#AWP20 Featured Presenter Q&A with Willie Perdomo
AWP | February 2020
Event Title: 10 Years of CantoMundo: Founders, Faculty, and Fellows
Description: Join CantoMundo for a discussion on contemporary Latinx letters, the history of CantoMundo, and what’s ahead for us. Each poet will also do a short reading.
Participants: Denice Frohman, Deborah Paredez, Willie Perdomo
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C1, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Date & Time: Thursday, March 5, 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Q: What are some of the conference events or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
I'm definitely looking forward to Helena María Viramontes' keynote. I'm also excited about launching LatiNext, which is the new volume in the BreakBeat Poets anthology series out of Haymarket Books. I've never seen Hanif Abduraquib read, so I'm going to check that out as well.
Q: What do you remember most about your first AWP? What advice would you give to an AWP first-timer?
My first AWP was in Chicago and I highly recommend first-timers to wait until AWP returns to Chicago. I do remember the inordinate amount of people looking at name tags before they even looked at the person wearing the name tag. I was so new to the writing programs, and I was there to interview for a job that eventually went to a PhD with no published books of poetry to their name; that's when I realized how much of an "industry" and how "academic" creative writing had become.
Q: What is your favorite AWP conference memory?
Takes place in Chicago, of course. I remember walking into the bar at the Hilton after all the conference activities were done and bumping into some of my poet homies. We went to Buddy Guy's and closed it down. The other memory takes place in Los Angeles. I remember dancing at an offsite fish fry for poets.
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
Raquel Salas Rivera's x/ex/exis, Matt Miller's Tender the River, due out from Texas Review Press, Vincent Toro's Tertulia, due out from Penguin in June, and John Murillo's Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry.
Willie Perdomo is the author of The Crazy Bunch, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), Smoking Lovely (winner of the PEN Open Book Award), and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award). His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Poetry, The Best American Poetry 2019, and African Voices. He teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.