Odd Words December 31, 2009Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
It will be another quiet week with no big events due to the holiday.
§ Susan Larson reviews the year’s local literary highlights, including mentions under notable debuts of some of our personal favorites Louis Maistros’ haunting and evocative story of magic and jazz “The Sound of Building Coffins”, Barb Johnson’s delectable slices of life on the Hurricane Coast “More of This World, Or Maybe Another” and Andrea Boll’s deep dive into the second lines “And the Parade Goes On Without You.” Listed as “most shocking tale of the year” is Ethan Brown’s “Shake the Devil Off”, I can unreservedly recommend three of the four books on her poetry list–particularly Dave Brinks “Caveat Onus” and “I Hope It’s Not Over and Good-bye: The Selected Poems of Everette Maddox,” edited by Ralph Adamo. I will get to Peter Cooley’s when I clear out the huge backlog currently piled up in my office and the side of my bed. I mean, I do have this damned inconvenient job which constantly interferes with reading and writing and some of the Odd bits of life in New Orleans.
§ Here’s a recommended New Year’s resolution: subscribe to a small magazine. As the publishing industry implodes under the same corporate profit curve addiction that swallowed journalism the future writers worth remembering are likely going to get there start in some small journal. For those money-losing labors of love to survive they need to cash flow, particularly those not affiliated with a university. If your thing is genre books like mystery or romance this won’t be of much interest, but if you want to read strong stories well written then I will make a point of posting up some recommendations as we move through the year, and invite people (writers in particular, who are the people mostly scoping out the small journal market) to send me their suggestions.
§ I have started a Facebook page about Richard Katrovas’s first novel “Mystic Pig”, which was brought back out by Oleander Press in England. This is truly one of the great books about New Orleans, and one I would recommend anyone who loves this city and a good book should read (and if you’re this far down this post on this blog, that probably means you). The usually banal Amazon editorial note’s last line is a good summary: This is a novel about sex and sexuality and race and madness and violence and fine dining. Not necessarily in that order”.
The book is at times as Rabelaisianly funny as “Confederacy of Dunces”, as psychologically apt as anything by Walker Percy, captures the male psyche in a way that equals (at least) Richard Ford and will likely please the foodie fans of Poppy Brite. And unlike any of those author’s books, this one has recipes. Hat tip to Ray for calling this one to our attention. Before you rush to your local bookstore, no one could pull this one up via a U.S. distributor, so you’ll likely have to get your copy online (which runs close to $30 with currency exchange and shipping from the publisher, but there are used copies of this new and the original edition out there cheaper).
§ The 17 Poets reading series hosted by Dave Brinks at the Goldmine Saloon is dark until February, but the weekly readings at the Maple Leaf Bar on Sundays at 3 p.m. and the new Dinky Tao readings hosted by Thaddeus Conti at the back bar of Molly’s at the Market Tuesdays at 9 p.m. If you notice a pattern here, well, it’s New Orleans. I mean, do people in other cities hold poetry readings in places other than bars? Really? Another good reason why I moved back home.
§ The Tennessee Williams Festival has published the schedule for the 2010 event March 24-28. . One notable highlight will be a featured appearance by Dave Eggers co-wrote the recent film “Away We Go” and adapted “Where the Wild Things Are” to the big screen. He is the author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” and “What is the What”, and is the founder of McSweeney’s and co-founder of 826 Valencia, a writing center for youth. He will also present a master class lecture.