Indie Bookstore Our Daily Nada Brings a Poetry Resurgence to Kansas City

The owners of Our Daily Nada envisioned the space, part bookstore and part bar, as both an escape and an opportunity for customers to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. For them, these are easy to define: a book and a glass of wine—or a literary-inspired cocktail, like the spot’s popular Our Daily Nada Daiquiri or The Huckleberry.

Indeed, as I walked into Our Daily Nada a few weekends ago for a poetry brunch, I thought of the writer Jane Smiley’s quote, “Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” Just entering Our Daily Nada conjures a sense of coziness and warmth, one that’s been present since friends Amy Covitz and Andrea Baca founded it in the downtown River Market area of Kansas City in the summer of 2018.

Less than a year later, it stands out as a major fixture of the community. As part of National Poetry Month and KC Poetry on the Move, a partnership with Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and the KC Streetcar Authority, Our Daily Nada will feature nearly a dozen local poets in their store this month. So far, visiting poets have included Hadara Bar-Nadav, Bridget Lowe, Sheri “Purpose” Hall, Glenn North, and others.

“We are thrilled to play a part in supporting and showcasing poetry in the city,” said Baca. “The wealth of talent in KC is really something we should be proud of.”

One of these talents, Jen Harris, described the feeling of performing poetry at Our Daily Nada as similar to being “wrapped in the blanket of home.”

Harris, a spoken word poet and The Pitch magazine’s 2017 Top Poet in Kansas City, has shared her work on stages across the country. Yet she calls Our Daily Nada one of the venues where poets are most empowered to “let their [art form] loose.”

“Our Daily Nada harkens back to the historical haunts of literary infamy: Paris in the ‘20s, San Francisco in the ‘50s, where brilliant like-minds gathered around liquid muses to tell their life and creation battle stories,” Harris continued. “Print isn’t dead and neither is the need for community.”

In fact, this might have been just the vibe Covitz and Baca were trying to capture. Baca said that among River Market storefronts, known for their history, character, and charm, the only thing missing was a bookstore. Citing a promising indie bookstore resurgence in other cities, the pair attempted to fill this void, while also fulfilling a larger role in KC’s notable writing scene.

The goal is to become a major source for literature and learning for the Kansas City community for years to come,” said Baca.

So, expect more authors, speakers, and eventsas well as a more bursting bookstore selectionas Our Daily Nada enters its second year of business. And if you’re in the Kansas City area and haven’t visited yet, check it out at 304 Delaware Street, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. Coming next, poet Barbara Varanka, a UMKC graduate whose poems have appeared in Booth and Jet Fuel Review, will teach an imaginative workshop at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 20th.