Recap of Conversations and Connections Conference

This weekend, I spent my time in Washington, DC for the Conversations and Connections Conference, held at John Hopkins University and sponsored by Barrelhouse Magazine and The Potomac Review.

The conference has several benefits. For one, the price of registration is only $70, and you get a lot of free stuff, including a book and  subscription to a literary journal, among other items. Beyond the cool free stuff, Conversations and Connections is less daunting than some of the larger conferences, such as AWP, especially since it’s only one day long. Furthermore, the event organizers do a fine job ensuring fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction are well represented on the panels. The conference does a good job too of balancing craft talk with practical advice on writing, such as how to write an engaging cover letter for a journal or whether or not to enroll in an M.F.A. program.

I was part of a poetry publishing panel late in the day, and the audience was attentive and had a lot of questions. Because Conversations and Connections isn’t so massive, there’s a chance to chat more with the panelists throughout the day and during the after parties. It’s a great way to meet other writers and editors, and that alone is worth the price of admission.



Our panel on working with small poetry presses.


My book All That Remains at the conference.


My friend/fellow poet Dawn Leas on a panel about M.F.A. programs. The panel was moderated by another friend, Shelia Squillante, an associate editor for PANK and associate director of Chatham University’s low-res M.F.A. program.

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