Dispatches | March 11, 2013

We’re back!

The AWP roundup has become its own fun genre of blog posts, not just with us, but with all the literary journals, small presses, and writers who attended the AWP Conference in Boston this past weekend. We plan on actively reposting, tweeting, and recommending as many of those as we can. Boston received a foot of snow on Friday, and then it was sunny and fifty on Saturday, and that kind of 180 is the way the conference can feel for, well, everyone. It’s a whirlwind. And an absolute delight.

We’re right back at it today. We have an audio competition with a deadline at the end of this week. We have our Editors’ Prize issue that should be out within the next four weeks. We have submissions to read. We have a thousand post-conference emails to read and send. And we’re getting started right now. But first, we wanted to bring you a super snappy roundup of our time in Boston.


  • Despite the snowstorm in Chicago on Tuesday, DC on Wednesday, and then Boston on Friday, everyone on our staff who planned on attending was able to make it. Thursday wind, Friday snow, Saturday sun. Man, I miss living in Boston. Yes, really …
  • The Boston weather ruined many people’s shoes.
  • Our booth was up on the second level of the conference. While I did hear from several people that they didn’t make it upstairs (or didn’t even know there was a second level), our booth was busy. It was steady all weekend long, but not overwhelmingly crazy. We were delighted to meet all of you: a billion and one thanks for stopping and asking questions and snagging an issue and saying hello.
  • Working the TMR booth is always the most fun.
  • My last name is pronounced Krieg (inside joke)
  • At the end of Thursday night (technically Friday morning), the bouncers at The Pour House threw out two separate groups of people with, um, extreme prejudice. Don’t mess with their bouncers.
  • At the University of Cincinnati’s meet-and-greet at Dillon’s, I got to meet the wonderful writers Keith Lee Morris and April Lindner for the first time. Also, Brian Brodeur got me more drink tickets than I probably needed. I curse him and thank him for that in the same breath.
  • Several months ago, I wrote a blog post about writing promotion and social media in response to Jamie Quatro’s blog post at Ploughshares. Since then, we’ve exchange many emails about writing and worries and family and a range of other topics. Right before the conference, James Wood wrote this about Jamie’s first book of short stories. So I was thrilled to finally get to meet her in person this past week and she’s an even better person than she is a writer. And she is a fantastic writer. Go buy her book!
  • Arna Bontemps Hemenway was the guy who I saw frequently at the conference. Sharply dressed, conversational gem, he’s the younger version of The Most Interesting Man in the World. No idea if he was drinking Dos Equis, however. But it was great to meet a terrific TMR author and fellow short story writer.
  • I am terrible with pronouncing last names. I must have butchered last names at least a half dozen times last week. Even screwed up a few first names, too. It’s a talent.
  • I’m also terrible at introductions. I’ve long known this about myself, and yet, I can’t seem to fix it. I’m talking to two people and I assume, for no good reason, that they both know each other. Ten minutes later, one friend of mine turns to the other and says “By the way, I’m …” So, past and current and future friends: I’M SORRY!
  • Andrea Martucci remains awesome.
  • I hope you saw the snowman that was built on Boylston on Friday. It was on top of a massive snow drift just east of Hynes. The snowman had an upturned banana for a nose, and one antler/antenna/whatsit for an ear (or something). It looked kinda like a zombie snowman. Which is in vogue in publishing, so …
  • The second annual Burger and Beer Lunch with Sophie Beck is my new favorite AWP tradition.
  • When Eugene Cross and Alan Heathcock make an appearance, it is ON…
  • This is obviously my favorite item at the Book Fair. And, yes, I already own one.
  • I know I’m going to miss some obvious names as soon as I’m done typing this, but: great to see you again Becky Adnot Haynes, Katie Moulton, Richard Newman, Steve Schroeder, Andrew Scott, Peter Selgin, Alison Pelegrin, Jon  Tribble, Carolyn Kuebler, Tyler Meier, Matt Sailor, Laura Beasley, Dionne Irving, Matt Bell, Michael Kardos, Jason Koo, Lisa Ampleman, Tessa Mellas, Rob Foreman, Katy Didden, Jeff Condran, Amber Sparks, Phong Nguyen, and the other two dozen people I’m leaving out.
  • I’m know I’m going to miss some obvious names as soon as I’m done typing this, but great to finally meet you: Alex Estes, Laurie Cedilnik, Ashley Ford, Cam Terwilliger, Emma Bushnell, Deena Drewis, Andrea Dupree, Jason Ashlock, Marianne Kunkel, Jane Friedman, Daniel Morales, Abby Travis, and the other two dozen people I’m leaving out.
  • My coat is black (inside joke).
  • How terrific was Austin Segrest’s sweater?
  • Listen. Next time, we all need to insist Aaron Burch comes to AWP. I need advance warning about this. We cannot allow that to happen again.
  • I moderated one panel: “Because That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done: When Literary Journals Face Change.” We had, naturally, the best time possible, which was Saturday at 430 pm. Nonetheless, Cara Blue Adams of Southern Review, Andrew Ciotola of West Branch, and Anna Schachner and Lydia Ship of Chattahoochee Review were wonderful. Their ideas on content, internships, advertising  and a range of other topics, were smart and helpful. The panel went over great, thanks for a great audience and a ton of hard work and preparation that Lydia put into the panel’s design well in advance.
  • I heard mixed things about other panels, which happens every year. Some were terrific, some were a bust, and some rooms were so crowded you couldn’t get inside.
  • From talking to other editors, distribution is the big thing we are all thinking and worrying about this year.
  • The quality of book and magazine design that was on display this year was amazing. It’s extraordinary what so many different magazines can now do with their appearance to draw you in. All complaints about Barnes & Noble and Amazon aside, the lower barrier to entry for magazine and book production has lead to lots of innovation, style, and a showcase of talent that was really amazing.
  • And finally, a monster thanks to the entire TMR staff for once again being terrific at the table. Friendly, informative, considerate–just really wonderful energy all weekend long and I know the people that came by the booth really appreciated. Thank you Evelyn, Dedra, Austin, Claire, Kris, Olivia, Kate, Maura, Kaulie, and Olivia: you’re what made the entire trip so successful for all of us.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye