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Wedged between commercial art galleries and kitschy Chinatown gift shops, the Poetic Research Bureau is a clandestine classroom with 50 seats and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and chalkboards. “It's not immediately clear if it is a bookstore, a lending library, a reliquary or a community workshop,” says Andrew Maxwell, who co-edited the bureau's literary magazine, The Germ, in the mid-'90s. “Like our orientation toward literature, we prefer to keep the definition of the physical space open and under construction.” Over the last 15 years, the amorphous PRB — whose acronym is a nod to 19th-century artist collective the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood — has been a magazine, a publishing collective and a reading series that's hopped around from a downtown art gallery to a Larchmont bookstore to a Stalinist community theater in Glendale. Having settled in Chinatown in 2010, in a space it shares with the Public School of L.A., the PRB has earned a reputation for hosting semimonthly radical readings by accomplished poets, writers, intellectuals, academics and artists, including Eve Fowler, Lauren Mackler, Rita Gonzalez and Charles Bernstein. —Jennifer Swann

951 Chung King Road, Chinatown, 90012. poeticresearch.com.

LA Weekly