AWP Summary: Friday, Also Known as the Day the Shit Hit the Fan, or Kooky Poet Day

Friday at AWP started off like a lamb and went out like a drunk editor lurching into a pizza joint at 4 in the morning and then passing out on the counter. In between there, a lot of shit went down.

First, a few things that are semi-significant and happened before, which I forgot to mention earlier.

Thursday Do-Over:
Reb Livingston, one woman poetic empire, poet, founder of No Tell Motel and No Tell Books, Lifetime Owner of Reb Livingston's Breasts, came by to browbeat us into going to the Micropress Poetry Pageant on Thursday night. Apparently attracted by the raw aggression in the air and the smell of Barrelhouse Editor Fear, the singular Jill Alexander Essbaum appeared out of thin air to do the same. We made vague promises, got caught up with our funny poet friends, and went back into booth bunny mode.

Many other cool people in the mix: at random points, we met with up Steve Kistulentz, Aaron Burch and Elizabeth Ellen of Hobart, James Yang of Juked, Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writer's Network, Richard Peabody from Gargoyle and Paycock Press, Susan Muaddi-Darraj from the Baltimore Review, Julie Wakeman-Linn and Leila Emery of Potomac Reveiw, Josh Mandelbaum from Poets and Writers and Ballyhoo Stories, as well as some Barrelhouse contributors, none of whom were wily enough to cadge any of their promised Beer for Life, thank god: Ryan Call, Blake Butler, Gary Fincke, Ada Limon, Jennifer L. Knox, Cathleen Calbert, Lee Klein, Nick Courtwright, Emily Doak, Barbara Duffey, and probably many others that I'm missing.

So anyway, that stuff all happened Thursday, pretty much.

We table like crazy all day, speaking to many good folks. We foretell deaths and supply the names of future novels and memoirs, critique people's work without reading it, spin the Wheel of Destiny, and explain to all the Barrelhousey goodness that awaits for a mere $7 or $5 or $Whateveryougot.

And then hit the bar, where we linger for roughly twenty dollars of beer per person, then brave the rain to meet up with Barrelhouse Poetry Impresario Dan Brady and some of his Academy of American Poet pals for a few beers down the road.

There, we hem and haw and apply the What to do in Atlanta formula until it's almost too late to do anything, and then, with a burst of Mike Ingram energy, get swept up in a plan to actually make good on vague promises and hit the Micropress Poetry Pageant.

Cabs are hailed, limos are bailed out of, and finally we arrive at Stain Bar in Brooklyn, just in time to literally hand the shirt off our backs (and now I'm in the royal "We" and loving it, Pease) to the singular Jill Alexander Essbaum, competing as only she can, in beatnik drag.

Here we also meet up with Jessica "Rape Joke Girl" Piazza, immediately bonding over booze and witty tasteless repartee while we cheer on the Singular Jill Alexander Essbaum as she wins in a rather convincing victory over, among others, our own in a manner of speaking Jennifer L. Knox.

It's a truly impressive victory that, for a variety of reasons that mostly have to do with Jill's exhaustive knowledge of 70s African-American sitcoms, may require the launch of a Barrelhouse Books empire, if only to do justice to the Singular Jill Alexander Essbaum.

Hilarity ensues -- really, for real poetry hilarity, it was a really cool event -- and we eventually find ourselves swept up in Hurricane Jessica Piazza, back on the subway, and off to some place where they serve drinks in big giant glasses and pour them liberally.

The rest of Team Barrelhouse is summoned and this is where things get a little, um, out of control, as our own...[EDITOR'S NOTE: THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF WRITER'S AND WRITING PROGRAMS, THE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT ASSOCIATION, AND THE NEW YORK CITY TOURISM BOARD]..., which was then nicknamed The White Shadow, and has caused nightmares for approximately one half of the Barrelhouse Editorial Squadron.

Remarkably, nobody threw beer on it, and nobody was kicked out of the bar, and eventually we decide to head back to the hotel while the heading is good, and before any citations or restraining orders can be issued.

Taxis hailed, we arrive back at the Hilton sometime around 3, scatter for various food options, and quite literally pass out in the rooms.

The book fair opens in 4 hours.


Mike said...

Funny, that same All-Caps Editor's Note occupies the space in my brain where memories of Friday night should be stored.


The White Shadow

Mike said...

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't salute Michael Garriga, Southeast Review Editor, a man not afraid to share whatever he's got in his flask when the hotel bar prices get too high.

And the aforementioned Steve Kistulentz, who put it into my head that the only thing better than bourbon is bourbon with a beer backer. Twice the deliciousness!

JP said...

Okay, I love being Rape Joke Girl. I do, seriously. But at a certain point, the font of ridiculousness that spews forth from my mouth should produce some charming alternatives. Hurricane is good. But there must bet better. Because really...rape jokes are only the beginning, methinks.

(You guys frigging love me. But hey, the feeling is mutual.)

With respects to the White Shadow, who sold out WAY too early for my taste the last day but should be liberally thanked for his text messaging skills...

-Jess (or, as Jill would say, one of the Barrelhouse Bitches)

jill alexander essbaum said...

the singular jill alexander essbaum?
i like it.

if the only think i managed at AWP was to bring jessica marie piazza to y'alls attention then i done good.