Just re-checking interest; below, I'm pasting my suggested topic from the earlier post, but again, anything is welcome. If we're going to be serious about this . . . well, then we have to be serious about this. Formal proposals are due within weeks, which include bios from everyone involved, as well as a serious commitment to pay for registration fees and attend.
More people are welcome! Please want to do this! It should be a blast -- by all accounts, AWP is an awesome time.
Still, if people want to let this fade away, just don't respond, I guess. I know this is a year from now, but whatever -- I'm not in a position to apologize for AWP's schedule. But if there's serious interest, please commit (or re-commit) now -- and again, other topics are certainly welcome, and this is a good place to discuss them; or whoever wants to present can say so here, and we can discuss this on email.
Would you guys be interested in having a panel discussion on the "American" part of American Literature? We could look at oldies (Melville, Whitman, and of course kclou could take on FSFitzy), but mainly we'd look at authors like DFWallace and DeLillo and whomever else anyone wants to talk about, to see how writers write "America" into their works, our own experiences with similar attempts, and why this nationalist preoccupations in literature are good, bad, etc.
I read a Russell Banks essay a few years ago that decried our lack of a "defining" national literature (The Aeneid/Italy & Homer/Greece being the examples Banks gave, as I recall). My idea would be an exploration of his complaint -- NOT trying to define The Great American Novel so much as looking at how writers have focused on "America" in their works and the effects/ineffects of this.