The Marble Room

Poetry, Wine, and Music at the Parlor in Wicker Park.

Jun 20

Poems in which You Die: Bill Coughlin

As you all know by now, the reading/release party for Poems in which You Die is this Sunday! You can check out the event here! Our next reader is Bill Coughlin. Meet Bill. 

Bill Coughlin is a Chicago native who lives near the lake with his partner and cocker spaniel. He earned his MA in English from DePaul University and his MFA in Poetry from Columbia College. At various times in his life he has been a seminarian, a teacher, a Unitarian Universalist, a classical pianist, a runner, a dog lover and a world traveler. He lives with his partner and their cocker spaniel in Chicago and spends as much time as possible on the coast of Maine. His first collection of poems, entitled migrations, was published by Aquitaine Media, a local publishing company. He is currently planning a second full-length collection centered on issues arising from recovered memories.

That’s right. Bill will be reading this Sunday. 5:00, at the Towbar. One drink minimum. Sarah Carson will have her book on hand. See you there? 

Jun 19

Poems in which You Die: Margaret Brady


We’re so excited about Sarah Carson’s Poems in which You Die, only a few days away now (This Sunday, at 5:00, at Towbar, check out the Facebook event here). We’re also excited to be introducing the next reader for the event! Friends, meet Margaret Brady: 

Margaret (aka MoFo) Brady, a recovering Catholic, journalist and PR flack, received her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia College Chicago in 2007. Her work has appeared in Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, MiPoesias, Whistling Shade, Rambunctious Review and The Creative Woman magazine. She also has a haiku at the Harrison “L” stop in Chicago. Margaret takes heart in the words of her favorite poet/teacher, David Trinidad: “All poets are useful and necessary.”


The incredible Margaret Brady will be just one of the poets at the reading for Poems in which You Die. But if she was the only poet, wouldn’t she be enough? 

Jun 18

Poems in which You Die: Joe Eldridge


Our look at the great poets of Sarah Carson’s Poems in which You Die reading/party continues! Now, friends, we bring you Joe. 

Joe Eldridge earned his MFA in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago where he is an adjunct teaching in the poetry, literature, and speech programs. His poems have appeared in a variety of journals including Court Green, The Gay & Lesbian Review, The Apocalypse, and Velvet Mafia. The past twenty-five years, he has also been a flight attendant for a major airline spending his weekends working trips to Paris or London, and as he pins his gold wings above the left breast pocket of a freshly pressed uniform, Joe reminds himself that he really does love people—really.


We’re excited to see Joe and all of the readers. And we’re excited to see Sarah Carson’s first book! You will be too, by this weekend (if not sooner). The reading is this Sunday, the 22nd, at 5:00. The Towbar. One drink minimum. Here’s the Facebook Event. See you there! 

Jun 16

Poems in which You Die: Sarah Carson

The wonderful Sarah Carson has been a friend of the Marble Room since her reading last fall. We’re excited about the release of her first full-length collection, “Poems in which You Die.” We’re so excited that Timothy Moore, co-curator of this very Marble Room, will be hosting the reading and release party at the Towbar, and we will be sharing bios of the readers all this week! So why don’t we start with Sarah Carson herself? 

Sarah Carson was born and raised in Michigan but now lives in Chicago. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous journals including Columbia Poetry Review, Cream City Review, the Nashville Review, the New Orleans Review, and Whiskey Island. She is the author of three chapbooks. Poems in which You Die, released by BatCat Press—the only press in the country run entirely by high school students— is her first full-length collection of poems.


Sarah will be joined by Margaret Brady, Bill Coughlin, and Joe Eldridge. You can check out the event here. But if you’re Facebook illiterate, just know that the reading is this Sunday, June 22nd, 5:00 at Towbar, on 1500 Jarvis Ave, Rogers Park. There is a one drink minimum, but you were going to drink anyway, weren’t you? Stay tuned for more bios this week! And see you Sunday? 

May 14

Reader Profile: Suzanne Scanlon


Suzanne Scanlon is the author of a novel, Promising Young Women (Dorothy, 2012), and a forthcoming work of creative nonfiction titled, Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi Press, 2015). New fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Spolia and MAKE Literary Magazine. She lives in Chicago and teaches creative writing at Columbia College and in the MFA program at Roosevelt University. 

Suzanne will be reading at Marble Room XII. That is this Sunday, May 18th, at 4:00pm, at the Parlor in Wicker Park. $5 at the door will get you wine, poetry, prose, cheeses, and shelter from the terrible, beautiful day. See you there? 

In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt from Suzanne’s Promising Young Women:

Her name is Marissa or Stacey or Christine and she decides to ignore themisrepresentation. She also ignores the way you drink too much, mostly because you are not a profound personality change drinker—unlike her last boyfriend, for example; you do not become injudicious or mean or abusive while drunk, not so far as she’s observed. It has to do with school, you explain—med school or law school or your never-ending PhD program in the School for Social Thought. She can’t understand the pressure; anyway, all of your classmates drink. Mostly, she doesn’t care. As far as she can tell, you become more loving, more affectionate. You stand by the door, buzz too many times, declare through the intercom that you must kiss her or that you must sing her a song or that you must read her the poem you wrote for her just that afternoon.

It is not a very good poem. She won’t tell you this.

She is usually in her pajamas or in her bed or on the floor or in the bathtub, which is in a small room down the hall from her apartment. She doesn’t wear actual pajamas, just loose sweats and t-shirts of the sort mental patients wear.

She’s 25 or 28 or maybe even 30 by now.

She lives alone, with a cat named Sylvia or Clarice or Gertrude.

She is on stage—acting or singing or dancing or reciting poetry in a spoken word competition—when you first see her. She plays the role of the Patti Smith character in a Sam Shepard one-act about a lobster. You are there for your sister; you’ve come to this showcase, this selection of Winter One-Acts, to see your sister perform and so you see her.

“There is something about her,” you tell your sister, who also happens to be an actor or a singer or a dancer. It won’t be easy for you, having a sister and a girlfriend who act.

“Is she on drugs or is that just the part? She really seemed like she was on drugs.”

Your sister doesn’t know.

“She’s always like that.”

“Drugged, you mean?”

“She doesn’t drink. But yeah, slurs her words. Seems to be somewhere else.”

“I like it,” you say. “She seems interesting. And she’s not unattractive.”

May 6

Reader Profile: Lindsay Hunter

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the story collections Daddy’s and DON’T KISS ME. Her first novel, Ugly Girls, comes out November 4 on FSG. Find her at

Lindsay Hunter will be reading at the Marble Room on May 18th. Marble Room XII, friends. 4:00pm, at the Parlor in Wicker Park. Her excerpt below is from the first story in DON’T KISS ME. Enjoy. And see you soon?

Three Things You Should Know About Peggy Paula 

In high school Peggy Paula worked as a waitress at the Perkins. Night shifts were her favorite, students from her school would come in after games or dances with bleary eyes and messy hair and Peggy Paula knew they’d been drinking and smoking those flimsy joints she’d see them passing, the girls with smudged makeup and rats nests in the back of their heads, proud unblinking eyes, scanning the dining room like I dare you, I dare you to guess what I just let Jared or Steve or Casey do to me, I let him and I liked it and I don’t care, and Peggy Paula honored to be among these girls, envious, taking their orders for French fries and Ranch, keeping their secrets and the sticky lipgloss tubes they’d sometimes leave behind, watermelon and cherry and berry and once a spicy cinnamon that burned Peggy Paula’s lips for an hour, what kind of girl wanted burning lips, poison lips, Peggy Paula’s heart pounding at the thought of such a girl, of the boy who went after such a girl in the backseat of his father’s sedan, the girl stinging his lips, his neck, moving further down, burning that boy up with her mouth, Peggy Paula going into the bathroom stall and wanting to touch herself but not knowing where to begin, wanting to begin everywhere, standing with her fists clenched and breathing hard, and then needing to be out from the stall and moving and so going back to the dining room feeling every inch of her skin, her lips cherry red and raw when she saw her reflection in the toaster, and three weeks later asking the redheaded dishwasher to drive her home and directing him to the spot she knew those girls went to, her lips aflame, when he pulled up sliding over, the stick shift digging into her hip, putting her mouth on his freckled neck, it smelled like mashed potatoes and industrial soap and sweat, her hand first on his thigh and then crabcrawling to his zipper, it was already hardening under there despite him saying, Hey hey, what, and Peggy Paula saying, Just, please, and the dishwasher quiet after that, letting Peggy Paula, letting her, following her into the backseat, holding her tight when it happened, saying I’m sorry and Peggy Paula saying Shh, stinging his shoulder with her lips and his back with her nails and feeling filled up and afraid and like her heart could kick the windows out.

May 1

Reader Profile: Peggy Shinner


Peggy Shiner is the author of You Feel So Mortal / Essays on the Body, newly released by the University of Chicago Press. Her work has appeared in BOMB, The Southern ReviewColorado ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewTriQuarterlyAnother Chicago MagazineFourth GenreBloom, and most recently on Salon.  She has been awarded two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, residencies at the Ucross and Ragdale Foundations, and a fellowship at Ausable Press. Currently, she teaches in the MFA program at Northwestern University. As a trained martial artist, she taught Seido karate for seventeen years. A life-long Chicagoan, she lives with her partner, designer and book artist Ann Tyler.

We are so excited to have Peggy reading for us at Marble Room XII! May 18th, 4:00, at the Parlor. Wine, snacks, love, poetry, prose, all for $5 at the door. Below is an excerpt from Peggy’s book.  

From You Feel So Mortal

The Tantrics said the forces of creation and destruction lay in the binding and unbinding of a woman’s hair. The Syrians said a woman who combed her hair on the Eve of Holy Sunday consorted with werewolves. The Slavs said the vili, or female spirits, hid in the water and made rain by combing their hair. The Scots said women should refrain from combing their hair at night when their brothers were at sea, because that could raise a storm and sinkthe boats. In Laos, the wife of an elephant hunter was forbidden to cut her hair in order not to sever the ropes restraining the elephant. The Navajo prohibited a woman from washing her hair while her husband was out hunting lest he come home empty-handed. The Punjabi said a woman should not wash her hair on Thursday or Sunday, because “the house would lose money and people would tell us lies.” The Romans said that strands of a woman’s hair made fine strings for bows against the Gauls. Berenice, wife of Egyptian king Ptolemy III, made an offering of her hair to Aphrodite, for her husband’s safe return from war. Upon his homecoming, her hair appeared in the sky as the constellation Coma Berenice, Berenice’s Hair. One of the stars is named Al Ḍafīrah, “the curl.”

Apr 28

Reader Profile: Mark Magoon


Mark Magoon writes poetry, short-fiction, and secret songs for his dog. He lives in Chicago with a wife far too pretty.

Mark Magoon also has recent publications at our friends at Ghost Ocean Magazine and Midwestern Gothic. We are so excited to have him read for us at the May 18th Marble Room (Series XII). Our one year anniversary. Bring roses, yes? And read one of Mark’s poems below, please? Thanks. 

driving gone to spring

small promise the mountains back deep
in distant dawn as too

now a truck slows from great swell
small and low, within

bladder is full and cells nervy enough
sing freedom

for empty gravel, for roads which run
and the dark differs

as all altitudes once, done and knowing this so
the brain springs

so settles this indifference as the shake sure
comes as the tuck back

and at just-almost, where green of the grass,
frost covers, all eyes for

and for boots dusty, red and glad
simply for the cover

a cap is pulled as the colder gets and gone
still as waits, the door is open

past hay patch and shot rang, and not far off
awaken have the birds

Apr 23
“Location Time: On April 13, 2014, at 4 PM, I attended the Marble Room Reading Series, a third Sunday of the month series, located at Wicker Park’s The Parlor. $5 at the door, the venue/location is located at 1434 N. Western Ave. Atmosphere” LitCity312 Review: The Marble Room Reading Series

Apr 7

Reader Profile: Angela Narciso Torres


Angela Narciso Torres’s first book of poetry, Blood Orange, won the 2013 Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry. Recent work appears in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, and Cream City Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she currently resides in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO. 

Check out Angela’s website, right here:

Angela will be reading for us at Marble Room XI, friends. This Sunday, April 13th, starting at 4:00pm! Snacks, drinks, poetry, prose, all for $5 at the door. Check out one of Angela’s poems below!  


Entre Chien et Loup


More than tearing open the cream envelope

or hearing the shush of linen paper


between eager fingers, more than the rush

of ink-spattered words, there’s the waiting—


or so romantics tell us, that expansive breath

held as if underwater for what seems forever,


each cell filled to bursting with oxygen—

for a lover’s letter to arrive. Like that cold


January dreaming of your first kiss, lips

parted half-asleep in class or practicing


scales on the piano, something inside

ripens to almost breaking. Anyone


observing how magnolia buds flush

before they speak in white flame


will recognize the wish to linger

in airports or train stations, prolonging


that final glimpse, or the urge to pause

on a bridge watching dusk’s vacillations.


Entre chien et loup, the French say,

implying that all we know of heaven


is the eyelash between day

and night, between dog and wolf.



Angela Narciso Torres

from Blood Orange

Originally published in Cream City Review


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