Meet W. Joe & Friends

If you haven’t stopped by Malvern Books for W. Joe’s Poetry Corner, you’re missing out on something quite special. W. Joe Hoppe’s monthly reading series is more than just a poet-reads-from-pages affair (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)—it’s a chance to really get to know a writer and learn more about the messy/maddening/magical work of making verse. With just one poet per Corner, there’s plenty of time to hear a decent selection of their work—and there’s also time for each unsuspecting guest to be thoroughly grilled interviewed by W. Joe (and y’all get to ask questions too, of course).

MinglersIn January, W. Joe introduced us to poet and visual artist David Thornberry, and last week he played host to the brilliant Cindy St. John (pictured below with W. Joe).

Cindy and W. Joe

Cindy read from her forthcoming collection, I Wrote This Poem (Salt Hill), and gamely answered questions from W. Joe and assorted audience members. If you’re curious to hear more, check out our footage below—and be sure to mark your calendar for our next up-close-and-personal poetry night with W. Joe (March 25th!)

Two-For-One Tuesday

I hope your holiday Monday was chock-full of good books, strong coffee, and assorted Presidential celebrations. Today we’re helping to banish the post-long-weekend blues with not-one-but-two! splendid recommendations—we’re generous like that.

Recommendation #1: You should come to Malvern Books tonight at 7pm to hear poet Cindy St. John read from her forthcoming collection, I Wrote This Poem. W. Joe is hosting, and will be taking questions from the audience as well as asking a few of his own.

Recommendation #2: If you’re in need of some startlingly smart reading material, Malvern staff member Taylor Jacob Pate would very much like to press into your hands a copy of the brilliant Bluets by Maggie Nelson. Here’s what Taylor has to say…

1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color…

BluetsBluets by Maggie Nelson is a love story like many love stories; a thrilling ride of magic that can only be described as: blue: derelict: tarp flapping in the wind on a rooftop in a gray sky: a grey sky beaten first purple then blue: a tiny cheap locket: salt tears: trinket after trinket: memory of what never happened: what happened:

In a deft & passionate voice readers experience falling in love with the color blue through a series of numbered sections that jolt the reader from Geothe’s Blue to Joni Mitchell’s to Mallarme’s.

This is the dysfunction talking … this is the deepest blue talking, talking, always talking at you.

The intensity & voracity creates a whirlwind that sucks readers in & tosses them about in a mess of confession, sex, love & rock-n-roll.

Academically speaking this book of {what many consider to be} poems proves the value of research & close reading, though as a love story Maggie Nelson stalks the color blue in its physical form as well as in the abstract & theoretical realms. Happy, sad, crazy, lovely, human, human, human this collection is a gem.

229. I am writing this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.

232. Perhaps, in time, I will stop missing you.

The Return of Bigger

Happy Valentine’s Day, book nerds! Two other February 14th events of note: the lovely chemical element Lawrencium was first synthesized at the University of California on this day in 1961. And this here book blog bunged up its first post a year ago today! I’m not sure how one celebrates a blogiversary or the discovery of element No. 103, but I’m thinking pie is probably called for?


And speaking of all things festive and pie-worthy, on Wednesday night we hosted the second installment in our Everything is Bigger reading series (you can read our EIB #1 recap here), and I think we can safely say it was a triumphant return. Tyler Gobble (above, far right) reprised his role as Host Extraordinaire and gave away many a fine raffle prize, including a graphic novel version of the 9/11 Commission Report. And our readers, Claudia Smith, Dan Boehl, and Laurel Hunt (above), made for a thoroughly engaging literary trifecta.

EIB crowd

A hearty thanks to the three of them, and to all of you who stopped by to listen attentively and cheer raucously. And since today is also YouTube’s 9th birthday (more pie, yeah?), it’s only fair we share some YouTube footage with you! (Our apologies to Dan, whose fine reading we failed to capture on film thanks to the somewhat tempestuous nature of our video camera.)

Michael Teig & An Open Mic

If it’s not blindingly obvious by now, we love to see poets and writers and artists and musicians strutting their stuff on our bookstore stage (and y’all seem to rather enjoy it too). And what makes hosting an event even more rewarding? Hosting it in partnership with an awesome local organization! This past week, we’ve been positively spoilt for charming community collaborators…

Michael Teig

On Thursday we teamed up with the University of Texas at Austin’s New Writers Project to host poet extraordinaire Michael Teig (pictured above). When Dean Young says your poems are “deft as an owl landing in a blossoming cherry tree,” well, we expect very big things—and Michael definitely did not disappoint.

Shaniqua Esparza

Gene Rodgers

And yesterday afternoon we were thrilled to partner with VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (a project of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities) to host a warm and welcoming open mic for writers and musicians. We had a great turnout, and the performers (including Shaniqua Esparza and CTD member Gene Rodgers, pictured above) brought a ton of talent and energy to Malvern’s mushroom-wood stage.

Check out the footage below for a taste of our eventful week, and be sure to visit our YouTube channel for more!

A Swashbuckling Read

Here’s a picture of our winsome bookstore pirate (because bookstore cats are so 2009!) clutching his favorite novella, Terese Svoboda’s Pirate Talk or Mermalade.


If you’ve spent much time around pirates, you’ll know that their conversations are feisty and provocative, and this Pirate Talk is no exception. It’s the quirky tale of two unnamed brothers, doltish wannabe pirates, who have assorted madcap misadventures involving mermaids, shipwrecks, and a scene-stealing parrot. It’s a strange and poetic wee book, mixing comedic capers with stunningly beautiful sentences. If you’re keen to get your own non-piratey hands on the work of “a writer of real power and mystery” (Sam Lipsyte said that!) or even if you just want to warm up for this, come by the store and ask for some swashbuckling Svoboda.

February Fun Times

Winter got you feeling gloomy? Tempted to spend the rest of the month hiding behind the sofa with a box of Tagalongs and a choccie-stained copy of Either/Or? Fear not, for we have a trifecta of cheering Februarial excitements planned for you at Malvern Books:

Michael Teig

  • On Sunday, February 9th, at 2pm we’re teaming up with VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (a project of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities) to host a friendly, low-volume OPEN MIC for writers and musicians of all ages and abilities. Everyone will be warmly welcomed and encouraged, so please do come by!
  • On Wednesday, February 12th, at 7pm our beloved Everything is Bigger reading series returns (check out footage from the first Bigger on our YouTube channel), with the inimitable Tyler Gobble playing host to the alarmingly accomplished Claudia Smith, Dan Boehl, and Laurel Hunt. And for the avaricious amongst you, please note THERE WILL BE RAFFLE PRIZES.

Everything is Bigger 2

And by the way… Either/Or contains a section entitled “Crop Rotation: An Attempt at a Theory of Social Prudence”—you don’t want to read that! Come to Malvern Books, attend an event or three, and pick up some brand-spanking-new reading material while you’re at it. Check out our front window for a few ideas.