Monday, November 3, 2014

A Bookstore for Dorchester ~ Interview with Yooree Losordo of On the Dot Books

 Yooree Losordo of On the Dot Books

LH: In the last 6 months you’ve gone from giving birth to your second child to signing up for a business plan class to winning $5,000 in seed capital and opening a pop-up bookstore in Dorchester. A very impressive start when summed up by the highlights – what have been your favorite and least favorite parts of this experience?
YL: I was a stay-at-home wife and mom for nearly five years, and while I love my family dearly, my life revolved around other people’s needs for a long time. It’s been so empowering and fulfilling to do something that’s my thing.

My least favorite part has been the sheer amount of labor. I got started at Ashmont Farmers Market in June 2014. I spent many hours loading and unloading books, sometimes with no sales to show for it. Those days weren’t any fun.

On the Dot Books Pop-up @ Ashmont Farmers' Market ~ June 2014

LH: You currently operate out of Dot2Dot CafĂ© and have an impressive list of local author events this fall, including UMass Boston MFA director Jill McDonough on November 6th and Write on the DOT founder Aaron Devine on November 16th. What’s the best way for folks to stay in the know?

YL: Right now the best way is to like us on Facebook - it’s the primary way we communicate with our customers. We also have an email list with an event listing section. To subscribe, please visit

Have breakfast and browse some NYT bestsellers at Dot2Dot Cafe! Win!
LH: You’ve attended several bookseller expos in recent months. What’s bookseller culture like? Are independent owners hopeful for a new model of local engagement?

YL: I have been to NEIBA and ABA (American Booksellers Association) events before, and find them tremendously helpful. Booksellers are passionate about what they do, and there is a “we’re in it together” ethos that I love. It’s a relatively small group, so everybody knows each other and help each other out.

LH: As a bookseller you are privy to receiving many advance copies. Any upcoming titles you’re really excited to offer your customers?

YL: I do get some paper advance copies, but mostly use Edelweiss and NetGalley, two services publishers offer digital advance copies to booksellers, bloggers, and other influencers...I try not to go on them too often because it’s very easy to get sucked in by all the exciting new titles. Most recently I enjoyed Bill Roorbach’s The Remedy for Love, and Charles Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, so one novel, one memoir. I’ve also been rediscovering older titles. Currently I’m reading Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze’s Walk Out Walk On, which is a must-read for anybody who considers themselves social entrepreneurs or activists.

LH: What is the timeline for having your own brick and mortar location in Dorchester?
YL: Ideally, I’d like to have my own storefront by next fall, but we will see. A lot of things will have to come together to make that a reality - financing, the perfect location, recruiting a great staff.

LH: Okay, so we’re all now aware that Amazon is a monopolizing devil, but the service is so fast and easy! Give me three reasons why folks should support a local bookstore instead.
YL: Limiting to three is impossible! Franklin Foer just wrote a great story for The New Republic entitled Amazon Must beStopped. I urge everybody to read it as well as’s Working at Amazon is a Soul-Crushing Experience.
Most recently, I needed to buy my daughters ivory shoes for their Aunt’s wedding. I ended up having to use Zappos (owned by Amazon) because I could not find the shoes locally. Multiply this transaction by about one-million everyday and you can start to think about how that affects small businesses and main streets across the country. It is still small business that creates the most jobs - not behemoths like Amazon.

I don’t disagree that Amazon provides excellent service, but it comes at the cost of empty commercial districts and low wage jobs. And if Amazon is allowed to get even more powerful, it will be Amazon dictating who gets published, just as Wal-Mart has told Coca-Cola which sweetener to use. Amazon considers books to be a commodity, like diapers or paper clips. How can great literature survive in that climate?

I’m not telling people to stop using Amazon completely - just use them if you really can’t find something locally. I believe in a world where e-commerce and a healthy indie bookselling industry can co-exist peacefully.

Thanks Yooree! 

On the Dot Books

1739 Dorchester Ave.
Tues – Sun. 8am-2pm
Thurs and Friday 8am –5pm

* ORDER BOOKS ONLINE: Buy or special order your books from On the Dot Books' online store.

* LOCAL READINGS, CHILDRENS' STORY HOUR & MORE: Stay up to date on special events by liking On the Dot Books on Facebook.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ekphrastic Poetry Contest Winner!

Painted Faces

By Taj McDonald

I'm a nerd and I'm weird
but not another Erkyle,
I see the shades of grey,
so please don't make me
feel blue 'cause when it meets
my red temper it makes the
color purple.
I am not my hair, so please
don't mind me, my mental thoughts
do not concern you, when only
time will tell, you can tell it's
God I'll turn to, a picture's
worth a thousand words, mine
is worth medal, but please
don't make it gold.

When being humble hurts the devil,
and I don't mean to be violent but
violet's the ultra-level, so go a son's ways,
feel helpful when the culprit block's sun rays,
to purchase several things to help
it converse, this is the end of my
verse, I am a virgin rebel.

"Untitled" By Iris Du Pont, Dorchester, MA

What is Ekphrastic Poetry?

  •  Ekphrastic poetry is a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.

How do you write an ekphrastic poem?

  • It's easy! 1) Visit an art gallery or museum (or look online) and find a painting or sculpture that surprises and enchants you. 2) Take some quick notes on your immediate reaction - How does the art make you feel? What does it remind you of? etc. Don't overthink it at this point, you want to get some good raw material for your poem. 3) Write a poem using your notes for reference. Ekphrastic is not a form but a method, so free verse is most often used.

Where can I find more examples of ekphrastic poetry?

Photos! Dorchester Open Studios 2014

Write on the DOT @ Dorchester Open Studios 2014

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood - so beautiful in fact that we were inspired to set up our table outside in front of the Erick Jean Center for the Arts on Washington St. in Dorchester.

 Lynn Holmgren and Elysia Smith, students in the UMass Boston MFA program and co-organizers of the Write on the DOT reading series.
Our 'Dot Poet Laureate' contemplates the next line he'll add to our community poem after getting his face painted.
Fellow vendor Flauxy exhibiting her beautiful handmade jewelry.
Checking out some local photography and cards.
Art Alive! Day of the Dead-inspired face paint.


Community Poem

A special thanks to everyone who stopped by our table during open studios and contributed to our community poem. Each line of the poem was authored by a different person. They selected a word at random from our word basket and composed a line on the spot. The original poem was written on an electric typewriter. Enjoy!

Dorchester Open Studios

I started the day on my bike,
the scarf fluttered around my neck – silky…
the wind blew the fog from my mind out one ear.

Fly away pigeon, fly away.

You’re always supposed to eat breakfast,
hopped up on caffeine from my coffeeyaaayy,
I’m so greedy I eat the crumbs!

Hippity-Hop, kangaroo’s don’t stop.
I only have a second so this is going to be short:

My goal is to be in the NBA,
I eat icicles in the winter,
pickles all summer long.
I like having a good night’s sleep
when the sky is blue and
the light is as heavy as the dark.
Who likes the light?
Roses all in white—

Una Rosa es unrosa, siempre bella es la cosa. Poderosa muy, Poderos
Siempre sere el Amor y una Rosa….Paz.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Sunflowers are yellow and you
Thought I was going to write something romantic—
Nope, just gardening facts.

I write rivers,
to the ocean.

Cars stream down Washington Street,
never the same street twice.