Mid by Midwest

Just got back from a week in Chicago / Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Although I didn’t sign up for the actual AWP conference (procrastinator extraordinaire), I did bum around town getting drinks, perusing the book fair, and meeting some great people.  Saw a copy of BJ Hollars’ Monsters : A Collection of Literary Sightings, right off the press.  Also met one of its hilarious/amazing contributors, Alissa Nutting.  BJ introduced me to another friend of his, Stacy Gnall, with a pretty haunting book out (Heart First into the Forest) from Alice James, which is one of my all-time favorite presses.  Got to meet some of the people at Ninth Letter and Nano Fiction and picked up some shirts/subscriptions.  Also ran into this pretty cool postcard litmag called Hoot, which publishes a poem or piece of short prose on a postcard monthly.  That struck a chord with me since one of my first published poems was essentially a postcard mailed to my girlfriend/now wife, so I HAD to subscribe to that.

After the conference, I spent some time in Eau Claire chilling with BJ and taking in some creative writing classes.  UW-Eau Claire, apparently, has a pretty kick ass planetarium, which he treated his fiction class to.  I had the privilege of reading some pretty great undergrad poems and flubbing my way through a class on form.  Teaching = hard.  Props to all of you who do it well.

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