Annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs is coming up March 23-26, and will be held in Philadelphia as well as online. The conference will include a number of events featuring writers that we follow, writers with a connection to the former Soviet Union and diaspora spaces. Take a look at our list, and please note that some of these will be in-person, while others are virtual.
T119. Publishing Your First Story Collection (Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, Matthew Lansburgh, Caroline Kim, Rachel Swearingen, Jen Fawkes)
Finding a publisher for a collection of short stories continues to be a daunting task. Five prize-winning authors lead a discussion detailing their journeys to publishing their first books. They will talk about how they landed their first publications, how they developed and shaped their short story collections, how they began to look for publishers, and other related topics such as submitting fiction to journals and national contests, querying agents, and overcoming rejection.
T145. Artist & Scholar: What to Expect & How to Thrive in a Creative Writing PhD (Tatiana Duvanova, Afua -Rachel- Ansong, Jerriod Avant, Sue Y. Kim)
PhD programs require artists to deftly navigate academia in ways that are distinct from MFA programs. Panelists will share what aspects of the PhD experience can aid the creative process and prepare candidates for post-PhD careers. Topics include how to utilize critical research—such as course work and comprehensive exams—to build a creative bank, how to establish a committee, and how to fashion an inspiring writing community while fulfilling the challenging requirements of a PhD program.
T177. Re-Presenting the Past: Poets Writing the Holocaust Toward a Humane Future (Maya Pindyck, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Elana Bell, Luisa Muradyan, Alicia Ostriker)
What can writing poetry about the intergenerational trauma of the Holocaust do to address white supremacy? How can Jewish poets—specifically mothers—rewrite a narrative of exceptionalism for future generations while staying true to the particularities of Holocaust trauma? This panel takes up these questions through the voices of five poets, all mothers, whose writing explores intersections of Jewish trauma, inheritance, motherhood, and poetry’s capacities for antiracist work.
T184. L’Chaim! Celebrating Jewish Poetry in the Third Millennium (Matthew Silverman, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Ilya Kaminsky, Joy Ladin, Zilka Joseph)
What is a “Jewish poem”? Come find out as we read from 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, a new anthology, featuring voices that range from emerging to established, both Jewish and non-Jewish, as well as several translations. The themes range from observing Jewish traditions to more modern ones, such as same-sex marriage and nonfaith. With the rise in anti-Semitism and other hate crimes in this country, it is more important now than ever before to celebrate diversity.
F127. Admit It, You’re Writing a Poem: Ars Poetica & the Awkward Confession (Chloe Martinez, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Diamond Forde, Rachel Zucker, Matthew Olzmann)
An ars poetica is a poem about poetry, one that makes an argument about what poetry should be or that explores why we write. In writing an ars poetica, though, poets must also confess to craft, artifice, and intention—to this strange thing we’re doing, making art out of life. What else comes out when we pull back the curtain on our own making? What does this form give us permission to say? Panelists will read and discuss both their own work and key examples by others; audience Q&A will follow.
F142. Writing Resilience: A Reading by Neurodiverse Writers (Larissa Shmailo, Jonathan Penton, Meg Tuite, Anna Fridlis, Sandra Kleven)
This reading features writers affected by trauma, addiction, and/or mental illness. Panelists will present their stories to empower themselves and others who have these stigmatized disabilities. Panelists will come out as neurodiverse as they inspire their listeners with their literary memoirs; audience members, including the neurotypical, will be able to identify with their struggles, triumphs, and resilience. The panel will demonstrate that mentally ill does not mean mentally weak.
F207. Translingual Philadelphia: A Reading by the Transversal Translation Collective (Elizabeth Rose, Hilah Kohen, Nicholas Glastonbury , Meg Arenberg, Carlos José Pérez Sámano )
Transversal is a translation collective formed during the pandemic to give translators in the Philadelphia area and across the world a virtual place to form connections, build accountability, and share work and resources. A diverse assemblage of language pairs, backgrounds, and abilities, Transversal has quickly become an important gathering space for many. Five translators from the collective will contextualize their work, share insights into translator solidarity, and give a bilingual reading.
F208. Expanding the Fictional Terrain: Four Writers, Four Collections, Four Awards (Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry, Caroline Kim, Michael X- Wang, Rachel Swearingen)
From social realism to speculative fiction, from American tales to immigrant lit, from heterosexual narratives to LGBTQ stories—Caroline Kim (the 2020 Drue Heinz Literature Prize), Michael X. Wang (the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize), Rachel Swearingen (the 2018 New American Fiction Prize), and Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry (the 2020 Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction) will read from their award-winning collections on themes of love, loss, and cultural identity.
S112. What Kind of Times Are These?: Immigrant Poets & the New Politics of Resistance (Olga Livshin, Mariya Deykute, Lana Spendl, Larissa Shmailo, Anna Halberstadt)
Adrienne Rich writes: “I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled / this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here.” This panel is about English language poets from Eastern Europe writing about the parallels between their homes and the US: nationalism, nativism, homophobia, and human rights abuses. We discuss new strategies of resistance for more than one culture and explore how poets co-opt the language of oppressors for their own power.
S159. The Art of Pitching Nonfiction: How to Sell Your Essays, Reporting, & More (Caleb Johnson, Irina Zhorov, Jenny Tinghui Zhang, Latria Graham)
The first impression a writer makes on an editor happens in the pitch. But what exactly does a successful pitch look like? How long should one even be? What elements should a pitch contain in order to get that coveted assignment? Four writers with experience publishing reportage, essays, profiles, and other nonfiction discuss how to grab an editor’s attention with a pitch that tells a compelling story and how to pivot if a pitch gets turned down.
S161. The Lyric Field: The State of Indie Poetry Publishing Now & in the Future (Marc Vincenz, Dennis Maloney, Matvei Yankelevich, Peter Conners)
Established indie publishers White Pine Press, Ugly Duckling Press, MadHat Press, and BOA Editions discuss the ins and outs of the current sphere of independent poetry publishing. Topics willl include the manuscript selection process (including contests and open submissions), layout and design, PR, marketing, distribution, reviews, the real economics of running a successful poetry press, current trends and waves, technology, and the future.
S177. Deep Vellum Presents: First- & Second-Generation Immigrant Writers (Sebastián Páramo, Fowzia Karimi, Sophia Terazawa, Taisia Kitaiskaia, Mike Soto)
In 2020, Deep Vellum, a press with its origins in publishing works in translation, made the decision to publish stateside authors. By happenstance, many of the debut authors were children of immigrants. Panelists discuss their work and what it means to be American authors publishing alongside works in translation.
Got more? Share them in the comments. And if you attend and want to share your impressions, please send your notes and pictures to puncturedlines [at] gmail.com.