David’s Desk

It’s more than just a checkout counter. In fact, we don’t even call it that. It’s the front desk, but it’s not just any desk. It’s David’s desk. It is old. Its big blocky shape measures almost three by five feet. Its veneer is only lately starting to chip. Within each brass knob, a sunflower radiates. Two pull-out shelves allow us extra work space since the desktop is usually stacked with book catalogs, copies of PW magazine, and of course, books we’re featuring. Terms like “point of purchase” might be more familiar to some of our marketing friends, but we know it as the former writing desk of the poet David Ignatow. A generous gift from his daughter Yaedi, we received the desk sometime after the poet’s death and are proud to have it command its rightful spot in the shop. You could say the desk has found a comfortable home here, one that may even be a bit familiar to it, if it could sense such things. This desk had been in the family book-binding business in New York City in the late 1920s and 30s. Having endured the Great Depression, the business continued for decades. Those were the days when books were objects to be folded, collated, stitched and trimmed, then packed for distribution. David had the pleasure of taking on one of Paul Blackburn’s chapbooks, The Nets, which he bound for free. See  Ignatow’s One Among the Many: a Poet’s Memoirs for more of his reflections.

In later years, David Ignatow was one of the many poets to read at the bookshop and his volumes are included in our poetry collection: Ignatow Poems: 1934-1969, for example. Meanwhile, the desk gets a daily workout. Drawers opening and closing. The cash drawer. The supplies drawer. The big file drawer, its dovetailed corners just beginning to show some gaps, still serves as a reminder of a tradition we hope to maintain. Hard work for the sake of books does have its rewards.

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Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963, 631.725.4926. Call or email us, caniosbooks@verizon.net. While we love you to SEE you, you can also order new titles at our online storefront or some of our second hand inventory HERE. Thanks for visiting!

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