On February 11, members of the Cambridge and Boston communities convened at Harvard Square’s Grolier Poetry Book Shop for a Valentine’s-appropriate poetry reading. The 90-year-old business resides amidst Harvard’s campus on Plympton Street. This particular event featured poet and Harvard College alumna Therese Sellers ‘82. The site of the reading held particular sentimental value for the author herself. “The Grolier is this famous, celebrated center of poetry and I certainly came [while in college] and browsed to look at the books to get some of the Grolier inspiration,” Sellers said.
Sellers read ten poems from the published anthology “Dark As a Hazel Eye” and answered questions from the crowd of twenty people that filled the small poetry shop. A successful poet, Sellers publishes haikus on her popular Twitter account and is the author of Greek nursery rhyme book “Alpha is for Anthros.”
A collection of 52 poems comprise “Dark as a Hazel Eye,” each written by different authors ranging from emerging to renowned. These poems find a unifying theme in drawing inspiration from and featuring either chocolate or coffee. The seductive power of chocolate and coffee inspired the bookshop to schedule the reading near Valentine’s Day, and many couples came out to the reading. To supplement the auditory experience, chocolate and coffee were available to taste.
Sellers began her reading with her own poem, a collection of five haikus about coffee. When asked about her sources of inspiration, she pointed to events and happenings from her daily life. Of the five haikus that made up her contribution, Sellers credited one to “the lid of a Dunkin Donuts Coffee cup” and another to “my fierce determination to stay in bed in the morning even when all of society and all social pressures are telling me to get out of bed.”
After reading her favorite ten poems from the anthology, Sellers shared a new poem. Departing from the event’s proclaimed topics of coffee and chocolate, she expanded upon the Valentine’s theme with a haiku about people on the T carrying roses for their sweetheart. Immediately after, she opened the floor and answered questions relating to specific poems, their historical significance, and the publishing process.
Doran cited some of the financial options that Grolier is exploring to make their business model sustainable, including finding ways to host more readings and renting out larger spaces. “There’s difficulty in running a small independent business in Harvard Square,” she said.
No Harvard students attended the reading—the majority of the audience was nearer middle age. “I would think it would be wonderful if more Harvard undergraduate poets would collaborate more with this historic book store,” Sellers said. The successful poet hoped her own fondness for the store could be shared with more undergraduates.
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