In which our girl reporter, Caitlin Leffel, concludes her breath-taking race through three days at AWP 2012.
Like the tough choices I wrote about yesterday, the AWP bookfair is famously overwhelming—I don't think I've ever heard anyone describe it any other way—and yet I think most attendees would agree that it's pretty vital to spend at least two hours there, and to try to get through it all.
"With all of the journals here, doesn't it seem hard to believe that we ever have a hard time getting published?" I said to my good friend Michael Bogan as we made our way through the Southeast exhibition hall. And I mean that in a positive way. Whenever I walk through the bookfair, I always think about how it's like a version of speed-dating. Heartbreak happens, but there's such a big pool to court from, I truly believe that if you figure out your type, take some chances, and put yourself out there enough, happy unions will follow.
The other thing I alway think about at the bookfair? Contests. I love contests. Especially ones with prize money. (I like money, too.) AWP is a great place to find out about upcoming contests held by dozens of literary journals, and if I were disciplined, I'd create a spreadsheet with all of their info on the plane home tomorrow. But I think instead I'll start an essay about my brother and a chicken, which I got the idea for after seeing Lee Martin and Harrison Fletcher on their awesome panel about writing your family stories.
Speaking of Michael Bogan, he was hard at work at the VCFA booth with Louise and Barry Wrightman at 8:30 this morning. As I approached the booth, he was giving some prospective applicant the hard sell. But seriously, look at these guys. How could you not want to be in this program?