A Bookshop Interview with Darrell Epp

Image borrowed from  ihearthamilton.ca .

Image borrowed from ihearthamilton.ca.

I had the pleasure of meeting Darrell Epp in Troy, NY, when he was on tour earlier in 2019 and I’m glad he took a few minutes to tell us about his favorite bookshop. Take a look, and be sure to check out his books: Imaginary Maps, After Hours, and Sinners Dance.

Favorite Bookshop: The Printed Word (Dundas, Ontario)

My first experience there made me feel the way I'd imagine one feels when uncovering a trunk full of buried pirate's treasure--it was a real thrill to find such a lovely place, with a collection of books obviously curated with so much love and care...Browsing around it is, in a word, fun.

The 'vibe' is clear--James carries ZERO celebrity autobiographies, ZERO self-help books, but there's a great section of film books, theology books, philosophy books, a wild collection of dime novels from the 50's, the best selection of quality children's books you'll ever see, and a whole WALL devoted to poetry--since I write poetry and know how rare it is to see a retailer devoting his/her shelf space to it, I really appreciated that, but also just appreciated having so much great stuff at my fingertips...

I have bought a lot of books there...recently I bought A SMALL KILLING, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Oscar Zarate. Alan Moore is of course most known for writing WATCHMEN, but this book is a more personal work: "…chasing this puddle of piss-coloured light as it skims between flats painted post-war austerity mustard and maisonettes brick-built in scabby-knee burgundy during the macmillan years…through these streets; through this scrapyard of clapped-out utopias; failed social visions that came here to die…these houses are the furniture with which I stock my dreams. Night after night I rearrange them in my sleep…" I also recently purchased Robert Lowell's translation of THE ORESTIEA. I've loved Lattimore's translation for literally decades--it actually changed my life, as one big thing that motivated me to write poetry books was the dim hope that I might someday write something with the incantatory hypnotic effect of that...Lowell translates, not the Greek original, but the Lattimore version, with the aim of it being more stage-ready, able to be performed by modern actors in a single night...the end result is an ORESTEIA that really motors. it's really 'dramatic,' with an irresistible 'page-turner' quality. Also, the characters speak with a bluntness that makes the horror more horrifying...here's a sample, this is of course Cassandra speaking:

No, no, this is a meathouse. God

Hates these people. They have hung the flesh

Of their own young on hooks.


How I envy the nightingale—

When the nightingale died, the gods

Gave her beating wings,

And a bird’s life of song.

My life was, is,

And shall be the edge of the knife.


Ah, Troy, my city, the pitiful, munching

Sheep my father slaughtered by your walls

Were no help at all to save you!

I too with my brain on fire must die.


I do not wish to complain of my death.


What’s life? At best, its sorrows are hardly

More pitiable than its joys. At worst,

One sweep of a wet sponge wipes out the picture.

Hear me. I call upon the sun.

May the sun shine down on our avengers,

And on the final merciful hour of their vengeance.

When the avenge Agamemnon, may they also

Avenge a simple slave who died.

She was a small thing, and carelessly killed…


That is pretty hard to beat! So stop by The Printed Word the next time you're near the western tip of Lake Ontario...Man, I love bookstores!

BIO: Darrell Epp's poems have appeared in over 130 magazines on 6 continents. He is the author of 3 poetry collections: Imaginary Maps, After Hours, and Sinners Dance. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Visit his Amazon page HERE.

Check out Darrell reading HERE.

A Review of Symposium Books

A Review of Symposium Books

240 Westminster Street, Providence, RI

I came across Symposium Books quite by accident while wandering downtown Providence, Rhode Island, while searching for the indoor arcade where the Lovecraft bookshop is located. But after a quick look around inside this store, I got the feeling that this might be one of my Go-To bookshops if I lived in Providence, or Rhode island for that matter.

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A Review of the Mast Books

A Review of the Mast Books

72 Avenue A, New York, NY

While browsing around online for bookshops on the lower east side of Manhattan, I saw this one pop up not far from Tompkins Square Park, where I figured I could take a break and read in the shade with an iced coffee. Not a bad one-two punch. So I cut my way over from the Union Square area where I’d been visiting two old favorites, Alabaster and Strand Books, and I eventually came upon this minimalist shop. It reminded me of a bookstore for an art gallery, one that straddles chic and experimental, and it used a lot of open/white space to offset its artistic and avant-garde collection.

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A Bookshop Interview with Ally Malinenko

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Ally Malinenko has been one of my favorite writers for a long time, and getting to share our cancer treatment experiences with each other way back when meant a lot to me and really helped during some tough times, so I’m doubly excited to finally interview her about her favorite bookshop. And how excited was I that she picked one of my absolute favorite places in the entire world! See below for more information about her books and social media links!

Favorite Bookshop: The Strand (New York, NY)

1. How did you discover the shop? Do you remember your first experience there?

I hate to say this because it's probably such a stereotypical New Yorker answer but The Strand is my favorite bookstore. Yes, I know it's full of tourists and yes I know they sell about as many trinkets as they do books, but I love it. I can't help it. The first time I went to The Strand, I was with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. Though I had been to the city plenty of times growing up I never went to that particular bookstore. Jay, on the other hand knew all about it, including the infamous tagline: 18 miles of books. Walking in I just remember row after row of never ending shelves that you needed a ladder to get to the top of. It's different now, but at the time, it was incredible.

2. What is it like to browse around? Does it have a particular vibe or atmosphere that stands out?

Once you get through the crunch of tourists at the front of the store, it's nice. My favorite part is the basement with a lot of the nonfiction: gender studies, science, music, etc. Also that's where the vinyl is - my second obsession after books I feel like Strand's atmosphere is non-judgmental which I appreciate. I never feel like anyone is paying attention to what I'm looking at and the staff are always really great at helping me find stuff. I went in there the other day to buy a book published in the 1950's about the history of the Black Arts: Witchcraft and the Occult and no one wrinkled their nose at me. It's not a "literary" store where you feel like your choices are frowned upon my a man at the front desk in a sweater vest. My kind of vibe.

3. What books have you bought there in the past?

So many things! And not just witchcraft books, I swear! Most of the books that I purchase come from The Strand. The rest from the library. Christmas shopping for my husband usually involves spending enough money to get another tote bag! The most recent purchases, other than the Black Arts book would have been How Long till Black Future Month by N. K. Jemisn and Devil in the White City by Eric Larsen which were birthday gifts from Jay.

4. Is there a specific part of the shop you love that really makes the place unique?

They have a rare books room on the third floor but I've never been up there! I'm sure it's fascinating. I like the second floor with the art books and the children's books. The children's room is pretty magical to me, not just cause I write children's books, but also because it still has those never ending shelves. I can only imagine being a little kid and seeing all those books.

BIO: Ally Malinenko is a novelist and poet. Her most recent poetry chapbook Princess Leia on the Back Deck Blues was published by Holy & Intoxicated Press. More information about her work can be found at allymalinenko.com or at @allymalinenko where she can be found blathering on about smashing the patriarchy, slaying cancer, writing books and other shenanigans.

A Review of West End Used Books

A Review of West End Used Books

35 West Main Street, Wilmington, VT

I never imaged I’d find myself standing in a yurt full of books tucked behind the row of shops on Main Street when I started out for Wilmington, but that’s sure where I ended up. It wasn’t the only surprise of the day, either, and I’m glad I made it back after skipping this used shop when I was last in town to review Bartleby’s Books. If only for the drive out, Wilmington has certainly proven to be a cute destination spot for bookhunters and antique shoppers alike.

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A Bookshop Interview with Tim Suermondt

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Poet Tim Suermondt has five full-length collections to his name, the latest JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL from MadHat Press, and he took a few minutes to share his favorite bookshop with me. I still haven’t made my way to Boston to visit any bookshops, and this makes want to go even more. Thanks, Tim!

Favorite Bookshop: The Harvard Coop Bookstore (Cambridge, MA)

Tim: My favorite bookshop is the Harvard Coop at Harvard Square. I actually came to the Coop a bit late, initially spending a lot of time at The Harvard Bookstore (which is not affiliated with the University) and Grolier’s (which surprised me by its tiny space when I first went there.) As for the Coop, I noticed how rather large it was when I went to check it out, especially when compared to the feeble MIT Coop. And seeing a lot of books is always inviting.

Browsing is easy. There are four floors (counting the basement), accessible by elevator or the nice winding wooden staircases. There’s a café on the second floor—can’t say I’m a fan of these outposts, but they’re here to stay. There are chairs for reading, though a few more would be better. I always feel smarter when I’m there; it’s the Harvard air I’m sure.

I quickly came to realize that the Coop has a terrific assortment of books, especially their poetry selection which is the best in town for the latest poetry. My wife, Pui, and I have bought a number of books from the Coop. Just a few days ago we bought Rilke in Paris from Pushkin Press. It’s the type of book I don’t think you’d find elsewhere. I really like the way the poetry anthologies lead in to the poetry books, and from there into essays on poetry then music and travel—a smart, good threading.

The Coop also has a decent section of poetry journals and magazines, along with other fare. I don’t know if it’s unique, but the blending of the students, the locals and the out-of-towners who go there makes for a bustling but most satisfying vibe.

BIO: Tim Suermondt is the author of five full-length collections of poems, the latest JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL from MadHat Press, 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Stand Magazine, Galway Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

A Review of the Strand’s Central Park Kiosk

A Review of the Strand’s Central Park Kiosk

Southeast corner of Central Park

Every now and then I’ll bend my own rules enough to review a quirky kiosk, off-shoot, or library nook that sells books as opposed to a full fledged independent bookshop, and when I do I hope you know it’s because finding these little extras out there in the world will be very much worth your time. This outdoor “bookshop” is a satellite of the gargantuan and epic Strand Bookstore down near Union Square, but being so close to Central Park and its shaded benches, aromatic food trucks, and bright open skies reflected on rippling ponds, I wonder: is it possible that this kiosk is even better than the mothership?

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A Review of Lovecraft Arts & Sciences

A Review of Lovecraft Arts & Sciences

65 Weybosset Drive, Providence, RI

I’d like to say it was a dark, blasphemous night full of rain and eldritch horrors when I stumbled across the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences bookshop deep in the heart of the New England city of Arkham, but it was a bright, cool summer morning in Providence when we poked our heads inside, right before we headed to the beach. Still, it was a fun visit, though a quick one, and if you’re a fan of Lovecraft and passing through town, it’s a required stop. 

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A Review of Book Culture on Columbus

A Review of Book Culture on Columbus

450 Columbus Ave., New York, NY

Book Culture has a few locations throughout New York City, and the one I visited was a short walk from the American Museum of Natural History, or as I always called it, “the museum with the dinosaur bones.” A very technical and precise term. But anyway, this bookshop felt like the kind of store you’d go to in order to get a book for yourself and a gift for someone else, or vice versa. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, because if you don’t find a book you want, there are almost as many gifts as books, about a 50/50 split, making it much harder to walk out the door without something someone in your life would enjoy.

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A Bookshop Interview with Kenning JP Garcia

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I first met Kenning Jean-Paul García at the St. Rocco reading series xe helps organize and immediately appreciated xyr wit, creativity, and sense of humor, not to mention an exceptional insight into linguistics, literature, and unpretentious beer. I assure you, getting to share a tallboy of PBR after a poetry reading with JP is always a great time. Xe took a few moments to talk about xyr favorite bookshop (a comic shop, which cannot be overlooked when it comes to storytelling and creativity!) and in turn I’m more than happy to share zyr latest book, OF: What Place Meant, which is now available! Be sure to check it out!

Favorite Bookshop: Earthworld Comics in Albany, NY

1. How did you discover the shop?

Sadly, I had to discover Earthworld Comics due to the closing of Fantaco Comics. I knew that Earthworld existed but I was a hardcore Fantaco fan. That's where the goths, punks, and hardcore geeks went. It was our place but eventually they went out of business. Then after a few years of not being able to really afford comics I was a bit ahead financially and I had some newer and younger friends who never went to Fantaco. They were like this is the place and it certainly is.

2. What part of the shop is your favorite? What's it like to walk through?

I love the back wall where the indie trade paperbacks are. I love seeing what I might have missed from Dynamite, Boom, Oni and others. This and the bargain bins always get me. I like a good deal and if a comic is good it can be read years after its initial publication. So, I get a few throwback volumes when I can from the bargain bins. As for a walk-through, first you get the DC/Marvel shelves and the new releases. It's cool. I mean, great art on the covers and all the popular heroes. Then you go further back for the new release indie comics. As well as some alphabetized characters and titles in with the mainstream releases, like my boys, Jughead and the Shadow, or my homegirls, Vampirella, Red Sonja and crossing my fingers for the return of Jennifer Blood. But, really every good trip to the shop starts and ends with a rundown of what's new and what I missed from the staff. Always knowledgeable and they know what I like. It's a nerdy neighborhood vibe. We all kind of know each other by face and by tastes if not by names.

3. What books have you bought there in the past?

I bought the entire run of New 52's Swamp Thing as well as all of my Vampirella titles And this is where I really fell in love with my favorite superqueero - Midnighter. Steve Orlando (who also resides in the Capital Region) wrote the New 52 run and it was magical.

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4. What is it about the shop that makes you love it? What really sets it apart?

The staff and selection make it special. I can find a lot of these books at Barnes and Noble but they don't have the pins. I'm a sucker for a new pin. My bags are all adorned in comic book pins. I'm always on the look out for a new pin. This adds a little something special to the place in addition to the comics and graphic novels. The other thing is, they do a good job of ordering based upon customer requests. I never leave there empty-handed and I often return specifically to pick up something that they ordered for me. It's monthly event for me and something that I set aside money and time for in my budget. In my opinion it's one of the great shops around this country. It's up there with some of the big city shops.

BIO: Kenning Jean-Paul García is a diarist, humorist, antipoet, and editor living in Albany, NY after growing up in Brooklyn and Queens. Xe spent most of xyr life in the restaurant industry and holds a bachelor's degree in Linguistics.  In addition to being the editor at Rigorous, the Operating System, and Five 2 One, xyr work has also been featured in BlazeVOX, eccolinguistics, Brooklyn Rail, Horse Less Review and Dream Pop. Slow Living is also available from West Vine Press along with They Say and Never Read.

(I definitely swiped the photo of the shop from the Fresh Comics website, so check them out too.)

A Review of the Montague Bookmill

A Review of the Montague Bookmill

440 Greenfield Rd. Montague, MA

How absolutely perfect that this shop’s motto is “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find,” as we had to twist and turn our way through memory and Google directions to finally emerge from the wooded glens of the Pioneer Valley and pull into the large dirt parking lot across the street from this former mill bustling with activity and creative offerings. I was taken by the Montague Bookmill at first sight and thought, Oh how very much I want all the things within that I don’t need, and so will you when you track down this wonderful bookshop.

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A Review of Books of Wonder

A Review of Books of Wonder

217 W 84th Street, New York, NY

There’s a special kind of charm that children’s bookshops have, something about the mix of nostalgia for the books you loved to read when growing up and the new books waiting for the young audiences of today and tomorrow all shelved together. I like browsing kid’s bookshops because I have nieces and nephews who like to read and a mother obsessed with Nancy Drew and shopping for them is fun, and that’s not to mention my own appetite for the books of my youth. I have a list of them on my phone that I watch out for, and you can bet I had that list at the ready when I walked through the doors of Books of Wonder.

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A Review of Raven Used Books

A Review of Raven Used Books

4 Old South Street, Northampton, MA

Walking through the clustered bars and busy restaurants of downtown Northampton long after dark, long after our first, second, maybe third drink, we came upon the storefront for Raven Used Books by accident, as I was only in town for the night and had no idea it was waiting for me. We eagerly detoured our journey to the next bar to explore the rooms and aisles of this lovely, lively shop. My only regret was that we couldn’t stay long, because the sheer volume of interesting books at excellent values could have kept me for hours.

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10 Best Used Bookshops in the Capital Region

10 Best Used Bookshops in the Capital Region

Independent Bookstore Day 2019 is upon us, and to celebrate I thought I’d share some of my favorite bookstores in the Albany/Capital Region. Now I should note that my idea of the Capital Region might differ from yours. If I can drive there within an hour or so from downtown Albany, you’re in. There are plenty of great shops right on that line that didn’t make it, and some well within that range who didn’t make it either, but I had the draw the line and decide on my own personal favorites. Here’s what I came up with. The most important thing is this: support your local indie bookshops, whoever they are!  

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10 Best New Bookshops in the Capital Region

10 Best New Bookshops in the Capital Region

Independent Bookstore Day 2019 is upon us, and to celebrate I thought I’d share some of my favorite bookstores in the Albany/Capital Region. Now I should note that my idea of the Capital Region might differ from yours. If I can drive there within an hour or so from downtown Albany, you’re in. There are plenty of great shops right on that line that didn’t make it, and some well within that range who didn’t make it either, but I had the draw the line and decide on my own personal favorites. Here’s what I came up with. The most important thing is this: support your local indie bookshops, whoever they are!  

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A Bookshop Interview with Sam Slaughter

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Sam Slaughter is a Food & Drink Editor for the men’s lifestyle magazine, The Manual, and spirits work has appeared in MaximBloombergThe Bitter SouthernerThirsty, and elsewhere. His debut short story collection God in Neon was published in 2016 by Lucky Bastard Press, and his first cocktail book,  Are You Afraid of the Dark Rum? and Other Cocktails for 90’s Kids will be published by Andrews-McMeel in June 2019. I’m delighted he took a few minutes to tell me about one of his favorite places to buy books.

Favorite Bookshop: McKay’s Books in Greensboro, NC

1. How did you discover the shop?

In college, a professor mentioned that there was a used book store down the road in Greensboro. One weekend afternoon, my roommate and I decided to go. It was love at first sight.

2. What part of the shop is your favorite? Give us a walkthrough of what it's like to browse around.

Being a used bookstore, there’s a ton of stuff, from books (obviously) to vinyl, video games, DVDs, you name it. I used to love start at the front in the fiction section and working my way down the aisle, then turning around and walking back up the other side, going through each little cubby to see what was there. One of my favorite things is that the entire store is, in a way, a treasure hunt. If there are multiple versions of a book, chances are that they are going to be different prices. This makes you want to keep hunting, just in case.

After working through the fiction I’d head down the stairs to the food & drink books to see if there were any cookbooks I was into. Those were the two main sections for me, but I’d also check out the anthropology/sociology section (one of my college majors) and the comedy section. There was also a free section, and you could sometimes get some cool stuff there.

3. What books have you bought there in the past?

I bought most of my collection of contemporary southern fiction there. Ron Rash, Barry Hannah, et cetera. I also got a number of Best American collections there that I still have.

4. What is it about the shop that makes you love it? What really makes the place unique?

As I mentioned above, it’s the treasure hunt thing that gets me every time. I love going through everything, not only to find great books, but to see if I can find a better deal on the book.

In terms of uniqueness, McKay’s has a couple locations, and at this point I’ve been to 3 of them. Each store has completely different inventory that changes all the time. Even if you went back two days in a row, chances are you’d find some new stuff.

For more by Sam, visit his site at http://www.thesamslaughter.com.

A Review of Westsider Rare & Used Books

A Review of Westsider Rare & Used Books

2246 Broadway, New York, NY

I hadn’t wandered the Upper West Side of Manhattan in about ten years, and I mean really wander, spiraling the blocks on foot, coming into sight of Central Park before turning back toward the Hudson River, reaching squares and intersections midway where you can spin in place and see both boundaries. In that regard, the UWS really does feel like its own separate world, its own town, connected to Harlem and Hell’s Kitchen by the 1, the A, and so on. And if that were the case, Westsider Books would be the home of the literary fringe element in town, the place where hopeless poets, serious antiquarians, outsiders, punks, professors, and meticulous collectors would gather to browse and feel at home among the towering stacks of books.

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A Review of Chapter Two Books  

A Review of Chapter Two Books   

37 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA

Williamstown is a gorgeous little spot tucked into the rocky hills and sweeping valleys of northwestern Massachusetts. The town is home to prestigious institutions such as Clark Art and Williams College, the latter being particularly important as Williams is Williamstown, and vice versa. At least it always felt that way to me. Driving through town you find regal older homes, towering brick halls, and stylized glass structures, all seemingly connected to one of the two organizations that make the town so unique, and they all surround the small downtown strip that makes up the social and commercial hub: Spring Street. With cafes, gift shops, a college bookstore, an ice cream stand, a small movie house, and a pub, Spring Street has enough to keep most students and locals occupied on any given day, but with the addition of Chapter Two Books, a new bookshop in Williamstown, there’s an extra reason for bookworms in the area to drive out and enjoy a few hours in this picturesque college town.    

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A Bookshop Interview with Anney E.J. Ryan

Image borrowed from Yelp.

Image borrowed from Yelp.

Anney E.J. Ryan is an excellent poet and an educator down in Pennsylvania (I say “down” as if someone living south of me here in upstate NY is “downhill” from where I live or something). I keep meaning to get down to PA to check out some of their bookshops, but before I head out that way I thought I’d ask my pal Anney about her own favorite local. Here’s what she suggested!

Favorite Bookshop: Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown, Pennsylvania

1. How did you discover the shop?

Firefly opened in Kutztown in 2012, and I visited there immediately, as it’s the closest used bookstore to where I live. The shop sells used books, brand new books and current bestsellers, audiobooks, antique/vintage texts, games, puzzles, and special gifts. It also has a fantastic occult and witchcraft section. Every time I stop in, I find something to buy.

2. What part of the shop is your favorite?

The occult section is at the front of the first aisle, so I usually stop there immediately. I always check out the audiobook and vintage sections, but I spend the most time in the fiction section.

3. What books have you bought there in the past?

Cherry Ames – vintage series for my mother. Superhero graphic novels and The Last Kids on Earth series for my nephew. Robert Bly and Ted Kooser poetry books for my father-in-law. The Jeeves series by Wodehouse, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, some David Sedaris books, a historical nonfiction book on Robin Hood, and two science fiction novels by C. J. Cherryh. There are more, but I can’t remember them all.

4. What is it about Firefly that makes you love it? What really sets it apart?

The prices are fantastic. They have a bathroom. There are couches where one can hang out and drink coffee. There’s always excellent music playing – classical or instrumental folk music. While the shop carries brand new books and gifts, most of the store is comprised of tall shelves stuffed with old lovely-smelling books. The store welcomes you to wander and dig and get lost in the collections.

A Bookshop Interview with R.M. Engelhardt

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When I asked poet R.M. Engelhardt about his favorite bookshop, I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened next: 1) that he eschewed my usual Q&A session and wrote me a couple paragraphs shooting from the hip; 2) that he picked two shops instead of one; and 3) that neither of the shops are still open. And why was I surprised? Because R.M. is a throwback kicking and smoking his way through the Era of Instapoets, and he’s not about to conform now just for a bookshop interview. But both of these shops sound pretty cool and I’m sorry I missed out on them when they were around. I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to pick up any of his books, including Cold Ass Coffee Blues & Other Poems (Alien Buddha Press). You can also read his column The Half-Dead Poet Review over at AlbanyPoets.com. Enjoy!

Favorite Bookshops: Capital Bookshop and Nelson’s Bookstore, both formerly in Albany, NY.

Capital Bookshop: “The place looked like a bomb hit it inside. It’s closed now but I always referred to it as the ‘Bookstore Without A Name.’ I ran across the place many years ago in the late 1980s and just casually walked in to find a place where books of all genres were literally strewn all over the place from the ground up in piles and on shelves. There were dedicated sections, sure, but it looked like a book hoarders dream. I would make time to visit the store on my lunch break when I worked for a law firm in the 1990s around the corner. They had a poetry section of old paperbacks as well as hardcovers. Shakespeare, Milton, Dante's Inferno. A lot of classics. You could get lost in there or go missing. It was hard to walk around the books. I had bought several old copies of Poe & Baudelaire's books in Capital Bookshop, and even though the place smelled and had some mildew, it eventually became one of my favorite haunts because you never knew what you'd find. It was an impossible place of imagination, and it crossed your mind now and then that there might be a door in the back that if you opened you'd find some kind of posh secret society or spy headquarters or organization hiding behind the bookstore front like in a movie. But the best part of the store was this: pulp novels. Stacks of them. Detective stories and hard to find old Bantam copies of some of my favorite guilty pleasures for reading. Doc Savage, The Avenger, Science Fiction, Westerns/Louis L'Amour. They were in bad to decent condition but it was amazing what you could find in there. Old albums and comic books too. It was the kind of bookstore that the BBC Black Books was reminiscent of but with less room. Completely unorganized.”

Nelson’s Bookstore: “This was another store which I'd like to mention that is also gone now. It was a huge influence on my work and where I got most of my poetry. Nelson's Bookstore was on Central Avenue a few blocks away from the old Qe2 (an notable former punk/rock club that is now The Fuzebox) and it was the best counter culture, beat poetry bookshop around. Bill Nelson, the owner, sold me my first Bukowski book there in the early 90s, Love Is A Dog From Hell. I bought loads of poetry books there, from Burroughs to Kerouac, Jim Carroll, and so many others that I've forgotten but still have in my collection. Bill Nelson and I would have conversations about authors and I'd show him my poems when I was starting out as a writer. He was like a mentor and his store also carried tons of zines and local poets books. Eventually he carried mine as well. He encouraged me to send my work out and I had a few interesting visits there where I met other, more well known writers there in passing. I even met Serpico there. Yes, the real Frank Serpico, the detective that the old Al Pacino movie was based on. So, in the end, I miss two bookstores. Two favorites that are now just memories of what downtown Albany used to be.”