As every poet/writer/creative writing associate professor already knows, the AWP Conference kicks off today in Boston. For those who don’t know, this is a wild weekend of panels, readings, more readings, book exhibits, more poetry readings, drinking, bad dancing by poets, readings, and general literary funtimes.1
Once again, Open Letter will be attending (both Kaija and I will be there), and once again, we have a table at the end of the end of the world. So if you’re lost up on the second floor of the exhibition center, come see us at Z24, which is probably next to the Dianetics stand, that weirdo puppet guy, and some grad student who makes bongs and bookmarks out of beer cans.2
If you do make it to our stand, we will greet you with a free Thousand Morons T-shirt, and will sell you any of our books—from The Canvas to Maidenhair to Death in Spring to Zone to The Private Lives of Trees to Ergo—for $10 each.
So come see us! And if you can’t find our booth, just check all the parties. We’re gonna rip this scene up and teach you flannel children how publishers party.
1 Oh, and desperation and skinny jeans. Lots and lots of desperation. The vast majority of attendees are young
hipsters writers looking to break into print. So yeah. It’s like a casting couch for lyric poets!
2 Seriously, AWP Adminstrators. Why the shit are we relegated to this part of the exhibition hall? Who do I have to sleep with to get Open Letter—one of the more prestigious independent presses in the country—into a space near our comprable presses? It’s really irritating to be floors away from NYRB and New Directions and Graywolf and all the areas where people actually buy books . . . Seriously. There are start-up presses publishing single poems on the back of napkins that have better placement than we do. These presses won’t even be around next year, after their bearded directors blow all their sales money (“Oh, I just love the concreteness of your publishing enterprise. Napkin poems make me feel so alive.”) on fake mushrooms and more skinny jeans. Then again, writers generally don’t, and creative writing programs definitely don’t have any sense of perspective, so I guess it only makes sense that your exhibition hall layout is so jacked. Congratulations!
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .