After the second Nor’Easter snowbomb within a week, and countless inches of snow, slush and ice, Millay Colony staff set out to Tampa for AWP 2018, a warm convocation.

On day one, ED Caroline Crumpacker met with two remarkable women doing great work — Caroline Grant, Co-Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, which offers financial support to artists and writers with families; and M. M. DeVoe, founder and Director of Pen Parentis, which helps working writers with new families stay on creative track. It was an honor to connect with these two leaders (who both happen to be writers and parents) and share ideas about how to better support artists with children. Together we attended the Pen Parentis reception and met some of the amazing artists being supported by DeVoe’s work. Onward!

Friday dawned pink and sunny, as Florida days are wont to do. We saw so many wonderful alumni. A few highlights include seeing alumnus Paolo Javier who has recently taken over from alum Stephen Motika as Program Director at Poets House. We know he will be marvelous in this role, as was Stephen, and look forward to working with him. With him in the photo below are Emily Skillings from Belladonna*, Millay alum LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs and ED Caroline Crumpacker. Also great to see (in order, below) alum Laura C. Brown (with a gorgeous new book), alum/National Book Award Finalist Danez Smith (teaching a workshop at Millay this fall), alum Jeffrey Leppendorf (composer, ED of Council of Literary Magazines and Presses) with Rosamond King, and alum Yanyi with Pamela Sneed.

On day three we capped the conference with a reading at the the Hilton Tampa Downtown. The event brought together four organizations with women founders and directors — Belladonna*, Fence, Millay and VolumeAaron Coleman introduced his reading by thanking the “fierce women in this room” and closed with a poem dedicated to his grandmother. Other readers included Millay alums Celina Su and Yanyi (who just won the Yale Younger Poets Prize) with Pamela Sneed (Belladonna*), and Hallie Goodman (Volume Reading and Music Series). Thanks to all the readers and organizers and, of course, the beautiful audience.

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