Campaign to raise £5,000 to open poetry bookshop
A £5,000 crowdfunding campaign has been launched to raise funds to open a poetry bookshop in London. The man behind the idea is Paul McMenemy, editor of the monthly magazine Lunar Poetry. He said the aim of the bookshop would be to gather together poetry from small presses all over Britain, in “a comfortable place you don’t feel like you need to have a special password to get into”. He said: “I am looking to establish a dedicated poetry bookshop in London as there currently isn’t one. Most new poetry in the UK is published by small presses whose work never makes into most bookshops; often it isn’t even very easy to find online, only being accessible through the publishers’ own websites. As there are hundreds of these (the Saison Poetry Library website lists over 100 currently active small presses and around the same number of little magazines in Britain) there is no way, even for someone with an active interest in modern poetry, to keep track of all this stuff.
“I want a bookshop and website which gathers as much of this poetry together as possible in one place – a comfortable place you don’t feel like you need to have a special password to get into. The Free Verse poetry book fair has shown that if you can do this, people will come, and will buy poetry. But again, I don’t think poetry is something you should have to set aside a special fund for, in order to have an annual splurge – I think it ought to be something that, if you have a spare fiver or so in your pocket come payday, you ought to be able to pop in somewhere and pick up something on a whim.
“L’klectik Art Lab in central London have agreed to let us have a space inside their venue in order to set up a shop of this kind. L’klectik is a gallery, café and performance space about 10 minutes from Waterloo station, the Saison Poetry Library and the Poetry School. They currently host a monthly spoken word night, Silence Found a Tongue, and have previously held launch nights for Lunar Poetry.
“Poetry is often seen as irrelevant. This is not true. Poetry is, though, at the moment, invisible. Having a dedicated space where poetry can be treated, not as a special, delicate flower which has to be sheltered from the cruel world, but as something which can be bought, sold, experienced, handled, discussed and enjoyed just like anything else – where poetry is a real thing interacting with the real world – is a step towards making it visible.”
You can find out more about the cash appeal here