For a literary scholar like myself, this is off the beaten path. I go every year to the big Modern Language Association conference--a gathering of 8,000-10,000 literary scholars in English and other languages--but I would not have known about AWP had I not become head of a department with an associated MFA program. The MLA conference gets a certain amount of press coverage each year, and I've been joking that this year there seems to be an unspoken journalistic agreement that all MLA-related stories must feature at least two faculty members from our department. This year, though, as the AWP continues to grow in importance, John Griswold--aka, Oronte Churm--is bringing the media spotlight to AWP.
He's calling it "Radio Free AWP" on his Inside Higher Ed blog, and I'll let him explain:
"Please tune in here, this Wednesday through Saturday, to click-and-listen to two-dozen free podcasts by big-time poets, writers, and editors.[...] Radio Free AWP will coincide with the annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which supports more than '34,000 writers at over 500 member colleges & universities and 100 writers' conferences & centers.' This year the conference is in Washington, DC, home of Inside Higher Ed, and with IHE’s help I’m using this opportunity to connect writers and readers, wherever they are.
It’s true pirate radio, internet-style, with some of my literary friends and friends-of-friends generously donating their words and time for your listening pleasure. The readings and discussions range widely, from a short story recorded professionally in the studio of some guy named Ira who evidently has an interest in American lives, to a self-produced audio essay recorded on location in Africa, to what sounds like a writer who's broken into your kitchen late at night to drink your bourbon and pet your dog, and when you discover him there he tells you a crazy-funny tale about the Russian mob stealing a river."
So there you have it. Not only a way to keep up with the AWP as it happens, but a way to do so without actually sharing your bourbon. Tune in!