Tag Archives: Charles Baxter


(Best conference bag ever: nice, roomy-yet-flat outside pocket for keeping the handy conference planner at your fingertips)

Amazing and overwhelming, all at once. The latter even more than usual, I’m not sure why. Maybe because I got added to a third panel at the last minute, and with 3 panels, a focus group with Bedford St. Martins (that was amazing!), a friend’s book launch, a meeting with my dear friend Mimi Thebo, lunches and dinners with old friends and former students, as well as my birthday, my head was just spinning. In a good way. I suppose.

So the third panel, about reinventing the workshop–I got invited to replace another panelist at the last minute and Charles Baxter was the headliner. Since that’s the only chance I’ll ever have to sit on the same stage as one of my idols (obviously gushing doesn’t embarrass me) I wasn’t going to turn that one down.

Oh, and his talk about the workshop, his paper, was so good, so smart, so lovely, so him. No one else could have written or spoken it. Every time I listen to him read or speak, I wonder, does an unconsidered thought ever come out of his mouth? Ever?

The other panelists were quite good as well, especially those who had been his students. No surprise there, of course.

The panel ran during the very last session on the very last day of the conference (Saturday) and he still filled a decent-sized ballroom. That tells you all you need to know.

Some notes I made. . .

The landscape our students are entering is quite different, there is an urgency to teaching them to make sense of digital media. (From Crossing the Digital Divide)

Sandra Cisneros: “I believe in workshops I just I don’t believe in the academic workshops I believe in the alternative workshop, the community workshop-that’s what we can do for each other—writing is like cutting your own hair there’s only such much you can do before you have to cut the back -the workshop helps you with the back.” (From the We Wanted to Be Writers: Life, Love and Literature at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop panel)

If you’re going to piss people off, you should do it on purpose. (Also from We Wanted to Be Writers)

In the pissing people off category, we learned that AWP is cancelling the Pedagogy Forums for future years, in favor of including more pedagogy in the general panels. Not sure how I feel about this. The Pedagogy Forums open the conference to a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise be funded to go, and they provide a valuable exchange of ideas. Cancelling them completely seems a little extreme. Compromise, anyone?

There were beaucoup babies this year, many more than in the past, which was kind of inspiring, the idea that this might really be becoming a family friendly event. Given my penchant for the pint sized set, I started taking pictures (with their parent’s permission, of course). So the next post will be AWP 2011: Conference Babies.

Stay tuned, y’all,


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As AWP Turns: And The Dance Card Fills


AWP has not yet begun in earnest, but after a bit of sightseeing (the MOMA and SoHo) we were able to pick up our programs and then meet with a friend, Wendell Mayo, who now teaches in the Bowling Green MFA, for dinner. Wendell was our teacher at Lafayette and a real mentor and role model for both of us, especially John.

I am exhausted from tromping hither and yon all day and catching up on some work, but I wanted to post SOMETHING.  So I thought I would post a list of the sessions I hope to attend in the next few days.  AWP does a neat thing with their conference program (hint hint, 4C’s)–they provide you with a sturdy detached cardboard foldout with a blank schedule on it where you can write in where you need to be and what you want to see in the next few days.  Called your Personal Planner it may as well be a dance card.  4C’s and NCTE give you a blank planner, but it’s on a flimsy page inside the conference book, so you can’t refer to it nearly as easily.

So, here goes:


Breakfast with Mary Ann Cain

Inside Publishing:  Editor’s Speak

Key Developments in Creative Writing Research

The MA in the UK and the MFA in the USA

Galway Kinnell: A Reading and Conversation

Bedford St. Martin’s Reception


K-12 Poetry Pedagogy

Heather Sellers and Anna Leahy are signing at the Bookfair

From Stories to Novels: Crossing the Great Divide

The Road Not Taken: Alternative Careers with the MFA

Old York, New York: A Picture of the UK’s Literary Culture

Keeping it Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Creative Nonfiction


Recognizing Common Ground: Creative Writer’s as Comp Teachers

The Art of Writing on Craft (with one of my fave writers, Charles Baxter!)

Judging Art: The Role of Assessment in Creative Writing

A Department of Our Own: Creative Writing in Independent Writing Programs (with our own David Harvey!)

Reading and Conversation w/ Martin Amis

Whew!  Will she make it to all of these or will she be trampled enroute to a crowded session, never to be heard from again?  Find out tomorrow in the next installment of . . .

As AWP Turns. . .


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An offbeat survey–Goldenbooks coming soon

My Goldenbooks Legacy review is coming, soon, very soon (part one perhaps today) but until then I’ll just post my answers to this survey which I found on another blog. Feel free to copy it and link to your answers here!

On My Bedside Table:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

The Machine in the Nursery by Jeffrey Baker

The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter

(Then there’s what’s under my bedside table, the second string, so to speak, of anticipated reading.  A big pile.  Too big to list.)

Next Up from Netflix:
Spiderman 3 (Family Movie Night)

The Constant Gardener

The End of the Affair

Latest Interests:

history of neonatology/incubators

World War II

(last are for two writing projects)

On My Mind:
people I care about who are in recovery

the new semester

the welfare of our CFCA sponsored child in Kenya

to be a better blogger (hopefully)

Sarah Lugg-inspired collages on printer’s drawers painted shabby white–photos soon.

Looking Forward To:
going to Michael Feldman’s Whadya Know Tomorrow in LR

making bread this weekend

family movie night (High School Musical!)

date night

reading the new ME Home Companionthat arrived yesterday

using my brand spanking new blue toile file folders with farm animals on them!

my second cup of coffee and NPR in the background

getting ready for my first class

answering this survey (I love surveys, don’t you?) which I found on the Bella Dia blog

Amused By:
my cats

my polar opposite children (One who mused jovially en route to school today, “hmm, wonder what we’ll do today” then cheerfully anticipated each subject, in chronological order;  the other who had the usual Friday morning stomach ache and angled to stay home.  Which one is most like me?  They both are–I’ve always loved learning but I would have been just as happy to do it at home.  I didn’t really enjoy school until college, which has a lot to do why I teach there.)

Don’t Forget: The Wordamour Birthday giveaway going on this month–all posts between January 4 and February 4th will be included in the raffle.


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Preview of upcoming posts (aka–books for Christmas!)


I am supposed to be cleaning my house at this moment, in preparation for most-welcome weekend guests, but I’m finding it hard to get in the vacuuming groove, so I think I’ll give you all a little preview of some upcoming book reviews you can look forward to here (as in, yes, I got  books for Christmas, whee!).

The Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever and Became an American Icon Along the Way by Leonard S. MarcusThis was #1 on my wish list.  I’m almost done with it.  Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Beyond Plot: The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason
Yes, I’m committed to entertaining YOU–and to hopefully growing my audience.

The Crafter’s Companion: Tips, Tales and Patterns from a Community of Crafters
Dispatches from my other life.

The Machine in the Nursery: Incubator Technology and the Origins of Neonatal Care
by Jeffrey P. Baker
Fascinating stuff, background for 2 writing projects I’m working on. Thank God for Interlibrary loan (click the link to find out why).

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda Not nearly as hokey as the title would suggest. The man can write. More later.

Sigh. I’ve put of the inevitable long enough. Back to the vacuum. With DH gone off running errands and the kids upstairs, at least I can crank up the Pavarotti.

So, look for reviews of these and more in the coming weeks and don’t forget the new Wordamour Giveaway, starting January 4 and running till Feburary 4!
Bye, y’all!

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