About the Poems
by Deborah Wardlaw Pattillo
I wrote these in response to the (writers’ equivalent of a small level of) exposure that is the Associated Writing Programs and upon viewing many photo accounts online of the AWP happenings. It was so strange to see the places I had been but with other people I didn’t know seeing them. Of course I ate it up, but not without a mixture of (yes, checking to see if I was in the corner of a picture but prepping for indignation if I was found to be) rue. Although what I have seen has been tasteful and in good humor, I’m not sure it’s okay to provide images of people online to other people who might know them, know of them, or know how to reach them.
This is interesting to me because of the effect of celebrity today—both the vacillating habits of glamorous vulnerability / panicked withdrawal of the actual celebrity and the frantic consumption of and hunger for violation of object on part of the non-celebrity public. What happens when a group orchestrates its own celebrity? The deviance from and adherence to this plan?
It becomes apparent that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas. There are private camera phones and public surveillance and digital photography and video recordings. No voice or two-dimensional affect is safe from the archivers. It seems clear that most people would prefer not to be recorded in any way without their consent and that the recording be subject to individual review. In general, I think this is a good thing that there are too many witnesses to silence a bad event. But perhaps there is room for courtesy in any case.