Sunday, February 15, 2009

Word Works at AWP Chicago

At the instigation of new Board member Nancy White, current director of the Washington Prize and past winner of said prize, The Word Works bought a table at the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) convention in Chicago February 11-14, 2009. At the table, Nancy and WW president Karren Alenier were joined by other past winners Peter Blair, John Bradley, and Fred Marchant as well as Word Works Hilary Tham Capital Collection Sarah Browning and loyal WW volunteers JoAnne Growney, Helen Park, and J.D. Smith.

The idea was to promote the Washington Prize and in that effort hundreds of WW book brochures with the contest rules and news letters were handed out in effort to reach of portion of 7,000 plus attendees. Washington Prize-winning books were set out on the table for visitors to see and book signings were announced and held. Among the many people who visited the WW table was John Hoppenthaler.

Who had time to eat or sleep or visit the local sights except to wander through a ice sculpting show across Michigan Avenue where the Chicago Hilton stands and was home to the AWP book fair, panels and readings. Well, there was time to go hear a bunch of Split This Rock principals including Word Works own author Sarah Browning give a poetry reading offsite in the Roger's Park Insights Arts gallery.

Reb Livingston & Karren Alenier smile for Deborah Ager (32 Poems)

Karren Alenier did however attend a panel on Page to Stage that included David St. John and Cornelius Eady (David St. John has a new opera under way), Michael Halberstam, Gregory McGuire, Susan Terris and a second panel entitled "Women of a Certain Age" that featured power-broking poets and writers: Linda Pastan, Alicia Ostriker, Rosellen Brown, Hilda Raz and Janet Borroway.

If asked, Karren would say that the most surprising thing that happened was she was asked twice about how Hilary Tham was. So Hilary's name continues to be spoken in the halls of poetry.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

State of the Art

One of the few “jobs” left in this large country of ours that is recession proof remains in the hands and minds of us poets. Because we rarely get paid for anything we do and only the rare individual listens to us, we are like monks—free to create our art.

In 2009, The Word Works will celebrate its 35th anniversary of helping poets realize their potential. Take, for example, our Café Muse Literary Salon, which began its 10th year of monthly programs in January when Brian Brodeur and Kathi Wolfe were our featured readers. And typically we have begun our programs with the live music, most often featuring the classical guitar concerts of poet Michael Davis.

Today, February 1, 2009, The Word Works holds its annual meeting. While our nonprofit charter requires this meeting, it is a meeting that typically goes to dreams of our future. Why not make this year your year to join with The Word Works to promote American poetry? Consider becoming a volunteer. We have a lot of jobs and projects and while volunteering does little for one’s pocketbook, it does a lot for your mortal soul.

Contact Karren at if you would like to be a co-director with Adele Stein at Café Muse helping to run this program, or a co-director with Kathi Morrison-Taylor at the Joaquin Miller Cabin summer poetry series, an archivist working with our archive at George Washington University, our quarterly newsletter editor, our chief publicist, our web master. We have room for your energy and we would like you to become a part of our family.

Don't forget to join us in Friendship Heights February 2nd for Cafe Muse when we present Brandel France de Bravo and Wendell Hawken.