Best Poetry Merchants


JOHN MARSHALL and CHRISTINE DEAVEL eat, sleep, and breathe poetry. Co-owners of the poetry-only bookstore Open Books: A Poem Emporium, one of only two such stores in the country, they also write and edit. It's inspiring to be around people who so clearly love what they do for a living. Their passion for verse is all-consuming: Christine gave John a letterpress for his 50th birthday; he proceeded to publish a book of her poems for her. You would think selling only poetry would be a business recipe for disaster, but the shop has been around for nine years and is still going strong. Whether you're looking for a book of saccharine love poems or a more complex challenge from Pulitzer-winner Jorie Graham, Marshall and Deavel will welcome you with open arms. Open Books: 2414 N. 45th St., 206-633-0811.

John Marshall and Christine Deavel's Picks

BEST POET TO GO HEAR READ VCR INSTRUCTIONS OUT LOUD: Heather McHugh. "[We] would go to hear her read in braille."

BEST LOCAL POETRY TREND: "There's been a splash of startup magazines—from experimental to traditional, and from stapled to perfect-bound four-color."

BEST POETRY BOOK WITH A SEATTLE FOCUS: "Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced by Catherine Barnett. It's a lyrical meditation on grief concerning the death of two children lost in the crash of Alaskan Airlines [flight 261 from Puerto Vallarta]."

BEST FANS OF POETRY READINGS: "Geo and Carol Levin come to about half of the events at Open Books. They also go to all of Seattle Arts and Lectures' Poetry Series events. They sit in the front row, God bless them."

BEST LOCAL POETRY PRESS: "This is a two-way tie: Wood Work is the press of Paul Hunter, and LitRag is a magazine lately publishing chapbooks."

BEST SECONDHAND BOOK SHOP: Horizon Books in Roosevelt and Capitol Hill. "Charming, good stuff, and great prices."

BEST PLACE TO BUY PENS AND NOTEBOOKS: "Arvey's. They sell office supply stuff on First Avenue South. There's University Book Store, too."


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