Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Here's Cleveland's New Independent Bookstore in Gordon Square

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 12:40 PM


Detroit-Shoreway is getting hipper and hipper by the month. The latest retail storefront to join the gang is "Guide to Kulchur," a bookstore-cum-zine-making-paradise-cum-hangout helmed by the blissfully wedded academics Liz Bly (Ph.D!) and RA Washington.

Washington, seated outside his shop during the pARTy in Gordon Square on Saturday, said his wife Liz was the creative force behind the shop. "If it's just me out here, people would think it's some Rastafarian thing. But I'm a modernist."

That might explain the independent shop's name, a nod to Ezra Pound's 1938 volume of essays loosely connected by a theme of cultural commentary.

Washington was by the way bedecked in a truly lovely scarf.

Bly, engaged at the register, found time to post her thoughts on Facebook after Saturday's festivities:

...There is a need for a place where classic literature, pulpy-campy fiction, theory, and zines and the DIY ethos can coalesce. People were happy that there's a bookstore in GS... they were excited about the collection of books that we amassed... Clevelanders are smart and hungry for creativity and ideas. Yesterday proved that for me, for sure.

Despite a fairly small square-footage, the collection was diverse and gratifyingly middle-brow — enough J.G. Ballards, Dostoevskys and Roberto Bolanos to satisfy the ambitious or historical readers, but an equal dash of Khaled Hosseinis and Alice Sebolds to reaffirm that this place isn't above addictive bestsellers.

I picked up Uwem Akpan's 2009 reportedly breathtaking collection Say You're One of Them. It was in terrific condition, but priced at only $2.

"I priced it that way because I wanted someone to read it," said Washington. "Anyone. I just wanted it in someone's hands."

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation