I met Margaret Atwood! And just now have the presence of mind to write about it…

Margaret Atwood, arriving at the Chicago Hilton for the 2012 AWP Conference

At the AWP conference in Chicago last month, I was fortunate enough to be confused about the location of the shuttle bus that ferried writers from one hotel to another. I waited for about twenty minutes in front of the Hilton, when a large black car pulled up. A moment later, Margaret Atwood stepped out of it. A huge fan of both her fiction and poetry – which I studied in graduate school –  I instantly recognized her and headed toward the car. After she was done talking to her greeters, I asked her if I could take a picture of her. I’m not sure why I didn’t ask for her autograph, but I had my camera handy. She said sure, and I took a picture. I told her I was a huge fan of her writing, shook her hand, and then set out to find the correct location for shuttle pickup.

Her books The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, and The Blind Assassin are probably my three favorite novels. Although she is well known for her forays into science fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale in particular – I love the way that she dissects female relationships and how strangely vicious they can be. She also shares my love of mythology. I wanted to share a brief excerpt from her “Circe/Mud Poems,” taken from “Men with the Heads of Eagles:”

Men with the heads of eagles

no longer interest me

or pig-men, or those who can fly

with the aid of wax and feathers…

…I search instead for the others,

the ones left over,

the ones who have escaped from these

mythologies with barely their lives;

they have real faces and hands, they think of themselves as

wrong somehow, they would rather be trees.

2 thoughts on “I met Margaret Atwood! And just now have the presence of mind to write about it…

    1. Hi, actually didn’t make it to the keynote (long story!) but was thrilled I got to meet her. I’d put my name in the lottery to meet her after the keynote but wasn’t picked. I had a great time at AWP, met a lot of poets with my press. I enjoyed your blog entries about AWP panels, by the way!

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