir Lit and Anthropoid Co are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to help pay for an AWP book fair table and promotional materials. Since The MFA Years has a lot of crossover between the two journals (Kenzie Allen, Minda Honey, Cady Vishniac and myself) some of our contributors have volunteered to review a few poetry and/or fiction manuscripts. Other perks include pins, broadside postcards, signed books from contributors and handwritten postcard poems. We’d appreciate any shares on social media or contributions, no matter the amount. If you’re interested, you can find more information about the Manuscript Review and Mentorship packages below. Cady Vishniac, Kenzie Allen and myself are offering our services. The Manuscript Review package is $75 and the Manuscript Critique package is $200; both are discounted. Click here to visit the Indiegogo fundraiser. Straight from the campaign page: Thanks to our sponsor, ApiaryLit, we have one Manuscript Review available, and more intensive Manuscript Mentorships. Both options include up to 20 pages of poetry, or 30 pages of prose, in-line/margin notes, a written summary evaluation, and …

On Proving I Exist

Image: Kevin Dooley Note: The author asked for this piece to be published anonymously. All names and locations have been removed. Recently I attended my first real writing workshop. I had a great time. Generally. There was this incredible generative vibe, this real feeling that we were all in it together, working on our best stories. I adored my instructor and my classmates, most of them, except for one. They were a former lawyer writing about their clients. Noble on the face of it, until you read the parts of their thinly veiled life account in which they called those clients “pieces of shit” or explained that one had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, “meaning they were an asshole.” When they didn’t openly hate them, they wrote about them in a way that came across, mostly, as trauma porn. They revelled in the torture of an old person in prison, and I should mention that the story also included enough information about this particular prisoner and their case that I was able to discover their real name within five minutes of opening up …

AWP Day 1

Image credit: BKL Long time, no see! I’m at AWP for the next few days and loving it so far. On Thursday, I started my day off at “The Poetry of Comics” panel featuring Erica Trabold, Bianca Stone, Gabrielle Bates, Alexander Rothman and Catherine Bresner. I checked it out because I’ve been working on a graphic novel and a short comic series. The panel was all I could have asked for and more. The writers read from their work and talked about how comics and poetry intersect. Much was said about revision, collaboration, ekphrasis poetry, and editing. “Comics is ekphrasis in reverse.” – Catherine Bresner, “The Poetry of Comics” panel I recommend checking out all of the above mentioned writers. Bianca Stone’s book “Poetry Comics” can be found at Pleiades Press (table 1511) and Alexander Rothman helps run INK BRICK (table 1741). After that I wandered around the bookfair. Always my favorite part of AWP (that, and meeting up with friends). I picked up “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” by Ocean Vuong, “When My Brother Was …

Lit-Cit; a no-brainer.

  Lit-Cit; a no-brainer I’m doing laundry. I hope I have time for a haircut before my flight to L.A and AWP, baby. Excited, to say the least. Before entering the MFA world, I had no idea about writer’s conferences, let alone AWP. What’s the point? Shouldn’t all true writing be done in a garret or a remote log cabin far from the bustle locust? In our last fiction workshop, led by Lori Ostlund (read her, her writing f-ing rocks) we discussed literary citizenship. Another new concept. And lickety-split, here I am riding the catch-phrase bandwagon, ticket purchased from Ms. Google, into definitions, debates and diatribes. This search lead me back to AWP, there will be a workshop on Saturday by Lori A. May author of The Write Crowd: Literary Citizenship and The Writing Life. The tenants are surprisingly obvious: Write charming notes to authors, check. Interview literary folks you respect, check. Read journals and subscribe, check. Write reviews, check. Buy books and rave about them, check (Aaron Reeder’s first book DAWN, just out by …

Adventures at AWP ’15

Back in January/February my friends and I decided we were going to drive to Minneapolis for AWP. Yes, drive all the way from Virginia to Minnesota. It went surprisingly well. On the way there we stopped in Dayton, Ohio, for Skyline Chili (Cincinnati chili represent!) and I always love driving past the windmill fields in Indiana. We arrived in Saint Paul around 3am the day of the conference. An alumna of my program was kind enough to let us stay with her, and she had tasty carrot/apple/ginger juice waiting for us. I reluctantly woke up a few hours later and headed off to the Graywolf Poetry Reading. Nick Flynn and Matthea Harvey were great, of course. I’d never read any of Mary Jo Bang’s or Katie Ford’s poetry before but I enjoyed them too. Then I got to see my wonderful professor Rita Dove sing poetry set to doo-wop. She performed with Sophie Cabot Black, Carol Muske-Dukes and Marilyn Nelson. My personal favorite was Plath’s “Daddy” sung to the tune of  “Dream Lover.” That night I saw Anne …