#AWP19 Featured Presenter Q&A with Paul Guest
AWP | February 2019
Event Title: A Reading and Conversation with Paul Guest, Aisha Sasha John, and Aldrin Valdez, Sponsored by Poets House
Description: Three award-winning poets—Paul Guest, Aisha Sasha John, and Aldrin Valdez—representing the rich diversity and range of contemporary poetry, read from their work and discuss the roles of mentorship, accessibility, and the inter-disciplines in poetry.
Participants: Paul Guest, Aisha Sasha John, and Aldrin Valdez
Location: Portland Ballroom 253-254, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Date & Time: Thursday, March 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
What are some of the conference events or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
I’ve never been to Portland before, so I’m truly excited to visit the city and to spend time with friends that I see too rarely. As great as the conference is, I’ve always been energized and refreshed—inspired—by those around me.
If you’ve been to an AWP before, what is your favorite conference memory?
Meeting my partner in New York in 2008. I had just trudged through a late-night storm in Manhattan and was tired and drenched. If I’d gone upstairs to my room, as I wanted to, we never would have met.
What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes.
Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
Absolutely. Many, if not most, of the journals that I have been lucky enough to be published in have received public funding.
Paul Guest is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Because Everything is Terrible, and a memoir, One More Theory About Happiness. His poems have appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, Harper’s Magazine, Ploughshares, the Southern Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, North American Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. A Guggenheim Fellow and Whiting Award winner, Guest teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia.