Sat., Feb 2nd, evening


No doubt this will only only be further proof of how odd I am, but to me the most fascinating moment of these shows comes right at the end. One minute everything is all bright & neat & polished, and the atmosphere is one of leisurely browsing, sampling of candies, and casual chatting about the subtle pleasures of these refined arts. Then in a matter of maybe ten minutes there's a massive set change: curtains come down, tape guns start making that peculiar ripping sound, burly union workers come riding out on mini-forklifts from behind collapsible walls and start yelling at people, packing peanuts & abandoned catalogs are thrown in all directions, and the people working the booth stop suppressing their exhaustion and deep desire to go home. It's not uncommon to hear whoops of various kinds as the end of the show is announced.

Then, Jet Blue took us home. No reading about Zukofsky this time, my brain could only take TV now. I watched, back to back, seven episodes of Ace of Cakes on the Food Network. Sheesh.

The last award goes to Nick Robinson, husband o' Laura, for picking her and me up at the SF airport at nearly midnight (that'd be 3AM east coast time). Let's call it MOST RELIABLE WHEN YOU REALLY, REALLY NEED IT:


Sat., Feb 2nd, afternoon

PEOPLE OF THE AWP, last installment:

(Above, SPD is the Official Home of the Brown(e)s. Laynie Browne is to the left, Lee Ann Brown is to the right, both longtime SPD authors & supporters.)

(Above, Clay Banes of Pegasus Books shows off his choice for Best Bookfair Treasure: Anne Boyer's newest.)

(Above, it's all about the intensity. SPD intern & Bay Area gadabout Michael Nicoloff to the left, Anna Moschovakis of Ugly Duckling to the right.)

(Above, Michael Kelleher of the Just Buffalo literary org, and also a former classmate of mine from U. Buffalo days. As you can tell from his stance in this photo, he's considering pulling his Beretta out of his jacket to force everyone at the show to read better poetry.)


(Quick note to SPD publishers: these shots were taken Sunday afternoon, after we had SOLD OUT of quite a few books we brought, so if your book was supposed to be there it most certainly was. Our sales have been tremendous, breaking all records for previous shows!)

(Above, the requisite group photo of the core SPD'ers at this AWP, l to r: Michael Nicoloff, Intern & Intrepid Volunteer; Brent Cunningham, Operations Director; Laura Moriarty, Deputy Director; and Jeffrey Lependorf, Executive Director.)



Sat., Feb 2, mid-morning


Last night, while Laura read her heart out at the Omnidawn reading, I went off through the rain to the dinner set up by our gourmand & leader Jeffrey L., & which included many from SPD sister-org CLMP, Eric Lorberer from Rain Taxi, folks from Milkweed Editions, others from Orion magazine, Rob Casper from the Poetry Society of America, others I met and have now forgotten the names of, and Amy Stolls and Rose from the NEA. It was at an excellent Korean BBQ place in, I believe, Koreatown? You know, you just go where you're led in these cases: coulda been Koreatown, coulda been Queens, coulda been Berkeley.

(Above, some of the gathered from the various lit orgs, including Amy Stolls on the far right, one of the great advocates for literary orgs in our dear land. She was later drawn into making some clownish faces for the camera which I considered posting, but instead I will be selling them privately back to her, or perhaps in some kind of blackmail exchange for large NEA grants to work on my bubblegum sculpture project.)

More awards to announce:


(Above, this goes hands-down to Omnidawn, a variety of high-quality truffles and sundry other chocolate lovelies. If you aren't familiar with "trade show culture," you might not know that people often put candy or other delectables on their table to draw people over, then while they're munching there's suddenly an attempt to sell them a book (or, at other trade shows, things like F-1 Fighter Planes). Sounds crass, I know, but it's very much the way it's done. Bait and switch? You'll have to decide, Blog Readers, for yourselfs--)


(Above, I'm giving this to Tyrone Williams. Despite his somewhat aloof and positively cool look in this photo, he's secretly one of the sweetest people I know. Also one of the best poets anywhere, in my op. I'm told I was the FIRST to buy his new book, On Spec, just out from Omnidawn, but won't be anything like the last.)


(Probably for the 10th year in a row, this'll have go to Jonathan Rabinowitz from Turtle Point Press. The scarf! The bow tie! The layering of colors and fabrics! Poets, study this man closely, he has much to teach you--)


(Above, inveterate blogger Amy King with g-friend Anna. Amy's new book is just out, I'm the Man Who Loves You, and who was, I believe, was once named Poet Blogger of the Year. I said "I'll put this on our blog" and she said "I'll blog about it." Sweet infinite regress--)


Fri., Feb 1, early evening

It's raining in NY, but I wouldn't know it except for a brief lunch at the deli across the street. Otherwise, it's been the Hilton "House of Flourescents & Bad Carpet" all the time. Exciting moment when the fire alarm went off. Official voice during the beeping: "I am the fire marshal. We have a report of an alarm, and are currently investigating the cause. We will tell you as soon as we have more information." Took about five minutes to be told it was, to use the phrase literally for once, a false alarm.

(Above, Laura begins the day freshly, in her fancy new wardrobe and dynamite scarf. Soon 8 hours of standing and talking will reduce her look of optomistic delight rather significantly--see below for what happened to Marty.)

(Above, breaking news, Marty Riker of Dalkey Archive is a Zombie.)

(Above, Laura with Mei Mei Berssenbrugge.)

(Above, my first time meeting of Joyelle McSweeney of Action Books, charming as expected.)

(Above: How do you get a bunch of poets at a conference of poets to congregate in one place? Wesleyan Press is kitty-corner to our booth, and their answer was Jean Valentine. At least 15 people were lined up to buy her book and get it signed--pretty impressive showing in a place like this.)

(Above, the book I'm currently most desiring at the show, also at the Wesleyan booth. Here's my plan: I'm hoping they drop one on the floor, thus dinging the spine, thus realizing they have to give it away, thus looking around for a candidate, and there I'll be across the way--)

(Above, we already have a winner for Best Name at the AWP. I checked, it's her given name. O, 1960s, you shall live on in your anti-establishment naming habits.)

Thurs., Jan 31, late evening

I was getting a little tired of taking so many pictures of the parade of people and faces, no matter how lovely and valiant-in-the-service-of-literature, so I tried taking pictures of shoes instead. You can tell a lot by a person's shoes & all. However, let's be gentle dear readers--these are mostly small press publishers dressing to stand in a booth for 8 hours. Even so, I give you the SHOES OF THE AWP:

(Above, I was partly persuaded here by the quality of the pants. These fine italian's belong to always well-dressed Eric Keenaghan. Jeffrey Lependorf's last-second entry into the contest can be seen in the lower left.)

(Above, Matvei Yankelevich of Ugly Ducking, left, with Cris Mattison of Zephyr Press, right. Someone should make a shoe out of this section of the Hilton's carpet.)

(Above, Rebecca Wolff and Joshua M. Potter of Fence Books, demonstrating the range of options available to the AWP goer.)

(Above, Rusty Morrison and Ken Keegan of Omnidawn, looking a far sight more comfortable than I was today.)

(Above, unnamed publisher at the CLMP party. Mostly I appreciated the break on the pants.)

(Above is the runner up, whose name I sadly didn't get. Same with the WINNER, below, based less on the shoes of course than their furry traveling companions.)

(Note that the corner of my own shoe made it in to that last photo. Seeking its own kind of deflected glory, no doubt.)

(Vote for your own favorite. Vote often, as the votes will certainly not be tallied.)

On that note, day one of the Bookfair is in the bag. G'night.


Thurs., Jan 31, evening

SPD and CLMP publisher party, at the CLMP offices on Christopher street, was officially the best party out of many (from reliable reporters) this evening. Publishers spilling out into the hall, I learned a lot about translation from a couple rather intimidating translator types ("Uh, was that 7 languages you speak fluently? Not bad, not bad"). Saw too many to name, Mark from Junction, Tej from Cool Grove, Dark Brandon, Steve from Granary, James from Roof, etc., etc.

(Annie Janusch, left, and Promita Chatterji, right, of the Center for Art in Translation. So many people from the Bay Area, but we had to fly to New York to meet them--)