bookshelves by David






It is particularly fun (and scary) to have your book group read YOUR novel

"Disappeared in America" at Western New England School of Law

Three new novels that tell (the) truth


Robby's wildflower garden



















Celine Keating, Elizabeth Nunez, Tiphanie Yanique, Ellen Meeropol, Marnie Mueller

I didn't take any photos this week; this one is the fiction writing group from a few years ago

Robby with Jenn











BETWEEN THE LINES

AWP Musings

March 1, 2014

Tags: AWP

It's the last day of AWP (the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs) and I'm exhausted, sick, and totally invigorated. I'm sitting in one of the cafe areas of the Bookfair, sipping hot Earl Grey tea for my sore throat, listening to the melodic drone of a reading just beyond my range of hearing words. If I look past the round cafe tables, I can see the Red Hen Press sign. I'm happy.

Every year, friends ask why I come to AWP, even those years when I'm not on a panel or promoting a book. I'm not an academic writer. No university pays my way. It's hard to explain why I love it so much.

Partly, it's the programs. But honestly, some panels are terrific and some, not so much. This year, I attended panels on writing the other, on eco-fiction, on writing as witness and writing for social justice. I learned some things about the DIY book tour and writing with vulnerable populations. My nasty cough made me leave a few others early; I wished I could have stayed.

Partly, it's the books. I always leave with a few new ones, despite the impossibility of fitting them in my suitcase. I'm particularly thrilled to now own new poetry collections by Lesle Lewis and Kate Gale. I also return home with a list of books I've got to buy and read: Harbor by Lorraine Adams and The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway are high on the list.

And it's the book fair - it's crowded and noisy and overwhelming. But it's strong evidence that small presses and lit mags and MFA programs and community writing projects are many and varied, alive and well. I love that.

Mostly, it's the people. The planned meetings and the surprises. The writers and teachers who have been critically important in my writing life (Manette Ansay and Lee Hope) and my
publishing life (Mary Bisbee-Beek and Kate Gale and Mark Cull and Billy Goldstein). And then all the friends and acquaintances I love seeing Naomi Benaron and Julie Wu and Christine Byl and Robin Talbot and Candace Nadon and Ruthe Rohle and Pearl Abraham). It's getting to hear and meet my writing heroes, like Ann Pancake.

What it all comes down to is this: I come every year to be part of this writing world. I am so very grateful to be here.

Why I love AWP

March 11, 2013

Tags: AWP, panels, readings

Iíve been thinking about why I love AWP so much. I mean, itís too big and too loud, with far too many choices and inevitable conflicts. Actually, I find it totally overwhelming. But I love being stuffed with 12,000 writers and editors and small press publishers into a conference center with recycled air and never enough bathrooms. (more…)

Reflecting on AWP 2012 and literary sisterhood

March 6, 2012

Tags: AWP, literary sisterhood

Iíve been home two days now from the AWP annual conference (Association of Writers and Writing Programs). For me, the conference started slow this year. The panels I attended on Thursday and Friday werenít very useful and I didnít feel inspired. I started to wonder if the panels were just an excuse for writers to get together with far-flung writer friends. I loved hanging out with Janice and Jean and Rosellen and Carol and Marie and Margaret and Jeanne, and with folks from Red Hen Press and Stonecoast MFA. I bought and started reading fellow Red Hen author Michael Quadlandís brand new novel, Offspring. (Itís a wonderful read; check it out). But the chaos and noise of 10,000 writers was overwhelming. And not in a good way. (more…)