Poets Oak Cliff bookshop offers poetry, non-fiction, kids books, and more. (Courtesy of Poets)
During coronavirus, Poets Oak Cliff is selling their entire inventory online. (Courtesy of Poets)
To foster community, Poets Oak Cliff had a Open Story Night where local artists could send in their performance. (Courtesy of Poets via Insta)
Around mid-January, Bishop Arts visitors may have noticed a couple of old typewriters appear across the street from Lockhart Steakhouse. The unassuming storefront behind the machines is Poets Oak Cliff. The neighborhood bookstore was quietly opened earlier this year, with little to no online presence, by college friends Marco Cavazos, Kelsi Cavazos, and Russell Hargraves, with the goal of bringing their love of books and writing — particularly poetry — to Dallas.
Now that all nonessential businesses are closed in Dallas, the Bishop Arts District shop has ramped up its website and virtual presence to accommodate book lovers and hopefully keep their brand-new business running.
“We wanted to combine a writing studio with a good collection,” says Kelsi Cavazos. “A lot of the time, bookshops have a small poetry section, but we wanted to make poetry a central theme.”
As for how COVID-19 has affected their business, Cavazos says it’s difficult that they can’t physically offer the neighborhood shop they dreamed that Poets would be. But, what they’re doing is putting their entire book inventory online and offering free shipping, as well as contact-less delivery service within a couple miles of the shop (Bishop Arts, Downtown, Deep Ellum, etc.).
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Poets had planned to bring in more local artists’ works. They still plan on doing this once things get back to normal. And, in response to not being able to do Open Mic Night, the shop posted to its Instagram, encouraging local writers, poets, artists, musicians, and more to tag them in their videos and photos so they could be highlighted on the @poetsoakcliff Insta story. “We’re still trying to have community,” Cavazos says.
As far as books in stock, Poets has two sections: Literary and Discourse. You can find fiction and poetry, from bestsellers to new releases in Literary and nonfiction, memoirs, and social theories in Discourse. They also have a kids’ and young adult section.
Cavazos recommends Three Women by Lisa Taddeo for nonfiction or The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing in fiction. (Note: They’re still working on posting photos of products.) Poets also changes more than 20 percent of its in-store titles every week, so there’s always something fresh. I’ve seen titles such as Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds and David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion. You can even request that Poets order you any book available in print, and they’ll ship it to your doorstep.
There really is something for everyone. And, in times like these, why not get lost in a good book.