Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Thougts: Post AWP / Egypt / Poetry on ArLiJo


This past week was a busy one with literally thousands of poets and writers in town for the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Conference. One couldn't walk a few yards without bumping into someone known or a person whose work one has read.

The sessions were interesting, especially those that dealt with the direction the industry is headed: towards ebooks and the like. I saw this coming back in 1998 but the larger publishing houses were slow to move and they are still partly in denial. However, many textbook publishers have woken up and are busy trying to get us (those of us who teach) to inform them about what they should do. I just completed a survey and shared my perspective.

I got to meet some of the poets and authors I have published through Gival Press which was thrilling to me and to them. We had time to sit and talk as we watched the crowds pass by. Fortunately, some folks were buying books but mostly folks were looking for contacts (always a good thing), information and some for freebies.

Rich Murphy had a good suggestion: That the AWP set up workshops on different levels so that in advance students could meet with established poets/writers to workshop their work and get feedback. For many of us who have been around, the sessions tend to repeat themselves with fancier titles, but one who goes to a variety of conferences the same can be said of literature, ESL, or other conferences. Most has been said but we re-invent it and for students, especially the younger ones, they have not seen/heard it before.

All in all, the AWP was a success and thank God we didn't have the terrible ice storm we had a week before this past week. My fear is Chicago in Feb. in 2012. What are they thinking?


I thought President Hosni Mubarak would have been gone by now but he is stubborn and won't budge. It is a delicate balance and the area may very well be a keg ready to fire off. I spoke with an Egyptian poet friend at AWP this week and she said that the Egyptians are a peaceful people and both she and I fear that others from outside will enter and disrupt the country even further so that the unrest will spread outward. If that were to happen, God help us, because where will it end?

---Poet Maritza Rivera is featured on ArLiJo

If you want to drift off and think of Puerto Rico, then I suggest that you click on the link below and read Maritza's poetry.


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