Morgan Gliedman liveblogs from AWP Chicago!
3pm. I just got back up to the International Ballroom for the best-kept pseudo-secret of the conference, “Celebrating the Vermont Studio Center: A 25th Anniversary Reading,” featuring VSC Writing Program Director Gary Clark, Sebastian Matthews, Rosanna Warren, and Forrest Gander (too bad Amy Hempel and Chris Albani are MIA).
3:05pm. The interaction between writers and visual artists, the spirit of Robert Creeley, a meditation house and a chef . . . I want to go!
3:12pm. Forrest Gander begins by reading Creeley’s poem “A Form of Women,” and then remarks, “What a great poem! If I wrote that I’d never have to write another poem I’d be so happy!”
3:20. The cavernous ballroom feels scarcely populated, though there are quite a few people here, all listening attentively. Rosanna Warren says that VSC is “a magical place, the most peaceful place I’ve ever worked among other artists and writers, there’s an astonishing lack of aggressive ego there.” Unfortunately, there is not a lack of aggressive ego at AWP!
6:15pm. At Kasey’s Tavern on Dearborn for BOMB/Post Road/One Story/Open City party. Words of wisdom: pace yourself, eat something! It’s packed with people, including Colson Whitehead, Nick Flynn, Sven Birkerts, Monica Ferrell, Irina Reyn, and Peter Orner. The bar’s overflowing but everyone’s having a fantastic time, and it’s hard to believe it’s barely 6pm. For the first time since moving here, I feel like I’m back in New York. AWP is the new (old?) CMJ!
7:40pm. With two friends from the Iowa Workshop I stop in at the Emerson College reception at the Hilton. We gobble up their crudités, each have our one free drink (this blue ticket lady is considerably more pleasant than the one last night), and make small talk with a few friends of friends of friends. One of these girls claims to write ten good stories a year, I better get on that . . . but now, I’m going to go crash a party at Bar Louie, and then head home to tend to all those normal things I’ve been neglecting (the dishes, my dog, my non-writer boyfriend) before the craziness begins again tomorrow.