The Marble Room

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

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


Apr 3

Reader Profile: Kathleen Rooney


Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. The author of seven books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, she is the winner of a Ruth Lilly Award from Poetry magazine and her novel in poems Robinson Alone (Gold Wake, 2012) won the Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry. Her debut novel O, Democracy!  has just been released by Fifth Star Press. Her latest chapbook with Elisa Gabbert is The Kind of Beauty that has Nowhere to Go (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), and recent essays and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Sun Times, The Believer, Coldfront and The Rumpus.

We’re honored to have Kathleen Rooney give a sneak preview debut reading of her new novel, O, Democracy! for us on April 13th. Marble Room XI, friends. 4:00pm. $5 at the door. Read below for an excerpt from Kathleen’s book! See you soon, friends!
From O, Democracy

     Colleen Dugan’s co-workers still wonder, sometimes, why she got fired. But we never wonder. We saw it from the start. Her end could only be abrupt.

     And although, from our remote and bodiless perspective, she cannot be identified as especially exceptional, we will now consider the story of Colleen Dugan.

     By any fair measure, the intense but inexpedient passion with which Colleen applies herself is of questionable significance to the history of the nation. Yet we, the narrators of this tale, are interested in episodes like these.

     Whenever any citizen—in addition to merely feeding, clothing, housing and reproducing himself—possesses aspirations to take a role in the furtherance of democracy, we look in on them in much the same way one might detour by a former residence, just to see how the new owners are keeping it up.

     We follow Colleen and others like her from a place outside the temporal world. We can claim little stake in these individual fates, and no capacity to affect them. Our perspective is akin to that of a group of relatives gathered at Thanksgiving watching football on television, which some of us did religiously.

     In life we ourselves were anything but ordinary. Our victories and disgraces went unremarked by no one. We amassed power and prestige, or else power and prestige coalesced upon us. Our names and likenesses were and continue to be known to even the most ignorant of our countrymen, propagated by schools and streets, cities and currency.

     This is precisely why ordinariness like Colleen’s is of particular concern to us.

Mar 28

Reader Profile: Ladan Osman


Ladan Osman has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and the Michener Center for Writers. Her work has appeared in Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbook, “Ordinary Heaven,” will appear in Seven New Generation African Poets, Slapering Hol Press, 2014. Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize,Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony will be published by University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in 2015. She teaches in Chicago.

Ladan will be reading at the April 13th Marble Room! We’re so excited! Check out Ladan’s chapbook, collected here, friends:

And read an excerpt from her work just below! See you soon!

A lil excerpt:

Situations Wanted


Is there anyone who can be closer to me

than my forefingers?

My inner arm and rib?


I am looking for a man who will let me

make myself small then crawl

into his pocket as he watches TV.


He must know how to love his shadow,

how to say “I love you” to even the periphery

of his body.


Let us be wrists rubbing against each other.

I will pay you with good intentions.

I will be your friend, in the way mirrors befriend,


then grow water. But my face is a black mug,

You can drink its water and not know its bottom

until a bug bumps your lip.


If you are willing

let me show you how fingers know each other.

Even birds try to build their homes again and again.

(This poem first appeared in Prairie Schooner Vol 86 No. 4) 

Mar 25

Reader Profile: David Maclean


David Stuart Maclean is a Pen/American award-winning writer. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Guernica, Gulf Coast, The New York Times, and on the radio program This American Life. He has a PhD from the University of Houston and is a co-founder of the Poison Pen Reading Series. His memoir, The Answer to the Riddle is Me, came out January of this year with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He lives in Chicago with his wife and their pets.

David will be reading at Marble Room XI, this April 13th, 4:00pm, friends. There will be foods, there will be drink. But, most importantly, there will be amazing readers like David Maclean. Read an excerpt from his work below!


I wasn’t sure where I’d woken up this time, but there was water in a plastic cup on a table next to my bed and a small brown boy peeking around a privacy curtain at me.

         The boy was biting the curtain, and he was rocking back and forth.

         “Amol,” a man’s voice behind the curtain said. “Don’t bother the American.”

         I had an IV coming out of my arm, and I was wearing a hospital gown.


I woke up and the sun had shifted on the wall and the plastic cup was gone. A man who looked like Jim Henson, but fatter, was sitting in the chair beside me. He was a white man, midfifties, in a kurta soiled around the armpits, and he was smoking.

         “At least you’re not tied down anymore,” he said.

I woke up again, but maybe that’s wrong. I never remembered going to sleep, so maybe I wasn’t waking up during all of this. Maybe it was just flashes of lucidity. My blood felt heavy with all of the medications coursing through me. When I woke up in the middle of conversations, I’d apologize to whomever I was talking to. I was always apologizing. I’d done so many terrible things.

Mar 14

Reader Profile: Jeannette Gomes

Jeannette Gomes is a poet living in Chicago. With Russ Woods, She co-edits the literary magazine Skydeer Helpking. Her website is

Jeannette will be reading for us this Sunday, March 16th, 4:00pm, friends. Marble Room, Series X. $5 at the door will get you teas, snacks, poetry, prose, and shelter from the city’s cruel cold. See you there, friends. 

Mar 9

Reader Profile: Daniela Olszewska


Daniela Olszewska is the author of four collections of poetry: cloudfang : : cakedirt (Horse Less Press, 2012), True Confessions of an Escapee From The Capra Facility for Wayward Girls (Spittoon Press, 2013), Citizen J (Artifice Books, 2013), and (with Carol GuessHow To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming in 2014). Daniela was born in Poland and received her MFA from University of Alabama, but she self-identifies as a Chicagoan. 

At the Marble Room, we are so very excited to have Daniela read for us on March 16th, just one week away. Below is an excerpt from her work. You can see her live and in person next Sunday, 4:00pm, with a glass of wine in your hand, and cheer in your heart.

[from How to Feel Confident With Your Special Talents, co-written with Carol Guess]

How to Do the Cha Cha

Stay alert in red rolling light. Focus premium-like in 4/4 time.  Go into debt with arms held in minor jezebel pose.  Small sidestep about the star specks on the floor. Chin up during the landside.  Sexy bend, sexy bend! Practice—

Perfect understanding of where your partner is coming from.   Your partner is coming from the same revolutionary party you came from.  Don’t go about this the wrong way again.  Or the next gala will find you cowering under a punch bowl, strained cheek rogued up in-


Boys and girls in panic rows. Roadkill of the Rodeo, toeing the party line on one side of the faultline, quaking. Which side are you on, lead or follow-fallow?

Push; no, pull. Adjust your slippery straps and swaddle sandals in bandages: it’s open season on open-toed slip-ons. Lesson: don’t leave cha to chance. Change into a tux and bind yourself into a seamless Mister. Move her, Master Manipulator.

Sway the small of her back with your small, gloved hand. 

Mar 5

Reader Profile: Gregory Robinson


Gregory Robinson is a writer from Boulder City, Nevada. His book, All Movies Love the Moon, is a hybrid collection of prose poems and art about silent movies. Taken as a whole, it is both a history of silent movies and an experiment in ekphrasis. 

He is also the Chair of the Humanities Department at Nevada State College in Henderson. When he is not writing or hanging around NSC, he is hiking around the desert his wife Joan, walking his dog BinBin, or (of course) watching movies.

Gregory will be reading for us at the Marble Room on March 16th. You can check out excerpts from his new book from Rose Metal Press here, friends. And also, yes, below:

The Patsy (1928)

Marion arches her lips, wrinkles her nose, and morphs into Mae Murray.

Nature gives us many of our features, but she lets us pick our own teeth.

To contain multitudes sounds like hyperbole, but the real stretch is to think there is only one, that the you hitting snooze every morning is not a bunch of you, all terrified of waking and meeting one another.

There is always a backup you.

Marion drops her lips, folds her eyes, and becomes Lillian Gish.

And all of you are growing too, learning and evolving, so that even if you could know all their names it wouldn’t matter. This army of you always rebels, telling itself next year, I will be better.

But before next year comes, Lillian Gish is Pola Negri, and waiting turns to wanting once more.

Mar 3

Reader Profile: Kurt Chiang

Kurt Chiang has been writing and creating theater in Chicago for nine years. He is a Neo-Futurist Ensemble Member, and serves as the company’s Co-Artistic Director. He has written over 200 tiny plays for the long-running Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes. This year marks the birth of two projects Kurt has been working on: the publication of the first-ever Neo-Futurist literary anthology - which he co-edited - and the premiere of Neo-Futurist Trevor Dawkins’ prime-time show Haymaker - which he directed. This is his second appearance at the Marble Room.

We are proud to have Kurt returning to read for us at Marble Room X, friends. Sunday, March 16th, 4:00pm. $5 at the door will get you wine, cheeses, poetry, wine, prose, snacks, and Kurt Chiang. See you there? I knew we would. 

Feb 12

Guest Lecturer: Katia Mitova

The Marble Room is excited to host Katia Mitova (past reader at the Marble Room), who will be giving a free seminar after Marble Room IX, at 7:00 pm. The topic: 

Nobody the Writer

“I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you – Nobody – too?” What if we take Emily Dickinson’s question seriously and try to answer it? Nobody-ness as a creative attitude begins with ancient Odysseus and is exemplified in the works of Shakespeare, Keats, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Whitman, Pessoa, Borges and many others. We will try to identify where Nobody the Writer belongs on the map of the creative process and where we belong as readers or writers. The seminar will offer a new perspective on the mysteries of writer’s block and creative flow. 

Katia Mitova is interested in the dialogical character of literary creativity. She teaches at the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults at University of Chicago and is a professional faculty at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. More on

The seminar begins at 7:00. Marble Room IX begins at 4:00. This Sunday, at the Parlor, friends. 

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