AWP Wrap-up: Chicago Rocks!

(Image above: Writing is Awesome! taken from

Last week, I attended the AWP writer’s conference in Chicago. Not only did I get to see some amazing lecture and readings, but I also went to fantastic restaurants and saw some Chicago sights! Thanks to you all for suggesting cool places to visit…I wish I had more time to try them all!

Read all about my trip here…

(Images above clockwise from top left: Me at the Bookfair, Chicago Diner, Artist’s Cafe, Valentine’s Day Heart at Grant Park)

Thursday, we decided to start things off right with a breakfast burrito at Angela’s Burrito Style in Lincoln Park. Although we were the only ones there for breakfast, we were assured that the lunch crowd gets intense, and with the amount of chilies they were grilling, I believed them! The featured item? Chilaquiles Ultimate Hangover Cure – refried beans (vegetarian), fried eggs, pico de gallo, rice, sour cream and gauc resting on a bed of crisp corn tortillas, smothered in cheese. Wow.

After our burritos (honestly, the best I have ever had), we got a coffee at Lincoln Perk and headed to the conference. I had planned to see a few panel discussions, but got completely consumed by the Bookfair – over 800 book sellers, journals, and independent and university presses all in one place. It was overwhelming, but I got to talk with some really interesting people from all over the country. A few of my favorites include Bat City Review from Austin, TX and Fringe Magazine, whose editor is a fashionista with a very distinct look – think Janeane Garofalo in Reality Bites with shocking red lipstick! I ended the day with a tote full of books, no cash, and tons of bumperstickers, pins and bookmarks. It was great.

Friday, I spent the day in panels covering topics like ‘promoting your work’ and ‘the duty of writers.’ I heard a few poets who I’m now obsessed with – Jeff McDaniel, Josh Bell, and Nancy Krygowski top the list. I had lunch with Pittsburgh poet Michelle Stoner at The Artist’s Cafe, went to more readings, and ended the evening at a Mucca Pazza show. For those of you unfamiliar, Mucca Pazza call themselves a ‘circus punk marching band,’ and they do not disappoint. It was like a high school pep rally on steroids – funky cheerleaders doing back flips, tuba players running through the crowd, and a full drumline! It made me sad I stopped playing the clarinet.

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, so I met my hubbie for brunch at the Chicago Diner in Boys Town. I’ve never had a better Bloody Mary or seitan Ruban sandwich! Later that afternoon, I meandered through a snow sculpture exhibit in Grant Park, and I got to hear my favorite poet, D.A. Powell, read. Dinner was at the quaint Bourgeois Pig, a European-style bistro in Lincoln Park. We tried to get into Second City for some comedy, but is was sold out, so we tried another comedy troupe called Chemically Imbalanced Comedy. Avant garde, quirky, creative improv in an intimate space – the perfect end to a great V-day!

We hit the road Sunday morning, vowing to visit the Windy City again soon…when it’s a bit warmer!


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Sari 02/25/2009 at 10:47 am #

    I lovvve the Chicago Diner!
    There is a great Falafel place in Wicker Park (I love Wicker Park too) called Sultans that you should check out next time!

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