Best Bookstore for Poetry (2000)


"My business is words. Words are like labels / Or coins, or better, like swarming bees," writes Anne Sexton, in Said the Poet to the Analyst. The shrink may have tried Thorazine to subdue Sexton's swarm, but the tenacious buzzing persists. Her works and those of many of the giants of world poetry line Bookstop's well-stocked shelves, poised to unleash their fury on readers. Many of the offerings -- Eliot, Frost, Whitman, Byron, Chaucer -- are standard English-class grist. But you'll also find more than 20 volumes by Pablo Neruda; works by Baudelaire, Vallejo, the beats, James Wright, Weldon Kees, even Patti Smith; and an extensive collection of anthologies, including ones dedicated to African-American, Civil War, French and English verse. The store makes some attempt to keep current with works like Seamus Heaney's recent translation of Beowulf, Ted Hugh's Birthday Letters, and newer books by Charles Simic and Sharon Olds. Younger poets most likely will be found in anthologies, with one notable exception: pop singer Jewel's A Night Without Armor.


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