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!
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
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Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .