Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tales of two SoCal bookstores.

Thanks to Kevin Roderick of LA OBSERVED (a Los Angeles media website) for including this link to an article on the upcoming demise of Long Beach's Acres of Books in a recent column of his:

In Los Feliz, the thriving business of Skylight Books (formerly Chatterton's for those of a certain age) is expanding its space into the building next door.

I was in the store yesterday and noticed a paucity of certain kinds of poetry.  To use a baseball analogy, the store carries some major leaguers, but gives little space to the farm teams (some may become the "major" poets of future years).

Here's a letter I wrote to Kerry Slattery, the manager:

Hi Kerry,
This letter is intended to politely address an imbalance that you can help correct via the representation of Los Angeles poetry in Skylight Books.
I was at your store yesterday and bought a couple of poetry books by S.A. Griffin and Ron Koertge.  Upon looking at the selection of zines and chapbooks, I've noticed that a lot of work by Los Angeles' poetry community is unavailable. 
Ideally, there should be a more wide-ranging selection of self-published chapbooks, fledgling small-press books and poetry anthologies (the latest compilation of Valley Contemporary Poets and recent collections of Marie Lecrivain's POETIC DIVERSITY come to mind).
With the closing of Duttons Brentwood and the sporadic hours of the Beyond Baroque bookstore, there aren't that many places for local poets to have their work sold.
And, with too-high gasoline prices, the audiences for readings (where chapbooks, small presses and anthologies are often sold) are not what they have been in the past.
I'm aware that you have standards regarding what or what not to choose for sale at Skylight.  But it would be ever so kind of you to highlight newer and up-and-coming L.A./OC poets who haven't yet received exposure at the store.
Thanks so much for your attention in this matter.
Terry McCarty


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