April 13, 2010
Flying back to Portland from mile-high Denver and the AWP conference, I began reading a copy of Fire and Ink and found my depleted conference energy rekindled by the voices in the book. Here is writing that speaks to my soul. The kind of voices I have spent the past 34 years making sure are heard. And I had to rethink CALYX’s attendance at AWP. It is incredibly expensive to attend the book exhibit (table costs have doubled in the past 4 years) and we NEVER cover the costs of attendance through sales (shipping books, drayage fees, AWP fees, plane fares, per diems, and hotels, despite going as cheaply as possible). But reading Fire and Ink while sitting next to Becky (CALYX’s new Assistant Editor), and hearing her enthusiasm for her conference experiences I remembered all the younger writers who had been by the table and spoken with us and found a way to let go of the worry over the money lost on the conference. Here is a new generation coming up who will be the new voices to discover, and the importance of connecting with our current authors as well as the new younger and enthusiastic voices became obvious. Bringing the newer staff members to AWP to attend CLMP training workshops and many of the AWP workshops was important. Becky let me know all she had learned about increasing subscriptions and reaching new readers and the many new groups she had connected with who are starting new feminist publishing ventures (WILLA, Earth’s Daughters, Southern Women’s Review, and others). While I had looked around AWP and seen many publishing peers and friends missing, the younger staff were establishing connections with members of this new generation of feminist writers. They were involved with literature and publishing and excited about putting together workshops for the next AWP. The transition we want to make at CALYX, which will involve the passing of the feminist publishing torch to younger staff members, was beginning during this AWP. And I can finally see the vistas opening for CALYX and feel the excitement and the possibilities that this future can hold. Attending AWP in mile-high Denver wore me out—but hanging out with CALYX authors Fran Adler, Marianne Villanueva, M. Evelina Galang, Ellen Bass, Cass Dalglish, Catherine Brady, and Sybil James was delightful. Yet the prize in this experience was seeing this new generation at work and the possibilities they will bring to CALYX as we begin to hand over the reins and move into transition.
Margarita Donnelly, Director