Jen Lagedrost’s Legit Jubilation
Support for JL’sLJ is brought to you by late mornings in bed remembering. This is “Some Things Reflected”:
Attending my first AWP Writer’s Conference this year in D.C. was like hurtling into the main square bazaar of Writer Mecca, at the crossroads of Scholarship and Creativity. The book fair alone drew me to journals and organizations, from Poetry Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts to innumerable Universities’ journals and independent presses who block-print and hand-bind their own books. Among the color and racket of bright book covers, fonts, featured new poets and honored veterans of the art, was a section of the book fair called Table X. This series of tables formed a tunnel of curious writers squeezing in to lean over the creations of presses like 6X6 or Octopus, featuring accordion-fold, cardstock-torn, sheet-metal-pressed and hand-drawn ink illustrated books, from broadsides to rebound vintage matchbooks with a volume of tiny poems inside. In this muck and music of ingenuity, I found another piece of the poetry world. This piece is where creativity and craft bring the writer’s pen to the art studio. Even larger names had unique creations; McSweeney’s featured their Issue 36 as a cube wrapped in the face of a carnival ringleader’s head that opens into a collection of small books and bits of writing. Just being present in this soup of innovation further inspired within me a world of possibility for writing—and I haven’t even mentioned the panel discussions or readings of famous poets yet. My mind is still braiding together ways and works from that marketplace to weave poems into visual containers of art. Art is expression, is presentation, is sharing our human passion for the vivid.