a new haven for po­etry in Toronto’s Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket

Broken Pencil - - Table Of Contents - (Alison Lang)

“The book is the meal.” Jeff Kirby (known as just “Kirby” to most) is seated at a small ta­ble in Rick’s Cafe. The long-run­ning Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket cof­fee shop is nes­tled on Augusta, close to Big Fat Bur­rito on one side and El Trompo Ta­cos on the other. Kirby is ges­tur­ing to a beau­ti­fully-or­ga­nized se­ries of dis­play shelves at the front of the cafe, all hold­ing po­etry — all kinds of po­etry, much of it in­de­pen­dently-pub­lished and Canadian. Of­fer­ings from Book­thug and Coach House stand along­side ti­tles from Me­ta­tron, and there’s a deep box filled to the brim with chap­books from Desert Pets Press, above/ground, An­struther Press, Val­lum and more. This is knife|fork|book — Toronto’s new­est po­etry book­shop and com­mu­nity space. Like a good meal, this per­fect lit­tle space draws you in, makes you warm, fills you up.

The knife|fork|book space has been in the works for a cou­ple of years. Kirby, a poet and po­etry afi­cionado who also worked as Project Man­ager for the City Park Li­brary, got to chat­ting with Rick’s Cafe owner Rick Il­ny­cki, who was want­ing to dis­tin­guish the spot from the many other sim­i­lar of­fer­ings open­ing in the Mar­ket. “I’d been look­ing for a store­front, and it had to be a small one,” Kirby says. “I really wanted to tap into TO book cul­ture and cre­ate a new des­ti­na­tion spot.” knife|fork|book of­fi­cially opened its doors last October, and since then it’s been host to daily vis­i­tors and boasted an im­pres­sive 2017 lineup of read­ers as part of its reg­u­lar Thurs­day night read­ing se­ries.

Future plans in­clude ex­pand­ing the shelf space to an op­po­site wall to bring in more books, as well as an even­tual writer-in-res­i­dence pro­gram and space to be built in the basement, and a space for po­etry read­ing groups to meet. Visit

knife­fork­ for hours and more in­for­ma­tion.

Photo from in­sta­­fork­book

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