Nancy Guppy Interviews Acclaimed Poets Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall

By Nancy Guppy

February 12, 2014

Nancy Guppy waxes poetic with Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall

This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Image Credit: 

hayley young

!–paging_filter–pOwners of Wallingford’s longstanding “poem emporium,” Open Books (, romantic and business partners J.W. Marshall and Christine Deavel are also acclaimed poets. This month they’ll read together for Seattle Arts Lectures (3/19, 7:30 p.m.; a href=”” target=”_blank” /strongA Muddy Cup in Wallingford, on a mild January daybrstrongDRINKS:/strong John, a latte (and cheese Danish); Christine, tea (and bran muffin)brbrstrongNG:/strong It’s 2014 and you own a brick-and-mortar poetry bookstore. Are you insane? brstrongCD:/strong Would we know? brstrongJWM:/strong I’m not sure the DSM has a category for us.brbrstrongNG:/strong Why do you write poetry?brstrongJWM:/strong Because I like going there. Besides the physicality of going to write, I get to go somewhere and investigate it in words. brstrongCD:/strong I don’t know why, but I’ve been doing it since I was 5. brbrstrongNG:/strong How would you describe Christine the poet?brstrongJWM:/strong Remarkable. Visionary. Amazing imagery. I love reading her work. brstrongNG:/strong How would you describe John the poet?brstrongCD:/strong Risk taking. Deeply musical. Dark and loving all at once. brbrstrongNG:/strong How do you listen to a poem? brstrongJWM:/strong I’ve been listening with my eyes closed at readings because listening can be a palpable thing, and I feel like I have to shut down my other senses to be able to suck it in. brstrongCD:/strong I listen as a beginner. I don’t bring expectations or worry. I just let it wash over. brbrstrongNG:/strong Does poetry surprise or scare you?brstrongCD: /strongConstantly! If you’re not scared, you’re not in it. You need to be uncomfortable.brstrongJWM:/strong And if the writer isn’t surprised, the reader won’t be. brbrstrongNG:/strong Is there a secret to writing poetry?brstrongCD: /strongReading poetry. If you want to write it, you need to read it. brstrongJWM:/strong And you actually need to do it. brbrstrongNG: /strongWhen do you know if one of your poems is good? brstrongCD: /strongNever. brstrongJWM:/strong I think of [Emily] Dickinson, who said that when she felt the top of her head lifted off, that’s when she knew it was poetry. brbrNancy Guppy showcases Seattle artists on her show, Art Zone (a href=”” target=”_blank”


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