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journal, travel, writing life

Breathe

So I just returned from Chicago for the 2012 AWP Conference, and I’d love to do a full review of the trip but, alas, time to play catch up. But in a nutshell, here it is: I enjoyed seeing folks both near and far that I hadn’t seen in at least a year. Though I was ill for half the trip, I got to spend some necessary time alone. I think I may have went temporarily mad with all of the stimuli. I ran into a surly Walter Mosley. Attended Patricia Smith’s book release which was off the hook. Spent some necessary time with a new friend, fellow poet, grad student.

Chicago was absolutely beautiful with is slanted high rise buildings. The way the streets bleed from tourist to vernacular bluesy culture. Had one of my favorite meals in a place called a chicken shack. I loved the bubbly energy of the city. In fact as I arrive, there was a massive demonstration. Construction workers handed me leaflets on why I shouldn’t stay at the hotel I stayed at.

More than all of that, I got to see my peeps doing their thing–winning book prizes, leading and participating on panels, doing it big. I was on a lovely panel of current grad students talking about various ways to improve the MFA system. One of my favorite panels included a group of veteran music journalists who talked about the business and craft of music journalism. I really enjoyed it. I took notes.

Though I had a lot of fun, it feels to good to be home in D.C. where it’s considerably warmer, where I feel a lot more in my element.

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About Abdul Ali

I'm a fellow at American University studying creative nonfiction and poetry. I write across a few genres but it's all brought together by larger questions about culture.

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