Dutton’s Is a Limb , a Main Branch
The closing of Dutton’s bookstore feels to me as if one of the limbs of literary Los Angeles is getting chopped off. If literary L.A. is a huge tree, Dutton’s for decades has been one of the main branches. I always loved Dutton’s in Brentwood, loved going there and saying “hi” to Scott Wanberg, a fellow poet I know from many years ago at the Venice Poetry Workshop at Beyond Baroque. Dutton’s was always a home to poets, a bookplace which sheltered us—so very rare in this city.. The readings were terrific. I saw Margaret Atwood in a courtyard stuffed with people. I was Australian novelist Peter Carey before he was famous with only a few people in the front room.
I had the readings for my last two books of poetry there. I remember reading in the courtyard, happy to be alive, happy to be welcoming my new book of poetry into the world in Dutton’s. One person who came to the reading was a UCLA student of Carolyn See’s. The student had to write about a poet, so she was writing about me. Dutton’s was a place where people made connections. The little café at Dutton’s was where my friends and I often would gather after a reading. Dutton’s was a place I will miss. Soon one of the main branches that sheltered us in the literary L.A. tree will be missing.