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Appalachian Studies Association Euphoria & Getting out of my Comfort Zone

In 2020, I purchased tickets to what was going to be my first trip to the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) Conference. Of course, soon after the conference was cancelled due to the pandemic. I was thrilled when it was announced that Athens, OH would be the host in 2023. My admission was gifted by my generous publisher and friend, Hayley at Sheila-Na-Gig editions. (buy my book here.) I kicked off the conference by participating on a Poet Laureate panel at 9am on Friday. It was great to hear from audience members who were taking notes on how to implement a poet laureate position in their own hometowns. That same day, I was able to sit in on a phenomenal Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel reading, participate in a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion workshop, have a beautiful short conversation with the Poet Laureate of West Virginia and meet the sensational Christina Fisanick, host of WANA Live! Reading Series. It was so much fun to hang out at Donkey, chat with new friends, read some poetry and talk about service through poetry. You can hear the show here (be warned that it cuts off around the 9 minute mark). I am still in awe that I get to do this sometimes. Saturday was just as magical and was perfectly capped off by a reading from Women of Appalachia Project, Women Speak. It's my 4th year with this project and I'm just as in love with it now as I was when I started.

Today and tomorrow I get a little breathing room before heading to New York on Wednesday. Miles has been begging to visit NYC for years, and it finally feels Covid-free enough to head that way. We will only be there for 4 days, but I'm taking a fresh notebook, hopeful that a major change of scenery provides some inspiration.

Until next time---

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