Wrapping up our series of AWP posts is this one from Jessi Haley.
“AWP is like a music festival,” a friend told me last week. “You have to have a really solid plan so you can see most of the stuff that you want to.”
Okay, I thought, maybe. Maybe that is how you do music festivals. With a plan. I, on the other hand, tend to show up with a vague idea of what is going on when and wait for people and/or circumstances to guide me to the good stuff.
But I took her advice; I pretended like I was at a music festival. I thumbed through the heavy directory, letting my eyes settle on random pages so that the titles of events jumped out at me haphazardly. I listened to the advice of my fellow MAPH people and sometimes followed them places. I skipped readings and panels that were probably informative or even enlightening. On Saturday afternoon, I ran over to Charlestown to spend an hour nervously holding my cousin Vicky’s fragile, squirming newborn when I could have been, I don’t know, acquiring more half-priced copies of Tin House? » Read the rest of this entry «
Continuing our series of AWP posts this one from Ariana Nash (MAPH ’13)
My first AWP, I imagined that someone would ask to read my work, I would meet my future publisher, and maybe there would even be a parade with confetti announcing my presence to the writing world. Or, I didn’t so much imagine this scenario, as find myself surprised when it didn’t happen. Instead, I had a few awkward conversations, bought too many journals I was never going to read, and felt a kind of agony of irrelevance — a stark reminder that I capable of intense egoism and insecurity.
My second AWP, I did a little better. I took home a few journals that helped me find new places to send my work — having not backed away awkwardly from tables or hastily grabbed what someone tried to sell me, but instead stood at their tables reading long enough to decide I liked their journals. I managed to learn a little about book contests, since I was finishing my first manuscript. I also met an editor or two from journals that had published my work. Of course, not to paint too rosy a picture, one editor told me, when I realized I had “introduced myself” without giving my name and belatedly told him who I was, that it didn’t really matter since he wasn’t going to remember my name in a few months anyway. » Read the rest of this entry «
A dispatch on the Boston AWP Conference from Charlie Puckett (MAPH ’13 ) Creative Writing Option
The 2013 AWP Conference & Book Fair is held at John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in the Back Bay streets of Boston. Once most people finish reading the center’s name, they take a nap and then go inside. In the 193,000 sq. ft. building there are 8 billion people and they have all written a book or a poem or frequently have creative ideas. These people walk around many tables that also have books and magazines and ideas on stickers and people who have jobs sit behind these tables and say many nice things to those who do not. UChicago’s MAPH program has a table at Booth 2811 on the second floor and there are very good looking people behind it, which is necessary because there are lines to meet them and less attractive people might not be able to manage the task as well.
On Thursday night at 6:30, the 2013 Keynote Presentation, a conversation between Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott moderated by Rosanna Warren, celebrated the successful opening day of AWP Boston. Warren declared the conversation a draw on the account that no one could understand their accents, though most favored Heaney as the winner due to his ability to make speech sound like a fawn lapping water from a brook in solstice moonlight. Everyone agreed, however, that it’s a good thing both Laureates use the medium of writing for their art and that Walcott had a mustache but Heaney did not. On Friday afternoon, Don DeLillo gave a reading from his work and participated in a conversation with himself because everyone in the audience was very busy whispering: “It’s Don DeLillo, It’s Don DeLillo.” » Read the rest of this entry «
Update from AWP: MAPHer Ariana Nash signing her book of poetry, Instructions for Preparing your Skin. Ariana’s book was published in 2011 by Anhinga Press, and won the Philip Levine Prize for poetry. You can check out her book’s webpage here, where they’ve posted a few samples of her poetry. We also have a short video from Ariana’s signing: see it below!
Continuing from the last post, this year MAPH was able to send our creative writing students to the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Boston, MA. In return, we’ve asked them to write us each a short piece on their experience at AWP.
Today’s comes from Carina Schorske, a current student in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities who is focusing on creative writing.
Writers love to hate AWP. I’ve heard one acclaimed poet refer to the conference as “loathsome,” another as “soul-sucking.” Several older writers advised me not to go: stay at home and write, they said. Lock the door.
But it is hard to trust Adam and Eve when they beg you not to eat the fruit. They seem so wise in their fallenness; they are like gods! And then the serpent slips a free plane ticket into your pocket.
This year, MAPH and the Graduate Student Administration got together to send our Creative Writing Option students to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Boston from March 6-9th! The AWP conference is a major annual event in the writing world, regularly attended by upwards of 10,000 writers and writing enthusiasts. We have forced asked our attending MAPHers to write us a series of blog posts about their adventures there, which we will be uploading to the blog as they come in.
The first is from John Beisner, current MAPH student, pictured above representing the (Mid)Westside out East in Boston (that is, he’s on the left). His post on flying into Boston is after the cut. Oh, and after the impromptu mouth harp concert of course. Take it away, Charlie!
MAPH’s new journal, Colloquium, is captivating the University’s intellectual and creative imagination. First, we made the UChicago Alumni news. Then UChicago Arts picked up the story. And why not? It’s fricking amazing.
From the story:
With so much to read, what is your niche?
Chaz Oreshkov: The work being done in MAPH interacts with real-world problems but at the same time retains a critical academic attitude. Colloquium succeeds because it’s both a lowbrow academic journal and a highbrow general reader’s magazine.
So you’re trying to be lowbrow.
Bill Hutchison: Lowbrow in the sense that we all get together in the great tavern of the mind to have amazing conversations, but feel tremendous joy about the kind of conversations we can have.
Papa Hemingway Would have Been on Twitter. He would have. Damn you. Damn.
MAPH might not seem like the ideal time to get your freelance and internet writing career started. But trust me, it is. I thought that, in advance of next week’s GradUCon “Making Writing Work” festivities (and the general ongoing conversation about getting intellectual-ish work), I’d share a few thoughts about pitching successfully–and about writing pieces that you don’t have to feel badly about.
And I hope that some of our alum writers / current students will weigh in (?)
If Gertrude Stein had been a MAPHer, she would have gone to see Jeff. I’m not even kidding about this.
Here’s a guest post from the Authoritative Jeff McMahon. We’ll post his lecture later this week. For now, he asks you all to consider stopping by throughout the year. No one who has gone through MAPH during Jeff’s tenure can gainsay his voodoo-like abilities. Check out his course this Autumn, Journalism: Arts Reviews.
2. Why does MAPH have a writing advisor? Professional academics engage each other’s work primarily in writing, and writing is the primary means through which your work will be evaluated at the University of Chicago. Graduate-level writing must meet some demands that may not be required of undergraduate or non-academic professional writing. So MAPH has a writing advisor to help you adapt to the particular forms of writing valued in the Humanities Division.
The submission deadline for the fall quarter creative writing courses is this Thursday (the 15th). In case you’re contemplating taking one of them, here are answers to some common questions regarding creative writing as a MAPH student, whether you’re in the Creative Writing Option, or you’ve never taken a writing class before.