Trip to AWP LA 2016, Part III

The last two days, I’ve been working on a restoration project on an old post from 2016, when I attended AWP LA ’16.

Today and tomorrow, I’m continuing that project. April 18th should be my final restoration post for the month. It’s been a fun project; I’m hoping to refine this writing recycle process more!

Prewriting 💙 Yoga for Writers

I inhaled a hefty slice of cheese pizza before attending this 1-hour beginner yoga class.

Most of it reminded me of my relaxation yoga sessions, i.e., yoga done on your rump—but we did mountain pose and downward dog a little, and my digestion battled me during the more demanding movements.I wouldn’t recommend the Los Angeles Convention Center’s pizza.

Once Upon a Time 💚 Remembering Philip Levine

I didn’t take any notes for this reading; by yoga slash pizza, me and my iPad were done. But I still attended this reading because I helped with the Philip Levine Prize throughout my graduate degree; so I feel a strong kinship to these poets, and to Connie Hales, my thesis chair, the soul behind the Philip Levine Prize, and the best poetry professor ever.

Ever. Non-negotiable.

Also, Connie was the moderator.

I keep calling it a “reading” instead of a “panel” because many poems were read, even with the panelesque nature of the table; even with the mics and stacks of books separating the guests from the audience.

When it came time for us to ask questions, a long pause preceded the Q&A’s. I personally wanted to ask each of the four panelists to pick a poem, then read a little more, because they were all beautiful voices, and there is something magical about when a poet lets that beauty escape from the page and return to their body—return to words from the mouth, words once from the head, once released from the hands.

But I didn’t ask them to read more poems because the Q&A veered towards remembering Philip Levine, with stories from audience members(and Connie told her amazing stories about him, too!) about what he was like as a professor; and that’s what the event was really held for: remembrance.

One of the things I found interesting about the four poets on the panel—beyond the intensity of their readings, anyway—was that they shared common threads; likely, Levine-inspired threads.

For instance, they held deep respect for poetry about labor; they abandoned poetry for many years only to find it again later in life; they were all empowered by winning the very prize I’d committed my fall semesters towards for three years.

Their collective and shared story ended the conference with a “feel good” buzz, which I celebrated, when I got back to Aventura Hotel, by ordering delivery thai, a luxury I can’t have in Fresno or in Orange County—a luxury only Los Angeles offers.The featured image was taken outside of the Aventura Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles (April 1, 2016, iPhone 6S+).


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