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january o’neill

Flowers for the Poets

You probably know that a poetry book tour took me to me to a number of places around the country. I appreciated every moment of travel and all the people I met along the way.

Now that I’m back home for a bit, I wondered what a poetry reading would look like on Twitter. How does one give a poetry reading on Twitter? What do we poets do there?

Susan Rich, Kelli Agodon, January O’Neill, D.A. Powell, Collin Kelley, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil agreed to join me (Deborah Ager) in a poetry reading/party online in front of all who care to join. On the basis of their agreement to join me, I can attest to their adventurous natures.

The Twitter Poet Party may be nothing like a reading. You will not be at a college in a comfortable seat or in a bar with a beer. You will not get extra credit for attending. You might be at home in a comfortable seat with a beer. That could be good, right? You don’t have to wear shoes. You don’t have to talk to anyone. To communicate, you will have to type. If you have a sexy voice, it will do you no good. You can lurk and people won’t think you’re weird, because no one has to know you’re lurking. Are you seeing the possibilities?

Please join Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kelli Agodon, January O’Neill, D.A. Powell, Deborah Ager, Collin Kelley, and Susan Rich for this Twitter Poet Party. Follow the #poetparty hashtag. Ask questions. “Listen” to poems. Sunday, October 24 @ 9 pm ET. As you may know, a hashtag looks like this #poetparty and helps people focus on certain conversations on the constantly moving stream that is Twitter.

Oh! The flowers in the photo? They are for the poets, and they’ll never dry out.


My big confession about the AWP Conference? I barely attend panels. I’m more interested in talking with friends and meeting people we’ve published.

The Colorado Convention Center does not believe in hydrating its guests. You will find no water available in the halls — unlike previous AWPs — because this convention center wants you to buy expensive bottles of water from the various cafes inside the hall. And you need water in Denver since it’s so dry there.

On the good side, I would be happy to have the conference in this space every year for the rest of my life. Although Denver proves to be a haul from DC, we had space to breathe and move. In 2003, all the panels took place in the main hotel where the majority of the people stayed. The elevators could not keep up with demand. People tried using the stairwells and got trapped if they were not guests with passcards. A Big Mess.

AWP outdid themselves choosing this space. Live and learn, I suppose. The panels mostly took place in the convention center, which left the hotels less crowded than they would otherwise be.

The MFA@UFL reunion was this afternoon. My fellow MFAers from the 1800s showed up. One person publishes a book every time I change my clothes. He’s one of the most productive people I know. A few of the current grad students arrived. I’d met with them about their poetry just the week before at The University of Florida in Gainesville (not Tallahassee, folks).

At some point, I attended the Craig Arnold tribute. I had some serious trouble deciding which panel to attend. It seemed the panels I most wanted to attend took place in the same slot. Other times, there was absolutely no panel that piqued my interest.

Husband attended several panels. I will be reviewing his notes.

Which panel was I most sad to miss? The Donald Revell/Tony Hoagland panel. Thankfully, January O’Neill took notes.