By Sandra Tyler, Editor-in-Chief
This was our first year at AWP, and it was a delight to not only meet some of our contributors but to actually hear a couple of them read, namely poets Eleanor Hooker and Tess Barry. We made some other nice connections; I met Steve McCondichie, founder of Southern Fried Karma Press, which led to a reprint of two SFK posts, intriguing little gems on Southern writing: one of his own, “Who are the Southern Authors of the New Millennium?” and “What Makes a Writer Southern?” by Kelsey Asher. (WTP Features Editor Emily Jaeger, in her review of the SFK website, taps into its unique Southern bent and art scene.)
At AWP, we also met Caitlin Krause, (her poetry appeared in Vol. IV #10) who had signed on with us to review Knowing Knott; together we attended the AWP panel in tribute to Bill Knott, and some quite memorable stories were shared about this brilliant poet and eccentric, who died in 2014—one of my favorites, how this otherwise reclusive poet who shunned publicity, would plant stacks of his books on prominent bookstore tables. As Krause writes in her WTP review, “Bill was contradictory: passionate on-stage performer; withdrawn off-stage introvert. Wearing thrift-store cast-offs; extravagant in supporting friends in need. He was the enlightened Zen-like monk, and the voice of the bawdy imp, ready to shock and awe with words cutting straight to the truth of a moment…” If you have never read Knott’s poetry, Krause’s review may pique your interest, not just in the poet but in “Bill” the man.
In the arts arena: I may have mentioned our new section, Gallery Profiles. Gallery websites can seem a bit elusive, as very few provide much information about the actually galleries themselves—about the curators, what kind of art they seek to curate, etc. So take a look at our Gallery Profiles page, and if you are a curator, you can contact me directly with your gallery URL (if you’re an artist with representation, don’t be shy about contacting your own gallery, and ask them to submit to me directly).
Other WTP art highlights: reprints from artist Jean Eng, one of my favorites on “Eye-drawing:” “Eye-drawing is performed without art tools or supplies; yet an artist still needs to be present with what they observe. It’s an exercise where everyone is viewed as a possible drawing, but the results only appear in the imagination. To prevent this from turning into a prurient activity, I regard all who captivate my interest with respectful appreciation. This actually isn’t hard, provided I take casual, neutral glances and don’t stare.” And those who keep up with our site features, you know we like to have artists write about their own creative process—behind-the-scene peeks into their studios. In March we featured a peek into the process behind one our video features—quite an elaborate and dramatic process, behind the rather brilliant orchestration of a “Dancepoem.” Slovakian poet Eleni Cay works with dancers to actually choreograph her own poetry, and the results are both beautiful and sophisticated.
Always more in store, as we post just about daily now on WTP. But heads up for something really brand new: our first annual literary and art contests! These contests will run simultaneously, this year one for painting, the other prose. Respectively our jurors will be our own arts editor and phenomenal artist Richard Malinsky, and contributing editor, as well as founder of the renowned Ploughshares literary magazine, DeWitt Henry. Stay updated by signing up for our WTP newletter and liking us on Facebook.
Until my next roundup, happy spring!
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