A new book discussion group begins in September in Youngstown. We'll meet at the Lemon Grove on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00. Our first book will be James Harms' After West. You can find it at Powell's Books for a squeak under $20, including shipping.
I have a few reasons for starting this group. A lot of us are in book discussion groups, so we are reading and talking about a range of fiction and non-fiction. My group includes faculty from varying disciplines, a librarian, and several intellectuals, and the books selections are amazing.
But our poetry reading, well, I'll just speak for myself here. I pick up books when a reader knocks my socks off, but now that I'm out of school, I am not fed with a steady diet, no one saying, 'Here. Read this.' I miss the conversation, too. When I discover a book of poems I love, I want to tell everyone.
Also, many of these presses are struggling, and I consider it my member dues to buy the books. No one expects to get rich selling poetry in this country, but that's a crying shame, isn't it? We won't fund a desert getaway, but maybe we can buy a poet a good pair of pants.
And I encourage everyone to consider switching to independent book stores. Let's break our Amazon habit. Hail to Amazon for putting books into peoples' hands, but as an electronic box store of books, there's a price to be paid. Here's a link to indie bookseller Powell's. You can also buy After West right from Carnegie Mellon Press. Even better to buy local, but unfortunately, our Youngstown indie book store no longer orders books.
We'll take turns choosing books of poetry or about poetry. Come, join us! The Lemon Grove has wonderful food and coffees, teas and craft beers.