Sunday, October 02, 2005

James River Writers Conference

I was in Richmond this weekend at the James River Writers Conference. It was fun. The weather was nice. I stayed with Cheryl Pallant and did yoga in her basement in the evenings and petted her cats. (Pause to scratch Lester's head).

Some of the people I talked to at the conference (other than Cheryl) were:

  • Rosalind Miles--Author of I, Elizabeth, and The Guenevere Trilogy, among others. Rosalind has a fabulous sense of humor and is a lively conversationalist. Her feminist perspective was necessary and welcomed. She also wore red bejeweled high heels to the end-of conference party.
  • Reb Livingston--We were on a panel together and because she lives near DC I like to claim her as a DC poet.
  • Ron Hogan--Ron Hogan smokes cigars and drinks scotch. He also edits Beatrice.

Things I learned:

  • That I should be more proactive about sending out work. Usually I just wait until someone solicits something from me. But if I'm going to, like, publish more fiction, I need to send out more fiction, and so on.
  • In a poetry panel at a writing conference, someone will always ask "what is a poem?" or "how do you deffine a poem?" They will ask this question with some degree of hostility.
  • Poets really are viewed with awe or suspicion.
  • A possom is the size of a large cat, but they are not as cute and have bigger heads.
  • That I am still quite young.
  • That the word "craft" is frequently used at a writing conference.
  • That people who write in different genres can have fun at parties together.

2 comments:

shann said...
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shann said...

enjoyed meeting you at the conference. I don't know what the deal is with the 'what is a poem?' question. Do these people really think they will get a definitive answer- ever? And why the hostility? Did someone challenge what they write?

And yes, poets are indeed viewed that way- we can clear a room if we pull out a poem to read. Or maybe it's our blatant refusal to try to make money with poetry- though that's the first question new poets ask me.

Shann Palmer
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