Wednesday, March 30, 2022

2022 AWP Writer's Conference & Book Fair


What is the purpose of going to a writers’ conference? It depends on who you are. The Steiny Road Poet recently attended a couple of days of the AWP Conference & Bookfair. She had a few reasons for going and the introduction found on the AWP website is a good place to begin answering the question about why a person might go.


“The AWP Conference & Bookfair is the annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers of contemporary creative writing. It includes thousands of attendees, hundreds of events and bookfair exhibitors, and four days of essential literary conversation and celebration. The AWP Conference & Bookfair has always been a place of connection, reunion, and joy, and we are excited to see the writing community come together again in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2022.”


Steiny is a writer—a poet as you, Dear Reader, know, a publisher—co-editor-in-chief of The Word Works, and perpetual student—always ready to learn something new. As a poet, Steiny has a book published in 2021—how we hold on—that had not one in-person reading or opportunity for a public book signing.


As a publisher, Steiny could support some of our authors. The Word Works had a table registration carried over from 2020 when the Covid pandemic shut everything down and there were 2022 Word Works authors Chloe Martinez and Cheryl Clark Vermeulen to meet and one author Henry Crawford and one translator Andrea Jurjevic whose books were published in 2020 but had not been feted publicly. Steiny put on her Poet hat to help them sell books. One discovery was, by using Venmo, publishers could beat the problem of swiping buyer credit cards which are slow to process in a big convention center without buying into communications services.


Steiny also attended several panels, one led by Word Works author Chloe Martinez on ars poetica, another on fair use and copyright with participation from a hometown confrere Richard Peabody who talked about how he was sued by Mattel for his anthology on Barbie dolls, and an Alice James Books tribute to the late Jean Valentine moderated by Anne Marie Macarie. So always something to learn at AWP.


However, more important than selling books or seeking out stimulating panels is meeting with writers known or first met. That is the joy of attending a writers’ conference. 2022 was a small conference with registration counted at 8,000 and it felt like there was lots of time to feel that joy despite wearing masks!



Photo: Emily Holland of Poet Lore talks with Word Works author Henry Crawford.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Marilyn Monroe Poem


Some poems take on a life of their own. Such is the case with my poem “Against the Wall,” which was first published in Beltway Journal by Kim Roberts. It’s also in my latest collection of poetry how we hold on from Broadstone Books.





It was recently published again in I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe edited by Susana H. Case and Margo Taft Stever. To promote this book, Susana and Margo have been sponsoring readings where a selection of the poems are read by the poets who wrote them. It’s interesting to hear all the different ways Monroe has been seen. While I read in one of these Marilyn marathons,  I’d say my best reading of my Marilyn poem was done in a studio setting with tango music backing me up.