Just Returned from AWP

I just returned from the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) Conference where 7,000 writers converged on Washington DC for readings, sessions on writing and the teaching of writing, and one of the most extensive book fairs to be found anywhere.  The book fair is one of the most colorful events of the entire weekend, highlighting not only the creativity of a wide range of authors but also their ideas about what a book can be.  While most literary magazines appear to be embracing on-line forms of publication, having at least a web presence if not a full webzine, the conference also showed that the book arts are thriving, with some presses showcasing beautiful hand made chapbooks, publications that combine the art of writing with the art of book design. Some of these were extremely innovative. One was a book that could be unfolded telescope style allowing the “reader” to peer through a tiny hole and read a poem printed at the other end.  There was a also a book of fractured fairy tales, where pages were cut in quarters with a story on one side and an illustration on the other.  No matter how the pages were lined up, a different version of the story and illustration would appear.  The same press offered a page that could be folded in an intricate way so that it could be opened and re-opened to show various versions of the same story. There were a number of presses offering broadsheets, single pages on high-quality paper and hand-produced artwork featuring a single poem and books that were hand bound with hand-made papers.  In an age where so much is digital, its wonderful to see books that are a delight to see and touch as they are to read.

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About carolewaterhouse

A creative writing professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Carole Waterhouse is the author of two novels, The Tapestry Baby and Without Wings, and a collection of short stories, The Paradise Ranch. Her fiction has appeared in Arnazella, Artful Dodge, Baybury Review, Ceilidh, Eureka Literary Magazine, Forum, Half Tones to Jubilee, Massachusetts Review, Minnetonka Review, Oracle: The Brewton-Parker College Review, Parting Gifts, Pointed Circle, Potpourri, Seems, Spout, The Armchair Aesthete, The Griffin, The Styles, Tucumari Literary Review, Turnrow, and X-Connect. A previous newspaper reporter, she has published essays in an anthology, Horse Crazy: Women and the Horses They Love, and Equus Spirit Magazine. Her book reviews have appeared in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press, and The New York Times Book Review.
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