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Thursday, February 12, 7:00pm.
The Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series, featuring Susan DiPronio and Aziza Zenzile Kinteh.

The Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002) is a nurturing environment that celebrates women in the craft of multi-genre writing. Hosted by Series founder Cassendre Xavier, there are two (2) featured readers and always includes a Mixed-Gender Open Mic! For submissions/information please visit, email a 200 word writer's bio plus pic and public contact info to: WomensWritingSeries(at)yahoo(dot)com, or write: Women's Writing Series/C. Xavier, 4530 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143-3705.

Aziza Zenzile Kinteh is a Poet/Activist, Griot, Published Author, Vocalist, Educator, and Hair Culturalist, who utilizes her gift to uplift her culture, promote black womanhood in a positive light, and cultivate a consciousness for social change. She is an alumna of Eckerd College and Temple University's Schools of Journalism and Communications, and her poetry, editorials, and collective works have been published worldwide. She has traveled extensively throughout the coast of West Africa, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the West Indies.
Susan DiPronio has a broad artistic practice that has included poetry, essay writing, directing short films, writing plays, photography, creating fiction, and conducting writing/art workshops for the underserved. She offers the workshops for free in an effort to create community among the participants and to help others write and share their personal stories in order to foster healing. A survivor of trauma, cancer, homelessness, and homophobia, Susan hopes to create safe spaces where a group of people can form a connection, challenge expectations, and support each other.

Friday, February 13, 10:30am.
Shabbat Storytime with jkidphilly & Germantown Jewish Center.

Kids' event: More details below.

Sunday, February 15, 10:30/11:00am.       Race and Justice discussion
What Do We Tell the Children? Assessing Picture Books about Civil Rights and Black History.

How do we teach our children the history and reality of racial injustice and civil rights? How do we find books that strike the right balance for kids at different ages? How to we inspire without scaring them, or prepare them while scaring them only just enough? Join staffer Jen Sheffield to look at kids' books about African American history and discuss ways to teach our children about injustices past and present. Some time will be dedicated to planning a story time event for Sunday, March 1.

  • 10:30: Browsing the bookstore's offerings (feel free to bring your own books as well)
  • 11:00: Discussion

Sunday, February 15, 2:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
Discussion with Phillip Seitz, author of Slavery In Philadelphia, A History of Resistance, Denial and Wealth.

Join author Phillip Seitz for this urgent exploration of the full story of slavery in Philadelphia, based on his extensive research in the Chew family archives at Germantown's Cliveden home/museum. In Slavery In Philadelphia, A History of Resistance, Denial and Wealth, Seitz expands the definition of slavery from the direct ownership of slaves to include slave-based industry, such as Philadelphia's enormous textile manufacturing business (one firm alone used 1.5 million pounds of slave-grown cotton in a single year), and beyond that to the continuing benefit from slavery-generated financial gains. Sietz also documents the ways that families like the Chews who gained great wealth from slavery have in latter years tried to diminish and disguise their role in the slave trade. Using the historical lens of seeing enslaved Blacks as full participants in their own story, he opens the door to a radical new understanding of Black resistance to slavery.

Phillip Seitz, award winning author and former Smithsonian Institution historian, has released his first full-length book, Slavery In Philadelphia, A History of Resistance, Denial and Wealth. The book brings together ten years of research from a collection of hundreds of thousands of letters and papers documenting the history of Philadelphia's prominent Chew family. After the research process helped him understand the importance of making public the realities of slave resistance and rebellion, he began a collaborative project with Reconstruction, Inc., that pairs formerly incarcerated African- Americans and at-risk youth with a team of professional historians and psychologists. "Sometimes history helps us heal our wounds or those of others," Seitz said. "Especially the ones caused by history itself."

Wednesday, February 18, 7:00pm.   One Book, One Philadelphia event
Broadcast of The Orphan Train, a special broadcast of a performance from The St. Tammany Parish Library in Slidell, Louisiana.

A re-broadcast of an April, 2014, live performance called "Riders on the Orphan Train: The Story of the Largest Child Migration in the U.S." Few people today know that between 1854 and 1929 over 250,000 orphans and unwanted children were taken out of New York City and given away at train stations across America. Experience this seventy-six year experiment in child relocation in this multi-media presentation. The original program featured live music by Phillip Lancaster and Alison Moore, archival photographs and interviews of survivors, and a dramatic reading of the 2012 novel Riders of the Orphan Train by award winning author Alison Moore.
See also the Women of the World Book Club, which will be discussing Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train on Feb. 24 (see below).

Thursday, February 19, 7:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
Race in the U.S. Justice System: a conversation with Melanie Newport.

Off of Facebook and Into the Community -- join your neighbors for an urgent conversation about race and the U.S. "justice" system. Springing from Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, Melanie will guide a conversation about race in local jails and the national prison system. Having read The New Jim Crow is not necessary to join the conversation (but is necessary for understanding the urgent need for real reform!)

Melanie Newport is a doctoral candidate in American History at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She holds a BA in History from Pacific Lutheran University and an MA in History from the University of Utah. Her dissertation, "Building the Carceral State: Cook County Jail and the Local Origins of Mass Incarceration" explores reform, overcrowding, and expansion at Cook County Jail from the 1950s into the 1990s. Melanie has participated in training for the nationally recognized Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Melanie has taught courses on American history, race and ethnicity, women's history, historical writing, and the history of crime and punishment at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. She has also worked as a preceptor at Princeton University's Center for African American Studies and as a tutor at the Temple University Writing Center.

Friday, February 20, 7:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
The Power of Writing/Confronting the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Widener University professor Jayne Thompson has spent the past three years traveling to Graterford prison to mentor about 20 prisoners -- mostly serving life sentences and ranging in age between 25 to 80 -- in a reading and writing group. Before beginning this group she taught a class at Chester High School, where the realities of "juvenile offenders" she encountered challenged her to take action to confront the school-to-prison pipeline. Out of the work at Graterford she has published the anthology Letters to My Younger Self, a collection of writings by incarcerated men in the Prison Literacy Project at S.C.I. Graterford. Each man contributed writing about regretful decisions made or painful experiences in their youth. Professor Thompson will be sharing audio recordings of these men reading their work, as well as exploring the role of memoir and writing in changing lives, and guiding a conversation on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Saturday, February 21, 2:00pm.
Local Author Salon, featuring novelists Satya Nelms and Michael-Patrick Harrington.

Satya Nelms: When I was growing up, I wanted to be everything under the sun: a teacher, a pilot, a firefighter, the President, a detective in the Special Victims Unit (thank you, Law and Order), and a writer. Always a writer. No matter how everything else on that list may have changed, writer always stuck. I'm living my dream, writing full-time and enjoying my husband and 3 kids just outside of Philadelphia. I published my first book in November 2014, and I couldn't be more excited. Writing has helped me find my voice, and sharing that voice with others is both the most terrifying and the most exciting thing I have ever done.
Michael-Patrick Harrington is the author of Saving Magdalene, I See No Angels, and Deep Autumn. His latest book is Sweater Girl and Other Tales of Mondauk County. He also has written for music magazines. Michael-Patrick was born in Philadelphia but calls Ambler home. His favorite novel is John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arcadia University, and his favorite color is green. The author wrote his first short story in 2nd grade and never looked back. In the words of James Joyce, Michael-Patrick strives to approach his writing with "silence, exile, and cunning."

Saturday, February 21, 7:00pm.
For Women Collective hosts a Nina Simone Birthday Celebration! Poetry, Spoken Word, Music, and More.
With: Debra Powell-Wright, Aziza Kinteh, Darlene Godwin, Jaz, KT Terry The Poetic Queen, Pat McLean, Nish Pugh, Rahnda Rize, and our guest from Sistahs Laying Down Hands, percussionist Karen Smith.

For Women Collective is a Philadelphia-based, international performance ensemble of twenty-six women of color from around the world, honoring the social change advocacy demonstrated by Nina Simone. The Collective, inspired by all of the Aunt Sarahs, Siffronias, Sweet Things and Peaches named in Simone's historical song, Four Women, use their voices to promote peace and healing, as they speak the truth about love and struggle in their lives. Members of the ensemble will be performing poetry and excerpts from their short stories from the collection For Women: In Tribute to Nina Simone, in which their writing appears. Their repertoire also includes songs made famous by Nina Simone. Collectively and individually, they are recipients of a variety of poetry writing awards.

Sunday, February 22, 1:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
Book Launch and Discussion for Ali Michael's first book, Raising Race Questions: Whiteness & Inquiry in Education.

Raising Race Questions explores the opportunities and challenges that arise when White teachers are willing to deal directly with race and the role it plays in their classrooms. Based on lessons gleaned from experienced White teachers in a variety of settings, it lays out a path for using inquiry to develop sustained, productive engagement with challenging--and common--questions about race. It suggests that guilt and conflict need not be the end point of raising race questions and offers alternative destinations: antiracist classrooms, positive racial identities, and a restoration of the wholeness that racism undermines.

Ali Michael, PhD, is the Directory of Pre-k-12 Professional Development at the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education.

Sunday, February 22, 3:00pm.
Author M. Nzadi Keita celebrates her brand-new poetry collection Brief Evidence of Heaven: poems from the life of Anna Murray Douglass published this month by Whirlwind Press with a forward by Sonia Sanchez.

From the Preface: Douglass (1813-1882) began adulthood as a free-born woman, working as a self-supporting housekeeper and laundress in Baltimore. She was considered conventionally illiterate, and left no direct paper trail. In 1837, she met young Frederick Bailey, who would take the name Douglass upon gaining freedom. Many historians concede that she was pivotal in his escape: by selling personal items and using her savings, she provided Douglass with money and the sailor's disguise he used to board a Baltimore steamship. However, writings by her famously literate husband of 44 years -- abolitionist and women's rights advocate -- rarely mention her.

M. Nzadi Keita is a Philly-born writer, editor, scholar and teacher. Her forthcoming book of persona poems, BRIEF EVIDENCE OF HEAVEN, follows the life of abolitionist Anna Murray Douglass, first wife of Frederick Douglass. She has received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for poetry and the Leeway Foundation for scholarship and community work. She is an alumna of Cave Canem and has been a Yaddo fellow. Poet Lore Journal most recently published Keita's work from a manuscript-in-progress. Poems also appear in anthologies including A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Confirmation: An Anthology of African-American Women. Keita's prose appears in Peace Is A Haiku Song, a collaboration with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project. She has also worked on projects with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and WHYY.

Tuesday, February 24, 7:00pm.
Women of the World Book Club with Maleka Fruean.   One Book, One Philadelphia event

We are a book club that reads international and multicultural women writers, both fiction and non-fiction. We meet the last Tuesdays of the month at 7:00pm. February's book: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

Wednesday, February 25, 7:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
Racial Integration in Mt. Airy: Moving Beyond the Myth.
Join scholar and neighbor Abigail Perkiss, author of Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia, as she leads a discussion about complications and contradictions of the history of integration in Mt. Airy.

Wednesday, February 25, 7:15pm.
Life Stories Book Group with Minter Krotzer.

The Life Stories Book Group is designed for writers but all are welcome. We will read and discuss mostly memoirs, both contemporary and classic, focusing on the writing and structure as well as content and narrative. We will meet the last Wednesdays of the month. February's book: One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman.

Thursday, February 26, 7:00pm.       Race and Justice discussion
Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion with Jen Sheffield.
An open discussion group for adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books. We meet the fourth Thursdays of the month at 7:00pm. February 's book: The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers.

Friday, February 27, 7:15pm.
Poetry Aloud & Alive. Featured reader: Emiliano Martin.
Everyone's favorite neighborhood poetry gathering. Hosted by local poet Mike Cohen, with a featured reader and an open reading to follow. For more information, please contact the Mad Poets Society.

Saturday, February 28, 2:00-5:00pm.
Story Corners Advanced Writing Workshop (ages 10-14).

Participants need to be a previous Story Corners student or submit a piece of writing by 2/1.
Cost $40; preregistration required. More details on our Classes page.

Saturday, February 28, 7:00pm.
Migration/Immigration: 2 Poets Explore Place & Displacement.
Poets Trapeta Mayson and Yolanda Wisher live in Germantown, but their family stories begin elsewhere. Sharing new poems about their African and American roots in Ambler & Liberia and family photographs, census records, and government documents, Mayson and Wisher illuminate a global phenomenon of displacement and bring it closer to home.

Trapeta B. Mayson was born in Liberia and grew up in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship, PA Council on the Arts grants, a 2007 Leeway Transformation Award, and a 2014 Leeway Art and Change grant. A Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, Mayson has completed residencies at schools, community agencies, and artistic institutions. She is the author of the chapbook She Was Once Herself, released in 2012. Mayson's work has appeared in APR, Aesthetica, Margie, The American Journal of Poetry, and Lavanderia. She is the Executive Director of Historic Germantown and is currently pursuing her MBA.
Yolanda Wisher was born in Germantown and raised in Montgomery County, PA, where she was named the county's first poet laureate at the age of 23. A Cave Canem Fellow and 2008 Leeway Art & Change grant recipient, she is the author of the poetry volume Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and co-editor of the anthology Peace is a Haiku Song. Wisher co-founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival from 2006 to 2010. She is the Director of Art Education at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and is a Founding Cultural Agent with the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.


Sunday, March 1, 10:30 am.       Race and Justice discussion, Kids' event
Story Time Focusing on Civil Rights and Black History.

Songs and readings from books we examined and discussed at the Assessing Picture Books discussion on February 15!

Tuesday, March 3, 7:00pm.
Monthly Writers' Group for Caregivers with Kathy Roberson (poet, social worker, caregiver).

Each month, participants will share what they've written in response to a suggested prompt. The group gives members an opportunity to tell their own stories, in their own words, and support one another as both writers and caregivers. Newcomers are always welcome to come join the conversation, even if they haven't written anything! We meet the first Tuesday of the month.

Thursday, March 5, 7:00pm.
Pop Up Yoga: Yin and Nye.

Join Pop Up Yoga Philly Instructor Anita Brown for an evening of restoration and relaxation. Soft music and the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye will fill the air as we move through yin poses to melt away stress and unwind tight knots. Space is VERY limited so we request that class participants sign up and pay in advance using the ticketing link below! Namaste and Nye!
Tickets are $15 and are available at

Friday, March 6, 10:30am.
Shabbat Storytime with jkidphilly & Germantown Jewish Center.

Purim-themed: Come in costume!
Kids' event: More details below.

Saturday, March 7, 2:00pm.
Learn to Love Poetry Again! A Workshop for Readers.

If you know you like poetry but don't know quite where to start reading, this workshop is for you!
Workshop is free; preregistration is required. More details on our Classes page.

Saturday, March 7, 7:00pm.
Reading with Victoria Brownworth, author of Ordinary Mayhem.

Join Philly author Victoria Brownworth as she introduces her newest mystery novel about a photojournalist confronting horrible acts of violence against women in war zone.
Faye Blakemore is a photojournalist for a major New York newspaper who convinces her editor to send her to Afghanistan and the Congo to report on the acid burnings, the machete attacks, and the women survivors. Yet that series of assignments -- each darker and more dangerous than the next -- brings Faye closer to her both her own demons and to the family secrets that still haunt her and threaten to destroy her and the woman she loves.

Victoria A. Brownworth is an award-winning journalist, writer, and editor. She is a Pulitzer Prize nominee and recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists Award, the NLGJA, and the Lambda Literary Award, among others. She has been listed among the OUT 100. She is a contributing editor for Curve magazine, Curve digital, and Lambda Literary Review; a regular contributor to SheWired, The Advocate, and The Independent; and a blogger for Huffington Post. She is the author and editor of nearly 30 books, including the award-winning Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic and Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life.

Classes at Big Blue Marble

Please see our Classes page for information on writing workshops and other classes.

Just For Kids

bead maze

Wednesdays, 10:00am.
Big Blue Marble Story Time with Sarah Rose

Come sing songs and read some of the best new and classic kids' books!

Fridays at 10:30am: 2/13, 3/6 (Purim Themed -- come in COSTUME!), 4/17, 5/15
Shabbat Storytimes with jkidphilly & Germantown Jewish Center.

Babies, toddlers, and young children and their grown-ups (parents, grandparents, nannies, etc.) are invited to join us for a special storytime, focusing on the joy of Shabbat. We'll read stories, sing songs for Shabbat, and make an easy activity to take home. Juice & challah to enjoy! Led by jkidphilly Center City Director Gabby Kaplan-Mayer and GJC Education Director Rabbi Alanna Sklover.
Questions? Contact Gabby at 215-320-0376.

Sunday, March 1, 10:30 am.       Race and Justice event
Story Time Focusing on Civil Rights and Black History.

Songs and readings from books we examined and discussed at the Assessing Picture Books discussion on February 15!

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