open for proposals

May 5, 2022

The next annual conference of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) will be held March 8–11, 2023, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The in-person Conference & Bookfair will feature hundreds of events and thousands of presenters. In addition, a select number of events will be made available virtually for both in-person and virtual-only attendees to enjoy.

Event proposals for #AWP23 are now being accepted. Please see the 2023 Event Proposal Guidelines, and read the Presenter Guidelines before submitting a proposal. Additional resources for crafting and submitting an AWP event proposal can be found on the Proposal Overview page.

And mark your calendar for March 8–11, 2023!

Jack Straw Writers read

April 26, 2022

Mark your calendar for the first three Fridays in May, 7:00pm Pacific, when the 2022 Jack Straw Writers present their words in person at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle, or streaming live via Jack Straw on Facebook or YouTube.

Program Curator Michael Schmeltzer hosts:

  • Friday, May 6, 7pm: Ally Ang, Katharine Strange, Jory Mickelson, and Danielle Hayden.
  • Friday, May 13, 7pm: Julie Feng, Helen Anderson, Jessica Gigot, and Emily Parzybok
  • Friday, May 20, 7pm: Vincent Rendoni, Erin Langner, Carrie Beyer, and Ruth Schemmel

Email jsp [AT] to register for in-person attendance. $10 suggested donation.

poetry (etc.) walk

April 25, 2022

Market to MOHAI is a “safe, engaging pedestrian corridor stretching from Pike Place Market to the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)” at South Lake Union. The route, which connects four parks, is marked by 75 sidewalk tiles with themes of cities and urban environments (No. 4, by Colleen J. McElroy, above) and 46 interpretive history blades that highlight a moment in Seattle’s history. Learn more in this week’s article by Gregory Scruggs in The Seattle Times.

Open open!

April 23, 2022

Great news! Open Books: A Poem Emporium has completed their move is now open for browsing, Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5:00pm, at the corner of First and Cherry in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.

In addition to a superb collection of over 10,000 poetry titles, classes, and swag, the store now offers monthly membership in The Parlor for those who seek “a clean, beautiful workspace in Seattle, away from the clutter and distractions of home, for writing, reading, thinking, or co-working.”

last chance in Wallingford

February 25, 2022

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 26, 2022, will be your last chance for in-person shopping at the Wallingford location of Open Books. The store is open 10:00am to 2:00pm today and 10:00am to 6:00pm tomorrow.

After that, the store will offer curbside pickup in Wallingford during the first week of March, and resume pickups at the new Pioneer Square location toward the end of the month. The online store will remain open and the new store, at 108 Cherry Street, will open its doors in April.

Every book you buy now makes the move that much easier.

planning ahead

December 20, 2021

Last here in 2014, the AWP Conference is returning to Seattle… March 8-11, 2023.

Will the Convention Center be ready? The expansion is well underway. The July 2021 construction update said, “The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) Addition — also known as the Summit building — is one year from completion” and the Summit page on the WSCC website projects a January 2023 opening.

AWP 2021 was all virtual; AWP 2022, scheduled March 23–26 in Philadelphia, is expected to be a hybrid event, with virtual components. AWP 2023 is anyone’s guess. Mark your calendar and watch for details.

. . . . .
photo: 2014 AWP Conference & Bookfair

Open Books news!

December 17, 2021

Back in early November, we posted a letter from Billie Swift regarding the somewhat delicate status of Open Books, Seattle’s favorite (and only) poetry bookstore. Now, this wonderful news:

Dear Friends of Open Books,

We’ve found a new home!

After more than 25 years in our current location, Open Books will be moving into the Good Arts Building in Pioneer Square, one of Seattle’s most accessible, beautiful, and historical neighborhoods, where we believe our beloved bookstore will not only persevere but thrive.

When we first stepped into the new space we felt immediately how special it was. The historic brick storefront with large, street-facing windows is a charming, warm, and inviting space sure to delight old friends and new passersby alike. The wider layout of the store will allow readers to roam between bookcases with ease, and a separate parlor space will enable intimate gatherings of poets for classes, workshops, craft talks, reading groups, submitting parties, individual studio time, and more. Add to all of this the close proximity of the light rail and a wonderful neighboring coffee shop and, well, we’re still pinching ourselves to see if it’s real.

Before we get there, though, we need your help.

Independent bookstores have struggled during the pandemic, and our store has been no exception. After nearly two years without event sales and with restricted in-store shopping, we are not in a financial position to shoulder the myriad expenses of a move and the outfitting of an entirely new shop. We are calling upon our local community and lovers of literature far and wide to support us in taking this exciting next step.

Click here to help us raise $50,000 to secure a long-term and sustainable future for Open Books!

We’ve done a bit of math, and if 200 people donate $250 each, we’ll reach our goal! And if an amount like $25 is more within your means, it would still mean the world to us. Every gift will go toward building a new home and a new future for Open Books. Our poem emporium has been around for more than 25 years. And we’d love to be around for 25 more.

Your Friends at Open Books

** Important note: Donations to Open Books are not tax deductible as charitable contributions. **

With Open Books joining the stellar ranks of Arundel Books and Peter Miller Books, Pioneer Square will, more than ever, be a book lover’s destination.

This Thursday, November 18, 2021, 6:30pm, Margin Shift: Friends in Poetry will present a hybrid in-person/online reading featuring Piper J Daniels, Meca’Ayo Cole, RL Sendra, and Raúl Sanchez. You can see them in person at Common Area Maintenance or streaming live on Facebook.

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,



September 8, 2020

Seattle was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017. But long before that title became official, local writers had begun reflecting on what it would mean to the citizens and the character of the city. They have continued to do so, and now Kristen Millares Young has collected and edited an anthology of essays by local writers, Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature, to be published this month.

Read an article by Trevor Lenzmeier in The Seattle Times and an excerpt by Claudia Castro Luna in Crosscut.

The Seattle Public Library will host a virtual release party for Seismic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 7:00pm. The event is free, but registration is required.

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