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!
The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .