Odd Words April 1, 2010Posted by Mark Folse in books, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Odd Words
Courtesy of LitDrift, a website with a banner in which Zombie Rodeo pines thus: “Oh that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might reach inside her head and chew her scrumptious brain” but which actually is full of interesting stuff, such as a link to Lewis Lapham’s Quarterly in which Kurt Vonnegut explains literature via some nifty diagrams. The Internet is a wonderful thing, especially if you have work to do and it has nothing to do with writing.
§ It’s National Poetry Month in April. Even if you’re just reading this because you know me or because you’re bored at lunch, I know you were exposed to poetry at some point in high school or college, and filed the experience away with brussels sprouts, you know: the ones you mother cracked out of that Bird’s Eye box in the freezer and made you eat. Not everyone was lucky enough to have a teacher like Mr. Burns at De La Salle, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the English teacher character in Mystic Pig, someone who by the end of the year had you truly listening to and thinking about poetry.
It doesn’t have to be like those brussels sprouts. First, brussels sprouts in season and well prepared are delicious. So is poetry, if you read the right stuff. I can’t tell you what the right stuff is, any more than I can convince Greg that the Grateful Dead is the acme of American Popular Music. Still, there must have been something you liked, from some period or genre. Sometime this month, stop in the bookstore or the library and just cruise the spines until something pops out at you. Then take it down and read it. Now, take it to check out and find yourself a tree somewhere and get yourself back to that high school space of mind and just sit there and read away the afternoon. You might just be able to get over that metallic Bird’s Eye memory.
§ Susan Stouse, who’s taken over intermittent book reviewing duties for the Picayune Item, opens her Sunday column with this: “in the rest of the country, people will celebrate books next month by taking in National Library Week, Support Teen Literacy Week and National Drop Everything and Read Day. Don’t read us wrong; these are really, really good things, all these “observances.” It’s just that, um … where’s the music? Where’s the food?”
§ Stolen from her column are a couple of poetry notes: Dennis Formento publisher of “Mesechabe: The Journal of Surregionalism,” but best known by some as the founder of the Frank Zappatistas free jazz/free verse band will publish (Looking for an Out Place” (FootHills Press, $15) this spring. And also this: Already out, from Chicory Bloom Press, the small Thibodaux imprint started by noted poets Glenn Bergeron and David Middleton that publishes but two handsome, handmade poetry chapbooks each year, is a limited edition of “Trees in a Park” ($15), a chapbook of works by distinguished poet and Tulane University professor emerita Catharine Savage Brosman. Louisiana poet laureate Darrell Bourque is smitten, calling the author “an impeccable artist” and “one of the great metaphysicians of our time and place.”
§ She also reports the paper release of “Song for My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White” by musician/Time editor/Tulane professor/bestselling author Tom Sancton who will play Tulane’s Dixon Hall April 19 to celebrate the new version. Sancton will play (clarinet) at the April 20 re-launch party at Octavia Books, with his Classic Jazz Trio mates John Rankin and Tom Fischer.
§ Featured tonight 17 poets tonite New Orleans poet, editor and publisher KYSHA BROWN (author of Spherical Woman, Runagate Press 2010), and New Orleans poet, editor and publisher JOSEPH BIENVENU (author of Atom Parlor, BlazeVox Books 2010). Also, host and noted poet Dave Brinks mentioned the other night there will be a celebration of Bob Kaufman’s birthday on Thursday, April 15 (Kaufman’s birthday is the 18th) so have something of Kaufman’s ready to read (and you’d best have it by memory, and be ready to jump up on the bar or a car parked outside to proclaim it. Just don’t jump on the blue Vue if it’s in front. The hood won’t take the weight.
§ At the Maple Leaf this Sunday the poet Sulla, laureate of the dour, will read followed by an open mike.