#PoetryMonth – Aged Pages: A Lack of Poetry

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It’s been months since the last Aged Pages post. I felt that it was about time to do another. Because it’s Poetry Month, this Aged Pages post will obviously have a poetic twist to it.

So, how am I going to going to mix poetry and used books? Easy: How small are the poetry sections of used bookstores you’ve visited? Unless you know better bookstores than I do, the answer is that they’re not very large.

In the used bookstores I’ve frequented in my life, the average poetry section is an entire bookcase inside of a nice sized store. The sections aren’t always easy to find, and some times they’re only a shelf of two hidden near the drama section. Though, it’s not always hidden. Back in New York, at Catnap Books, the bookstore you’ve all heard about from me, their poetry section was two cases packed with poetry. The way it was set up, it was its own little alcove, but still in an easy to find area of the store. Not stuck in the corner somewhere. Not the bottom shelf just because it was open for it.

Why is this? Why do bookstores (not even just used ones) lack poetry? I’d really like to know. I would like to make an assumption: No one wants to get rid of their poetry. That is surely wishful thinking. It’s probably more a lack of poetry in personal libraries, leading to lack of books for used bookstores to obtain. Another obvious reason for the sections to be small is the size of a poetry collection. If it’s not a collected/selected/complete collection of a poet, the books will be extremely slim. Normally under 100 pages. This would mean 100 books of poetry will take up considerably less shelf space than the same number of trade paperbacks. We can’t help that.

But why can’t we just get more poetry into bookstores? This is how I discovered poetry. It was inside of a used bookstore. I lucked out and had a good selection. I bought many old complete collections of classic poets. I bought many contemporary collections. I had a variety to choose from. But looking back, I still felt there was a lack of availability.

I don’t think there’s much of a solution to getting more poetry into the stores. But I’d like to know if this is a situation common for my readers. Whether you frequent used bookstores, new bookstores (Independent or chains), or just garage sales and thrift stores, do you find decent sized poetry sections? With only thrift stores out here in Colorado, my exposure to poetry books is lacking. I hope I can get more poetry into my collection soon. I need more stuff to read. For now, I’ll keep using the library. That’s always a good solution.

 

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