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Monday, Mar 26, 2012
10,000 writers descend on Chicago for the annual AWP Conference, and PopMatters' Corey Beasley survives with the help of Margaret Atwood.

AWP: your yearly chance to spend too much money on too many journals you’ll never read; to drink in proximity to C.K. Williams (who more or less travels with the AWP Conference, moving from camp to camp and collecting potable rainwater in discarded totebags); to make sure the editorial board of the journal who rejected your story or poem three times is at least fairly unattractive, physically; to, above all, not feel quite so weird telling the person next to you that you are, in fact, a writer.


The Association of Writers & Writing Programs’s annual conference, the largest of its type in the country, pulls writers of all ages and genres away from their laptops, notepads and typewriters (ugh) and toward a new city every year. This year saw the return of The Conference to Chicago, site of the 2009 conference and an all-around welcoming city for artists. This year was the biggest yet for AWP, with 10,000 writers descending on Lake Michigan for four nights of panels, readings, and business-card-handling. But the (not-so) secret of AWP is its ability to feel at once overwhelming—it becomes hard to tell, when surrounded by so many, which mustache is sincere and which is ironic—and entirely intimate, as if you’re surrounded by 9,999 potential lifelong friends.


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Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011
From January 6 to the 9th, fans and scholars of H.P. Lovecraft gathered in Phoenix to celebrate and discuss the horror writer's work and legacy.

Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft occupies a strange place in the American literary canon. Published mostly in pulp magazines during his own lifetime, the author died in 1937, leaving behind enough stories to fill three or four volumes, enough letters to fill twenty-five, and a small but devoted circle of admirers who took upon themselves the task of keeping his memory alive. Now, over seventy years later, both The American Library and Penguin Books publish his work with other classics, and Lovecraft outsells most of the titles they print alongside him. His ideas have spawned hordes of imitators and dozens of innovators who have built on his work. Among those who pay attention to such things, he’s one of America’s great horror writers, second maybe only to Poe himself.


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