Grolier Poetry Book Shop

“The Grolier Poetry Book Shop (‘the Grolier’) is an independent bookstore on Plympton Street near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Although founded as a ‘first edition’ bookstore, its focus today is solely poetry. A small (404 sq ft (37.5 m2)), one-room store with towering bookcases, it claims to be the ‘oldest continuous bookshop’ devoted solely to the sale of poetry and poetry criticism. Over the years, the Grolier became a focus of poetic activity in the Cambridge area, which had become a magnet for American poets because of the influence of Harvard University. Poets such as John Ashbery, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Donald Hall, and Frank O’Hara were regulars at the store during their time as undergraduates at Harvard; the poet Conrad Aiken lived upstairs from the store in its early days. Numerous other poets and writers, including Russell Banks, Frank Bidart, William Corbett, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, David Ferry, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Marianne Moore, Charles Olson, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, Ruth Stone, James Tate and Franz Wright, have been noted as ‘friends of the Grolier.’ The Grolier Book Shop was founded in September 1927 by Adrian Gambet and Gordon Cairnie. … The shop’s initial means of support included appraisals and a mail order business, an annual undergraduate poetry reading with poets from fifteen colleges, and autograph parties, beginning in 1974 with featured poets such as Gary Miranda. … In its last years under Solano’s management, the shop remained a source for rare or obscure titles. The store was the first in New England to stock Language Magazine, the periodical that launched the avant-garde L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry movement. … The causes of the shop’s decline included the reach of the internet, inventory management, and the encroachment of chains. In March 2006, the store was sold to Nigerian poet Ifeanyi Menkiti, a professor at Wellesley College. …”
Paris Review
Grolier Reincarnated – Harvard Magazine
LARB: Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, MA

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