I really need to remember why I find Printers Row a bit annoying. Warning, a boatload of negativity to follow:
A)This year's crowds were compounded by ridiculous heat, which makes my tolerance for rude, ungainly people who don't know how to behave in crowds...oh...about -10. They somehow can't seem to grasp the idea of staying to the right, or not stopping to chat in a large group right along the main thoroughfare forcing an already tight squeeze into an impossible one, and not darting horizontally right in front of people. It's as simple as the same rules when you're driving people...
B) Folks who instead of browsing, and being polite, rabidly push themselves in front of you to scan a row books without even so much as an excuse me.
C)Some motherfucker with a baseball bat tucked beneath his arm(WTF???) who turned right as I was passing and therfore rendered me a rather nasty jab in the ribs and didn't even say he was sorry.
D) the relative absence of vendors selling poetry books. Lots of non-fiction, children's books, lots of paperback novels, a number of older antiquarian stuff, even more non-books than books it seemed, ie prints, collectibles, old magazine issues. The exceptions appeared to be a table w/ Coffee House, Graywolf, and Milkweed. I really wanted to but something from them, but they didn't have that diverse a selection of their titles or only had things I already owned. The Poetry Center had a booth, (displaying rather prominently a number of broadsides including mine--yeah!!) but again, didn't see anything I couldn't live without or didn't already have. A couple years ago I scored with a bookstore that had a giant box of poetry books for $1 each, some good used stuff. Apparently they didn't bother bringing them this year
E) This year, the poetry events were all moved inside to the superdorm the next block over. In years past, some lit events have been held inside, like certain buildings along the route and the CPL which is right there. I rather liked the poetry tent right along the main route. I was under the impression that moving it inside allowed for greater space and that they were sort of doing it on a larger scale with most of the readings. Not quite. Most of the outdoor stages, including the big Heartland Stage sponsored by B&N and featuring the biggest names was still out there. So were a number of others. Looking at the indoor events at the superdorm, it's obvious there's a definite second-tier taint to them. So apparently poetry has been pushed aside, from out in the open where the passing crowd may hear something they like (oh the horror), to a room no one really knows about a block away along with the clearly small interest-only readings and lectures, largely sort of academic. Yes, we've been screwed over again. But man, that Borders tent was fucking huge. Three poetry tents could have fit inside it.
*sigh* I bought NOTHING. Did managed to get my contributor's copy of After Hours, lovely as always. Did find a cool little booth selling hand made paper pretty cheap and will venture back tomorrow when I'm less cranky to grab some for collages. There IS this little light:
Need a break from a certain book festival? Another Chicago Magazine and New City host the Other Book Festival today at Hothouse, 31 E. Balbo, from 3pm to 6pm. The event will have booths for The Believer, Bridge Magazine, Chicago Comics, Columbia College Fiction Writing Department, Lumpen, Make: A Chicago Literary Magazine, Milkweed Editions, Myopic Books, Newcity, PISTIL Magazine, Poetry, Seminary Coop and Stop Smiling Magazine, and readings by Adrienne Miller and Paul Hornschemeier. It's free and open to all ages.
So I plan to stop in over there and see if I can find anything interesting after I read tomorrow. The small blessing being that it will certainly be less crazy over there. No one cares about poetry. Thank god.
I did perk up a bit when I arrived home to find my little bundle of effing press books in the mail. So gorgeous and hefty and polished they made feel a bit inadequate in my dgp venture. Certainly more costly to produce but infinitely more beautiful. Certainly nicer than anything I could have bought at the book fair.