AWP Roundup - Colo. State - Pueblo Reading Tonight: Celebration of Women's Poetry
Interesting. She has been very ill with a bleeding ulcer -- same as me -- which she's had since her early academic years. Yes. Interesting. I tell T we can share war stories & war wounds. Right now I'm much improved with aloe vera juice & kombucha -- and po chai pills.
But Austin was a bust. It's like I did and did not attend the AWP. Wednesday night I started vomiting. My flight was delayed and I didn't get into Austin until 6 pm instead of 3:15. Thursday morning I was torn between birds (Gerry Stern) (I liked what I heard -- you can never go wrong with birds) and the 7 people who showed up for Nick Kanellos's keynote address. Amiri didn't show up for his presentation -- I hope he's alright. It's been a rough year or two. The highlight was the one full panel I heard, an excellent one on healing and poetry with po'blog buddies Peter Perreira, C. Dale Young, Ann Caston (with whom I read at the 92nd Street Y a few years back) and my former colleague, Marilyn Krysl. It was a really interesting panel loaded with good poets. I had just loaned Ann's book to one of my students, so it was nice to hear her as, in a way, I was already hearing her in my head for a week. But then, at the end of the panel, I started getting sick. I walked out as the Q & A began with just a warm nod to Marilyn. Then I got sick in the bathroom -- the first of many times. (If you heard or heard about the woman throwing up in the bathroom, it was me. So many writers are so kind: offering me water or moist paper towels for my head, or whatever I wanted. But at that moment, there is nothing but wretching, and the rest of the wretched universe. And, why would anyone want a glass of water at that point?) I just had to climb in the nearest cab and go back to the hotel where I soaked in the tub and moaned on the bed with the covers pulled over my queasy head. I missed my Con Tinta reading. I couldn't believe it. I kept getting out of bed and putting on various articles of clothing only to fall back with covers over my head. Or, throw up. I spent about the first 3 days without being able to hold down food or water. Not good. I was so disappointed to be missng everyone -- especially raulsalinas. And disappointed to miss hearing Diana Delgado, my Taller Ixchel "Scholarship Girl" and Brenda Cardenas. I spent most of that night composing my panel presentation, an essay. I got up about 7pm and wrote it out. I was feeling well enough to present it, and it wasn't until after that the vomiting returned, and worsened. I went to the book table to sign after the panel, and went back and forth between there and the bathroom. But I so love the books & publishers & editors. I'm going to have to go back to AWP in Atlanta just to get another book fair fix.
But it was not all in vain. Just as the poet/ visual artist, Wolff said to me in the airport as we exchanged books on the way back monday: You run into people for a reason. I read his self-published volume on the way home and liked it a lot. I ran into 32 Poems publisher/ editor, Deborah Ager with lovely Olivia strapped to her early on thursday morning and it was nice. I ran into Alan Soldolfsky from San Jose days and we had a productive chat. The rest a rush of random reunion from the past several decades beginning with the Dallas connection into Austin when John-Oliver Simon from Poets in the Schools (where I firs got on this bus 30 years ago this year) was standing behind me in the boarding line. Even an old boyfriend -- sheesh. Maybe I'll come back with more. I know it was pert'near heart-breaking the people I didn't meet up with: Alison Stine whose fine poetry manuscript I have and was prepared to go over with her (Ali, I'm so sorry I was too sick to call you. Expect it in the mail soon.) And Bill Allegrezza.
But, more soon. Welcome back. I'm off again. And, Dallas Writes of Spring 3-day intensive workshop March 31 - April 2. Portland Reed College Social Justice Festival on April 8. UC Berkeley Poetry for the People class on April 26. See you there. Po Chai or bust!