The Art Institute is the third stop of The Poetry Foundation's Chicago Poetry tour, a walk (and a free podcast) through the city's architecture, history, and of course, the poems it has inspired. Since I was staying at the Palmer House, I was able to hit six stops of the downtown leg, with the voices of Gwendolyn Brooks and Albert Goldbarth in my head. Also Wilco and Coltrane, but they were already in my ipod. Take the tour online or download it here. It's pretty stellar, especially when you're wandering along South Michigan Ave.
I love Chicago. Regal and humble, it's such a grand American city, and I mean that in all the right ways. I zipped in for a Wednesday to Thursday stay, thanks to the Guild Literary Complex and the Palabra Pura reading series, which pairs Latino poets from the area with those of us who live elsewhere.
I read with Jacob Saenz (left), among other writers, and it was fortifying to meet and dine with artists and publishers who were spreading the good word from the enclave of Pilsen. With its murals of heroes and saints, and its tiny bodegas, the area reminded me of my own nearby nabes of Little Havana and Hialeah. Somos hermanos, todos.
Tonight is Palabra Pura's July installment, featuring Maria Melendez (Momotombo Press) and Luis Humberto Valadez. Drop in early at Decima Musa and order the cheese enchiladas. They go quite well with poems. Reading details are here.