AWP in Boston: Massholes Accepted - Please Come!

If I lived on this street in Brookline I don't think I would have left. 

Massholes: Writer Rage, the Pike, and the 
Beauty of a Rotary.

(Rebecca Hoogs, Jonathan Crimmins, Andrew C. Gottlieb, 
Julie Kane, and Susan Rich)

Five Bay State exiles will muse upon the 
pleasures and perils of growing up Massholes, 
and how that youth—whether spent in 
Boston or the boondocks—influenced their 
poetry and prose. The driving metaphor for 
the panel will be driving—and panelists will 
wax irreverent (and entertainingly) on the 
rage, u-turns, rotaries and other poetic 
devices. Some thick accents to be heard while 
others will have been Eliza Doolittled away 
through years at the other end of I-90. 

Really, grid lock is not a pretty thing

I am amazed and so pleased that this panel has been accepted for AWP in Boston this winter. I am convinced that if I had stayed in Boston it would have been impossible for me to write poetry or to claim a legitimate writing life (without being approved of by the poetry elite). Leaving the city of Lowell and Plath, Bishop and Longfellow  was not just useful but necessary to my poems. 

There has been a fair bit of talk about which panels got accepted this year and which did not. As my friend January O'Neil said in jest, "it's all about the name." Look at her accepted panels here

I'll also say that my name was put forward on three different panels and only one made it. AWP let everyone know that they had more proposals this year than ever before -- over 1300 proposals for about 500 spots. It always seems a bit of a flip of the coin whose panel gets chosen and whose does not. My sense is to just go and enjoy what's on offer. I go every second or third year if I can make it work financially. It's an intense experience that I find both exciting and utterly exhausting. Since Boston (Brookline) is my hometown, I'm happy to have a reason to visit.

See you there?


  1. Count me among those with panels that were rejected, Susan. I'm afraid AWP has turned into a full-scale trade show; Chicago nearly flattened me. But, yes, it's occasionally fun to visit the rodeo to "take the temperature". I'll take a look at Jan's post. I'm still on the fence about attending in '13 -- it's an awful lot of money to spend if one's not sponsored by their academic institution, but I've got a co-edited anthology due out early next year and it would be good to "make the rounds". While taking frequent breaks to recuperate in my hotel room, as I did in Chicago! I hope to see you in Boston, Susan, and congratulations on your panel's acceptance.

    On another note: I've always associated Bishop with Worcester (as I associate Olson, Kunitz, and Creeley with it as well). Worcester also happens to be my father's hometown, so I'm biased! : )

    And I agree that it's important to leave home in order to write about it.

  2. Hi Mari,
    Congratulations on the new anthology! What is the subject if I can ask?

    I have a co-edited anthology coming out as well --- and our panel was rejected on the topic of poetry and travel! Go figure. My sense is that this year's committee didn't want panels that were promoting new books.

    It would be lovely to finally meet face to face after all these years! I agree it is a lot of money to spend unless you can stay with friends or link to a reading somewhere. Boston is a tough town --- but worth a visit if you haven't been for awhile. And yes, Bishop lived (unhappily) in Worcester as a young girl but lived in Boston on Long Warf as an adult when she was teaching at Harvard. I believe it was one of the first places she lived that she owned out right.

  3. Hi Susan,

    Yes, it would be wonderful to meet in person, at last! Let's make a point of arranging that if I decide to attend.

    The anthology, co-edited with poet Tomas Q. Morin (last year's APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner), is a collection of over 40 essays by former students and mentees of Philip Levine. The title is COMING CLOSE: POETS PAY TRIBUTE TO PHILIP LEVINE AS TEACHER AND MENTOR and will be published by the U. of Iowa Press in early 2013.

    Is your forthcoming anthology about poetry and travel?

    Our rejected panel wasn't related to promoting new books. I took a quick look at the endless list of accepted events and soon felt overwhelmed (kind of how one feels after too many trips to the buffet table). I've not been to Boston in many years and it would be good to visit. There are many things to love about that city.

  4. So excited you'll be at AWP in 2013 -- I'll be there, too, and looking forward to returning to Boston!

  5. Yes! So happy to know you'll be there. ANd we have 2014 in Seattle -- I assume you'll be here too? Maybe another try for Booklifters?


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