August Newsletter

Dear Friends of Open Books,

At long last, after months (and months and months…) of rain, summer has come to Seattle! And now we’re too hot. Fortunately, the store remains a relatively cool space to while away a leisurely August afternoon. We’ve spent the past couple of months working on a number of exciting programs and events for the fall. We’re also revising our newsletter with a whiz-bang new template and a regularly scheduled delivery date beginning in September.

For the time being, we’ll be brief and stick to list form.

August is here and events are back! Visit our events page for full details:

  • Tuesday, 8/8: Reading featuring Melissa Dickey, Andy Stallings, and Jay Aquinas Thompson. 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, 8/20: Reading featuring t’ai freedom ford, Bettina Judd, and Imani Sims. 5 p.m.
  • Friday, 8/25: Book launch for Brilliant Odyssey Don’t Yearn, by Finn Menzies. Finn will be joined by JM Miller and Melanie Noel. 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, 8/27: Reading featuring Ana-Maurine Lara and Claudia Savage. 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, 8/31: Workshop and reading with Hoa Nguyen.
    • 4-6 p.m.: “Tarot as Entity Matrix.” $70. Class limit: 14. Pre-register here.
    • 7 p.m.: Reading.

Some upcoming, momentary changes to regular store hours:

  • Thursday, 8/31: As you may have noticed, the Hoa Nguyen workshop will be taking place during business hours. The store will close to the public at 3:30 p.m. and will reopen at 6 p.m. in anticipation of the evening’s reading.
  • Thursday, 9/14: The crew of Open Books is taking its poetry and prose on the road! Please join us at the Ballard Public Library as we take part in the long-lived “It’s About Time” Reading Series. Billie Swift will be presenting a craft talk entitled “On Reading Translation,” followed by poetry readings from Gabrielle Bates, Kym Littlefield, Erin McCoy, Alexander Moysaenko, and Abi Pollokoff. The store will close at 5:00 p.m. Reading begins in Ballard at 6:00!
  • Sunday, 10/1: We’ll be hosting UW Bothell’s concluding Convergence reading. Stay tuned for the list of readers. Until then, please note that the reading will begin at 2 p.m., which means the store will effectively be closed to browsing during that time.

Exciting news:

  • Open Books is thrilled to welcome Lena Khalaf Tuffaha as the store’s first Poet-in-Residence. Lena’s tenure will begin at the end of September and carry on through June of 2018. Stay tuned for our September newsletter to find out more.
  • We’re also delighted to announce a new discussion group, moderated by Lena, which we’re calling Sunday After SAL. Beginning on Oct. 15, we will be hosting an in-store discussion following each reading from SAL’s upcoming Poetry Series. The discussions will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We’ve scheduled the first three to take place on Oct. 15, Nov. 19, and Feb. 11 (the Sundays directly following the SAL readings), with further discussion dates to be added in the coming months. You can find dates for the readings on our events page.

 A few recent titles we’ve been enjoying of late:

  • These Possible Lives: Essays by Fleur Jaeggy (New Directions, $12.95 paperback). Three lyric micro-bios that tantalize. De Quincey, Schwob, and Keats treated elegantly, poetically, their peculiarities and penumbras arranged in masterful montage. Jaeggy speaks on tidbits, deathbeds, and recorded morsels to depict these writers succinctly yet spellbindingly, as no one before her has. This book sticks to the hands.—Alexander Moysaenko
  • Whereas by Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf, $16.95 paperback). “What’s the last book of contemporary poetry that really blew you away?” is a question I often ask, and lately, it seems like the answer is always Whereas. Throughout her debut collection, Long Soldier, a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Oglala Lakota Nation, responds to President Obama’s 2009 congressional apology to Native Americans—signed with little fanfare and given little public attention—by dismantling, contrasting, and employing its language. The poet rubs personal experience against historical document and the sparks fly. Praise for this book is popping up everywhere (The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times…), and with very good reason.—Gabrielle Bates
  • Scribbled in the Dark by Charles Simic (Ecco, $22.99 hardcover). Expect the domestic humdrum philosophized, the Big Apple’s absurdism promenaded, the poet’s commiserative wryness flown―. Be delighted to find it all here.—A.M.
  • Album for the Young (and Old) by Vera Pavlova (Knopf, $27.00 hardcover). In “Morning Prayer,” the collection’s opening poem, we encounter the line, “Poems are but snapshots taken in dreams.” And indeed, Pavlova’s short, even-lined poems often operate as such, building discrete, graspable objects from the surprising, associative logic of the unconscious. As the poet moves from childhood memory to present-day preoccupations, playfulness gradually gives way to grief, and yet a sense of wonder endures throughout it all. Pavlova’s micro-poems, wildly popular in Russia, offer a master class on the art of how to do so much with so little space.—G.B.

New in used and collectibles:

To our delight, fresh batches of used books have continued to arrive, and we’re excited for you to peruse them all, whether online or in person. If you do come in, be sure to comb our general shelves, our collectibles case near the front, and our $5 and $10 shelves to find these latest treasures. Hopefully you’ll find scores of fun and stimulating secondhand reads.

Here are some uncommon books of note:

  • three of Laura Jensen’s early chapbooks—After I Have Voted ($125), The Story Makes Them Whole ($40), and Tapwater ($45)—as well as both a paperback and a hardback copy of her outstanding debut, Bad Boats ($40; $55)
  • striking first edition hardback of Anna Akhmatova’s A Poem without a Hero ($40)
  • inscribed first printing, in paper, of Stephen Dunn’s second full-length collection, Full of Lust & Good Usage ($65)
  • lovely clothbound first edition of Amiri Baraka’s The Dead Lecturer (as LeRoi Jones) ($40)
  • William Everson’s The Crooked Lines of God ($85) in a hardcover first, inscribed (as Brother Antoninus) and with a hand-dated photo of the poet
  • 1942 Gallimard edition of Paul Claudel’s Cent phrases pour éventails [A Hundred Movements for a Fan] ($42.50), featuring lithographed calligraphy by Ikuma Arishima

That’s all for now. Well, almost. As per usual, we’ll say our farewells with a closing poem:

Reality Check

Try to remember a time
when you did not count
on something being more
or less miraculous:
deep indigo of dusk, half-moons
glowing on your fingernails,
the dirt beneath your feet—
and in it, a tiny persistent flower
sprouting despite all odds.

. . .

On the corner a man
in a brown suit and fedora
looks like he’s waiting
for someone. You consult
the calendar in your purse
to be sure it isn’t you.

Try to remember if it’s time
to go or time to arrive.
If the man is a guardian angel
or a nemesis. A muse.

. . .

The world is made up
of the choices you make.
This may be one of them.

—Grace Bauer

Your Friends at Open Books