Well, I'm home from Chicago. I noticed that my suitcase weighs about the same as when I left but my wallet is significantly lighter. (Rest in peace, AWP 2012!) Luckily, Ball State is on Spring Break right now so I have the whole week off to make up for four solid days of debauchery. My recovery plan consists of exercise, drinking as much fruit as can be mashed into a blender, and most importantly, staring blankly at a wall.
The trip was definitely worth it, though. I saw some fantastic readings AND finally got to meet Dorianne Laux, one of my heroes, whose lyrical brilliance is eclipsed only by her generous spirit.
I also had the pleasure of sharing space/time and/or lifting glasses with old friends like Gillian King, Clint Cargile, Kevin McKelvey, James Gill, Peter Lucas, Chris Bryson, and Amy Graziano.
And of course, I spent some time at the Atticus table with my fellow editors/conspirators, a meeting of great minds that promptly degenerated into bad jokes (but, you know, in a good way). This was followed by a reading alongside Jared Sexton, Matt Mullins, and other writers that I'm pretty sure triggered a tsunami somewhere.
I also got to see the Field Museum, which was spectacular. The dino bones were cool...
I also got a huge kick out of the Native American exhibit, village replicas and models, etc.
There was also the Egyptian sculpture that looks exactly like Michael Jackson).
...not to mention an Egyptian poem.
I think my favorite was the small fossils in the evolution exhibit, though.
Unfortunately, as is always the case with these things, I missed about half the things I wanted to do. My undergrad teacher, Matthea Harvey, was reading--as was Thomas Lux, who chose my chapbook for a contest awhile back--and I'd also hoped to catch the Graywolf reading and tip my hat to some of the generous authors who have accepted my work (like Beth Staples from Hayden's Ferry). Alas, alas.
However, I did get to meet Jeff Simpson (who also published with Steel Toe) and we traded books. I've already read about half of his book, Vertical Hold, and I can tell already that he's one to watch (a damn nice guy, too).
Meanwhile, my brother Rob is in town for a visit (which is awesome) but he had a 12 hour train ride to get here, so we're both pretty much in the same boat. I think we've accidentally been watching Storage Wars for the past day and a half. Meanwhile, I have a lot more excellent books I plan on reading, just as soon as I remember how.