Literary Chocolate Hiatus: Boston
My focus on this trip was books, not chocolate. I came to Boston in the middle of a blizzard for the AWP conference, an annual event where gray-haired tenured professor-types reminisce about the days before the proliferation of MFA programs when the meeting was a small gathering of university writing-workshop participants rather than 10,000 people descending space-colony-like upon mega-convention-center-shopping-complexes. Now it's all going all the time--panels about translation, packed poetry readings, lit mags soliciting submissions and occasionally giving away shots of whiskey. There is some chocolate, too. Booths at the book fair are littered with giveaway trick-or-treat-sized morsels of the variety that exhibitors can afford on their adjunct salaries or the profits of their not-for-profit businesses.
Most memorable among the swag (in addition to the sea salt caramels from Salt Press) were the Gone & Gone chocolate bars at the Red Hen Press booth (publishers of things worldly and weird), the wrappers condensed versions of the cover of the poetry book of the same name, designed, it would seem, by publisher Mark Cull.
I bought the book. I opened it and read this: "Just the impertinent reptiles,/ scissored glances with nothing exchanged/ & rain promised for the end of the holiday." A few pages before that, the poet Rodney Wittwer wrote "For Emily--Thanks for the support and enjoy the chocolate!"
Thank you, Rodney!