I was jazzed to attend AWP 2018, the largest literary conference in North America.
It was held at the Tampa Convention Center and the Marriott across the street.
The venue and swag were impressive.
I was lucky enough to be one of the Tupelo Press 30/30 readers. I wrote 3o poems in 30 days in September 2015 for Tupelo. That experience came after the publication of Doll God in January, my father’s death in May, and my cat Mac’s death in June–and started me on the path toward Kin Types. I can’t over-emphasize what a catalyst it was for me and for other poets.
I signed Kin Types copies at the Finishing Line Press table at the book fair. I got to hear Joy Harjo talk again. I always feel very connected with what she says. In fact, all the sessions I attended were excellent I left feeling inspired to write and try new techniques and ideas. But I was only able to stay for part of the conference which was just enough.
The experience gave me much, including a new friend after spending a fun time with my Stanford cohort Anita. It took one thing from me: my favorite hat! The fishing one from the second hand store in New Orleans.
Say goodbye to the best hat ever. I hope the person who finds it treasures it as I did.
56 responses to “#AWP18 and Me”
Oh no, the hat! What happened?
Boohoo! Thanks for asking, Carole! It disappeared between the moment my feet touched down on the Tampa sidewalk and my reading two hours later. I kept going to the lost and found where a straw hat kept smirking at me. I wanted to cry.
Serious envy here. I LOVE Joy Harjo. I have her poem “Remember” tacked up on my cubicle wall at work. Sorry about the hat. I know how you treasure your headgear (another thing we have in common).
Let me add a link for anyone who wants to hear it! https://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/remember-joy-harjo Thanks for the sympathy about my hat. It was the best hat I ever had. It was even completely crushable.
Oh. Wow. That reading moved me to tears. Her voice is so soothing and her smile! Wow again. Thanks for the link, Luanne.
I so agree. I could listen to her all day. She is a great one.
Glad to hear you were able to attend. I just heard about this conference last week. Sounds like it’s a good one.
It’s the best in many ways. Email me if you have questions!
Thanks! I usually try to do ThrillerFest in the summer if I can, but maybe I’ll have to check out this one in the future to change things up a bit.
Talk to me first.
I cannot believe your conference cost your hat, a hat which I have always found quite spiffy. Losing your best hat is like losing an old friend…that being said at least you found a new friend!
I have always wanted to go the AWA conferences – the sessions look really good, and I would definitely have attended YOURS!!
Good for you for going and participating – I am one of your biggest fans!!
Sorry about your hat, Luanne. You look so great in it, too. (I am so not a hat person. I don’t like things on my head.) But I’m going I think there will be a new great hat in your future. Maybe it’s a sign that you’re on to a new phase?
BUT–I’m so glad you had a good time at the conference, and so thrilled that you were signing books there. I would have attended your session, too.
Ah thanks, Merril. And I love your idea that it signals a new phase. That is a positive way to look at it!
Oh no! I’m sorry you lost that hat, Luanne. We must find a replacement…immediately!
Thanks for sympathizing! It’s going to be so hard to replace!
Wonderful experience except for the loss of that great hat.
Exactly. Maybe it was the wind that stole it!
WOW… great conference, I am sure you were wonderful that day, congrats!
But now I am sorry for your precious hat, that’s more than a loss it’s a part of life gone, lost!
That’s so nice of you to say, Sid! Losing the hat was a big disappointment. It is hard to be away from the cats, too!
So glad for you and your fabulous experience – sounds like fun!! But sorry about loss of your hat!! A new one is needed right away! <3
If only I could replace it that easily. It was that buttery felt they rarely use any more with the perfect fit! Waaa!
Like everyone else who has commented before me, the most important thing about this post is that you lost your spiffy hat! Oh no! Not that so stylish hat in the photo I so admire? That hat must be returned to you – or a replacement found. (Note to self: Put name and phone number inside my hat!) I got your email and feel stupidly proud that you got to that conference – like I had something to do with it 😀 Congratulations on that and the new friend – new friends are always an unexpected treasure aren’t they!
Boohoo! I will always think fondly of that hat. But, yes, a friend is even better! Woot! So glad you had fun, Pauline!
Sorry about the hat but glad you were able to attend. Thanks for taking us along
You are welcome, John! Have a happy week!
You as well, Luanne.
I’m glad the conference was such a blast! But sorry about the hat….
Thanks re the hat. It’s quite the bummer since a hat is so important to my health. I actually had a complicated migraine last night. More throwing up and less residual today than usual. Damn lights!
You go, girl 🙂 I love writers events but lately my budget has not allowed me to do anything but local happenings. Speaking to Newcomers Club tomorrow, which should be fun. I’ll focus on the newest edition of my guidebook but will bring in my novels and memoir. 30 poems in 30 days — Wahoo!
There is a lot to be said for local! Good luck on your talk, Elaine! One of the sessions I went to was about event planning. Like your talk!
It would be good to think that the finder will recognise your photo and return the hat
Now THAT would be so kind, especially since it is worn for a medical reason!
Wonderful, Luanne! What happened to the hat?
I lost it sniff sniff! I can’t live without a hat because of my sensitivity to artificial light!
Oh no! Well, hat shopping might be fun.
Never! haha It was pure serendipity that I got that hat in the first place. Now maybe it is for someone else, too. I did end up having to get a hat on the trip though. It’s a baseball cap, two tone, a tourist souvenir :/.
I hope it works, Luanne. 🙂
I lost a shawl once, a shawl I had knitted myself and loved to wear all the time because it was lightweight and black and lacy. It slipped off my shoulders as I jogged through an airport … so lightweight I didn’t feel it’s loss until much, much later. Maybe whoever found your hat will see your post and send it back to you, but I guess the most we can hope is that whoever has it (and hopefully someone does have it) is enjoying it as much as you did. It looks like it would be a great hat for keeping the South Florida sun at bay. I’ve never been to an AWP conference, although I heard of them all the time when I was a grad student in English. I miss those days. Just hearing about the conference was inspiring 😉
Just hearing about your shawl breaks my heart a bit. That must have felt like such a loss! Shawls and scarves and sweaters are at such risk in an airport. Worse than hats, I think. I do feel inspired, but am now back to so much catch up work that it feels very overwhelming and daunting! At one point we hoped to drive up near you, but it didn’t work out :(.
Oh, that would been a long drive, at least 4 hours. It would have been more fun if I had had the foresight to go to the conference! I would have loved to see you in person.
We had thought of driving there and then on from there and flying home from a different city, but it sounded too tiring. The beach is beautiful where we were, but two days was enough. The traffic around Tampa is terrible, in part because of the water all over the place :). Gosh, that would have been GREAT to see you! xo
We have to go down to that area about once a year. I always dread it because of the traffic 😬
I can imagine! I wouldn’t like to live there!
You’re right — it’s a great hat !
Thank you! Ugh!
Congrats, Luanne! So thrilled for you. Glad the conference went well.
Thanks, Rudri! I hope we can get together this spring. I’ll tell you more about it then!
Luanne, good for your for braving AWP. It’s huge, isn’t it? At least, when it was in Seattle a few years ago, it was . . . I felt like I was being swept away in a deluge or tsunami. If you’re considering coming to AWP next year in Portland, OR, maybe we could meet up? I haven’t decided yet, but if I had a chance to hear someone like Joy Harjo speak, i would definitely do it! 🙂
Oh does that sound fun! Alas, I won’t be going to Portland next year. I’ll be looking for conferences closer to home from now on because a big conference, with the lights and the long walks everywhere (even to the bathroom) is too much for me. But it was fun while it lasted :)! Joy Harjo is an amazing speaker. Just sayin’.
Good to hear you’re taking care of yourself, Luanne!
If not me, who? hahaha I’m learning my limitations!
Oh. Travel. I have been feeling a similar realization. When I went to Boston in January, for just a few days, I thought, “no big deal.” Flash forward to the last hour of my flight, huge migraine headache with no relief, later I read that migraines can be triggered by changes in travel and sleep patterns. Aurgh. Was foolish maybe to take a red-eye flight there (the first in maybe 10 years?) thinking I would bounce back. Haha Still, on the topic of art, I did see the most amazing art in the Boston Fine Arts Museum. Ah.
Oh, I would love to see it! I’m so sorry, though, about the migraine. I completely understand. I would never take the red eye again because of my complicated migraines. And I try not to push myself because of that. The lights in those conference venues are a real trigger for me. Travel is always a big deal now, unfortunately.
Yeah! Good to hear someone else is in my same boat. 🙂