The Poet Is In
We've discovered that the true satisfactions of the book business relate not to volume but to aptness: the sale comes right with a click like a closing box, to paraphrase Yeats, possibly with apologies. It's nice to sell a hundred books, but what keeps you going is the reader who seizes one of your titles as though it were the thing they've been waiting for half their lives; the reviewer who understands exactly what the author is saying, regardless of how positive or negative the review may be. At moments like these, you know that a book has found one of its proper homes, and you sigh with simple relief.
We had much the same feeling when we walked into Jeff Kirby's wonderful little half-shop, knife | fork | book, located on Augusta Avenue in Toronto - fifty feet from the very spot where Svetlana Lilova can be found on Pedestrian Sunday, with her smile-inducing sign a la Lucy: The Therapist Is In. If ever a book wanted a home in Kensington, it's Svetlana's Metaphysical Dictionary - for five years Svetlana, a registered psychotherapist as well as a poet, has practiced out of the Spiritwind Collective at the corner of Oxford and Augusta.
And what a home - and what a host. knife | fork | book seems destined for success, to judge from the flood of enthusiasm that's greeted it. Part of this enthusiasm is due to the nature of the store, with its beautifully chosen selection of new titles, chapbooks, used classics, and rarities; it's bound to hit that same cultural nerve Berl's Poetry taps in Brooklyn. And part of it is Kirby himself, one of the warmest and most welcoming people you'll ever meet and clearly an effortless builder of community - just visit the k|f|b website to see photos of readings and events, packed and thriving already.
Metaphysical Dictionary, meanwhile, continues to charm, beguile, mystify and edify those readers who are drawn to it. Its blend of psychological insight, oblique but compelling poetics, and emotional intensity doesn't speak to everyone; but to those who hear it, it's the book they've been waiting for.
knife | fork | book is located in the front half of Rick's Cafe, 281 Augusta Avenue, Toronto.