The Bookshop & CPS, Special Edition.

This Thursday, Oct. 30th, at 7:30 pm, we’ll be hosting a special edition of the Collected Poets Series, a partial fundraiser for the Mohawk Arts and Education Council. Baron Wormser, former poet laureate of Maine, will read from his latest collection of new and selected poems, Scattered Chapters; Jim Schley will read from his newest book, As When, In Season; and the MAEC high school poets will read from their work. To read more about the Collected Poets Series and the featured poets, please visit the Collected Poets website.

Between visits of customers distraught over the closing of the bookshop, and the exhausting motions of commiseration such visits bring, I’ve been reading Baron Wormser’s The Poetry Life: Ten Stories. Each story is narrated by a different fictional persona, who in turn is writing about a different poet. The stories aren’t especially plot-driven, but explore how poetry, in even small ways, can affect a wide array of ordinary lives. It’s simply uncanny how expertly Wormser creates these personas, entire lives encapsulated in a few pages, and then incorporates the poets as well.

And from the second story, narrated by a retired pharmacist who’s discovered William Carlos Williams through a local college class, comes this excerpt, which feels apropos to this weeks-long-wake we’re experiencing at the bookshop. For every sincere, weeping customer, there’s another beating around the bush, wondering when the liquidation sale will begin…

…when Helen died I started to hate words because they were so general: “Well, we got to be with each other for a lot of years. I’m not complaining.” Or “We had our ups and downs but we hung in there together.” You get my drift. You’re always summarizing because no one wants to listen to the details. People are willing to listen some but not too much. They want an idea of what something was like that they can nod their heads to.

Of course, a defunct bookstore is not the equivalent of a dead wife, but there are parallels. If you don’t believe me, you should come on down and work a spell behind the counter…

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