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Poetry-only Bookstore Opens in DUMBO

By Janet Upadhye | October 30, 2013 4:50pm
 The owners of Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop will celebrate its grand opening in DUMBO on Nov. 2.
Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop
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DUMBO — There are no novels in this bookstore.

Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop recently opened in DUMBO selling only small press and self-published poetry books and handmade chapbooks. The shop is the only bookstore committed solely to poetry in New York City, according to owners and husband-and-wife duo Farrah Field and Jared White.

"There is a lot of vibrancy in the poetry community right now," White said. "We felt that there was a strong community of poets that would support us being just a poetry bookstore."

Berl's is stocked with thousands of poetry books — by poets such as Sasha Fletcher, Sampson Starkweather, and Latasha N Nevada Diggs — many of which are limited editions. White carefully curates his collection with each book lovingly picked.

"We only carry a couple of copies of each book," White said. "That makes buying these books very special."

He is particularly excited about Crown Heights resident Bianca Stone and her latest book of poetry entitled "Because You Love You Come Apart" published by Factory Hollow Press — a nonprofit publishing organization located in Massachussettes.

White wrote the introduction to another current favorite, "The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather," where he described the works inside as "words rummaged through and arrayed like broken bits of stone — remain like a mineral deposit swirled into these poems that record the experience of a confrontation, a dialogue between ghosts."

Berl's also carries a chapbook of poetry by White himself.

Published by Bloof Books, "This Is What It Is Like to Be Loved by Me" is handbound and delivers lines like "Your liking improves me, so I lay on the ball, as it rolled in your direction."

Field and White both attended the Columbia University MFA program where they studied poetry writing in the mid-2000's. The couple later began selling small press chapbooks from a stand at the Brooklyn Flea. And the response was so positive that they felt compelled to open a brick and mortar shop.

And in honor of their 10-month-old baby — Roman Field White — there is a growing children’s poetry section in the shop.

Located on Front Street in DUMBO, Berl's will celebrate a grand opening on Nov. 2 with a poetry-reading marathon. Over 30 poets are set to read from their original works to christen the space.

Field also plans to host poetry trivia nights and gallery exhibitions of book-related art in the future. He also hopes his shop will serve as a meeting place for traveling poets from all over the world.

“Poetry connects people and gives them new ways of exploring who they are wand what they care about,” White said.