Darrell Epp

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.