Welcome back for part two of BMR Goes AWP 2020! Today, the Blue Mesa Review staff embarks on a roadtrip from Albuquerque to San Antonio for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference that starts Thursday morning. Check out the list of panels below our incoming editors have scoped out, and make sure to visit us at our table (T1914) at the bookfair!
Mikaela Osler, Incoming Nonfiction Editor
My memoir is mostly concerned with my experiences as a woman on a journey; I write about my thru-hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail. These hikes were certainly transformational, but I feel uncomfortable representing them as exclusively experiences of forward progress and redemption. I worry that I’m either trying to force my journey to follow the example set by male heroes like Jack Kerouac or Chris McCandless, or trying to turn my journey into a more acceptable, feminine narrative of personal growth a la Cheryl Strayed. How did having almost exclusively male archetypes through which to understand my own experience impact the way I understood my journeys as I was on them? How does this literary tradition impact the boundaries of my imagination as I try to capture my experiences in memoir? Are there ways of writing about journeys undertaken by people of all genders that subvert the expectations for journey narratives established through stories about men? I could not be more excited to hear a remarkable group of authors discuss these questions, and more.
Rhea Ramakrishnan, Incoming Poetry Editor
The only time I would describe myself as “detail-oriented” is when I’m writing a poem. I can tinker around with a single article in a poem for an hour and a line for a whole day. The manipulation of a single line in the poem can really make or break the experience I have reading that poem. Robert Lowell once wrote, “It’s much easier to write a good poem than a good line.” I’m excited to learn about how some really talented poets, including Jake Skeets and Kathy Fagan, craft lines in their poems. Hopefully I can transfer those skills toward revising a stack of poems I want to organize into my first collection!
Jennifer Tubbs, Incoming Fiction Editor
As a writer of magical realism, I was thrilled to see a panel that explores the coexistence of “myth and magic with domestic concerns” in literature. Writing the Difficult with Fabulist Elements will bring authors and poets together to discuss fabulism in women’s writing, particularly as it relates to trauma. I’m especially excited to hear from panelist Paula Neves, whose work focuses on the Portuguese diaspora because one of my goals for this year is to learn Portuguese. Fingers crossed I can catch more than a few words in her poetry!
If you’ll be attending AWP 2020 this week, remember to stop by Table 1914 at the bookfair to meet the current and incoming BMR staff, see our latest issue, pick up some swag, and find out which phenomenal authors we have lined up for our summer contest judges. See you in San Antonio!