Really, so many things deserve a recap: foremost, Mark Cugini and Laura Spencer were the most stupendous, generous hosts ever, and Kim Ann Southwick and Chris Sumner (secret captain of the Tippuh) were great fun to share crash space with. Then there's all the other shit that was far better for my National heart than the Nationals record: zoo readings, Ethiopian food (first AWP meal tradition with Molly Gaudry), drinking from a tower of multiple highball glasses at the Big Lucks reading, me and Joe Hall trying to sabotage PBS, Gene Morgan's robot, riding the train both ways with Gale Thompson/Anne Holmes/Brian Foley, having a heartfelt drunkersation with Scott Garson, having a heartfelt drunkersation with Brian Carr, Tim Jones-Yelvington being in costume the whole time and me not realizing that until the end and thinking Man, Tim has a lot of events to do! I feel bad that he never gets time to change (the lesson being, of course, that everything is an event when you are an event, as Tim is), meeting so many awesome people for the first time at the Bookfair, seeing so many awesome familiars at the Bookfair (including a strong Boston showing! Brooks S! Johnathan Papas and Molly! Peter J!), having the HTMLGIANT table be caddy corner from Kasey Mohammad and having a miscommunication with Kasey over whether we were saying "beau" or "boo" to each other before realizing that they mean the same thing, Brandi Wells threatening to kill me unless I took a journal she didn't want off her hands, meeting Jen Gann and having her accuse me of being Tim Allen (hopefully not the last time that happens in my life), all the people who volunteered to be lion food for my zoo poem, Chloe Cooper Jones and Adam R who brilliantly organized the zoo reading, man I am running out of breath and I am typing, typing isn't even breathing, the hilarious West Wind Review/Abe Lincoln/Edge Books reading (probably the best overall reading I saw), the hilarious crew I ate with at that reading, including the 80s Weird Science Punk Rock impressiveness of Shaun Gannon, Amelia Gray at the Literature Party having an audience of 900 people in the palm of her hand as she bellowed threats from behind her razorwire grin, see there are so many people I'm forgetting already, Blake Butler of course and forever being his rambunctious Blake-in-public in-public self, and being cuddly normal Blake in private, Justin Sirois delivering the Understanding Campaign swag and being as warm as ever, Sam Ligon leaning conspiratorially over the GIANT table as if he were trying to buy a gallon of unlicensed ham (I forget what we were really talking about), Lincoln Michel and I trying to pull people from the audience onto the stage in what felt like the Lost in Space version of dancing, Matt Hart humping the microphone stand and completely demolishing the Megareading audience with a wow-sauce of a closing act to a background of sirens, all the awesome organizers behind Megareading, Jason Bredle's crowd-zonking hilarity at Megareading, Dan Bailey's emotional three pointer from mid-court at Megareading, Jen Gann's spellbinding gym bomber at Megareading, standing in the corner at the Table X reading while Sasha Fletcher's friend in a fedora made fun of everyone except Adam Robinson of whom he said "Every now and then some asshole gets up there and shows everybody how it's done," Ben Fama's steamrolling wizardry of Supermachine omnipresence, walking and talking with Melissa Broder about meditation and how much we missed Ryan Call, the text message sent to my new-friend-of-scarf-trading Christie Ann Reynolds by Christie Ann Reynolds's mom, who said (I might be summarizing a little): "You look like Anne Hathaway. It's going to snow. R u alive?", a Saturday night Poets Invade DC dance
party at some place I can't remember, but a girl named Trinny (from Trinidad) told me "You can actually dance, that's amazing," dancing with Lily Ladewig like The Basement '08, giving brotherly advice-of-the-heart to Lina Makdisi as she smoked cigarettes, which was funny because I only see her once a year at AWP, but she was very nice and gave me a free anthology of airline fiction so I traded her some advice—hmm, let me back up—eating bland Indian food with a bunch of smart people before the Table X reading, including Jackie Wang, Tim Y, Mike Kitchell, Andrew Weatherhead, Jackie Wang's punk house friend whose name sadly evades me, and Lily Hoang, who was perhaps my official AWP 2011 Buddy in that I feel like she often steered me away from oncoming headlights and also she was good for pointing out Joe Biden's swingset, um, telling many, many people re: Andrew Weatherhead's 600 page bolt-bound autobiographical novel that "when I first heard about it, I thought he was joking"—hmm, feel like I'm either running out of stuff or getting exhausted—Tao Lin and Megan Boyle liveblogging the green room goings-on of the Black Cat at Literature Party, Timothy Sanders telling me awesome stories about Europe and Southeast Asia, meeting xTx, getting a lunch in with Gabe Durham before things got really crazy, Joshua Marie Wilkinson yelling my name as we were packing up Saturday at the Bookfair then running over to give me a hug, Jennifer L. Knox and Jason Bredle being the funniest people on their Funny Poetry panel, the weird coincidence that Chris Sumner goes to school with Ian Denning, briefly seeing Sean Kilpatrick and Donora Hillard sometime after I'd eaten an Oreo ice cream sandwich I bought from a vending machine at the National Zoo with my credit card, talking with Jesus Garcia about poetry and enjoying how I always feel like he is about to bust out a guitar solo wherever he goes even if he doesn't have a guitar, congratulating Aaron Burch and Elizabeth Ellen on their upcoming knot, trading a copy of Look! Look! Feathers with Zach Dodson for a copy of The Universe in Miniature in Miniature by Patrick Somerville, Jamie Iredell touching everyone the way only he can, Ben Segal giving me a copy of the awesome book of imaginary blurbs he co-edited—hmm, now I feel like I'm inevitably going to leave someone out and they're going to feel bad; I come from a long immature imagination of left-out feeling and am sensitive to such shit—calling Carolyn Zaikowski very tipsy outside the tattoo parlor Wednesday night to tell her how much I missed her, that seems like a good place to end. Very sure I left people out, for instance I just realized how integral Jamie Perez was in helping me find the aforementioned food scale at the zoo. I apologize to everything and everyone forever. Sorry and thank you for always.
Mike Young (Zoo Reading) from Paul Cunningham on Vimeo.
at 6:32 PM