Author Archives: Samson Dikeman

AWP Observations #3 – Saturday Judgement Day


  • Saturday is for the knuckle-draggers behind the booth who have been there since 9am Thursday morning like the New York Times guy who has been here all day every day. I wonder what he runs on.
  • AWP entices the general public with a discounted rate on Saturday. This is so they can get a better view of the desolation.
  • The line at the UPS store, a forty-five minute wait to box up everything that survived the fire-sale.
  • Of all of the optimistic booths in our row on Thursday, there are only three left including ourselves. Very few people patronize us after they glance down at the blue-curtained emptiness.
  • I am writing this on Sunday because of Saturday. I began the day in the traditional fashion: Bloody Mary filled with skewers of hard-boiled egg, Buffalo wings, and pickled mushroom.
  • We too packed up early. There is nothing left for us to do.
  • At night we attend the sponsored end-of-AWP dance. The dance runs from 10-12pm and features an open-bar for the first hour.
  • Everyone forms a line for drinks. You then take your drinks and go to the back of the line and start again.
  • When the open bar stops, we dance. The DJ plays “Sweet Home Alabama” to the ecstatic crowd, but I hate it. Instead, we go in to the hallway to roll around on the carpet of a hotel that is nicer than ours.
  • The dance ends and we go to another bar. A man called Said drives us. He tells us he is the Mayor of Night-time Minneapolis. No one disputes this.

AWP Observations #2


  • Everyone’s piss is the color of rust now. I was in a convention center bathroom and when the man in front of me finished at the urinal the flush mechanism exploded the piss onto the ground in front of me.
  • Blisters
  • Strong Vodka Martini’s at a bar called The News Room
  • The free books are piling up in the booth. Soon we won’t be able to tell what belongs to whom. It will all go home in a UPS box.
  • I’ve forgotten to buy gifts for all the people I said I would.
  • Walking into bar for lunch only to realize there is a celebration for contributors to a magazine you’ve gotten rejected by. Sit on the last stool and quietly eat your pot roast lunch.
  • Talk your way into a solicitation.
  • Witness haggling. It’s not yet Saturday
  • The mysterious arrival of candy cigarettes
  • We could paper the walls with invitations to parties.
  • Go to a party. It looks like someone’s garage. Ladders and plywood everywhere, but the cheap beer is free.

AWP Observations



Observations from AWP 15: Day 1

  • Dinty W. Moore stopped by our booth on the first day of the bookfair to look at the free matchbooks we were giving away. He said that he would’ve taken one if he smoked. Is this what flash non-fiction is?
  • I updated my Tinder profile to let people know that I’d be at AWP 15. I got one new match, but we still haven’t met
  • AWP seems like the annual pageboy cap/facial hair enthusiast’s meetup moonlighting as a writer’s conference.
  • Kim Addonizio played harmonica earlier and apparently is really good at it. I’m sorry I missed it.
  • Our table spent the day asking people whether it’s a “Coozie” or a “Cozie.”
  • Free drinks until they run out”
  • If you don’t already have a rep at AWP have a good gimmick (photo booth, cardboard standees of famous authors, free candy)
  • Someday I’ll make it through a whole panel discussion
  • $9.00 burrito/the coffee lines
  • More tote bags per capita than people