#AWP19 Featured Presenter Q&A with Victoria Chang

AWP | January 2019

Event Title: A Reading & Conversation with Kaveh Akbar, Jos Charles, and Fady Joudah, Sponsored by Alice James Books and Milkweed Editions
Description: Three award-winning poets sharing their most recent work: In Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance, Fady Joudah finds tenderness for the other, the dead, and the disappeared. In feeld, Jos Charles offers a lyrical unraveling of the circuity of gender and speech. In Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar confronts addiction and the strenuous path of recovery, beginning with the wilds of the mind. Introduced and moderated by Victoria Chang.
Participants: Victoria Chang, Kaveh Akbar, Jos Charles, Fady Joudah
Location: Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Date & Time: Friday, March 29, 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.


What are some of the conference events or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
I love the bookfair and just wandering around seeing people or meeting people. I mostly look forward to discovering books and being around people who love them.

If you’ve been to an AWP before, what is your favorite conference memory?
Honestly, just the friends I get to see or meet.

What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
I've read so many amazing books over the last year. Diane Seuss's new book of poems [Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl], Terrance Hayes, Essayism by Brian Dillon, We Begin in Gladness by Craig Morgan Teicher, Diana Khoi Nguyen's book of poems [Ghost of], etc., etc.

Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
First of all, I don't like to think of writing as a "career"—that kind of kills it for me. Second, of course. I'm sure funding for the arts has helped all of us in ways we don't even know. The publishers I have worked with are nonprofits so they get funding, as are the many journals I read.

If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP19, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I guess I would press against this idea of "author" as star or idol. It's really the work that I am always attracted to—the words, how the words press against each other, how they interact with each other to create some kind of interesting whole. So no, not people so much as books. If I get to see or meet the person behind those words, that's great. But I fall in love with words, not stars.

If you’ve been to Portland before, what places do you recommend that our attendees should visit?
I haven't been so I'm looking forward to visiting!


Victoria ChangVictoria Chang's book, Barbie Chang, was published by Copper Canyon Press. The Boss won the PEN Center Literary Award and a California Book Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, Sustainable Arts Fellowship, and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She teaches at Antioch's low-res program in LA.

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