AWP / Latin@ writing / poetry / Uncategorized / writing

The emotional infrastructure of the world

Seattle, WA

Over 13,000 people attended AWP in Seattle, WA last week making it the largest AWP conference yet. Even in this sea of writers, it’s easy to feel lost, even alone, and without anchor. I attended eight panels over the course of three days; these were panels that didn’t alienate, panels where panelists were respectful and supportive of each other and the people who came to see and hear them, panels where when you walked out of that room and back into the swarm of people made you feel like you have a purpose, like you are a part of something larger that’s worth celebrating. A few notes from the panels:

Translating Radical Women Poets

“We can’t forget the basic knowledge of being human.” – Don Mee Choi

The Long Distance Race: Making a Life in Poetry

“Don’t listen to your snob-o-meter, man.” – Dana Levin

“Mother, we are rebuilding the emotional infrastructure of the world.” – Richard Siken to his mother on what he does at AWP

“Maintain your relationships with your mentors.” – Cate Marvin

CantoMundo: Teaching Latino/a Literature

“Are the poems saying anything about being alive?” – Ruben Quesada

“There is always an audience for the poet.” – Norma Cantu

Are We Latino: Hazards of Representation

“Who is better equipped to push literature past its limits than the dispossessed?” – Carmen Gimenez Smith

Uncovering Hip Hop Poetry

“Sometimes all we had was a head nod to sustain us.” – Tara Betts

Encouraging Emerging Poets

“If you and the page are taking it seriously, people notice.” – Richard Siken

“It’s not enough to just read and write. You need to have more engagement with language.” – Eduardo C. Corral

Race and Belonging: Navigating the MFA Program as a Writer of Color

“I sought diversity at the level of language.” – Eduardo C. Corral

“It’s important that we talk across our cultural lines.” – Tim Seibles

“It is your responsibility to find out what your writing is and write it.” – Sejal Shah

Thoughts? Additions? Thanks for reading.


12 thoughts on “The emotional infrastructure of the world

  1. I’m sorry we didn’t run into each other but I’m glad you shared these inspirational quotes.
    The workshop where I learned some new things was The Lyrical Sentence: “Poets write for sound first, prose writers for sound. The best combine the two.”
    In Latino Short Stories: To write you have to be brave, be vulnerable, and give yourself over to the story.” Benjamin Laire Saenz

    • Thanks for sharing these, Mona. I wish I could have heard more of Saenz this AWP. I did attend his CantoMundo reading and am thankful for it.

    • Thanks for reading, Jeff. AWP can definitely be overwhelming at times. I did take the photograph; I hope you like it.

  2. Pingback: The emotional infrastructure of the world | Sejal Shah

  3. I just came across your site and this post, Andrea. Thank you for including my words in your notes on panels. The panel and the conference were important, but we lose nuances when such moments are not documented. I will be at AWP in Minneapolis and would love to meet you!

  4. Pingback: the emotional infrastructure of the world, part two #AWP15 | Andrea Beltran

  5. Pingback: Poetry pairing: “sometimes all we had was a head nod to a beat to sustain us” | Andrea Beltran

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