Poetry readings are as diverse as animal species, and the readings I attended at AWP were no different. There were so many to choose from this weekend that it was difficult to make decisions, so I will start with just one. This is by no means a comprehensive review, but a brief taste of what I heard.
City of the Big Shoulders Reading – Thursday AM
This reading, introduced by anthology editor Ryan McCleave, was a great way to kick-off the conference. Poet Robyn Schiff started off the reading with her quirky, singular voice. My favorite piece of hers was about mail-ordering baby furniture and all the confusion surrounding impending parenthood. She was followed by Don Share, editor of Poetry Magazine, who graciously shared the work of some other poets after reading his contribution to the anthology. But the second half of the reading really took off for me. First was the gorgeous and talented Beth Ann Fennelly, who makes me want to fall to the ground like Wayne and Garth yelling,”I’m not worthy!” (Sorry – old person Wayne’s World reference…) A section of her long poem about kudzu mesmerized me…I can’t wait for a new book from her. Finishing off the reading was Campbell McGrath. I had never heard him read his work before, and I was certainly not disappointed.