Gretchen Kalwinski

magic dust
Writer Gretchen Kalwinski's portfolio and blog

“Under the Dark Trees” by Michael McClure

photo (12)Just complained to R that something is very definitely wrong with me because nothing is really wrong at all, but everything nonetheless seems terrible or at least blah, and it’s been hard to enjoy anything the last few weeks, even that class on artisanal soapmaking I took yesterday or the quinoa pasta dish we whipped up tonight. “It’s March. And a Monday. This is the worst of it,” he reminds me, because duh, yes, it’s now been winter for almost 6 months, and I’d forgotten that every year in Chicago around this time, it’s as if a  grey wall presses down on my shoulders daily; not only that but it feels like it’s always been this way and always will.

…But, yes, I know, it will end; it’s in sight, and buck up little camper and all that, but O:  it all just really makes me think of living in San Francisco where it is paradise year-round, that despite the February rains and insane rents, Bay Area rasberries are just simply unlike other rasberries and for god’s sake their City Hall building has lavender and rosemary growing wild on its lawn. And it was there, working as a bookstore rat, managing the Poetry section, that I first read and came to love this redemptive poem by Beat poet Michael McClure whose ex-wife I met and liked so much, and you know, I’ll NEVER outgrow the Beats, I just really won’t because, well, read this and see if you don’t feel better and stronger and more whole and if you’re winter-bluesing like me, as if your life-force is rushing back. It pulses with exuberant life; a not-insignificant thing when everything else around you is dead. Reading this poem in this mood, I am changed. And that is the power of art. And the creative instinct is what I know of god.

(Photo is circa 2001 at San Francisco’s Booksmith where I worked, with my hero and poetry instructor at the time, Beat poet Diane Di Prima, at a reading where I introduced her.) Scroll down for the life-changing Michael McClure poem.

“UNDER THE BLACK TREES”

THE TREES AGAINST THE GREY-PINK SKY ARE NOT
TENDERNESS.

 THE COLD DROPS OF RAIN UPON MY NECK ARE NOT

MERCY.

My chest is weeping—and I do not cry longer.

There’s only the kneading of my chest

And I know it is moaning. The lobes

Of my lungs draw upon one another.

I have made a vow to love—and Love has come

To me and I to love.

I see that vows are not easily made nor broken.

Love has come to me and turned me inside out.

My deep pains are in the world

Like the rain and hovering trees,

 AND I

AM WHOLE,

And well, and I have held my vow

Through unconsciousness, and I am proud of the glory of Love that is one thing

And unchanging and ever broadens

 To more love.

And I’ll smile like an angel

For you, and lie by your side.

(From: Huge Dreams. Penguin. 1999. http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780140589177,00.html)

The Next Big Thing blog chain

BirdeyeViewCairocairo_rivers_confluencecairo_ghosttownCairo_Illinois_1997_USGS Cairo_Illinois_donwtown_road_to_leveeWriter and friend Colleen O’Brien recently tagged me in her post for The Next Big Thing, a blog chain in which writers interview themselves about a project-in-progress. Here are my answers to the ten questions.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book (or story)? It’s tentatively called “Ode to Purgatory,” but the plot has shifted so much over the past eighteen months that I’m not sure the title even applies anymore. I still dig “Ode to Purgatory” on an objective level, though — because it refers to the idea that “purgatory:” i.e., biding your time and carrying on while things aren’t good, or you’re not in a place where you want to be while you work to get to the other side–the working and waiting and figuring out–is actually a gift. It’s the opposite of immediate gratification. And whatever else this story is or isn’t, I’m pretty sure that at it’s core, it’s still about that.

Where did the idea come from for the book? The story idea came straight from setting, and the setting came from a barista in a Chicago bakery I frequented years ago. The bakery itself had meaning for me; it was a Polish one my family had gone to for decades and it was newly gentrified. The barista was talking about this small ghost town in southern Illinois he’d visited the past weekend. He described the town as feeling medieval because it had levees and floodgates completely surrounding it. I immediately went to work and Googled it. My fascination was because it was so perfectly in sync with things I wanted to explore about my own hometown, an Indiana rustbelt town bordering Chicago but psychologically isolated and worlds away from the arts, culture, and beauty I craved. I soon learned he’d been talking about Cairo, on the very tip of the southern Illinois peninsula, and the story just cracked open from there.

What genre does your book fall under? Literary fiction. At least I hope. During the rough draft phase, let’s just say my writing is REALLY rough, and in those moments it feels like bad children’s literature. But then, I dig into the language, explore metaphor and hone my dialogue and it does get much better with each draft.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Honestly, it feels like jumping the gun/ jinxing the project to even consider this. I’m 90 pages into the story and still learning about the characters.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? A young woman with a singular sense of smell begins to suspect an ecological disaster is headed for her southern Illinois commune.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I’m still deeply engaged in the creative process, so I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking too much about the audience or marketing, rather than the work itself. That said, I imagine it ending up with a small-to-mid-size publisher who’ll see my vision and let me use an illustrator I love. Maybe someplace like Akashic Books? Back Bay Books? Curbside Press? Featherproof Books? Dzanc Books/Other Voices? Verse Chorus Press? Chiasmus Press? Red Hen Press? But, you know, if Random House or Penguin came knocking, and wanted to have a conversation, I’d entertain that. I plan on scoping out small presses at this year’s AWP Conference in Boston.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I’ve been working on this for the past 2 years, (since Winter 2011), but honestly, much of that time has just been making mistakes, exploring, figuring out how to take on such a huge project in the first place. It’s only in the past 6 months that I’ve laid out a solid outline of the project, gotten serious about mapping my setting, etc. I’m working steadily on it now, and plan to have a full first draft by June 2013, which means writing about 4 pages per day for the next four months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I AM VERY UNCOMFORTABLE PUTTING THE BELOW BOOKS IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH WITH MY STORY. That said, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping is a gorgeous novel that I admire deeply and that story also has a female protagonist seeking to escape an isolated, stifling landscape. Also,  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, for the coming-of-age aspects of those novels. And, people who know the plot of my story say I should check out Arcadia, a commune-centric novel by Lauren Groff.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? I had a story I wanted to tell about overcoming inertia to leave behind the worlds you’ve known, propelling yourself into unknown arenas, and discovering your community, all things I relate to as a result of growing up as an awkward, self-conscious/shy, secretly bookish person in the industrial, sports-crazed, non-arts-friendly town where I was raised.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Since the story is set on a radical flower farm that produces essential oils and natural botanical perfumes, I’m having a great time exploring and writing about those interests. I don’t think I’m alone in being fascinated by the sense of smell and how it affects our memories and experiences. Also, Cairo itself is so fascinating. It’s a ghost town now, (see above photos), but it’s loaded with rich, historical details. It was an important Civil War location, and it was supposed to become a metropolis in the early 1900s. But it never really resolved its post-Civil War racial issues, and now it’s crumbling and decrepit, with a population under 3,000. What’s bizarre, though, is that a huge percentage of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Next up, (in alphabetical order):

Mairead Case is a Chicago-based writer, editor, teacher, and grad student with recent work in The Unified Field and at Bright Stupid Confetti.

Nashville-based Todd Dills is the author of the ‘Triumph of the Ape’ (2012) collection of shorts and the ‘Sons of the Rapture’ (2006) novel, and he edits and publishes THE2NDHAND online magazine.

Susannah Felts is a fiction writer, freelance writer, teacher, and the author of one novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record (Featherproof Books, 2008). She was awarded the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction for FY2013, and was named a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, 2012. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and daughter.

Rob Funderburk is a visual artist in Chicago. His work extends from gestural sketch illustration to large site-specific installations, art prints, and publication design.

Megan Stielstra is the author of Everyone Remain Calm, a story collection, and the Lit Director of Chicago’s 2nd Story storytelling series.

“Mapping” a fictional place

I’m in the process of writing my first novel and it’s…daunting. I’ve never embarked on such a large work and it’s taking much more time than I anticipated to figure out how anyone goes about getting started. Beyond simply considering, “what’s the story and who are the characters?,”  and “Am I a writer who creates detailed outlines or shoots from the hip?,” my professor has REALLY been stressing the importance of place/setting. Luckily, the novel I’m writing about a town on the southernmost tip of Illinois, (where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet), originated by my fascination with that location, but Goldie Goldbloom has been pressing me to work with that in a much more detailed, thought-out way.

For example, Goldie has tasked me with making an uber-detailed map of my novel’s landscape. Not just the simple geography, but also the more “micro” locations in the story where my characters spend time — interiors of houses, backyards, fields, Main Streets, bridges, etc. Beyond creating maps, Goldie recommends that we find images of our setting and pin them up at our writing desk, and listen to music relevant to the story’s timeline and setting,  to get even more engrossed in our stories. Full and complete immersion in story and place, in other words. These things might sound small, or obvious, but they’re not, they’re huge. After starting these practices, I’ve begun to feel much more oriented in my story. And I think readers can tell when the writer has a concrete sense of their setting; i.e., “authorial confidence.” (Still, if anyone has any idea of what people in southern Illinois might’ve been listening to in the early 1970s and early 1990s, help a lady out.) 

Chicago’s new Cultural Plan

I’ve been attending meetings for the new Cultural Plan for Chicago, and was quoted today in the Chicago Tribune, in Howard Reich’s article, “Chicagoans Respond to Draft Chicago Cultural Plan.” An excerpt: “When everything was flashing on the screen, it seemed very vague to me,” added Gretchen Kalwinski, a writer. “We need specifics. As the group dissected the draft plan’s recommendations for attracting and retaining artists, they dug into those specifics. Kalwinski and the others, for instance, ardently supported the plan’s recommendation to “create a comprehensive system to accommodate space needs for artists and creative professionals. “My husband and I are both artists, and we may have to leave Chicago, because it has been so hard to find space to live and work (in) here,” Kalwinski told her group. “My friends are leaving every week.”

 

 

“Changes in Reading & Writing”

I just participated in a Printers Row Book Fest panel “Changes in Reading and Writing.” It was moderated by the great Donna Seaman, longtime Booklist editor. The other panelists were J.C. Gabel (The Chicagoan, Stop Smiling), and Wailin Wong of the Chicago Tribune. We talked about how technology is changing publishing, the increasing link between advertising and editorial, and how important it is to edit final copy on paper (not onscreen, dear god.)  Gapers Block covered our discussion a few days after the event; they praised the discussion but also called it “a little depressing.” Which seems appropriate, given the publishing industry’s current struggles. We weren’t there to sugar-coat.

The Chicagoan Magazine

The inaugural issue of The Chicagoan is out! It was a pleasure to edit this, and to witness so many friends/writers get to stretch out with mighty word counts on fascinating subjects. As an editor-at-large for the project, launched by my pal J.C. Gabel, I got to read so many wonderful stories on, among others, Siskel & Ebert, vertical-farm/food business incubator The Plant, chef Tara Lane, outsider artist Peter Anton, a forgotten gangster, and more.

Here’s Time Out Chicago‘s take on the project. 

Writing from the senses

Tomorrow, I’m teaching a one-hour class as a requirement of the teaching seminar for my MFA studies at Northwestern. The class is one I designed, titled “Writing from the Senses.” My class, and about 10 others taught by my classmates, will be offered free of charge to the public, since it’s a way for us to practice our teaching skills, so the crowd will be a friendly, receptive one. Still, I’m nervous, so I’m easing my anxiety by WAY over-preparing. Before we do the writing exercises, I’ll distribute sensory prompts; i.e.,  so I’ll pass around essential oils, a box filled with tactile objects, some music snippets, a number of odd images, and a few flavorful nuts and seeds. We’ll also read some Proust aloud, natch.

Triquarterly Blogging

Now that I’ve settled into a new, full-time copywriting job, I thought it was high time to get more involved with my graduate program; (I’m in the Masters in Creative Writing program at Northwestern University). To that end, I recently started contributing to the blog associated with their literary magazine, Triquarterly Online. I’ll focus my posts around print and online literary magazines and they’ll be housed here.

I will be posting one blog entry each week, and it’ll go up on Mondays. I’ve done four posts so far–about NanoWrimo, the Baffler’s resurgence, online writing tools, and the Occupy, Writers movement. So far, what I like about this gig is that it’s forcing me to keep up with the stuff I’m interested in; i.e., literary and publishing news, and the fiction, poetry, and criticism being published in literary mags. And, having a weekly deadline helps keep me focused on reading the news I’m actually interested in, rather than, say, refreshing Gawker.com twenty times a day or searching incessantly for the perfect winter boot that is simultaneously stylish, warm, and has excellent, ice-grabbing traction. But if anyone’s got a lead on that, do let me know.

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity

“That’s the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at 9 in the morning.” A poignant & thought-provoking talk on genius and Socratic “daemons” living in artists’ walls to help them with their work. Yeah, Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love. This still rocks.

www.ted.com

TED Talks Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

Mandy Aftel’s perfumery class in Big Sur

The novel I’m working on as my thesis for Northwestern is very focused on aroma, olfaction, and natural botanical perfumery. In my research, I’ve come across the wonderful Aftelier Perfumes by Mandy Aftel, a preeminent natural botanical perfumer. I’ve been reading her book Essence and Alchemy, and am enamored of the way she thinks about scent and perfume. I just stumbled across this post about the public class she’ll be offering at the fantastic Esalen in Big Sur, and realized, come hell or high water, I’ve got to go. I visited Esalen for it’s hot springs when I lived in San Francisco, and the place is spectacular; hot springs and a simple natural setting on the gorgeous California cliffs. Bonus that it’s in January; not a bad time to leave Chicago for Big Sur…

Our Faces on Rob Elder’s book “It Was Over When”

Chicago journalist Rob Elder wrote a book on breakups and since my husband Rob Funderburk and I knew the designer, we got to be “models” for the funny, irreverent, photo-booth book cover. Check out the third photo down and you’ll see my face got the “slash” treatment, but Rob-sans-eyeglasses can be pretty well made out. The book is getting swell coverage so far: check ABC Chicago, The Star, or check it out on Amazon. I have to say, though I had nothing to do with the book content, my 18-year old self would have been extremely impressed to be involved in a project praised by Kevin Smith. Ha!

Reader at WBEZ Event: “Don’t Call Me Joe”

I’ll be reading tonight with several other writers at the largest traditional coffee “cupping” event to happen in Chicago (conducted by Intelligentsia). Don’t know what cupping is? Neither did I, so I pasted some info from the WBEZ site below, or you can click here for more info. The piece I’ll be reading–and am still working on, oops–is an essay of my 20-year old coffee addiction, begun inelegantly with Mountain Dew, continuing with a brief, ugly Mini-Thin period in college, and now centered around my much more moderate, one-Americano-before-noon stasis.

CHICAGO (March 15, 2011) –Chicago Public Media (WBEZ 91.5 FM) continues its live event series, the Off-Air Series, with an exclusive chance to participate in a new culinary conversation and learn just how little is actually known about tasting and brewing coffee. Designed to be the largest ‘traditional coffee cupping’ (aka tasting) ever held in Chicago, Don’t Call Me Joe, in collaboration with Chicago’s own Intelligentsia Coffee, will be held at Catalyst Ranch, 656 W. Randolph Street, on Saturday, April 9 at 7:00pm. The event has limited seating and is almost sold-out, but there will be a wait list at the door.

Cupping is the industry standardized way of critically evaluating coffee; it is how Intelligentsia selects green coffee and is an integral part of their Direct Trade buying model. The standard procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping so it spreads to the back of the tongue. The taster attempts to measure all aspects of the coffee’s taste including body, sweetness, acidity, flavor, and aftertaste. The amazing team of buyers, tasters and trainers from Intelligentsia Coffee, will educate about tasting terminology, coffee processing, and history, while cupping with some of Chicago’s most experienced staff: Baristas, Roasters, Green Coffee Buyers, and members of the Intelligentsia Quality Control team.

In order to ensure full immersion in this culinary realm, the Chicago-based publisher Stop Smiling Books has arranged ‘Readings on Coffee’ for the listening pleasure. Participating authors include: Kyle BeachyPaul DuricaFred Sasaki, Gretchen KalwinskiMairead Case, and Sam Weller. “The Off-Air Series is designed to extend the WBEZ listening experience out into the community and allow people to come see what they’ve been hearing, or in this case taste,” said Event Producer Breeze Richardson. “Learning a little more about coffee – where it comes from and why it tastes the way it does – helps you appreciate it more. Just like a wine tasting, Don’t Call Me Joe is an opportunity to skillfully taste coffee with the experts. And the chance to create Chicago’s largest cupping ever makes this event even better!”

Tickets to the event are nearly sold out, but there will be a waiting list at the door for those interested. More information is available at www.wbez.org/events.

Editing for the NRAEF

I’ve spent a good portion of the last 2 years working as a freelance editor for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), for some of their products/services/textbooks, including their Prostart guide, ServSave book, and Food Management Professional guide. They are now merged with their educational foundation, but when I began freelancing for them back in 2005, they were known simply as “NRA.” Funnily, many people in this industry are also affiliated with the “CIA” (Culinary Institute of America), and FBI (Food and Beverage Institute). The organization is a huge one, and because it’s politically active, is sometimes controversial, but I’ve had nothing but good experiences working with NRAEF staff over the years.

Book review for Make Magazine on “Century of Clouds”

I just penned a book review for Make Literary Magazine on Bruce Boone’s poetic/New Narrative memoir “Century of Clouds.” It was lovely to swim around in the wonderfully obtuse, digressive book for a few hours this winter and I know so much more now than I did before about the New Narrative group. Century of Clouds is a reissue and an important staple of the New Narrative writers.

Flinchy t-shirt showcasing

In a case of terrible timing, I was asked to wear a t-shirt this winter (5 days after the cookie-bloated Christmas holidays), for Flinchy, a t-shirt company founded by pals–the founders are Jay Ryan, Tom Stack, and Diana Sudyka. Essentially, Flinchy is a group effort to make cool t-shirt designs by local artists and designers. Here’s my shot of the gorgeous Raven Heart t-shirt, designed by Diana Sudyka, and here is Flinchy’s main site.

I Love Libraries (and you should, too)

I recently finished some freelance writing and editing for the American Library Association’s wonderful “I Love Libraries” site. If you don’t know about this resource, you should — it lists ways for everyday people (non-librarians) to get involved with advocating libraries on the local and national level. Years ago, I worked for the ALA’s Trustee division and it was a pleasure seeing volunteers who were so passionate about fighting for library funding, and ensuring that books, resources, and information would continue to be provided to their communities. Here’s an oft-trotted out quote from Carl Sagan about libraries, available on the ALA’s “Library Quotes” page: “I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture, and our concern for the future, can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”

Jean Shepherd Story on the Chicagoan

I wrote a new piece on Jean Shepherd, radio raconteur and famed for “A Christmas Story,” for the Chicagoan, a “new nonprofit media organization whose mission is to document the arts and culture history of Chicago and the greater Midwest with an emphasis on long-form storytelling.” Please note the beautiful illustration by Chicago artist Rob Funderburk. I’m so excited about this promising new project, and what a great excuse for me to wax poetic about my love/hate relationship with Shepherd, who was also born and raised in Hammond, IN.

“See Me Improving” at Stop Smiling

Colleague Travis Nichols has written a book of poetry titled “See Me Improving” and to celebrate its launch, some of us will be performing previously untold “talents and amateur attempts” at his book release party at Stop Smiling, tomorrow, Wednesday December 8, starting at 6:30 p.m. (1317 N. Milwaukee Ave). I’m told that among the amateur skills being celebrated are: mixology, headstands, and for my part, I’ll be demonstrating my newfound adeptness at applying “smoky eye” makeup. See above for the dramatic difference that it can make. For more info, go to Travis’ blog, See Me Improving.

Story in Featherproof Books “Triple Quick” series

While at Ragdale last fall, I wrote a (very) short, off-the-cuff story titled “The Hunter” for Featherproof Books. The idea with these stories, available via Itunes app, is that they’re three screens, with exactly 111 words per screen — a fun experiment in brevity.

Glorious Artist Residency at Ragdale

In November 2009, I received a Ragdale Artist Residency and just spent a spectacular three weeks there, working on my short fiction collection in Lake Forest, Illinois, writing, thinking, dreaming. Some pics are attached, and here’s a Literago post I wrote on my time there.

Chicago Tonight books roundtable

A few hours ago, I had fun appearing on Chicago Tonight (as Literago.org co-founder) to chat about books  to give/read during the holidays. My fellow roundtablers Professor Al Gini and author Brigid Pasulka had impressive lists to share and now I have WAY too many books on my “to read” list. The video is here, and all of our lists of recommended books are archived here.

New Short Story in Proximity Magazine

A new short story I published in Proximity Magazine is up at their site, along with the beautiful illustrations of Rob Funderburk. (Reading it over, I’m realizing it needed several more drafts, at least, but anyway.)

Interview with Amy Guth of ChicagoNow

During last week’s Printers Ball, I spoke on camera with Amy Guth of ChicagoNow’s Chicago Subtext about the Ball, Chicago publishing and books, and Literago.
Gretchen Kalwinski at Printers’ Ball from Amy Guth on Vimeo.

Printer’s Row, audio

At last month’s Printer’s Row Book Fair, I was invited by the Poetry Foundation to read a poem from the Poetry Tour at the Printers Row Book Fair. Audio from the event is archived here.

WLUW interview

This week, I spent a fun 10 minutes talking to Mike Stephen with WLUW’s Outside the Loop radio show for their literary-themed edition (to correspond with the Printers Ball). Some info is here, and the direct link to the streaming audio is here.

Book review for Stop Smiling, “Entrapment”

Just published: a new book review for Stop Smiling, of Nelson Algren’s Entrapment. The mag does a thing called “Two Takes,” where they have two writers review the same book; then they publish the two reviews alongside each other. Beth Capper wrote the “alternate take.”

Vosges Catalog; Valentine’s Day; Gypsy-Theme

I recently did some copywriting for Vosges Haut Chocolat’s catalog — the Gypsy-themed Valentine’s Day issue. It’s not available online, unfortunately, but here are some excerpts from the mailer, “A Book of Chocolate Love Spells.”

  • [The word Gypsy refers to the Roma people, a wandering ethnic group that originated in northern India around the 9th century. A creative people who live outside modern rules of ownership and property; the world is their home to wander.]
  • [Gypsies are said to travel with magic carpets and snakes and are notoriously private–it is almost impossible for an outsider to penetrate a gypsy band. Because so much of gypsy lore is shrouded in secrecy, popular culture tends to either romanticize or demonize them, focusing on their mystical powers.]
  • [The pagan practice of men showering their sweethearts with roses started when early practitioners of herbal medicine learned that eating rose hips (the fruit of the rose that remains after the petals have fallen) assisted in many aspects of female health. So on Valentine’s Day, bask in the knowledge that by enjoying roses, you are taking part in an ancient ritual.]

 


Cavalier Inn, Website Copy


Cavalier Inn
(About Us section of website)
Serving the North Hammond neighborhood and Polish Community for generations

Known simply as The Cav by those who frequent it, this Polish restaurant and bar has served the North Hammond neighborhood and Polish community for generations. The Cav is owned and managed by Wally and Mary Kasprzycki and their son, Wally. Wally Sr. arrived in the United States in 1938 and opened the Cavalier Inn 1949. The Cavalier Inn thrives not only because of the consistently wonderful Polish food (best pierogis and potato pancakes in town), but also to the welcoming atmosphere instituted by Wally and Mary, and carried on dutifully by their son….[for more, click the site, but consider yourself warned about the polka music.]

 

Moi, in Chicago Tribune (o so briefly)

Last weekend, I read with a group of authors–authors way, way more illustrious than I; Bill Savage, Stuart Dybek, Marion Coleman, Marc Smith, Ellen Wadey, Peter O’Leary–at a Printers Row Lit Fest event presented by the Poetry Foundation. The Trib listed it here, along with my bio.

The Chicago Poetry Foundation presents the Chicago Poetry Tour Premier. Saturday 5 p.m. Arts & Poetry Stage.
Gretchen Kalwinski: The co-founder and managing editor of the literary Web site Literago.org. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Stop Smiling, The Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine and Punk Planet.

Time Out Chicago; Issue 217: DIY Issue

I wrote a few pieces for Time Out Chicago’s recent “DIY issue,” including an article about making your own deodorant (so cheap!) and another about teaching myself to sing that actually inspired me to start voice lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Dated: Apr 23–29, 2009