AWP 2012: I'm not there

I had every intention of attending this weekend's AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference in Chicago. I have a new novel out, a collection of poetry on the way and two anthologies featuring my work launching at the conference. But plans change.

Most of you know I have a day job I love as editor of a local arts and culture magazine here in Atlanta. That's the job that pays most of the bills. I also had a big side job as a reviewer for, which was providing enough money to make a car payment and have several hundred dollars left over each month. Audible ended its reviewer program in December and my extra money for travel and non-essentials went out the window. I've gotten rid of Netflix, cut back to basic cable, put my retail therapy sessions on hold and instated other budget cutting measures.

AWP is not an inexpensive trip with airfare and hotel adding up to hundreds of dollars. Many who attend work in academia and have their trip to AWP paid for, but I don't have that luxury. It would all come out of my pocket. And while I'd love to hang out with some of my favorite write, overspend at the book fair and get tipsy on cocktails at the Palmer House, I'm saving my dollars for two trips that are more important to me.

On Friday, March 23, I'll be reading The Center for Gay & Lesbian Studies at CUNY in New York City along with fellow poets featured in Assaracus literary journal and then will hang around for the Rainbow Book Fair on Saturday. Since Sibling Rivalry Press is publishing my poetry collection, Render, next year I want to be there to support the journal and press.

The big adventure for 2012 will be this summer when I return to London. I will be reading from Remain In Light at the prestigious Polari series hosted by Paul Burston at Southbank Centre on June 11, reading with the brilliant Agnes Meadows and Ivy Alvarez (and maybe a surprise guest) on June 14 at a venue to be announced and then attending the launch party for the HomeGround anthology on June 17. To say I'm excited would be the understatement of the year.

So that's where all my extra dollars are going this year. I do plan to attend AWP 2013 in Boston and I'm planning a more extensive tour for Render, including some west coast dates. If you're in Chicago this weekend for AWP, have a great time. Raise a glass of whatever you're drinking for me.


Ivy said…
Yay, Collin!
"put my retail therapy sessions on hold"

Oh my Collin, now I'm really worried about you!

I have done the same :) I'm sorry you couldn't attend AWP but happy to hear about Boston 2013 - I'll aim for that too. You have so much on the go now - best of luck to you, I'll be watching & reading.
I think you've chosen well — since it had to come to a choice.

June's a way off yet, but do remember to give Agnes a big hug from me too. Just your mention of her name takes me back to the happy occasion when I met you both.

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