These last several weeks brought the difficult news of the deaths of Maxine Kumin, Bill Knott, and Marion Kimes — uniquely compelling poets and personalities. Each wrote out of deep tenderness and remarkable strength. Each was iconoclastic, fierce, loving. We are saddened they have left this world and grateful their words still echo here.
We are delighted and grateful to announce that Alexander has joined the Open Books staff. As you’ll soon find out, he’s a poetry-reader with a bright mind, attentive ear, and warm presence. Expect to see him shelving books, manning the till, and just generally helping to keep this place in some sort of order. Do say hello to him when next you’re in.
Linda Bierds new volume, Roget’s Illusion, has just been published by Penguin Books ($27.95). We’re also delighted to announce that Ms. Bierds will be reading from the collection at Open Books on Thursday, May 15th, at 7:30 PM.
We’re delighted to add our huzzahs to the news that Elizabeth Austen has been named the third Poet Laureate of Washington State, a role we know she will fulfill with her quintessential engaged and engaging grace. Please join us for the passing of the laurel on Sunday, February 16th, at 3 PM!
With inventory behind us (well, almost — the storage room awaits), we’re grateful to begin another year of sharing the deep pleasures of poetry books with you. Our thanks to those of you who chose to make some of your 2013 poetry purchases at Open Books. We know there are many ways for you to put books on your shelves, and we’re grateful you’ve chosen to support this sometimes quirky venture.
Among those quirks is our method for keeping track of sales at the store, the method we’ve used since Open Books began as a general bookstore in 1987: each title sold is written down in a notebook purchased at the Bartell’s drugstore up the street.
The last book sold at Open Books in 2013? Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus translated by Edward Snow and published by North Point Press. The first book of 2014? Pirateria by Calef Brown from Atheneum Books for Young Readers (“we put the ‘arg’ in bargain”). Viva verse in all its variations!
Before 2013 slips too far away, we want to join in the congratulations of Mary Szybist and Graywolf Press, the author and publisher of Incarnadine, which received the prestigious National Book Award in late November. Mary’s reading at Open Books from this quietly powerful, beautifully written collection was one of the highlights of last year for us. We are delighted that her fine work has received this much deserved praise. You can view Mary’s acceptance speech (with an introduction by Nikky Finney) here.