Yolanda Wisher kicks off Big Blue’s first poetry open-mic night

Mt. Airy has added a new open mic event to its growing literary calendar of spoken word happenings. An intimate group gathered for the first Nor’easter Open at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore last Friday night.

The Nor’easter Exchange will be hosting the monthly reading series on every second Friday at the book store near Weavers Way.

The Nor’easter Exchange was founded in 2010 by husband and wife team, Quincy Scott Jones and Nina Sharma-Jones. Its mission is to build a multi-cultural community amongst writers from Philadelphia, New York City and the tri-state region.

“We know all these great writers from two cities and they’re all about to blow up,” Quincy Scott Jones remarked.

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Yolanda Wisher was one of two featured authors who gave a reading.  Named the first poet laureate of Montgomery County in 1999, Wisher also founded the Germantown Poetry Festival.  She heads the art education department at the Mural Arts Program. Wisher is currently collaborating with Philadelphia’s poet laureate, Sonia Sanchez on a Mural Arts’ multimedia project, Peace Is A Haiku Song.

Northeast Philadelphia poet Dan Shall read from his collection entitled Space Within Line Not Dedicated: Private Moments in Public. Shall is a professor at nearby Arcadia University and director of its Writing Center. He is also the editor for Obsession Literary Magazine.

The evening wrapped up with an open mic session for audience members who wished to read from their own works. Joe Roarty, Chad Crisp, Stephanie Noor and Nina Sharma-Jones each read two poems.

Sharma-Jones considers Mt. Airy to be a “new haven” for the reader series.

“It will be exciting to see what the space can do to nurture this project,” she said.

The next Nor’easter Open will be held on March 9 and will feature authors Aziza Kinteh and Iain Haley Pollock.

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