Interview with Christine Deavel of Open Books

By Harriet Staff

Christine Deavel, co-owner of Open Books, a poetry-only bookstore in Seattle, and author of the forthcoming Woodnote, took time out from her busy schedule for an interview with Jeannine Hall Gailey.

From the interview:

JHG: How do you think working in a poetry-only bookstore has influenced you as a writer? Besides getting to be around books all day, you get a perspective on the business-side of poetry that many of us rarely encounter. Do you think this has made you more adventurous in what you write and what you look for in a publisher?

CD: I have been incredibly lucky to have so many poetry readers in my life day in and day out. Not just readers of poetry, but lovers of poetry. And of all sorts of poetry. They have taught me an incalculable amount -- introduced me to new writers, helped me articulate my thoughts about poetry, and broadened my understanding of it. What I read always affects what I write. I firmly believe that books talk to books. I'm extremely grateful not just to be surrounded by books but to be visited by ambassadors for those books. I do think I've become more open as a reader than I was as, say, a (too young) MFA student. I'm much more willing to venture into poems that I might not necessarily find to my taste or that might bewilder me. I don't need to be reassured when I read the way I once did. I'd rather find vitality and risk -- and that can be found in any aesthetic.

In other Open Books news, the store has partnered with Wave Books to carry the entire collection of unique, case-bound limited edition hardcover books.

Originally Published: July 27th, 2011