Project Bookshelf: From the Bookshelves of Beth Couture

Ah, the bookshelf. A writer’s most prized possession. This week Sundress Publications is showing our bookshelf love by inviting you all to snoop around our bookshelves and learn the back story on all the odds and ends that make our shelves, well, uniquely ours.

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My bookshelves are a catch all for all the trinkets and strange things I find, and have become altars of sorts (to what I don’t exactly know). Some of the things are gifts (some of the stones, for example, which I collect; the matryoshka, which a student brought me from Russia; the red rooster, which was my grandmother’s; the glass hedgehog from my mom; the art work, which is the result of craft nights with friends), some I bought myself (the Barbie doll, which I have named “Asylum Barbie” because she looks a little crazy with her butchered hair and weird lacy shift; the collection of petrified squid I bought online; the jack in the box clown I bought at a thrift store because it terrified me), and some things I just find.

I have a bug collection (mostly cicadas, though also a butterfly and a couple of honey bees), owl feathers, rocks, and post cards. Part of me feels like I should move everything so I can actually see my books, but the rest of me can’t imagine another place for all of it. And it fits, really, or at least I tell myself it does. One day I want my entire apartment to look like a museum of oddities.

I can’t go anywhere without picking up books, so my collection is pretty eclectic and is completely disorganized. I don’t have enough space on my shelves for all of them anymore, so I just stack wherever there’s room. There’s a stack I’ve begun on the floor which makes me pretty nervous.

Beth Couture’s work can be found in a number of journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, Drunken Boat, The Southeast Review, Ragazine, and Thirty Under Thirty from Starcherone Books. She teaches composition at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA.


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