Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Who Stole Langston & Is This News?
The Steiny Road Poet meant to post yesterday February 8, 2011, when The Washington Post finally made mention of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Convention and Bookfair in what basically turns out to be a gossip column called "The Reliable Source. The Poet had been thinking what a big oversight The Post had made in not covering any aspect of this writers’ gathering where prominent writers from across the world, but particularly American writers gather to discuss ideas, literature, politics, and more as well as present new and old books of importance.
In case you, my Dear Readers, do not subscribe to the venerable institution of print news and, in particular The Washington Post, in a nanosec, here is the story that continues to unfold, two days running, into a polemic against the always generous Andy Shallal, owner of Bus Boys & Poets, a restaurant in Washington, DC. Poet Thomas Sayers Ellis says he stole the cardboard cutout of Langston Hughes that Shallal had had made for Bus Boys, which is named after the poet who had been a restaurant bus boy in Washington, DC, when his first book The Weary Blues was accepted for publication by Knopf. After highjacking the Langston cutout, Ellis paraded it through the AWP Bookfair at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Ellis accuses Shallal of not paying poets fairly for their public readings at Bus Boys.
The Steiny Road Poet stands firm behind Andy Shallal and is OK with the gossip column "The Reliable Source" because it is fun but she takes The Washington Post to task for not giving appropriate coverage to the AWP Convention that included such writers as 2000 Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri (Conference Keynote speaker), 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan as well as such topics as the revolutionary changes involving print into digital formats for books, journals, and newspapers.