Saturday, October 10, 2009

The House of Poets

Maybe the world is not ending after all, since there is a new Poets House downtown, a new Posman Books in Chelsea Market, and a new location for the Biography Bookshop, renamed Bookbook, at 266 Bleecker Street.

I'm eager to see the new Poets House, especially after reading the description of a card catalog repurposed as a poetry repository.  Bill Murray (yes, that Bill Murray) said at the grand opening that “Poets need a refuge — they need a hideout, a clubhouse.” I think people who like to read poetry need one, too. Or just like to read. Or just like to be surrounded by books.

But, um, not to be ungrateful or anything, is there a reason why it couldn't be named Poets' House, as in the house of poets, or the house belonging to poets? Is it just because so many people would misplace the apostrophe that it would be too taxing to correct incessantly? Or is it grammatically proper to call it Poets House, and I'm just being needlessly persnickety? Which is worse, Poet's House or Poets House?


  1. Hi Susie,

    Your question about the missing possessive is a good one. Poets House's co-founder Stanley Kunitz left that particular piece of punctuation out of the organization's name because, as he said, "some things must never be possessed but shared."

    Hope you'll come visit us soon.

  2. Dear Carlin,

    That is a beautiful explanation and I greatly appreciate you sending it along. I look forward to visiting very soon!




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New York, NY, United States
Overeducated mom, addled by constant interruptions due to demands of family and dog, trying to read books and write coherent sentences about them. Luckily, yoga keeps me centered. Sharing my love of yoga through teaching helps make sense of it all. I have a yoga blog at Since 2015, it has been my pleasure to serve as a reader for Epiphany, a literary journal publishing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art; on Twitter as @epiphanymag.


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