Odd Words December 17, 2009Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
We’re about to enter into Christmas Lock Down here on Toulouse Street but before we all get swept away by the Christmas spirits here’s a couple of events I’m certainly going to make. I’m the guy who has swapped the Young Man’s Hat for his winter beret, but will forgo wearing a stripped French sailor’s shirt or carrying bongos.
§ On Dec. 20 the latest edition (fourth or fifth; I’m not sure) of Portals Press’ Maple Leaf Rag Anthology of poets who have read at the Maple Leaf Bar series will be released at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar (natch). I better be there for this one as John Travis at Portals Press kindly invited me to submit and took three poems for this edition after my first reading at the Leaf. And even as the chill of winter settles over New Orleans, there are few nicer places to hang out than the patio of the Maple Leaf.
§ 17 Poets will host a book release party tonight (Thursday, Dec. 17) at 8 p.m.for Inventor of Love by Gherasim Luca, translated by Julian Semilian and Laura Semilian (Black Widow Press 2009) with a reading featuring the translators. Foreword to the book is by New Orleans’ own Romaniam exile surrealist Andrei Codrescu, who casual readers will recognize as an NPR commentator but others will know as poet, author and editor of the Exquisite Corpse journal. Luca (1913-1994) was one of the founders of the Bucharest Surrealist Artists Group. Poet, writer, artist with more than two dozen published books. Exiled after Romania turned communistic he moved to Paris. He committed suicide by jumping into the Seine in Paris in 1994.
The editorial note: “A work of desire, despair, and reconciliation. A polemical and theoretical text far ahead of its time. One of the most extraordinary texts of any of the Surrealists of that time period (1940′s) by one of Romania’s most important members of the Bucharest Surrealist group. Includes all of Inventor of Love and a survey of other writings by Luca. First translation into English.
§ As a former Ink Stained Wretch I was sad to learn from Maud Newton that Editor & Publisher will soon be following the employers of its journalist and editor readers into history’s recycle bin.
§ While we’re on the subject of food (what do you mean we weren’t on the subject of food. This is New Orleans. We are having a conversation–sort of–you considering responses via comments in your head while I talk but its not like I’m one of those circular breathing idiots who always go into my line of work , the ones who go on endlessly in telephone conference calls and who you can only interrupt by poking them in person with a sharp pencil but you, you can hit comments anytime–and so this is a conversation if only because I say so and in any conversation in New Orleans (even those involving two people in cars who park in the middle of a residential intersection to review the entire last Saints game through the driver’s window even though you need to get cigarettes before you just holler Ramming Speed and plow into them), we are going to have to talk about food. So Read This and do not fail to click the link to Alex Balk’s recipe for cooking steak.
§ My pal Ray discusses run on sentences. I’m in favor of, but you knew that or do now.
§ Is Susan Larson back? It’s her first post in three weeks and features Peggy Scott Laborde’s Xmas book. I guess someone has to do that, but I think I’d rather try out for a guest spot on Dirty Jobs. I mention this only in the context of the continuing emasculation of the Picayune into some sort of NOLA Today, and because the review (and presumably the book) contains an anecdote aboutthe Centanni house on Canal Street, a fond holiday memory of my own youth. According to one of Mr. Centanni’s children, when he passed Al Copeland sent a lighted wreath to “the Real King of Christmas.” People of a certain age will understand why this is touching, and the rest of you can go back to playing Left for Dead 2, in which the Centanni house sadly does not appear but I believe Peggy Scott Laborde appears, chewing on Angus Lind’s leg.
§ For the record, I don’t know Peggy Scott Laborde. Never met the woman and I don’t know why she keeps cropping up in unflattering references in this space. For some reason people keep giving me DVDs of her WYES-TV specials on New Orleans and I find myself compelled to watch them, even though they tend to be, to my taste, syrupy sweet, with the narrational atmosphere like the subdued pallor of a old woman’s wake. My own views about New Orleans past and present tend to be a bit more boisterous.