Tag Archives: larry robin

The Freethought Society presents Larry Robin – September 29th

From: Margaret Downey

larry robin


The Freethought Society is pleased to host as its next speaker Larry Robin, the former president of the oldest independent bookstore in Philadelphia until it closed in December 2012. Robin’s presentation, Scott Nearing: The Making of a Radical, will take place on Monday, September 29, 2014 at the Ludington Library (5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania). The event starts at 7:00 PM. It is a free and open to the public event.

While very few people have heard of Scott Nearing, Robin considers his legacy an important topic for all freethinkers and the public at large.

“I met Scott Nearing in 1961 when I was 18 and he was 78. I knew him for 22 years until he died on August 24, 1983, at the age of 100 years plus 18 days,” says Robin.

Robin went on to say, “Nearing is right after Thomas Paine in my list of heroes. With doctorates in Economics and Sociology, Nearing was fired from the University of Pennsylvania after writing the first book on child labor in the United States. That was in 1914. Nearing was arrested for sedition when he wrote a pamphlet against the draft for the First World War in 1917.

Nearing, according to Robin, “…was a radical economist, educator, writer, political activist, sociologist, socialist, pacifist, homesteader, organic gardener, vegetarian, and seeker of the truth.”

The author of hundreds of books and articles on economics and politics, Nearing and his wife Helen wrote Living the Good Life, about self-sufficient homesteading. It became the handbook for America’s “Back to the Land” and “Simple Living” movements.

Robin is the co-founder of Moonstone Incorporated and the director of the Moonstone Arts Center. He has served on the boards of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Read Aloud Coalition of Philadelphia and The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Robin has served on the literature panel of the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and is a member of the advisory boards of The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, and the Philadelphia Ink program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Year of the Pennsylvania Writer and Art Sanctuary. For 18 years, Robin created and directed The Celebration of Black Writing. He also directed The Paul Robeson Festival for eight years. For 18 years, Robin has been credited for Poetry Ink and various other Moonstone programs. He currently produces poetry programs and, since 2009, The Hidden History Project. The Living History Project is a citywide festival celebrating the life and work of social activists, such as John Brown, Frances Harper, Martin Delany, Ida B. Wells, and Charlotte Forten.

For more information, contact: Margaret Downey – Freethought Society President

Phone: 610.793.2737

Email: Margaret@FtSociety.org

More on Salt Publishing and Poetry

photo by richard henson

Clare Pollard on Salt and the health of poetry: http://clarepollard.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/the-health-of-poetry/

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri 6

larry robin

An article at the Fox Chase Review Blog on Salt and poetry publishing conditions: https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/poetry-in-decline-is-a-revolution-needed/

Poetry in Decline- Is a Revolution Needed?

– g emil reutter

Cover of the Summer 2012 edition of the Fox Chase Review

Cover of the Summer 2012 edition of the Fox Chase Review

Salt Publishing based in the United Kingdom recently announced they are discontinuing publication of single author poetry collections. The Guardian article notes the cause of the announcement:

“Official figures from Nielsen BookScan show a sharp decline in the overall poetry market in the last year. There was growth of around 13% in 2009, when the market was worth £8.4m, followed by small declines in 2010 and 2011, and then a major drop of 18.5% volume and 15.9% value in 2012, when the overall value of the market fell to £6.7m.”

While we know that poetry publishing caters to a niche market and very few poets make a living writing, it is sad news that a prominent British publisher who was dedicated to the publication of poetry has withdrawn from the market.  There appears to be a disconnect.

diane sahms-guarnieri wsp 2Diane Sahms-Guarnieri , poetry editor of The Fox Chase Review places fault directly on the establishment and Universities with a call for promotion of realism.

“This is very unfortunate news coming from the UK that Salt will no longer be publishing Poetry.  With many small presses in America closing due to increased publishing costs and decreased sales, poets are almost forced to do the unthinkable (self – publish).  Hopefully, Poetry in America will have a resurgence of readers/sales, but I think in order for this to happen Poetry will have to connect more with the masses of readers and thinkers, and get its head out of the thoughts of the controlling groups of Elitists in Universities.  Let’s face it, Poetry is Poetry and Art is Art and when either genre tries to become what it’s not it loses its soul.  Poetry has lost its way in America – it’s an exclusionary country club that does not allow for realism, rather it’s fragmented and its howl (and not a Ginsberg “Howl”) is more like a slow dying Yawp, with an aftermath of wine glasses clinking and Brie to the giggles of many self-indulgent, stream of consciousness – nothingness.”

Guarnieri concludes with hope, “Poetry is dying a slow death and until the revolution of realism flows through its veins again (intravenous is where we are at), then many American publishers will join up with it unfortunate cousin in the UK, lying still in a coffin.  Bring on the Revolution!”

larry robinLarry Robin, a longtime promoter of poetry in Philadelphia takes on a different point of view.

“Robin’s Book Store closed last December after 76 years, Moonstone Arts Center closed as a venue as well, since it was dependent on Robin’s Book Store for the space (Please note that Moonstone continues to present poetry every Wednesday at Fergie’s Pub and other programs at other locations, seewww.moonstoneartscenter.org) How does this relate to Salt Publishing? “Talk is cheap.” if you don’t support the organizations who do the things you like then they will not be able to continue. Yes, the economy is bad; yes, you can find it cheaper on line, Yes, you can leave it to others to support them. And then there were none!”

Robin concludes with a look at poets themselves:

“How many poetry books did you buy last year? How many readings did you go to and left without buying the poet’s book or making a donation to the organization who organized the reading? How do you think things get paid for?  The problem is not them, it is us. Each of us are responsible for what we do, for how we act, for what we support, for how we spend our money. For the cost of three lattes or beers or a cheap dinner, you can buy the poetry book at the next reading you go to. The book will last forever, you can  read it again and again, you can give it to a friend and pass it on to your grandchild. You can say, “here is a book that is out of print, it is a poet I really liked, it is autographed because I got it at a reading I went to, you will like it.”

In an age when “Inclusion” is an iconic word for progress some say those at the top of the poetry mountain have built a wall denying entry. With DIY publishing, small letter press publishers and POD technology available the masses are drawing near. The question remains, can the establishment be toppled? Larry Robin made an outstanding point, go out and buy a poetry book!  What say you?

g emil reutter


– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa.

Moonstone Poetry Lives at Fergie’s Pub


Moonstone Poetry Lives with a weekly series of poetry readings at

Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street.

Each week of the month will have a different host. All programs will include an open reading.

First Wednesday of the month be coordinated and hosted by Elijah B. Pringle, III, former on-air host of Panoramic Poetry at October Gallery.com, he is the author of At the Cornerstone, Feeding the Sparrow, and Second Saturday at Serenity. His work has been in Edison Poetry Review, Fox Chase Review, The God’s Must Be Bored, and will have a Feature is The River Poets Journal.

Second Wednesday of the month will be coordinated and hosted by Charles Carr, a native Philadelphian, born and raised in Southwest Germantown. In 2007 Charles was Mad Poets Review First Prize Winner for his poem “Waiting To Come North”.  In 2009 Cradle Press of St. Louis published Charles’s first book of poetry: paradise, pennsylvania. Charles’ poems have been published in various print and on-line local and national poetry journals.  Charles has recited his poems at various regional poetry events.  Haitian Mud Pies, Charles’s next collection of poems will be published in 2013.

Third Wednesday of the month be coordinated and hosted by Dave Worrell, whose first chapbook titled “We Who Were Bound” was published in August 2012 by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. His poems have appeared in U.S. 1 Worksheets, Mad Poets Review, Exit 13, Wild River Review, Fox Chase Review and Adanna. He has performed his music-backed poems at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia and The Cornelia Street Café in New York.

Fourth Wednesday of the month will be coordinated and hosted by Suzan Jivan, poet, photographer, fiber artist and avid blogger, she will feature themed poetry readings followed by open readings. While fairly new to Philadelphia Suzan has been published in The Fox Chase Review and Poetry Ink and enjoys attending the readings at the many poetry venues and looks forward to adding to the Philadelphia scene.


Moonstone Arts Center Moving

The Moonstone Arts Center is moving at the end of the year and with the move comes the end of the legendary Robin’s Bookstore.  Larry Robin has been a lifelong promoter of the arts and literature in Philadelphia.  Thousands of poets/writers/musicians have performed their work at Robin’s and Moonstone always with encouragement from Larry.  While performing at Robin’s has always been a right of passage for Philadelphians engaged in the arts, Larry also opened his venue to artists from all over the United States and the world.  Emerging artists benefited greatly from the experience of performing at this venue, established artists returned time and again to visit with Larry.

History of Robin’s Bookstore: http://www.moonstoneartscenter.org/about/robins-bookstore/ 

Robin’s Bookstore has been a uniquely Philadelphia brand since 1936 and the final departure will leave a hole in the heart of the city. Moonstone Arts Center will continue at another location that will be announced at the end of year. The center is currently offering 60% off all books in stock. Larry has given generously to the arts community for decades so it would be wonderful if you could give back, stop by and pick up a few books.

Moonstone hasn’t rolled up the carpets and have outstanding events scheduled for the rest of the year. You can find a listing at this link: http://www.moonstoneartscenter.org/?ec3_today=1 

Many of us remember our first feature at the Moonstone Poetry Series or reading at “100 Poets” also known as Poetry Ink.  There are three months left, take the time to climb the steps from 13th Street, enter the center, say hello to Larry, catch a show, and buy a book.  Remember this place, feel the fabric of the city pulling and savor it.

We at The Fox Chase Review thank Larry Robin for all he has done and wish him the best when he opens The Moonstone Arts Center at its new location.