Two cheesy poems

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In the Claremont Village, the former All Ways Travel storefront (Yale between Bonita and Fourth) is being converted into the Cheese Cave, a frommage-centric shop. While the space is being renovated, butcher block paper covers the windows. But those windows have also become the best site for poetry outside the Folk Music Center down the street.

First the owners put up a self-penned poem about their venture, above. Then, it appears, a would-be customer responded with a second poem, which is now displayed alongside the first, at right.

Click on the images to see larger, readable versions. (Sorry about the glare that obscures a few words of the shop’s poem.)

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  • Doug Evans

    Not to quibble with the cheese poem, but Claremont also lacks a bookstore, right?

    [There are four places where books may be purchased (Huntley Bookstore, Thoreau Bookshop, Rhino Records and the Friends of the Library section of the library) but most Claremonters would say there’s no serious bookstore. — DA]

  • Doug Evans

    Oh, yes! I’ve been to two of those four… Rhino and the Thoreau Bookshop. But still, a nice used/new bookstore, right there in the village… c’mon, Claremont!

    To Claremont’s credit, there used to be two bookstores in the village… a store on a little side street that’s been gone for about ten years, I think, and that used book store on the second floor above the shoe repair place that I was always too intimidated to go into. I think you blogged/columned about the latter when it finally closed. Maybe even in a town with a couple of dozen colleges, book stores just can’t make it in this day and age.

    [The jewelry store at Yale and 2nd apparently used to be a used bookstore too. You’re right, if Claremont can’t get or keep a bookstore, that speaks (pardon the pun) volumes about the state of bookselling. — DA]

  • Dennis

    Hi David,

    What more must the Thoreau Bookstore do to qualify as a “serious” or “nice” used book store? To me it is both of these and more.

    Paperbacks are $2 and hardcovers are $4. I always come out with at least 2 books every time I visit. The other day I found a book I have been looking for for about 5 years. Two Saturdays ago, they had an all-day sale where almost every book in the store was just $1. They even have a book booth set up at the Sunday Farmers Market on Second Avenue in downtown Claremont.

    For those who don’t know, it is located in the Packing House on First Street, west of Indian Hill, behind the wine bar.


    P.S. In addition, the proceeds go to a good cause.

    [They do, and I answered Doug Evans’ query in a careful way because this is somewhat of a sensitive issue. Thoreau is a small shop and accepts only donated books, so the selection isn’t so hot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good books to be found. When I interviewed B.H. Fairchild, the poet, he said it’s a shame Claremont doesn’t have a bookstore. That would be the view of some people. And yet there are places to buy books. — DA]

  • hugh.c.mcbride

    From swarms of fleas, to the IEs past
    The scope of DAs blog is vast;
    But never did I think wed see
    Fromage-inspired poetry.

    So now I wonder, whats in store?
    Free verse about the days of yore?
    A sonnet on the MetroLink?
    Haiku on where you eat & drink?

    And politics should prompt your pen
    To script a limerick (or ten) …

    [How about an epic poem about Donahoo’s Chicken? — DA]

  • Judy Wright

    Even Huntley Bookstore has its problems. So many students either read and/or buy their academic books on The Internet that many books for my husband’s classes are not sold at Huntley. Alas, the state of independent and chain bookstores is seriously threatened. As a lover of “out of print” books, I must admit I like searching on my computer rather than combing the streets.

    [If you’re looking for specific out-of-print books (the proverbial needle in the haystack), the Internet is a huge boon and a great timesaver. — DA]

  • Bob House

    an epic poem about Donahoo’s . . . starts like this:

    “Sing, O goddess, the anger of Harlan son of Wilbur, that brought countless ills upon the Leghorns. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down Garey, and many a hero did it yield to prey on legs and thighs, for so were the counsels of Foghorn fulfilled from the day on which the son of Donahoo, king of chicken, and great Harlan, first fell out with one another.” (with apologies to Homer . . . no, the other one)

    Seriously, this poetry throw-down is another “only in Claremont” moment. Every time I read about crime or some other modern intrusion on Claremont and think how much it’s changed since I lived there in the ’50s and ’60s, something like this comes along to reassure me much is still the same.

    [Tonight the City Council will discuss relaxing the ban on drive-thrus, another “only in Claremont” moment. Oh, and any epic poem that invokes Harlan Sanders and Foghorn Leghorn is OK in my book. — DA]

  • Rose Linck

    I used to work in and manage a cheese shop called The Cheese Shop and have been waiting with cheese baited breath forever for someone to be smart enough to open up a cheese shop with real cheese. Thanks to Donna for doing this!!! I can’t wait! Maybe she will give me a job?

    [Can you write a poem about cheese? It might improve your chances. — DA]

  • David Nutt

    You might enjoy Tasting to Eternity.

    The book can be reviewed on the website.


    David Nutt

  • barbara f

    The history of bookstores in Claremont has always been dicey. In the late 50s and early 60s, there were two bookstores in Claremont I recall. One next to Barrett’s drugstore, full of Evergreen publications and lots of poetry books. A new paperback book store opened in the Safeway Mall by Oakmont elementary school — featuring new publications and classics at fifty cents! That store sadly was gone before the shopping center went away.

    Maybe there was a spin rack taking up vertical space in the other two drug stores, with best selling paperbacks and westerns and obviously serviced by a company that preselected the books for sale, which seemed out of step with the community at large, so the racks were eventually removed. That was it for years aside from the one student bookstore on campus.

    Then during that time the old man who owned the small book store next to Barrett’s was talking about retiring. Someone jumped in to fill the void and opened a mercantile on Bonita and Yale in a small cottagelike building on the corner, which had previously housed an expensive gifte shoppe of copper kettles and such … repurposing the scenic flower cart with large white wooden wheels that was included with the fixtures, shelves, and counters to hold books on sale. That person likely had not ever read a book it seemed and just decided to open what at first glance promised to be a profitable business — a bookstore in a college town. Couldn’t make money and was out of business within a few years. We used to joke no one needed books in Claremont because they’d already read everything.

    [Maybe that’s why there’s only the Claremont Forum’s bookshop now, plus Huntley’s if that counts. Chris Peterson of the defunct Comic Bookie has told me about the paperback shop on Arrow that you mention. He said the B fell off the sign and that he and his friends thenceforth referred to the shop as Paper Ack. — DA]