My Conference Adventures in Wyoming …

Just got back from the 2009 Wyoming Writers Annual Conference in Casper, WY. Good conference! Attendance was up this year and almost all of the writers I met were very passionate about what they were doing. It’s almost energizing to be among writers who just love to write.

It’s the West out here, so there were some Western writers, a lot of poets, a lot of talk of open spacesthat sort of thing. Meredith Kaffel, the only literary agent in attendance, even got to see some wild buffalo cross the highway, of all things.

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I gave several presentations and did one on one meetings. All went well.  One thing of note with this conference is that the number of faculty is remarkably small. As opposed to, say, Muse & the Marketplace, where the faculty is about 70 people or so, this conference only had a faculty of five.  There were two accomplished novelists, one literary agent, one editor (me), and the keynote speaker: Ted Kooser, former Poet Laureate of the country from 2004

I’ve met some big authors, but it still gave me a little chill to sit on a panel next to Ted and hear him crack a joke. And does that man ever have a way with words. I meanI don’t read poetry nor do I really enjoy it that much. But from the first line of the first poem he read aloud, I was spellbound. No wonder he was considered the greatest poet in the country. Amazing.


The conference faculty


After Saturday night, I got to let loose a little bit and gather up a group of cool people for singalong songs at the piano. We just had a great time.  “Tiny Dancer,” “Walkin in Memphis,” “Sweet Caroline”we jammed to it all (very loudly). Following that, we went next door to the hotel bar and sung karoake. Admittedly, I was horrible at “I Love Rock and Roll.” But you can’t win ’em all.

If you live in the Mountain West, definitely give this conference some consideration for next year.

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3 thoughts on “My Conference Adventures in Wyoming …

  1. Samantha

    I don’t know if you have heard of this magazine, but Narrative Magazine is a free online magazine that is always looking for writers They have several contests with cash prizes. Here is their summary of their current poetry contest:

    Narrative’s first annual poetry contest runs from now until July 18. In a continuing effort to encourage and support poetry, we’re offering prizes, publication to the top three winners, and a public announcement of all winners and finalists via the Internet and in hard-copy literary trade publications. Wide attention will be brought to the winners and finalists in the contest.

    The contest is open to all poets. Entries must be previously unpublished and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. Each entry may contain up to five poems. You may enter as many times as you wish, but we encourage you to be selective and to send your best work. All entries will be considered for publication.

    Awards: First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $75 each. All entries will be considered for publication.

    Hope you enjoy the magazine and feel free to share the link!

  2. Cindy Bower

    Chuck, Thanks for your great and helpful classes! Though you were only ‘almost’ energized, I was TOTALLY energized. My co-workers at the dental office wanted to collect my pee to see what was in it and sell it! My daughters wondered what I was on. I’m just still excited from the conference. Hope it doesn’t wear off soon. Spent a rainy weekend in Yellowstone researching a novel I’m writing. That place is great any time of the year. Lots of snow there still.

  3. Julianne Couch

    Chuck, you were a hit at the conference, both editorially and musically. As one of the louder piano-singers, I only wish I’d had my guitar. Thanks so much for coming out West. Hope to see you around the world again someday soon.


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