Odd Words: On The Road Edition December 2, 2010Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
LATE UPDATE: There is no 17 Poet! tonight at the Goldmine. Feel better, Dave. The rest of you check out the book launch event below.
No, I’m not typing this on an endless roll of teletype stock but at a Hilton, on the road for business. It’s not exactly exciting to be typing up all the things I might miss while sitting in this room but I might drive like a banshee Friday night from the airport to make one event.
While I was transfixed with boredom in a four day meeting in which I figured I really didn’t need to be except for perhaps a day and a half, I wrote the following email to TheRumpus.Net poetry book club mailing list, after reading this rather disjointed essay that seemed as I read and re-read to crystallize much of the traffic on the list of late as we struggled with an Odd and frustrating and enchanting book, Jena Osman’s The Network. “What I think we are doing in part is redefining poetry (for ourselves and each other) on our own terms, through the community of the Rumpus, under the very gentle guidance (by selection) of Brian [Spears, the book club editor]. Which is, for those of us not in academia, a most interesting exercise…”. This is America. Poetry, or any other art (I think as I finish the last pages of Patti Smith’s We Were Just Kids) is what we choose to make it, democratically and in the age of the Internet by means unimaginable to any who came before us. There is a cannon but we are as lost as the character in Borges’ The Library of Babel and in that wilderness of words free to make something as beautiful as that story. Through communities like the Rumpus we are shaping in our own minds and in those of others the shape of American poetry.
And so, the listings. As usual, this is just the places you might find me (I’m the old fart in the young man’s hat); not a comprehensive attempt to replace the local newspaper (because it has no book section, so there is nothing to compete against). It is instead itself an exercise is defining worth and finding direction, much as my feature link and own thoughts on the subject discuss.
§ Here’s one I’ll miss I really wish I wouldn’t: the book release party (hey, I hear those are fun) for How To Rebuild A City: Field Guide from a Work in Progress at Beth’s Books, Thursday, Dec. 2 from 6-8 p.m.With contributions and collaboration from over 100 residents, writers, photographers, artists, and community organizations from New Orleans (and beyond) who kickstarted the recovery process, How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a Work in Progress presents the post-disaster landscape from the perspectives of those who are navigating their way through it. Edited by Anne Gislelson of Press Street Press and Tristan Thompson of Beth’s Books. h/t to Charlotte from NOLAFemmes for calling this one out
§ On Friday, Dec. 3 at 6:00 P.M. Maple Leaf book hosts a signing and reading of WHERE WE KNOW: NEW ORLEANS AS HOME. Editor Dave Rutledge has selected several of his UNO colleagues to read, but this fabulous book features works by my friends and colleagues in the university of hard drink Ray Shea and Sam Jasper along with myself. Mingling contemporary writers with historical pieces, this is a physically beautiful book, not in the coffee table sense but in the sense of a work of the book maker’s art that’s all about the words. It would make a fantastic Christmas present for anyone who loves New Orleans.
§ Also on Friday Sean Yseult, who broke the gender barrier in headbanging music and headlined arenas around the world as the bassist in metal/punk band White Zombie will sign Her artfully designed “photo scrapbook,” “I’m in the Band: Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie,” documents her 11 year march to metal’s vanguard. Friday, Dec. 3 starting at 6 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. Now a resident of New Orleans and former owner of the bar The Saint, she still plays with the local group Rock City Morgue and runs a design company. Holder of an MFA from Parsons the New School of Design in New York she draws designs for scarves.
§ Also on Friday, as part of the PhotoNOLA festival, the New Orleans Photo Alliance and Octavia Books will host an eight-person book-signing event Friday, 5-7 p.m, the Historic New Orleans Collection Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St. Featured will be photographers Dave Anderson (“One Block: A New Orleans Neighborhood Rebuilds”); Michelle Bates (“Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity”); Julie Blackmon (“Domestic Vacations”); Jackie Brenner (“Friday Night Grind”); Ashley Merlin (“Statuesque New Orleans”); Sylvia Plachy (“Self Portrait with Cows Going Home”); Mario Tama (“Coming Back: New Orleans Resurgent”); Christopher Porché West (“New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost”); and contributors to “Before (During) After.” Keynote speaker Michael Kenna (“Venezia, ” “Love in Black and White”) will sign several of his books after his presentation from 7 to 9 p.m.
§ Poets Alison Pellegrin and Martha Serpas will read from their work Saturday, December 4th at 2pm at Latter Library.
§ Also at the Maple Street Books Shop, Mario Tama, photographer of Coming Back: New Orleans Resurgent, will sign her book photobook from 1:00-3:00 P.M., Saturday, December 4, 2010. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to New Schools for New Orleans
§ Susan Larson, the former Times-Picayune books editor is now hosting “The Reading Life,” a new show dedicated to all things bookish, on WWNO-FM on Tuesdays from 6:30-7:00 pm, featuring author interviews, a literary calendar and other news. I need to get on her mailing list as I don’t know on Thursdays what’s up next Tuesday, but so far she has featured WHERE WE KNOW and an interview with Anne Rice.
§ On Sunday at the Maple Leaf, there will be a group reading by John Gery’s MFA students from UNO.
At the peril of losing my readership of dozens, Susan Stouse who now edits the Times-Picayune’s much truncated monthly book nook (well, most of a page), is posting a once-a-month listing of events on NOLA.com. It’s nice that the book link of a newspaper, who’s clientele are at least theoretically literate (the comment’s sections of news stories notwithstanding). December’s list is here.
Finally, having pimped Dave Rutledge’s WHERE WE KNOW I might remind you that A Howling in the Wires would also make a great Christmas gift. “If you only ever read one post-Katrina related book… this thin volume is all you will need.” (Thanks for Louis Maistros, author of
The Sound of Building Coffins for that beautiful blurb). You can get your copy(s) here, and if you want it signed and personalized by the editors, just put a note in the Pay Pal comments section. We’ll get it to you by the holiday even if Sam Jasper has to peddle halfway across town on her bike to drop it by your house. Such is the life of a small, start-up publishing company.