Monday, March 27, 2017

National Poetry Month at Big Blue Marble

While we ALWAYS have poetry happening at Big Blue Marble, we have plenty of special guests coming up for National Poetry Month.


Join us to hear old favorites and fresh new voices all month long!


April 1st - 9th     
Canterbury Challenge

Recite the first 10 (or more) lines of the Prologue from memory and receive 10% off any one item. Give us your best Middle English - no one will critique the accent, we promise!


Thursday, April 6 @ 7:00pm      
We are not maps, nothing leads us to each other: 3 Poets

Big Blue Marble is proud to welcome back three of Philly's best poets: Alison Hicks, Amy Small-McKinney, and Catherine Bancroft. Alison and Amy both have new books to celebrate - Alison's You Who Took the Boat Out, coming in March 2017 from Unsolicited Press, and Amy's Walking Toward Cranes, winner of the Kithara book Prize from Glass Lyre Press. All 3 poets prove that lyric poetry is the most powerful way to bring to light the hardest emotional journeys - while not all great truths are conveyed as great art, all great art conveys great truths.

Saturday, April 8 @   7:00pm      
Recognition is something very like godliness: 4 writers

Big Blue is happy to welcome two of our own, one returning guest, and one poet new to our store: Hal Sirowitz, Minter Krotzer, Philip Fried, and Ethel Rackin. Through lyric, pastiche, history, humor, essays, and memoir, all four writers engage in "elegant quarrels with the cruelty and ignorance of the world or, more precisely, its inhabitants." (as one reviewer describes Fried's work). If you love words that make you think with your head, heart, and gut, there is no other place to be.

Thursday 4/13 @ 7pm

Thrumming just beneath the surface: 3 Poets

Big Blue Marble is thrilled to welcome 3 Philly poets as they read at the store for the first time! Shy Watson, Amy Saul-Zerby, and Alina Pleskova describe their work as modern, feminist, zany, dark, casual, lyrical, angry, and direct, with erotic undertones. Amy Saul-Zerby is the managing editor of the spoken word-based publication Voicemail Poems & lives in Philadelphia.
Alina Pleskova is the coeditor of bedfellows, a literary magazine focused on narratives of sex/desire/intimacy, & cohost of Poetry Jawns, a podcast. Shy Watson is a poet & painter living in Philadelphia. She has two chapbooks, AWAY STATUS & my parents were going to give me your name if i was born a boy (Bottlecap Press 2016, 2017). She is the poetry editor for fields magazine.

Saturday, April 15  @ 7:00pm      
The Body and the Machine

Poets Leah Falk and Lee Nussbaum Fogel present an evening of words exploring bodies and visions. Leah Falk is a poet whose work has appeared in Kenyon Review, FIELD, Blackbird, and many other journals. She runs programming at the Writers House at Rutgers University-Camden. Lee Nussbaum Fogel is a Somatic Movement Educator, Reiki practitioner, and Interdisciplinary Artist who helps people live out their callings in accordance with their wellbeing and bodies' wisdom. She is the director and founder of The Visioning Body and teaches and performs throughout and beyond Philadelphia.

Thursday April 20 @ 7pm

The Poetry in Numbers: Mathematics and Optometry

Most poets have a day job - but not every poet is a professor of mathematics or 4th year student in Optometry. The poems in Marion Deutsche Cohen's latest book Truth and Beauty continue the conversations she held with her students in her literature and mathematics course ‘Truth and Beauty.’ Jonathan Jacesko is a 4th year student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. In his spare time he began writing eye care-related poems in the styles of Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein, and from those created a book illustrated by other optometry students While these works started out as a way to get a laugh out of classmates, a first place finish in the school talent show led to many suggestions that the poems become a book. To make these poems come to life in pictures he worked with talented optometry students from across the country. They created black-and-white line drawings as well as eye-care related coloring pages and mazes. In every way the book is intended to be a fun and interactive celebration of eye care.

Friday April 21st   @ 7pm

Writing for the Sake of the World: Women Poets


Join us for an evening of poetry on behalf of our world – urban and wild communities, endangered species, the rights and lives of those whose voices are censored and muffled. Line up to be announced.

Wednesday, April 26 @ 7:00pm      

Poetry Is Not a Luxury Book Club: When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz

A monthly book club led by Elliott batTzedek, MFA, where we'll use the best contemporary poets to explore the most urgent social issues. Each month we'll focus on a different book, along with individual poems from other poets addressing similar issues.



Thursday April 27     
Poem in Your Pocket Day


It's national Poem in Your Pocket Day! To celebrate, we invite you to come read us a poem from your pocket (or recite a poem from your head) and get 10% off an item. Don't have a poem? Pick one up from us!



Friday, April 28 @ 7:15pm     
Poetry Aloud & Alive with  Featured reader: Victoria Peurifoy


Everyone's favorite neighborhood poetry gathering. Hosted by Mike Cohen and Dave Worrell, with a featured reader followed by an open mic. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bookstore Lost and Found

Are you missing Various and Sundry Items?

Many many things get left behind at the store by happy shoppers! To make it easier to reunite Various and Sundry Items with Their People, we'll now be posting pictures here.

Missing something? Check here first. Except credit cards - we won't post pictures of those. You'll have call us. Like, you know, on an actual phone.

If one of these items is yours, stop in to claim it. We'll be more than happy to see it go back out of the store. Once something has been here a few months, we'll donate it.

In our stewardship as of 03/19/2017, all of which will be donated April 30th if not claimed, are:

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

"Franklinstein" by Sue Landers

The March, 2017 Poetry Is Not a Luxury Book Club selection is Franklinstein by Susan Landers

A place of good blocks and bad blocks and brick roads
and boxwoods. The site
of America’s first gingko tree.
The birthplace of pushpins and Louisa May Alcott.
A place of sparrows and spires and schist

Franklinstein is both poetry and literary nonfiction. Its hybrid poetry/prose genre tells the story of one Philadelphia neighborhood, Germantown—a historic, beloved place, wrestling with legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. Drawing from interviews, historical research, and two divergent but quintessential American texts (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans), Landers' Franklinstein is a monster readers have not encountered before.

"FRANKLINSTEIN is a church of stained glass truth- telling."—Yolanda Wisher

"In her study of Germantown, Landers derives a poetics of urban history, of being from, really from, a place—Philadelphia—that cuts itself into your skin."—Simone White


Susan Landers on how this collection came to be

At the beginning of this writing I was reading. Reading two books I had never read before: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and The Making of Americans. And as I was reading, I thought: I should make a new book. A new book from pieces. A new book using only Ben’s words and Gertrude’s. And so I did that. For months. Cutting and pasting little pieces. To make a monster. And it was so boring.

It was so boring, my dead thing of parts.

Then the church I grew up in closed. The church where my mother and father were married. The church where they baptized their babies. A church in Philadelphia in the neighborhood where I grew up. A kind of rundown place. A place of row homes and vacants and schist.

And when I went there to see that place—the place that was with me from my very beginning—I thought, this will breathe life into my pieces. This will be the soul of my parents. I thought: if I could write the story of this place and its beginnings, this writing would be the right thing, a kind of living.

This is where my writing began. 

from An interview with Susan Landers in Tinge magazine:  My project started when I could no longer stand the fact that I hadn’t yet read Making of Americans (as a Stein fan) or The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (as a Philadelphian). So, I decided to spend 40 days of my 40th year reading them both and writing down lines that stood out to me — either musically or semantically.

from A review in FemLit Magazine:  In Franklinstein, Susan Landers tells the story of Germantown, a Philadelphia neighborhood. The mixed-genre volume starts as an elegy for a closing church in Germantown. It is at once an ode to this place and a critical scouring of how the history of such places are made.

PhillyVoice explores Germantown with Susan Landers:  It was right around this time, this church [St. Francis of Assisi] I had grown up in, in Germantown, was closing. And I remember appreciating it as a child and said ‘I want to see it before it becomes’ — what I said at the time —  ‘another abandoned building in a neighborhood of abandoned buildings.’ So I wanted to see it before it became this lost space. And when I went down to see it, I realized that interpretation of Germantown was totally wrong. It’s not a place of abandoned buildings, even though there are some, and I realized that Germantown, this place, was really complex. It wears all of its history on its sleeve. You hear the language of the Lenape in the Wissahickon and the street names are all [named after] these Revolutionary War generals. And there’s like an — it’ll be an 18th-century mansion next to a steak and cheese [shop] next to a factory from the industrial revolution. It’s just all [these sights] combined. All these layers. 




of incense and boxwood and brick

pride and bullets and prayer

wisteria and helicopters and figs

turtles and burkas and hacks.