Category Archives: Uncategorized

April 2 – Reading: Athena Dent

1450252_883281641702446_9222621938447610377_nOver the years, Athena Dent has worked as a social worker, educator, and mentor. Most recently, her great love for humanity has developed in her practice of literary fiction. Her novel SILK is about five generations of women, who arebest friends, and who each face challenging situations. And ONE OF A KIND LOVE is about two undercover police officers, Carlos and Crystal, who work together, then fall in love. However, a secret that Carlos’s mother has kept from the family is intertwined with a neighborhood kid who Crystal befriends….Love is NOT just between two people.

Athena’s forthcoming books include the young-adult novel FRANCHESCA’S JOURNEY, the Silk sequel COCOON, and the poetry volume THE BEGINNING. Athena is also a mother, wife, and a martial artist.

Celebrate hattie gossett’s birthday with Word Up
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
2113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

Recirculation — A Recollection


They say not to judge a book by its cover, but you can learn a lot about people from the titles on their shelves. Sometimes, an absence tells the whole story. The Strand sells a poster with this John Waters quote: “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have any books, don’t !@#$ them!” This seems easy enough. I fell in love with a woman once, and we decided to exchange books. She gave me one called What is Death? I think I tried to give her Rilke. You already know how that ended.

You can never predict what a person is going to have in his or her library. In college, I had Shakespeare class with a professor would cry while reading a soliloquy. That is how much he loved Shakespeare. When I went to visit him in his office, I saw some of the greatest writers in history represented, as expected. There was Shakespeare (of course), John Milton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Dante Alighieri, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Marcel Proust, and Leo Tolstoy. My eyes dinged back, like the end of the line on a typewriter. Those shiny newer hardcovers, sandwiched in between. If Democrats Had Any Brains, next to Dante’s The Inferno. Now I know, I should not have been surprised. This is the range of a human being.

When I moved into my first apartment, I had almost no furniture. The rooms were empty, and the bare wood floors must have made me feel exposed. I decided to surround the perimeter with piles of books. The titles did not matter. The books were weight, like literary sandbags, some form of fortification against the floods of fear and loneliness. I liked to look at the wall. I would never read those books. If anyone came home with me, this was all there was to know.

At Word Up Community Bookshop, the inventory is almost entirely made up of donations. We carry other people’s books. Most of our stock is used. In the early days, the inside of the store could seem more like battlefield triage than retail bookselling. As many of our neighbors remember, the old space was an abandoned pharmacy, with hand-sized holes in the walls and a severely herniated ceiling. Books would be left at our gate, orphaned babies without a home. We took them in, regardless of their condition. Some were smoked out or soaked through, some were coming apart at the seams. We saw the broken spines, the torn off limbs, the scoliotic bodies. At that time, the function of Word Up was to revive and recirculate, led by volunteer Tom. We wanted to be the heart of the community, spreading books like lifeblood so there would never be an empty shelf.  Continue reading

February 22 – Gagá pa’l Pueblo: Un evento especial por la memoria de Minerva Mirabal


Los invitamos a una actividad especial de Gagá pa’l Pueblo en la cual rescatamos la memoria de Minerva Mirabal, una de tres hermanas opositoras al dictador dominicano Rafael Trujillo. Las hermanas fueron brutalmente asesinadas el 25 de noviembre del 1960. Noemí Jackson es una servidora de misterios miembro de Gagá pa’l Pueblo que dice recibir a Minerva. Tendremos un pequeño altar con las banderas dominicanas, y la del 14 de junio, junto con las imágenes de las hermanas Mirabal, Papa Liborio, y la virgen de la Altagracia. Se tocará palos y luego Minerva en cabeza de Noemí hablará con los presente. Luego una sesión de preguntas y respuestas. Se toca palos otra vez y terminamos.

Gagá pa’l Pueblo: Un evento especial por la memoria de Minerva Mirabal
Sabado, 22 de Febrero, 2015
ord Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
2113 Amsterdam ave, (en la calle 165)
New York, NY

February 26 – Meet Us At La Galería

10847623_887674311263179_7834847966012033225_oJoin us for a discussion on negritud/blackness in the Dominican Republic and the Diaspora. Using articles, social media, and other resources, we will discuss what it means to be black in the Dominican Republic and the Diaspora

La Galería is the place in which family, neighbors, and guests gather to discuss everything from the latest chisme to social and political issues. It is the place where dialogue and debate are welcomed and encouraged. Galerías are not exclusive to a particular class; some are built-in, others are an impromptu creation. We are recreating galerías to provoke conversations on topics that affect Dominicans in the Diaspora.

Meet Us At La Galería
Tursday, February 26, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
2113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

12 de Febrero – Taller de escritura creativa en español / Spanish-language Creative Writing Workshop – Gratuito


Reunión mensual para leer y escribir en español.

En cada encuentro, se leen relatos breves o poemas de escritores hispanoamericanos y se hace una propuesta de escritura. Antes de terminar la reunión, se comparten y se comentan los textos de los participantes.

Todos son bienvenidos, tanto hispanohablantes nativos como estudiantes avanzados del idioma.

El taller es coordinado por dos escritoras, Daniella Gitlin y Claudia Prado.


El taller es gratuito.

We meet once a month to read and write in Spanish.

At each meeting we will read a short story or poems by Latin American writers and offer writing prompts. The group will discuss the texts and share their writing.

The meetings will be held in Spanish and everybody is welcome to attend, from native speakers to students of the language who are interested in advanced practice.

The workshop will be run by two writers, Daniella Gitlin and Claudia Prado.

For any questions, please email

Jueves/Thursday, Febrero/February 12, 2015

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria

2113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)

New York, NY

January 29: Manhattan Story Circle—2015 People’s State of the Union


What if the annual State of the Union was not a speech spoken by one, but a poem created by many?

The Five Boro Story Project and No Name, in partnership with the people-powered U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, invite you to take part in the creation of the 2015 People’s State of the Union. Join a story circle on January 29th from 7-9pm at Word Up Community Bookshop, and join neighbors in supplementing the President’s State of the Union with your own stories.

This story circle is a chance to reflect on our neighborhoods’ past and present, and plan for the future. Share your neighborhood memories, tell a story about a moment you felt true belonging — or the opposite — in your community, describe an experience that showed you something new or important about the state of our union, or share about a time you stood together with people in your neighborhood.

Stories will be shared online, and will provide inspiration for a collective “People’s State of the Union Address” delivered in the form of a poem on Feb 1st at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Visit for additional details.

Manhattan Story Circle
Coordinated by Five Boro Story Project
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165th Street)

a Love Letter + a Plea for Some $$$

Originally posted on Para Contar :


I learned about Word Up about a year and a half ago, during my first week in New York, in fact. My friend was wearing one of their T-shirts, bearing the subtitle “Community Bookshop Librería Comunitaria”. I was immediately intrigued and demanded to know what something with a name like “Word Up” was all about. She told me she had met someone there and that it was a cool venture that I should check out. It took me a year to finally reach out and start volunteering there.

It’s kind of hard to explain what Word Up is all about. It’s a bookstore, but it’s also so much more than that. And what I do as a volunteer there, mostly small, unglamorous tasks to help the store run, like running the cash register (slowly), hanging up posters from recent events, stuffing envelopes, etc., don’t explain the feeling that I have…

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