show menu

Journey into the best little bookshop in Duncans Mills

Some of the best ideas in life happen when we’re just sitting.

For Stephanie Culen, her best idea occurred during a good sit on a bench in Duncans Mills. You know the one, painted red and yellow, sitting outside the red house. From it, you can smell Duncans Mills’ keystone aroma: a unique mixture of ocean and cow mixed with Redwood lumber.

It’s one of inspiration. And Culen was ready for it.

After moving from New York to Guerneville, Culen shed a life of teaching, instructing yoga, event planning and more to embark on a different journey of exploration.

“Really, I was seeking a lifestyle change and I wanted something that offered me purpose, service, inspiration and grace. These have always had a thread in my life,” Culen said on a coastal gray Monday morning. The bookshop was just opening and she was gracefully multitasking letting customers browse while she constructed the store’s A-frame sign.

“I imagine a bookstore a journey of exploration,” Culen said. “It’s not about a purchase but an experience. Hopefully they feel inspired…but also hopefully they also walk away with something.”

But did she always imagine she’d open a bookstore?

When sitting on that bench; definitely not.

“I was talking to myself and I knew that building was available,” Culen said. “I thought to myself; what a perfect writers’ studio.”

She let her imagine run wild. Daydreaming on her bench, she became entranced by the research resources she’d have resting on the shelves next to all of the Classics. There’d be extensive writing utensils and paper – real paper.

Then logic kicked in, as it does sometimes, pulling Culen down from the clouds.

“Who would put a writer’s studio in the middle of a shopping village?” Culen said. “It didn’t make any sense.”

A writer’s studio, no. But an independent bookstore offered an opportunity that scratched Culen’s journey for purpose and Duncans Mills’ fame for a unique shopping experience.

Culen took a leap and opened Poets Corner Book Shop in November 2020; smack in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She wasn’t phased though, knowing that people were ready to get out and explore.

“Our mission is about building community through a bookstore,” Culen said.

As for a customer’s experience at Poet Corner’s Book Shop, one can expect beauty and purpose, along with community. Customers are often greeted by Culen’s canine companion Bianca.

“Everything we offer must be beautiful, which I know is subjective,” Culen said. “But it has to bring out that sense of inspiration and awe.”

Take a tour (or six) of the corner bookstore and it’s hard not to be inspired, especially if you’re a writer, like Culen. Snag a $1 pencil, litnerd-focused vinyl stickers and stacks and stacks of unique and rare books.

Don’t miss Poet’s Corner Book Shop, located at Duncans Mills Village, 25195 B Street, Duncans Mills, CA 95430

We've moved our commenting system to Disqus, a widely used community engagement tool that you may already be using on other websites. If you're a registered Disqus user, your account will work on the Gazette as well. If you'd like to sign up to comment, visit
Show Comment