The first thing that I do whenever I go to a poetry conference or symposium is to make a beeline for the booktable.
This is, admittedly, because I generally have a backpack full of my own wares which I’m hoping to flog off to the unwary, but my main motive is actually a strong desire to see what oddities and rarities the others have brought along.
Far more of us than would care to admit it have a cupboard full of old back-issues of magazines and boxes of books from defunct small presses who have gone belly-up. Who else is going to be interested in such things except other writers? Librarians? Antiquarian book collectors? Academics? Funnily enough, I never seem to see any of them putting their hands in their pockets on such occasions.
Here’s the booktable in the marae in for BLUFF 06: a poetry symposium in Southland (21-24 April 2006):