As a poetry writer and reader, I have had the most wonderful experiences recently with bookstores! I had been suffering from the usual January afflictions of a bad cold and spirit dampening darkness. I also had three opportunities scheduled to read, study and teach poetry. I was wondering if I would be healthy enough to fulfill these obligations. Fortunately, the doctor pronounced me not contagious and we drove up to Book Tree in Kirkland on January 20 where I presented my “Publish Your Poetry” workshop and gave a reading with the amazing Seattle poet Heidi Sinclair Seaborn. I am realistic about poetry audiences and was stunned by the numbers and enthusiasm, not to mention, talent, of the workshop participants and the open-mic readers. What a wonderful, supportive crowd! Chris Jarmick has created an outstanding poetry-friendly venue.
Then on Monday, January 22, I had the privilege of reading at Browser’s Books in Olympia with Christina Butcher, someone I respect so much as a person and a poet. A dark, cold, Monday night – and so many people! I was so touched by the friends and fellow poets who came out to support us and to celebrate an art form we all love. Again the store itself was beautiful and welcoming. Andrea Griffith has created another haven for word art and appreciation.
Earlier in January, we traveled to Port Townsend where I attended a day-long poetry crafting session based on the work of poet Sylvia Plath, lead by gifted poet Lauren Davis. It was held at Imprint Books, owned and operated by writers Anna and Peter Quinn. The inspiration and information was so stimulating – I have never produced as many nearly complete free-write poems in any other workshop!
Print is not dead nor are retail outlets for print materials. Both are vibrant and affirming for writer and reader alike. Bookstores and the dedicated people who own and operate them make life better for readers and writers alike and offer space to share a common passion. Thank you so much. I am a better poet and person because of your commitment to the difference works can make in the life of this world.