Open Books: A Poem Emporium

November 7, 2021

This just in from Billie Swift:

Dear Friends of Open Books,

In the spring of 2016, I, like many of you, received word that Open Books was looking for new ownership. So, it was with a great deal of enthusiasm (and perhaps a small dose of panic) that I jumped at the chance to keep the door open to my favorite poetry haven. Five years later, Open Books remains ready to meet your poetry needs, even through this ongoing pandemic.

Now, once again, we find ourselves on the threshold of transition. On March 1, 2022, our ground-level lease will expire, and some time later the entire building will be put on the market. Since that leaves the location of our future whereabouts quite uncertain, my priority now is on securing a sustainable and long-term home for Open Books, wherever that may be. All offers and connections welcome!

And speaking of transition, there are even further changes on the horizon for us, as Alexander, our beloved bookseller, book buyer, and full-time employee extraordinaire is making changes of his own. Come spring, Alexander, like many people dear to us, will be leaving Seattle and, therefore, his role at Open Books.

Lastly, our events calendar: We’re putting our own event bookings on hold, virtual and in-person, until we know more about how long we’ll remain in our current location and what sort of space we’ll be able to offer for readings in the future. We’ll continue stocking books for SAL readings through the end of this season’s Poetry Series and we’ll continue to list those on our online virtual events calendar, along with the reading and classes we’ve already booked.

So here we are. Rounding out another year-that-never-was/and-was-too-much with lots of moving parts and changes afoot as we make our way into 2022.

In the meantime, we’re keeping our shelves stocked and restocked with the latest titles and perennial favorites. And, as always, your continued business, virtual or in-person, is tremendously appreciated. Here’s to building the next 25 years together!

Yours, with lots of tiny gerbils doing backflips in my stomach at all times,


Jack Straw streaming

July 9, 2020

Tune in tomorrow, Friday, July 10, 2020, at 7:00pm Pacific, for the Jack Straw 2020 Reading Series, Night 3. Hosted by 2020 Writers Program Curator Anastacia-Reneé, the reading will feature Jeffrey Lee Cheatham II, Arianne True, Jose Trejo-Maya, and Troy Osaki. The the writers will read from their homes, streamed live via Jack Straw’s Facebook page. The video will be available afterward on Facebook and YouTube.

The 2020 Jack Straw Writers Anthology will be available for purchase online from Open Books: A Poem Emporium.

what’s on, virtually

June 2, 2020

The folks at Open Books, Seattle’s all-poetry bookstore (now open for curbside pickup), have just made it a little easier for you to find virtual poetry readings and events. If you have an event to add, you’ll find an email on that page.


October 30, 2019

Get your Halloween started at Open Books with a spirited lunchtime open mic featuring haunting words from Poe to Plath to Notley, plus your favorites, or find something to share from the shelves of Open Books. Local poets Samar Abulhassan and Sierra Nelson get things started. Costumes optional.

Thursday, October 31, 2019, Noon-1:30pm.

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image: Tom Hundley

Armantrout in Everett

May 31, 2019

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rae Armantrout will read from her latest collection, Wobble, on Sunday, June 2, 2019, at 2:00pm, at the Everett Library. The event is free.

If you miss her in Everett, catch Armantrout reading with Ron Silliman on Sunday, June 23, 5:00pm, at Open Books in Seattle.

More on Wobble at Wesleyan University Press.

dreams, delivered

May 30, 2019

Back in November 2016 we posted about Mathias Svalina’s Dream Delivery Service. In the intervening years, Svalina has continued to write and deliver dreams and for the month of June, 2019, he will be in Seattle! If you live in Seattle or have a mailbox, you can sign up now for daily dreams (or nightmares!) for the month of June. If you live within a 4-mile radius of Svalina’s home base, your dreams will be delivered by bike; otherwise they’ll come by mail. Click to subscribe to Dream Delivery Service for June.

On Saturday, June 29, at 7:00pm, pop in to Open Books to celebrate the closing of the Dream Delivery Service’s month in Seattle and to send Mathias on his way as he bicycles to Boise for the next step. Mathias will read a few of the 1,000 or so dreams he wrote for subscribers throughout the month of June.

Bye Bye, WordsWest

May 27, 2019

For five years (2014-2019), WordsWest has hosted literary events on the third Wednesday of the month, 7:00pm, at C & P Coffee Company in West Seattle. This is the final year of events for WordsWest and Wednesday, June 19, 2019, is the last event. You’re invited to celebrate with the poets at “Cake in the Garden,” featuring an incredible line-up of WordsWest writers from all five years, including Elizabeth Austen, Quenton Baker, Rick Barot, Claudia Castro Luna, Christine Deavel, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, Rachel Kessler, J.W. Marshall, Greg November, Renee Simms, and Ann Teplick. WordsWest co-curator Harold Taw will offer a favorite poem and Open Books will be on hand to offer books for sale.

Thanks to WordsWest for five good years!

Sunday in Seattle

February 27, 2019

The brilliant bookstore, Open Books in Seattle, is the place for poetry books, readings, and workshops in the Northwest. Their calendar of events is action packed. See for yourself on Sunday, March 3, 2019, at 5:00pm, as Open Books hosts the launch of Gravity Assist by Martha Silano. Martha will be joined by poets Kelli Russell Agodon, Rick Barot, and Molly Tenenbaum. Go!

a reminder

February 3, 2019

If you care about poetry, and if you’re anywhere near Seattle, or planning a trip to Seattle, here’s a reminder: Open Books. It’s what’s on the shelves, it’s what’s on the walls, it’s who’s on staff, it’s the poetry-packed schedule of readings and workshops. Sometimes it’s even who you run into while you’re browsing.

Open Books is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6, and Sunday, 12-4. And if you’re not anywhere near, they’ll ship you the poetry you require. Stop by and say thank you.

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art by Gabrielle Bates

tonight! Seattle!

November 3, 2018

Come hear a rollicking collection of voices at a MoonPath Press reading curated by Risa Denenberg, tonight, Saturday, November 3, 2018, at 7:00pm, at Open Books in Seattle. The stellar lineup features MoonPath poets Ronda Piszk Broatch, Glenna Cook, Alice Derry, Lorraine Ferra, Christopher J. Jarmick, Carol Levin, Rena Priest, Raul Sanchez, and Connie K Walle. See the poets’ bios here, then join them in person.

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