It’s like being sleepless in Seattle, except nothing like that at all.
Last month, I visited the midwestern metropolis with a wonderful friend of mine. We’re planning on moving there in the coming months, and thought we ought to make sure that it was a real city and not some mythical world of which we could only dream. Turned out to be a bit of both–it’s an easy city to fall in love with. We wandered around neighborhoods where we might live, met up with friends both of us had gone too long without, ate lots of new foods, received a special tour of art school student studios, and took the customary museum-tourist shots.
On our last full day, my travel pal let me indulge my dream of visiting to the mothership: the Poetry Foundation’s headquarters. Though you can’t simply walk into the offices and curl up in front of the snack machine until somebody eventually takes you on as an intern so that they can get to a snack can of Pringles, access to the library is free. As you might’ve guessed, this library stocks nothing but volumes of poetry.
This is where I must confess to taking Sina Queyras‘s advice to, “Take the library to the street; bring the street to the archive,” in an unintended direction. I slid my silly little cards next to books written by some of my favorite poets while I was picking out things to bring down to the reading area. Because I like the idea of maybe making faraway friends with someone who loves the same poets I do, and because no trip is complete without a little rule-breaking.
When a gentleman brought a book back to the librarian to ask her if she knew that it was inscribed by Langston Hughes to a friend, we decided it was time to leave the lovely place and get as much of the city’s air into us as we could before going back east.