April is National Poetry Month, and Seattle is no stranger to sentimental corners and gloomy alcoves. So, naturally, you can find loads of events and places to celebrate the sweet and complicated words that fall on the page. For this planner, hop on the light rail and head to Pioneer Square for a poetry-focused date to put you in your Nora Ephron feels.
April and poetry are a big part of my relationship with my partner. In the months before saying I love you, we shouted our biggest feelings in handwritten letters and poems about trudging through winter, anticipating spring… together. So it makes sense that some of our best dates begin at the bookstore.
At a bookstore, every page and shelf is stacked with conversation starters. Yes, your to-be-read pile may be haunting you, but this is one of the best places to get to know (and keep getting to know) someone. So let’s start today’s planner by picking up some poems at Open Books: A Poem Emporium.
This bookstore has been around in Seattle for a couple of decades. They carry new, used, local, and out-of-print poetry books. And, of course, the community space hosts the occasional poetry reading. There are several shelves of books, a few chairs, and stools. Take a deep breath and crack open some new ones. Scavenge for a poetry book about rain, the color blue, grandmothers, or family healing through vapor rub.
Whatever you decide to pick up, take it to the next spot on this list!
📍 Open Books: A Poem Emporium
108 Cherry St, Seattle
Now, for a place to recite some poems. The city has a lot of lovely green spaces to hang around and get moony in. But one that embodies the lush and cozy vibe we’re going for on this date is more often than not a hidden gem.
Waterfall Garden Park is a spot you already know about or will someday stumble upon with a little more time on your hands. Either way, it’s a pleasant place to duck away in a busy city. You’ll hear the 22-foot waterfall before you see the Japanese maples or the assortment of flora in bloom throughout the year—hydrangeas, witch hazel, camellia. I love this location for you. The stage is set with a few tables and chairs on site and an awning to shield your pages from the drizzle. Plus, it’s free… Go ahead. Read something!
You’ll probably notice when you walk up that this lunchtime respite is dedicated to UPS workers. And that’s not just some random dedication. This waterfall was literally built into the side of the first UPS.
📍 Waterfall Garden Park
219 2nd Ave S, Seattle
Is it a stretch to say the weather is the biggest muse of poets? Perhaps, but this date is all about putting yourself out there. And I’ve read and dissected my share of words about the rain, or the plushness of clouds, or the salt, crisp air. In any case, there’s nothing more we love to wax poetic about than the weather around here.
Damn The Weather, a ~gastropub~ nearby is adequately named for poets and poet lovers. Taking its name from a prohibition-era cocktail, the bar boasts an ever-changing menu and a solid selection of cocktails. The interior is dimly lit and kinda sexy—brick walls, hardwood and marble floors, and a crystal chandelier dangling above. It’s a great place to be spontaneous. Mainly because they don’t take reservations. Let’s say you get there a little ahead of the crowd. Definitely order the duck fat fries and a cocktail in a coupe.
In between sips, sift through a couple more pages.
📍 Damn The Weather
116 1st Ave S, Seattle
If things are going well, fingers crossed, head to an event. You’ll find a mix of events and classes on the Open Books website. Arundel Books hosts a Third Thursday poetry reading series around the corner. And about a 10-minute drive or 15-minute bus ride south, The Station Coffee Shop hosts a poetry series every 2nd and 3rd Wednesday. Meanwhile, in Renton, bring your favorite poem to read aloud in a small group setting at the Renton Public Library. And in Capitol Hill, Hugo House and Elliott Bay Books have a busy calendar of workshops and author talks.
It doesn’t need to be April to celebrate poetry. In this house, poetry month is every month.