Skip to content →

Literary Portland Curators’ AWP Suggestions

AWP can be an overwhelming experience, with many different choices for panels and off-site readings. While it’s often best to follow your instincts, go with the flow, and see where you end up, we’ve got some suggestions if you’re looking for ideas.

It’s important to consider your own tastes and goals for the conference and offsite readings, etc. Our choices below are obviously subjective, fed by our own interests and leanings. It helps to consider what you want to get out of the conference: Do you want professional advice on submitting, editing, and working with publishers? Are you stuck on revision? Are you thinking about process? Or are you interested more in conceptual things? A certain theme in your writing? Contemporary discussions around #metoo, race, gender, politics, etc.? The conference has panels on all of these, sometimes multiple panels on the same topics across different days. Figuring out what you’re after can help slim down your choices. Consider topics you like, names you recognize, or themes of interest. But also, don’t be afraid to just skip something, go to a random panel, or leave for some fresh air. Over-planning can definitely be an issue and sometimes it’s nice to go off track or follow a friend to something outside your schedule.

Panels

From Karolinn:

Too many choices! But since I’ve been so into the tactile and the physical and the image, I’d recommend Page Meets Stage (with Portland’s own Anis Mojgani), Ecstatic Ekphrastic (moderated by the seriously cool Bianca Stone), and Consequences of Silence (Samiya Bashir will blow your mind) for Thursday. On Friday, hear New Poetry from Omnidawn (moderated by Old Pal contributor Tyrone Williams), learn from Poets Writing Whiteness (with the indomitable Shane McCrae), or celebrate the astounding legacy of Lucie Brock-Broido. For Saturday: A Lewis & Clark College Poetry Reading

From Alex:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Offsite Events

From Karolinn:

Thursday: Check out the Yale Series of Younger Poets reading at Powell’s.
Friday: Visit Wave Books at the IPRC.
Saturday: The raucous bash that is the Bookseller’s Ball.

From Ryan:

Commonplace is a great podcast hosted by Rachel Zucker and they are having an offsite reading at Passages bookshop on Saturday from 6-7:30pm!

Wave Books is a very incredible small press who are taking over the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) all day on Friday. All of the readers are fantastic, but I would especially look forward to hearing Dorothea Lasky, Michael Earl Craig, Tyehimba Jess, Magdalena Zurawski and John Beer, to name a few!

This recommendation is kind of more about the location of the event, but I also am really excited about Emily Skillings’ book Fort Not, and Emily is reading at this event, which is at a great local brewery called Base Camp. Good beer, good poetry!

Last but not least, No Fair/Fair is a book fair taking place alongside AWP and featuring many small presses and a looootttttttt of readers! It will be going on for a long time, and the list of readers is truly extensive, so have a look at the website for more details!!!!

From Alex:

Before diving into my list of sellections, I’ll say that I highly recommend checking out some events based on venue, as there are some awesome venues that know their stuff and have put together some solid line-ups of readings over the next few days. In no particular order these include: Passages Bookshop, The Stacks Coffeehouse, Crush Bar, Powell’s, De-Canon Library, IPRC, Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, Rose City Book Pub, Cardinal Club, and Literary Arts. Look for other venues near you via our map and see if there are similar ongoing festivities.

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Bookfair Tables

Our best suggestion for the bookfair is to browse at your leisure, perhaps even over the course of several days, as the bookfair itself can be an over-stimulating and anxiety enducing affair to tackle in one day. Maybe make a pass through to get a lay-of-the-land, then figure out what appeals to you and go back into the fray to make connections and buy some books (or snag free swag). Usually by the last day of the bookfair publishers are looking to offload whatever merch is left to reduce their baggage claim and shipping fees. So, if getting a certain book isn’t important, but you want a big haul of discount, sale, or free stuff, you might do some last minute pass-throughs.

Here are some places that jumped out to us: Haymarket Books (10042), Wave Books (T8027, T8029), Fence (8020), CALYX (12094), The Accomplices (T2009), McSweeney’s (T8009), Microcosm Publishing (1068), New Ohio Review & Quarter After Eight (7061, 7063), Paper Darts (T1012), Portland State University (4012, 4014), Propeller Books (T14089), Spork Press / Future Tense (T2054), Tavern Books (6060, 6062), Unchaste Readers Series (T2060), YesYes Books / Vinyl (10084, 10086, 10088), and many more!

Some other handy guides that may help you:

Published in AWP Guides