The Grolier Poetry Book Shop (“the Grolier”) is an independent bookstore on Plympton Street near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Although founded as a “first edition” bookstore, its focus today is solely poetry. A small (37.5 m2), one-room store with towering bookcases, it claims to be the “oldest continuous bookshop” devoted solely to the sale of poetry and poetry criticism.
The Grolier Book Shop was founded in September 1927 by Adrian Gambet and Gordon Cairnie. The subsequent owner, Louisa Solano purchased and took over its operation in 1974 after Cairnie’s death. The poet-bookseller Arthur Freeman negotiated the sale. In 1990, the Grolier Book Shop became the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Inc. for tax reasons.
Over the years, the Grolier became a focus of poetic activity in the Cambridge area, which had become a magnet for American poets because of the influence of Harvard University. Poets such as John Ashbery, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Donald Hall, and Frank O’Hara were regulars at the store during their time as undergraduates at Harvard; the poet Conrad Aiken lived upstairs from the store in its early days. Numerous other poets and writers, including Russell Banks, Frank Bidart, William Corbett, E. E. Cummings,
In 1983, the Grolier Poetry Prize Annual was first published. Both readings and annual were now supported by the Ellen La Forge Memorial Poetry Foundation, formed in 1983 by Jeanne Henle in memory of her sister and inspired by Jim Henle, a friend of the shop. It also funded the costs of six poetry festivals. There was also a basketball and a baseball team organized by the poet Peter Payack.
According to en.wikipedia.org; pw.org. Source of photos: internet