"We like to sell books, but we also like the idea of fostering a literary community in which we can celebrate each other's work. I think we come closest to this in our Poet's Choice series," says Terri Merz of Chapters bookstore.

In the Poet's Choice, says Merz, "a well-established author introduces an unknown poet -- ideally someone who hasn't published a book or had much public attention. We hope to shed light on the unknown."

On Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Daniel Mark Epstein, author of "Spirits," will present Elizabeth Murawski. Epstein, who has won a Prix de Rome and a Guggenheim, hails the "virtuous range" of Murawski's poetry. "Her surrealistic humor and serious foundation in mythology and history are an engaging combination," he says.

Murawski, who trains interviewers at the Census Bureau, started writing poetry about 15 years ago. "I like to paint but my kids were the kind who would get into the turpentine. To save them from poisoning, I started writing. I figured I couldn't do too much damage with a steno pad and a pencil," she says.

Murawski has been published extensively and was recently awarded a Helene Wurlitzer residency at an artists' colony in Taos, N.M. She plans to spend next May in Taos, where "space is exciting and beautiful and serene," she says. "The desert is like the ocean off-season."

Chapters is at 1613 I St. NW. For more information call 861-1333.