Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Open Books: my alma mater

I was living a few blocks from Seattle's  Open Books: a poem emporium when I started writing poetry. Owners Christine Deavel and John Marshall hadn't yet made the move to stocking only poetry, but shelves devoted to poetry easily outvoted the rest of the stock. Worked for me.

By the time the store moved a bit down the way, the Deavel-Marshall team went all out: poetry and its handmaidens only.

Grand to know the bookstore's thrived; grand to learn tastes and interests, if one is educable, can be further educated under the tutelage--the personal shoppingness--of its owners, both graduates of Iowa's Writers' Workshop. If you are set in your ways, no problem. The books are there.

I learned to distinguish between reading for...pleasure/out of interest/to keep up and reading poetry to learn how to write (this may be Sarah-specific--I don't mean to hold John & Christy to conversations that took place fifteen years ago). I also got necessary feedback on my first poem to be published, First Appearance of the Angel Evelyn.

Deavel and Marshall are both poets. John (John W. Marshall) won the Oberlin College Press FIELD Poetry Prize a few years ago with his wonderful collection, Meaning a Cloud

Click on the bookstore name in the first paragraph for address, hours, mail order info, readings and events.

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