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>It’s not a word to throw around lightly

>Poets are supposed to choose their words very carefully. This one doesn’t.

But a poet standing up to a bookstore does demonstrate chutzpah, I’ll give her that. Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Andy Laties says:

    >I thought it was artful of the reporter to note that the Joseph-Beth bookstore chain is “Cincinnati-based”….since of course “there ain’t no sin in Cincinnati”…

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Again the confusion between censorship and not being invited.

  3. Andy Laties says:

    >Gee I don’t think this is a case of not being invited since they DID invite her on condition that she read the poems selected by the bookstore staff, right?

  4. Anonymous says:

    >Confusion might be the right word. She was invited to read some of her poems — she was not invited to read all of her poems. IANMM (I am not Miss Manners) but I think that if you are invited to an event at a time that is inconvenient, you may decline the invitation, or if you don’t have a tuxedo, or you hate costumes or whatever. If your host invites you to an event where he will dictate what you can say, you can always decline the invitation. I don’t see how you are then entitled to an invitation to a party you like better. Which isn’t to say that some invitations aren’t insulting. I am sure Jo-Beth is very sorry.

    –new anon

  5. >If the bookstore had tried to get a law passed that the poet could never read her poems aloud again, that would be censorship. As it was, the bookstore was either being discrete or obnoxious, depending on your point of view. But the idea that the bookstore should not have the legal right to decide what is or is not read over their sound system is absurd.

  6. >I’m a regular patron of the Jo-Beth bookstore here in Pittsburgh, and I love it. It’s a sad day when a local poet decides to antagonize the only indie bookstore in town (oh, sure, there’s also that place that sells used books by the university, but that’s about it). And what a PR blunder on Jo-Beth’s part — they really ought to have been aware of the book’s content before extending the invitation to read.

    Really, I’m feeling cynical about this all around. What poet wouldn’t want to make her work seem more provocative by waving the censorship flag? Eh, maybe I’m paranoid.

  7. Roger Sutton says:

    >I noticed on Editorial Anonymous that she thought that while a bookstore choosing not to sell a book for ideological reasons WAS censorship, refereeing the PA system in said bookstore was not. But I don’t think there’s any censorship anywhere here, more like a bookstore that might have been more diplomatic and an author whose head seems to have gotten a bit big. A bookstore can choose what it sells (I know there are books our beloved Children’s Book Shop won’t stock, although they will order you anything) and it can choose who it invites to speak. It’s also free to blunder at both.

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