A visit to Woodlawn Pattern

March 25, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

Woodlawn Pattern has been described as the single best poetry bookstore in the country. As I feel such places often are, before September I had never heard of the place. Once I did hear about it I heard about it everywhere. Last weekend I went to Milwaukee to check it out. I will admit, being there made me very happy indeed. In addition to fiction, they have a tremendous poetry selection and, what I wasn’t expecting, a giant section of Native American authors. This is a poet’s bookstore. The kind of place that makes a poet feel at home, because one must scour shelves, a process which no doubt affords great pleasure to one familiar with the available titles. While I am not a poet, I was still very very happy.

And then I saw Terry Kapsalis’ Hysterical Alphabet faced on a shelf in the entry way (TK, if you remember read for the Parlor a ways back)

And then I discovered a poster Alana Bailey made for the store, peeking out from under a shelf like a mislaid secret (AB printed covers for Simns’ Lust & Cashmere AND David Carl’s Fragments)

I felt like I was in very good company indeed.

What also made me happy is that WP has a backroom where readings regularly take place. When I visited they had on display a number of old publications–I’ve been looking for these kinds of publications, partly again to kind of brainstorm for different ways to disseminate art media/literature, even everyday philosophy. I took some photos. I think it’s just amazing what can be done with such simple material, namely ink, colored paper and a copy machine.

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