#AWP16 Featured Presenter Q&A with Linda Gregerson

AWP | March 2016

Event Title: To Bring Song to the World: Three Poets on Art and Inspiration, Sponsored by Blue Flower Arts
Description: Whether it be a film, a painting, a song, a photograph, or something else, art in all forms is a powerful force of cross-pollination for writers, and especially for poets, who engage intellectually and emotionally with art and artists across time and disciplines. Each of these four poets’ individual cultural references provides a juxtaposition of images and techniques that create illuminating renderings of place and history within the landscape of language.
Participants: Alison Granucci, Linda Gregerson, Juan Felipe Herrera, and W.S. Di Piero
Date & Time: Friday, April 1, 2016, 8:30pm – 10:00pm

Q: What are some of the conference events (besides your own) and/or bookfair exhibitors you are most excited to see?
A: Goodness, a whole passel of them! Among the panels, the tributes to Ellen Bryant Voigt and Christopher Gilbert, the Aphrodite’s Daughter/Rhetoric panel organized by Sharon Dolin, the Ecopoetics/Kenyon Review panel organized by David Baker, the Lana Turner, Graywolf and Warren Wilson readings, the Ellen Voigt, Heather McHugh, and Norman Dubie reading, and Elizabeth Alexander’s lecture. It goes on and on. Alas and inevitably, some of these events conflict with one another or with my own.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: Larry Levi’s posthumous collection, The Darkening Trapeze, is a fabulous book, and brilliantly edited by David St. John. I love Digest by Gregory Pardlo; I love its range; I love its depth and generosity of spirit. Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys should be on everyone’s reading list, I think. The novel speaks with urgency and compassion and ruthlessness about the harm we do to one another and ourselves through inadvertence and incomprehension.

Q: Given how much time writers spend alone to practice their craft, what do you think are the advantages of creating the large community that exists at the AWP conference? 
A: It’s fun, for one thing, to see the friends we adore but see too rarely and the writers we’ve admired from afar. The best of the panels can alert us to new work, suggest new approaches to craft, remind us that our community is one of temporal as well as spatial and cultural amplitude. And, of course, it’s all a bit overwhelming, so it can make us appreciate that lonely desk to which we return.

Q: What question that you’ve never been asked before would you like to ask yourself? And how would you answer that question?
A: Q: If you could be transported back to the Globe in the first decade of the seventeenth century, what play would you most like to see? A: All of them.

Q: Outside of the conference, what about Los Angeles are you looking forward to? Are there any Los Angeles activities you would recommend to conference attendees? 
A: The LA County Museum of Art! The ocean!


Linda Gregerson Linda Gregerson is the author of seven collections of poetry, including New and Selected PoemsThe Selvage; The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Poets Prize; Magnetic North, which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award; and Waterborne, which won the 2003 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

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