Of Libraries, Coffeehouses, Bookstores and Poetry

Wright Memorial Public Library

by Ed Davis on January 19, 2014

Where would our thirst for words be without libraries, coffeehouses and bookstores? With media use exploding around us, aren’t these places terribly passé and embarrassingly old-fashioned? Not for my money (and it is my money, usage and support—and yours—that will keep them in business).

Wright is Right On

Wright Memorial Library at 1776 Far Hills Avenue in Oakwood, Ohio (info/directions) is one such fine purveyor of language and literature. These folks aren’t kidding on their website when they say it’s a community hub. It’s always a hive of literary activity for all ages whenever I stop in. Recently, I’ve attended several readings in their large, comfortable public event room downstairs.

Readings Galore

Poet Dave Garrison packed the room a year ago for the debut of his new book Playing Bach in the D.C. Metro. Then, last November, his wife Suzanne Kelly (Garrison) repeated her husband’s success, reading selections from her wonderful new Irish-American novel Stolen Child.

Since then, Wright librarian (and poet par excellence) Elizabeth Schmidt has kindly invited me to read poems from my new full-length collection Time of the Light on Sunday, January 26, from 2-3:00 p.m., after which I’ll sign books. I’m pretty sure, too, we’ll be allowed to hang out and chat for a while.

And Writing . . .

The library has also spawned the Wright Library Poets, who meet on the third Tuesday of every month from 7-9:00 pm at Oakwood Starbucks at 2424 Far Hills Avenue. It’s an open writing group for local poets who want to share their work, hone their craft, meet new friends, and enjoy poetry. Beginners are welcome!

Ride to Cedarville 059Stoney Creek Writer’s Haven

By now all of my friends and acquaintances have heard me rave about Stoney Creek Roasters at 85 N. Main Street in lovely Cedarville, Ohio (info/directions). I especially enjoy the half-moon deck perched above Massie Creek that remains naturally air-conditioned and writer-friendly on summer’s hottest days. I’ve written poems, blogs and reviews, even began a short story there, surrounded by studious Cedarville students and other lovers of brewed libations and the written word.

“A Particular Light”:  A Poetry Reading

Indoors at Stoney Creek is great, too—especially in winter—and the historic 1880s- vintage room adjacent the café’s main room will be the site of a joint reading in which I’ll be joined by Julie Moore for an afternoon of poetry on Sunday, February 16, 2-3:00 p.m. Cedarville University writing center director, Julie has published a new book, Particular Scandals, which I’ve reviewed here very favorably. She’s not only a fine poet but a wonderful oral interpreter of her work.

After sampling Stoney Creek’s great winter fare of brownies, Panini sandwiches, coffee, and specialty drinks, you’ll no doubt be tempted to return when the deck’s free of ice and snow, perhaps even biking over on the 9-mile Ohio to Erie Trail from Xenia Station. Then we’ll sample SC’s delicious hand-made ice cream on the deck while the creek flows.

Good Bookstore News: Epic’s Back!

Epic Bookshop, an iconic institution for decades in Yellow Springs—which sadly closed up shop several years ago—has just been reincarnated as a (mostly) used bookstore.  Formerly located at the corner of Corry and Dayton Streets, Epic now resides on Xenia Avenue in the heart of downtown Yellow Springs, tucked back off the street and down the table-lined sidewalk between the Senior Citizens Center and the Emporium/Underdog Café.

Newly-painted and refurbished, Epic’s now in the space that previously housed The Main Squeeze juice bar. A new sign on the sidewalk across from Tom’s Market points the way. Proprietor Gail Lichtenfels says she’s paying cash for used books (but will gratefully accept donations), has plans to host writing and reading groups and encourages people to hang out. I’m very pleased to say Epic now stocks Time of the Light.

To get you in the mood for poetry (and summertime), I’ll close with a poem from my new collection: 


Stone and water
everywhere you look.
Where Main crosses Massie Creek,
beneath the street arches a stone bridge,
semi-circle of rock no doubt
dug from the bank below.
Sycamores stand upon monuments
of broken stone; buildings, too,
from the 1880s, brick crumbling.

The deck perches above the creek
like the prow of a docked ship.
I squint through Huck Finn’s eyes
at ribbons of light running through
the water’s soft volume,
rising in a July when we’ve seen
storms wreak havoc on land,
adding to Massie’s swollen
belly, ceaseless, sinuous, alive.

Dreaming now, I clamber down
the bank to a boat
somebody’s grandfather made.
I row to the middle
and join the stream that accepts
whatever’s weightless and free
enough to flow and float
oarless, steerless,

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah McGee January 29, 2014 at 2:31 am

I always enjoy reading your e-newsletters. Can’t imagine life without libraries, bookstores, coffeehouses and poetry! Unfortunately, I won’t be at your Sunday readings as that’s when the Shakespeare reading group meets, and I must have my weekly dose of the Bard. Many good wishes to you, Ed.


Ed Davis January 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Thanks a lot, Deborah. I know I can’t compete with The Bard.


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