Just returned from the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Conference in Chicago where I moderated the Sibling Rivalries Panel (see description in last blog). The room was packed, with a standing room only crowd. My fellow panelists: Danny Solis, Jill Battson, and Jasmine Cuffee, were terrific and we were able to begin a very crucial dialogue about the situation of contemporary American poetry and the tensions between the academic/literary and spoken word/slam communities. Panelists and audience members talked about issues of inclusiveness, exclusiveness, rigor, audience, race, and socio-economics , pushing the discussion past the usual platititudes. Clearly, the popularity of the session and the brimming discussion (we had to cut people off at the end, having run out of time) signals the necessity of engaging in this important dialogue further. Many audience members asked us to return, next year, to continue the discussion. Thanks to Danny, Jill, and Jasmine for a great session.
Also, the animated version of my poem, "Bowl," premiered at the conference, with the other animated poems in the second series of Poetry Everwhere (PBS/UWM/Poetry Foundation). Check it out on YouTube!