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Odd Words June 30, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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First a completely unfair review of a review of a novel I haven’t read. (We are nothing if not trendsetters here. I discovered the fascinating Net Lit magazine Metazen when they pointed out, in four word link rich with understated Tao Linesque irony, that I had published a review of a review. Now all the kids are doing them).

How to write a novel about post Katrina New Orleans.

  1. Move to New Orleans in 2004 (to escape hurricanes in Miami).
  2. Start writing a novel about New Orleans in 2005.
  3. Stop writing a novel after evacuating for Katrina.
  4. Move to San Francisco in 2007 to finish a different New Orleans novel.
  5. Bask in reviews in The Atlantic that go like this: “Her years in the city—not as a tourist, but as a taxpayer—make the novel work. Gran’s New Orleans hits every note expected, with an unexpected nuance that only comes with a 504 area code and a degree in cultural anthropology

I’m exhausted. Don’t ask me about my day. I’m going to put up the listings and go to bed and read Richard Brautigan, which is like Goodnight Moon for adults, while sipping Buffalo Trace bourbon. And having confessed I like Richard Brautigan, I’m now going to have to give up picking on Tao Lin and start picking on David Foster Wallace, except I would have to read Infinite Jest first and I don’t know where I’ll find the time. I have to get through 2666 first.

& Just in time for that July 4th hot dog and pie eating contest and the inevitable too many beers, Garden District Books hosts a self-help book for the diet frustrated, Just Tell Me What To Eat. Thursday June 30, 5:30 pm, Garden District Bookshop.

&Also on Friday, Faubourg Marigny Art & Books will host Michael Holloway Perrone signing his novel A Time Before Us and donating 10% of sales to PFLAG , one of the oldest organizations in New Orleans serving the LGBT Community.

& Octavia Books is sort of taking the week off, but mark your calendar for next Thursday when Chin Music Press author Jennifer Shaw will give a presentation and sign her novel Hurricane Story. (A presentation? OK, I’d probably go anyway, but my curiosity is peaked, which is not to be confused with my current peaked appearance. “This first-person narrative, illustrated through toys and dolls photographed using an inexpensive plastic camera, depicts Jennifer Shaw’s strange but true tale of her evacuation from New Orleans, including the dramatic birth of her first son on the very day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the pressures on her marriage as she and her husband struggle with depression and rage, and the return to New Orleans with their newest family member in time for Mardi Gras.” Thursday July 7, 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

& Nancy Harris is skipping this week’s Maple Leaf Poetry Series because its Fourth of July Weekend, but we still hold up the title of longest continuously running poetry series in the south, and will take violent Southern umbrage with anyone who disagrees. You know how we can get, so watch yourselves. Go read some Everette Maddox on Sunday instead.


&
There’s a conference I haven’t heard about yet called the Bayou Soul Writers and Readers conference. I don’t have many details but check out their web-site. I assume they’re trying to tie into the Essence crowd. If I can get more details from them I’ll post them up separately.

& And yes, its Essence Festival weekend and there are a few author events as part of the Empowerment series of speakers. All copy is straight from the Essence web site by way of the author’s publicist, all of whom seem to use the popular Macintosh program Breathless Praise to auto-generate mini-bios. If you think Essence is all about the music, there are some pretty serious folks on this list so don’t skip over it: Tayari Jones, Cornel West and Dolen Perkins-Valdez for example. And all you Essence Fest visitors: we love you. Spend lots of money. And if you’re going to drink to much, be sure to throw up on the stoop of one of the French Quarter businesses with a sign that reads “Closed for July 4th Weekend” because we all know what that really means.

  • Danille Evan’s first collection of stories Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self has signaled the debut of an important new voice in literary fiction.
  • Chef Jeff Henderson is a New York Times best-selling author and America’s most inspirational culinary star. An award-winning chef, motivational speaker, former host of docu-reality TV series The Chef Jeff Project, and Food Network television personality, Henderson captivates audiences across the country with his triumphant story of change and the power of potential. The first African American to be named Chef de Cuisine at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and executive chef at Café Bellagio, Henderson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Cooked, Chef Jeff Cooks, and is the editor of the America I AM Pass It Down Cookbook.
  • Tayari Jones has written for McSweeney’s, the New York Times, and The Believer. Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, received best of the year nods from the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Creative Loafing. And The Untelling won the Lillian C. Smith Award from the Southern Regional Council and was a Target Breakout Book. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. She is on the MFA faculty at Rutgers and is a 2011-12 Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
  • Terry McMilan is one of the most popular authors of our time with a half dozen New York Times best-sellers including Waiting to Exhale and Getting to Happy, which will be released in paperback this June.
  • Broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Smiley hosts the late night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, The Tavis Smiley Show distributed by Public Radio International (PRI), and is the co-host of Smiley & West (PRI). Smiley has authored 14 books, including his New York Times bestselling memoir, What I Know for Sure
  • Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important public intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice, and the New York Times bestseller Democracy Matters. His most recent book releases include Hope on a Tightrope: Words & Wisdom, and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He is the recipient of the American Book Award and holds more than 20 honorary degrees.
  • Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of Wench, a New York Times bestselling novel published by Amistad/HarperCollins in 2010. USA Today called the book “deeply moving” and “beautifully written” and O, The Oprah Magazine chose it as a Top Ten Pick of the Month. Dolen’s fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, StorySouth, and elsewhere. She is a 2009 finalist for the Robert Olen Butler Fiction Award. A graduate of Harvard and a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA, Dolen lives in Washington, DC.
    • Whew, made it to the end. Thankfully, on the internet no one knows you’re an amoeba, because I’m a quivering blob of goo.If I manage to successfully schedule this to publish tomorrow morning I’ll be amazed. Good thing I like Richard Brautigan because if I had to pick up 2666 or There Is No Year right now I’d probably just have to leave my bookmark where I started and read the same pages again tomorrow.

Broadsided by that Ford Econoline June 29, 2011

Posted by The Typist in literature, music, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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First I found Broadsided Press on Facebook, and their wonderful broadsides combining poetry and art. If you go to their site, be sure to pull up the PDFs so you can view them legibly. I really like this one. And this one.

Then over at The Rumpus I am introduced to a regular feature on the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com called All Over Coffee. I like this last one because it speaks not only to the obviously female character (and if you’re a guy and you’ve never cranked Ford Econoline for the shear joy of the song well you need to reconsider your taste in music) because this last broadside speaks to anyone who had taken a step over a line: across the threshold of a door, into that dark alley, off Don Juan’s cliff.

Another publication, another typo June 27, 2011

Posted by The Typist in literature, lyric essay, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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And my own fault, a lesson in the perils on online submission of web-ready manuscripts.

Read “sparse” for “spare” in the first line, although it sort of works with the typo, but sparse is better.

So it goes.

The micro-piece Sparse is up today Metazan, a top-shelf Net Lit online publication I read daily. And therein lies a lesson: read where you submit and if you’ve got something going on, you’ll pick the right piece to send them.

And get someone to read it one last time before you hit Send on Submishmash.

A wise literary friend suggested there are periods in your life when you pour you soul out onto the page filling notebook after notebook which a wise writer will then burn.

I disagree.

Pike and Fife June 24, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I’m going to fight it, but I’ll let it live. What about my dynamite?
–Steve Zissou

Odd Words June 23, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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I have been having a fascinating back channel conversation with an acquaintance about the dumbing down of new literature, a tendency of the hot, new young writers to work in sentences that read like Young Adult literature. This isn’t a new phenomena. I bought my copy of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love at the newsstand/bookstore on Penn Ave SE in Washington DC in the late 1980s. And then there’s Hemmingway, the papa of the simple sentence and story.

My own train of thought about this started out when I stopped into the Border’s fire sale and picked up a copy of Tao Lin’s Shoplifting from American Apparel just to see what all the fuss was about. (Review of a sort here: #twiterature). For someone weaned on Faulkner and Pynchon it’s easy to have a knee jerk reaction and think “dumbed down” but perhaps that is not entirely fair. What do you think?

Things are hopping locally with the American Library Association in town. The local bookstores are strutting their stuff and bringing in some big names with a focus on the little people (kids and YA). So here’s an entirely gratuitous Google hook pimping What To Do In New Orleans While At The ALA Convention (y’all have fun and spend lots of money).

& Tonight Louisiana’s new Poet Laureate Julie Kane. The event will be preceded by a reception and the dedication of the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation Board Room. Doors open at 6 but the reading doesn’t begin until 6:30 p.m. Kane a professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. A tireless promoter of poetry in the state, she is a recipient of the National Poetry Series award (2002), the Donald Justice Poetry Prize (2009), and a Fulbright Scholarship (2002). In 2005, she was selected as a juror for the National Book Award in Poetry. Thursday June 23, 6:00 pm. Louisiana Humanities Center.

& Also tonight at the Ogden Museum, a book signing for A Southernly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home
Martha Hall Foose shares Mississippi Delta flavors, ingredients, recipes, and stories. This is in the Museum Store and Center for Southern Craft and Design. Thursday June 23, 6 p.m. Ogden Museum.

& Friday night at NOMA Where Y’Art will feature a lecture with Freddi Evans, author of New Orleans’ Congo Square: A Cultural Landmark at 6 p.m., with a signing to follow in the gift shop, and a “conversation” titled “Congo Square: Culinary Connections Culinary Conversation” with Lolis Eric Elie & Jessica B. Harris at 7 p.m. Music in the foyer by the Friendly Travelers and other art-oriented events at the same times. I’m salivating over the latter event, but there’s a walk through of the Japanese collection with the curator at the same time. I need a clone. Apply within. Demonstrable powers of telepathy required. Friday, June 24 6 & 7 pm, NOMA.

& This weekend New Orleans will once againhost Micheal “Heck of a Job” Brown promoting his new book Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond, co-written with Ted Schwartz. So saddle up your Arabian stallion and ride on down to hear “Brownie’s” side of the story. Friday June 24, 6 p.m., Garden District Book Shop and Saturday, June 25 (no time given) at Maple Street Book Shop. I haven’t read the book, but don’t hesistate to give him a good slap on the back and tell him heck of a job, Brownie.

& I would be remiss not to mention another key Katrina figure, former Mayor Ray Nagin, this week launched his self-published memoir of the storm, but since he’s decided to only sell direct and cut out the local indie bookstores from sales, he can start his own literary listing. I might grab the e-book just out of curiosity at some point but really, don’t give the Walking Id encouragement.

& This Saturday at Room 220 two authors will be feature. Jesus Angel Garcia, a Bay Area-based transmedia artist, is on tour to celebrate the release of his new novel, badbadbad. The “transmedia novel” combines a traditional print book, a soundtrack of original songs derived from the narrative, and a series of short documentary films based on the novel’s themes: fear, hypocrisy, sexual morality, intimacy in e-culture, and self-destruction v. redemption. The novel’s multimedia composition lends itself spectacularly to innovative and intense performance. Replete with bullhorn and literary-audio-visual barrage, García’s performance at this year’s AWP conference prompted author Nik Korpon to declare, “Jesús Ángel García destroys the joint. His performance is what every reading should be.”

Hannah Miet is a poet, essayist, and multimedia journalist based in New Orleans and New York. A substantial portion of her personal work concerns her relationship with her younger brother, Gabe, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and Schizoaffective disorder. Miet’s writing on this topic betrays her journalistic tendencies, as she uses long blocks of actual dialog from recorded conversations to probe the touching and sometimes absurd territory in which the two interact. Room 220 features excerpts from her essay “Throw the Dirt, Brother.” Saturday June 25, 7 p.m., Antenna Gallery</a

& Also on Saturday, Garden District will feature #1 New York Times Bestseller Mo Willems, who began his career as a writer and animator for PBS’ Sesame Street, where he garnered 6 Emmy Awards for his writing. His debut effort, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! became a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2004. The following year Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale was awarded a Caldecott Honor. The sequel, Knuffle Bunny Too: a Case of Mistaken Identity garnered Mo his third Caldecott Honor in 2008. In addition to picture books, Mo created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of “Easy Readers”, which were awarded the Theodor Suess Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and a Geisel Honor in 2011. For older audiences he has published an illustrated memoir of his year-long trip around the world in 1990-91 entitled You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons. Saturday June 25, 3 p.m., Garden District Book Shop.

& On Saturday, Sunday and Monday Octavia Books will celebrate the visit of the American Library Association to New Orleans with a raft of events for YA and adult books, including Sarah Dessen, Laura Myracle, Kevin Henkes, Cassandra Clare & Ellen Hopkins, Tomie dePaola & Richard Peck, Kate DiCamillo, Ingrid Law, Jay Asher & Maureen Johnson.Elana Johnson, Jenny Han, Jessi Kirby and John Corey Whaley – signing. I’m not even going to try to recap all these authors here. Visit the Octavia Books website for Details. And bring Tom or your favorite member of his staff a cup of coffee for chrissakes. They are gonna be busy there this weekend.

& And starting on Friday, Maple Street Book Shop will feature a series of events for ALA week at the shop and around town, including Tom Angleberger with Michael Hemphill at Loyola Summer Camp, Jeff Kinney, Tomie DePaola, Kevin Henkes, David Unger, Richard Peck, N.H. Senzai and Frances O’Roark Dowell. Again, pop over to Maple Street’s website for all the details.

& On Tuesday Octavia will host Tom Franklin, author of CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER and Laura Lippman, auithor of I’D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE. Tuesday, June 27, 6 p.m., Octavia Books

& On Sunday, the Maple Leaf is open mic at 3 p.m. in the patio, so grab that notebook and a beer and pass a warm summer afternoon with the cool kids. The 17 Poets! series at the Goldmine is off for the summer.

& Here’s some early notice for one two weeks out: Octavia will host Chin Music Press author Jennifer Shaw and her stunning book Hurricane Story. This first-person narrative, illustrated through toys and dolls photographed using an inexpensive plastic camera, depicts Jennifer Shaw’s strange but true tale of her evacuation from New Orleans, including the dramatic birth of her first son on the very day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the pressures on her marriage as she and her husband struggle with depression and rage, and the return to New Orleans with their newest family member in time for Mardi Gras. The photographs, at turns humorous and haunting, contrast deftly with the prose. Thursday, July 7, Octavia Books.

A Poem for Summer June 21, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Poetry.
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An excerpt from Mutra by Octavio Paz

Like a too-loving mother, a terrible mother of suffocation,
like a silent lioness of sunlight,
a single wave the size of the sea,
it has arrived noiselessly and in each of us has taken its
place like a king
and the glass days melt and in each breast is erected a
throne of thorns and live coals
and its dominion is a solemn hiccup, a crushed breathing
of gods and animals with eyes dilated
and mouths full of hot insects uttering one same syllable
day and night, day and night.
Summer, enormous mouth, vowel made of fumes and
panting!

This day wounded to death creeping along the length of
time and never finished with dying,
and the day to come, now scraping impatiently at the
no-man’s-land of dawn,
and the rest waiting their hour in the vast stables of the year, this day and its four pups, morning with its crystal tail
and noon with its one eye,
noon absorbed in its light, seated in splendor,
afternoon rich in birds, night with its bright stars armed
and in full regalia,
this day and the presences that the sun exalts or pulls
down with a simple wingblow:
the girl who appears in the street and is a stream of quiet freshness, the beggar raising himself up like a feeble prayer, a heap
of garbage and whining canticles,
red bougainvillea black through darkness of red, purple
in accumulated blue,
women bricklayers carrying stones on their heads as if
they carried extinguished suns,
the beauty in her cave of stalactites, the sound of her
scorpion’s scales,
the man covered with ashes who worships the phallus,
dung and water,
musicians who tear sparks out of daybreak and make the
airy tempest of the dance come down to earth,
the collar of sparkle, electric garlands in equilibrium at midnight, the sleepless children picking fleas by moonlight,
fathers and mothers with their family flocks and their
beasts asleep and their gods petrified a thousand years ago, butterflies, vultures, snakes, monkeys, cows, insects
looking like madness,
all this long day with its frightful cargo of beings and
things slowly being stranded on suspended time.

– Octavio Paz

Odd Words: Sapphic Fragment Edition June 19, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Thou forgettest me.
— Sappho

OK, this week’s listing are coming together like marbles careening across the deck of a ship.

Now with yet another omission added back in. Garden District needs to fix their website’s event listings (which only show May).

& A reminder of The New Orleans Poetic Caucus organized by Kataalyst Alcindor at the McKenna Museum of African-American Art, 2003 Carondelet St. “This is an open invitation to any and all poets, activist an community based organizations willing to sit down an talk to one another. This meeting will consist of speaking on topics such as “The Importance of Youth Poetry to The Inter-generational Scene” “Poetry an Public Service.” “Galvanizing Our Community Through Supportive Unity” an ” Hosting The 2013 Southern Fried Poetry Slam.” We will also have short introductions an a free speech session.” While Kataalyst is a slam-style, spoken word poet I encourage everyone to check this out. We have too many fragmented literary circles in this town. Its time we all started sitting at the same counter.

& On Tuesday Editor Lee Grue and contributors Kichea Burke, Michael Fedor, and Joshua Walsh will present their art and talk about the upcoming issue of the literary journal The New Laurel Review, founded in Bywater in the 1960s and edited by Grue since the ’70s. The magazine has published a number of notable poets and authors, including Gerald Locklin, Lyn Lifshin, Roland John (England), Dave Brinks, Joyce Odam, Jared Carter, Richard Pflum, Virgil Suarez, Edward Lowberry (England), Ray McNiece, James Nolan, and Andrew Frisardi. Refreshments will be served and security will be provided for this free presentation. Please join us to learn more about this unique publication in our own “back yard”. For more information about Alvar Arts please email info@alvararts.org.

& On Wednesday Jason Berry, author of Chin Music Press’ novel “Last of the Red Hot Poppas”, is holding a discussion and signing of his latest non-fiction book, “Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.” An investigation of epic financial intrigue, “Render Unto Rome” exposes the secretive and sometimes highly dubious ways the Catholic Church uses its money. Garden District Book Shop, Wednesday June 22 5:30 p.m.

& Also on Wednesday, an absolutely fascinating event titled “Esoterotica: Original Erotic Readings by Local Writers.” The Face book blurb says, “Join us for an evening of sexy spoken word of all different styles and sensibilities from a fabulous array of local writers. We’re not going to tell you what sensualist soliloquies you’re going to hear but we do suggest you order a glass of water with your drink cause we’re sure to make you sweat… just a little, just enough…. We’ll see you there.” Allways Lounge Theatre, Wednesday, June 22 at 8 p.m
& And on Thursday, The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will host the first official reading by new Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. The event will be preceded by a reception and the dedication of the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation Board Room, honoring the foundation’s contributions to the LEH. Louisiana Humanities Center, June 23, 6:30 p.m.

Tearing Down The Future June 19, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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My father, Sidney Joseph Folse, Jr. A.I.A, was an ardent modernist who lead the design teams at Curtis & Davis that produced such local masterpieces as The Rivergate and Cabrini Church. He was also a preservationist who lead the opposition to The Riverfront Expressway as president of the New Orleans chapter of the A.I.A. (even as the designers drew in the tunnel beneath Rivergate for the expressway).

This Father’s Day weekend the New Orleans Recovery School District tore down the Phillis Wheatley School in Treme, one of New Orleans’ most famous surviving examples of 20th Century modernism. Elevated on steel trusses to catch the breeze in the days before air conditioned schools, and top rovide a shaded playground underneath, it was a prefect blend of the modern sensibility and practical accommodation to the environment, a Green building long before the term was coined.

It almost broke my heart to watch the workers on HBO’s Treme tossing furniture and books out of the elevated and so un-flooded school, a painfully ironic intersection of corruption and blind obedience to the law.

We can’t stagnate in our past as we have done for so much of the last century in New Orleans, but if we forget and do not cherish and respect our history, our models of choice are Dallas or Detroit. I would rather see the lake take back the city, and let it live in memory, before either.

Odd Words June 18, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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This week’s big event is a poetry summit organized by Kataalyst Alcindor. The Facebook Page of The New Orleans Poetic Caucus extends an open invitation to any and all poets, activists and community based organizations willing to sit down and talk to one another. This meeting will consist of speaking on topics such as “The Importance of Youth Poetry to The Inter-generational Scene” “Poetry and Public Service.” “Galvanizing Our Community Through Supportive Unity” and ” Hosting The 2013 Southern Fried Poetry Slam.” We will also have short introductions and a free speech session. This event will be held Monday, June 20th at The McKenna Museum of African American Arts, 2003 Carondelet St. from 7pm to 9pm.” Our goal is to breed a more healthy relationship within our community as well encourage others to take part of our on going legacy. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think that might be interested. I hope you can find time in your schedule to make it.” McKenna Museum, Monday June 20, 6 p.m.

Also, Room 220 editor Nathan C. Martin has a two part write up on the blog Pelican Bomb of Loujon Press, the literary small letter press publishing in the French Quarter in New Orleans, which produced Charles Bukowski’s first two books, works by Henry Miller and the literary journal The Outsider. Oh, don’t miss Part 2. If you find this fascinating, don’t miss the documentary Bohemian New Orleans featuring Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb, co-publisher and notable Quarter Character in her time, talking about the press, her husband Jon Edgar and their life together in publishing.

The American Library Association is in town this week but you likely have to be registered for any events the group is hosting. Here’s wishing all the bookstores downtown good business. Otherwise, it’s a quiet week in Lake Moe De Lawn where the women are long and the men are fast talkin’.

& Maple Street Bookshop will host Dr. Lake Douglas, Associate Professor at LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, will be at Maple on June 18, 20https://toulousestreet.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6574&action=edit&message=611, 1:00 to 2:30 P.M. to share his latest book, Public Spaces, Private Gardens: A History of Designed Landscapes in New Orleans. Maple Leaf Book Shop, Saturday June 18, 1 p.m.

& Coffee Shop Chronicles author David Lummis will read from and discuss his book at the Latter Library Saturday, June 18 · 2:00pm – 3:30pm

& Octavia Books hosts New York Times bestselling author Alan Furst returns to Octavia Books to give a reading and book signing featuring SPIES OF THE BALKANS. Octavia Books, Monday June. 20, 6 p.m.

Odd Words June 16, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Happy Bloomsday! Here in New Orleans, we’ve having a casual meetup at Mick’s Irish Pub at 4801 Bienville, corner of Bernadotte. We’ll have a glorious reading to astonish the druidy druids.

& Bloomsday NOLA, natch.

& At 17 Poets! : Final Show for spring season. Get there early to sign up for the open mic and gorge yourself on delicious foods. Book signing with Jamey Jones/ Chapbook Release with Bill Lavender and endless possibilities

& Chris Champagne will present WIN, PLACE OR SHOW RACE TRACK TALES at The Steak Knife on Harrison Avenue Thursday at 8 p.m. Cover.

& The folks behind the Twitter identiy @FakeAPStylebook will visit Octavia with their new stylebook WRITE MORE GOOD. “It’s time to face up to reality: Writing clearly, checking facts, and correcting typos are dying arts. Whether you’re a jaded producer of media or a nitpicking consumer of it, this book will help you to embrace, not resist, the lowering of standards for the written word!” Octavia Books, June 16, 6 p.m.

& The Maple Street Bookshop will host K&B DRUG STORES with John Epstein WILL share his book on K&B Drug Stores, which he co-authored with Sydney J. Besthoff III, past president and owner of K&B Drug Stores and grandson of Sydney J. Besthoff (founder with Gustave Katz of Katz & Besthoff Drug Store). Step past the tube tester and back into time, maybe grab a cherry coke at the counter and relive the history of K&B. (Look at almost any corner, and what do you see. A big purple sign that says:friendly K&B). Just stay away from the Blue Law aisles on Sunday, and definitely avoid the K&B Gin. Maple Street Book shop, June 16 at 6 p.m.

& You should probably also mark you calendars for this event later in June: The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will host the first official reading by new Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. The event will be preceded by a reception and the dedication of the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation Board Room, honoring the foundation’s contributions to the LEH. Louisiana Humanities Center, June 23, 6:30 p.m.

More for this weekend and the coming week when I get a minute.

Bloomsday NOLA June 14, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, Irish, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Bloomsday NOLA will be observed at Micks Irish Pub, 4801 Bienville at Bernadotte. 6:30 pm until we can’t read coherently any longer. Bring anything you like by Joyce to share, or just come join in the literary craic. Visit and Like the Bloomsday NOLA Page on Facebook or look for the #bloomsdaynola tag on Twitter for further updates.

Blake Butler lights up Antenna Gallery June 10, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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An Attempt At Describing There Is No Year In Referential Terms

If Gertrude Stein wrote the script for a Kenneth Anger film set inside of a Norman Rockwell painting to be produced for YouTube with a John Cage soundtrack.

– From a portrait of Blake Butler in Creative Loafing Atlanta

I probably shouldn’t have gone. If you have a piece of doberge cake for dinner for the sugar followed by a cafe au lait just to get yourself into gear, you should probably stay home and go to bed early, but the draw was too much. Blake Butler is the founder and editor of HTML Giant, a preeminent Young Turk of NetLit and a graduate from small press to Harper Perennial: which is to say, perhaps the Next Big Thing. So I went.

I am the first to arrive, and by far the oldest person in the room, skewing the median age by a good twenty years. Dressed in conventional shorts and a Chin Music Press t-shirt, my black-and-white stingy my only affectation. The twenty-something crowd filters in, a mix of the glad rag clad young women who populate the local writing programs (the granddaughters perhaps of Sophie Newcomb’s pottery majors), and the tattooed and tattered Bywater. Two men wear skirts.

Butler arrives with Micheal Kimball, his fellow reader and author of US, a box of books under his arm. He has neat, sandy blond hair and a stubble on his face, wears a polo shirt that might have come from K-Mart. He falls into another set barely intersecting his audience except by age, his chiseled chin and boyish good looks perhaps as much a draw as his writing for the MFA women.

ASIDE: Where Butler fits into the history of modern literature

The controversy-courting, former New Republic critic Dale Peck once described the “esoteric strain of twentieth-century literature,” a strain to which Butler certainly ascribes, as heir to a “bankrupt tradition [...] that began with the diarrheic flow of words that is Ulysses; continued on through the incomprehensible ramblings of late Faulkner and the sterile inventions of Nabokov; and then burst into full, foul life in the ridiculous dithering of Barth and Hawkes and Gaddis, and the reductive cardboard constructions of Barthelme, and the word-by-word wasting of a talent as formidable as Pynchon’s; and finally broke apart like a cracked sidewalk beneath the weight of the stupid — just plain stupid — tomes of DeLillo.”

Bankrupt tradition. Joyce, Faulkner, Pynchon. Uh, like, whatever.

Butler is not only an Internet literary phenom he is also a force of nature. Sitting in the front row while he reads his fantastical, frenetic coffee-shop triple-cap Kerouac prose is like strapping yourself into the Whirl-and-Hurl: the G force pins you in your seat and the world is turned edgewise as the the words swirl madly around you. He reads from the fourth section of his new novel, THERE IS NO YEAR, the tale of a man called The Father whose head is trapped inside of a large metal bubble with two large eye slots. The Father is fed by a variety of tubes by The Son. (Butler travels daily to write at his parents home, where he helps care for his dementia-afflicted father). The Father stumbles through the house, trying to connect back to a world he seems to have lost, stumbling out into the yard and over to the neighbors, peering at a world grown distant and fantastic through the tiny slits in his metal helmet.

I brought a notebook and recorder and had planed to ask Butler a few questions but I’m exhausted, drenched in sweat from the cake and coffee followed by beer at the reading. I wanted to ask him about the echo of Kerouac in his long third-person, stream-of-time narration, if Word is the modern analogue of the teletype roll, about writing the novel in one long sitting, if french press is to NetLit as Benzedrine is to Beats. But I don’t. I just get him to sign my book, exchanging some banter about the atypically large crowd for a reading in New Orleans and how much I enjoy HTML Giant, mindless fan chatter. Butler is the most interviewed writer on the Internet of late. You could try starting here.

Odd Words June 9, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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In this way, Deleuze has really helped me formulate my general approach to all works of literature: I do not care to comprehend them or understand them in any way. I wish instead to experience them and use them and become them.
Ken Baumann on HTML Giant

I was going to write something about the above quote, but I’m not sure I have time. I often lose myself in reading (and in music), coming up as if from a dream, bits of the book clinging to me but so much of it soon lost in the light of day. I look at my bookshelf and must force my highly idiosyncratic memory to struggle to recall the plot of a book read last year, sometimes forced to consult the jacket or read the first sentence to bring it all flooding back. (My memory has always been like this, and the 1970s probably didn’t help).

So much of what I write springs from some subterranean source in the first draft, a mystic river deep inside, the sum of all my experience and all I have read in the last fifty years. If what comes out is any good it is at least in part an idiot savant talent over which I have minimal control. Craft enters into it only at the end like an artist who works with found objects, a piece of driftwood suggesting itself, the shape and patina of the wood calling for the application of the brush or the chisel just so.

& Holy HTML Batman, Blake Butler of HTML Giant and the author of THERE IS NO YEAR and Michael Kimball, author of US, will be at the Antenna Gallery tonight. (If you’re reading this and don’t read HTML Giant, you should be). Butler is the author of three books, including Scorch Atlas, which 3:AM Magazine named Novel of the Year. The New York Times review of THERE IS NO YEAR called it “a thing of such strange beauty that digging for answers of your own will yield the rewards that only well-made art can provide.” Kimball is the author of three novels, including Dear Everybody, which the Believer called “a curatorial masterpiece.”Give my apologies to Dave and Megan but this is where I’ll be tonight. Antenna Gallery, June 9 at 7:00 p.m.

& Thursday, June 9 @ 7:00pm 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series proudly presents New Orleans Poet Jerome White along with special guests, visiting poets Paulette Swartzfager and Susan Deer Cloud. Followed by open mic featuring the Medusan MC Jimmy Ross follows.

& If you know my history, you know why I would be interested in this book (althought at $65 I’m going to have to think about it hard). My father was senior vice president of Curtis & Davis, the architectural firm responsible for much of New Orleans’s modernist architecture including the Rivergate, with the worlds largest unsupported cast concrete roof, and Cabrini Church. Next Thursday Octavia Books will host a signing for Building Community: The Work of Eskew + Dumez + Ripple . Through an analysis of works by Architects Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, this book seeks to pursue the role of the architect as community builder and shaper of human experience in addition to their physical impact on the built landscape. A first monograph for the firm, the book introduces the Studio’s unique, personal and careful approach to the design of buildings of their own time and place within the culturally rich environment of New Orleans and the Deep South region. Thursday, June 9 at Octavia Books.

& Wednesdays at the VASO Ultra Lounge (the old Hookah at 500 Frenchman) SMUT PRODUCTIONS, VILLA ENT. & VASO ULTRA LOUNGE presents: Poet’s Corner & Open Mic with a LIVE BAND. DOORS OPEN AT 9pm ONLY $5 COVER. SHOW STARTS AT 10PM GET THERE EARLY!!!! Hosted By Carl SMUT DA POET Smothers. Wednesdays, VASO Ultra Lounge

& The Ebony Center at 4215 Magazine Street hosts a weekly spoken-word, music and open-mic event. Tickets $7 general admission, $5 students. 11 p.m. Friday. I can’t get any details on this, but if you know who I can reach out to let me know.

& I’m not a mystery reader, but something about a tattooed private eye who uses her dreams, omens and the help of a bit of herb to solve a mystery in New Orleans sounds like it might just get me onto the road to finally reading some Pelecanos and The Girls with the Dragon Tattoo. My wife adores Sue Grafton who positively gushes in her blurb: ” I love this book! Absolutely love it. This is the first fresh literary voice I’ve heard in years.” OK, that some stgrong praise, so you might want to stop by Octavia Books on Saturday to check out Sara Gran and her new novel CLAIRE DEWITT AND THE CITY OF THE DEAD. Octavia Books, June 11, 6 p.m.

& On Saturday, Poet Gian “G-Persepect” Smith and Alphonse “Bobby” Smith host Pass It On, a weekly spoken-word and music event at the George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art, 2003 Carondelet St. Admission $6. 9 p.m G-Persepect is the poet featured in the Treme trailer.

& Next Thursday, the folks behind the Twitter identiy @FakeAPStylebook will visit Octavia with their new stylebook WRITE MORE GOOD. “It’s time to face up to reality: Writing clearly, checking facts, and correcting typos are dying arts. Whether you’re a jaded producer of media or a nitpicking consumer of it, this book will help you to embrace, not resist, the lowering of standards for the written word!” Octavia Books, June 16, 6 p.m.

& Also next Thursday, Maple Street Bookshop will host K&B DRUG STORES with John Epstein WILL share his book on K&B Drug Stores, which he co-authored with Sydney J. Besthoff III, past president and owner of K&B Drug Stores and grandson of Sydney J. Besthoff (founder with Gustave Katz of Katz & Besthoff Drug Store). Step past the tube tester and back into time, maybe grab a cherry coke at the counter and relive the history of K&B. (Look at almost any corner, and what do you see. A big purple sign that says:friendly K&B). Just stay away from the Blue Law aisles on Sunday, and definitely avoid the K&B Gin. Maple Street Book shop, June 16 at 6 p.m.

& You should probably also mark you calendars for this event later in June: The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will host the first official reading by new Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. The event will be preceded by a reception and the dedication of the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation Board Room, honoring the foundation’s contributions to the LEH. Louisiana Humanities Center, June 23, 6:30 p.m.

& Garden District Books calendar is only updated for May on their web-site, so there’s no listing there.

The Summer of Memory June 4, 2011

Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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Already it is the summer of memory, childhood revisited in the warm bath of a brown lawn, walking barefoot carefully amidst the stickers, somewhere your grandfather’s voice scolding your mother: “you let those children go barefoot, people will think you can’t afford shoes.”

We prefigure the Huck Finn of some future broiling tile-walled classroom and head directly toward the water, canals and bayous–jigs, cane polls, crab nets–the innocent equipment of summer.  The air is too still for dime kites, to hot a broth to fight our fathers’ war with sticks; too hot for devilry mid-afternoon. Fortified with a nickle’s worth of popsicle, we retire to the dark heart of a lilac forest to talk lazily in the shaded  brown cave at its center or scale crooked oaks in search of breeze and distant vistas, on the lookout for new adventures.

What will my children remember when they step out on insistent adult errands some summer morning, their childhood bound up by Ipod and xBox in dark, air conditioned rooms? No remembered adventures of a world where all adults were pirates, ogres or enemy pickets, no stove top crab boils of their morning’s catch.

Something has died in our generation, and I suddenly understand the nineteenth century impulse to flee the ordered bourgeois lanes and fields and fetid cities for Tahiti, but even this impulse will be lost when our children have no memory of the tropical utopias of childhood.

Odd Words at the Latter Library Saturday June 3, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Not sure how this fell off of the listings, but the Milton Latter Memorial Library will host a Poets Reading Poets reading Saturday, June 4 at 2 p.m., featuring local poets reading from their own favorite poets. Readers include: Chris Champagne, organizer Gina Ferrara, Mark Folse, Kelly Harris, Danny Kerwick, Jonathan Kline, Joseph Makkos, Laura Mattingly, Ben Morris, Valentine Pierce, Jimmy Ross and Laurie Williams.

This is an amazing line up of local poets and I’m flattered to be asked to participate. I am leaning toward reading from The Cloud Corporation by Timothy Donnelly, which I mentioned in my Books I Read post for 2010. It’s the most amazing book of poetry I’ve read in years. He perfectly captures the painfully hollow zeitgeist of our age. It’s a Howling Wasteland for our generation (not comparisons I make lightly), if you substitute for Allen Ginsberg’s zealous anger a modern William Wadsworth sitting under a tree contemplating whether he really has to go back to work for Moloch on Monday.


Milton Latter Library, Saturday June 4 at 2 p.m
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Odd Words June 2, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Well, I’m still working form home and mostly from bed and riding the Vicondin roller coaster (although I have thankfully graduated down to the Kiddie Land ride), so I’m not going for clever. In fact its Thursday morning and I’m just barely getting the listings together. At least I’m getting through my book pile and yes, I guiltily admit, getting caught up with Games of Thrones. I’m a sucker for fantasy, and GOT is a fantasy with visuals by Frazetta; visuals in fact that more closely approximate the fantasies of a 1970s teenage boy gazing longingly at a Faezetta Amazon. It’s your basic sword-and-sorcery political costume drama of competing houses in a feudal system with the promise of zombies (OK, white walkers). Oh, and dragons. It’s got me hooked on the fantasy escape level. If completely gratuitous NC-17 sex and gushing arterial-graphic violence don’t put you off, you should at least check it out. Where was this stuff when I was that kid lost in the arms of that Frazetta Amazon?

Speaking of fantasy, I may have to upgrade my cable again to get access to the fresh Dr. WHO coming out of the BBC this season. Neil Gaiman has penned an episode and I am frantic to see it. I don’t think I can wait for it to hit Netflix a year from now. And there’s a movie in the works of American Gods.

And so, without further ado, the belated listings. There’s a lot going on tonight so I need to get them out there.

& Michael Kimball’s new novel, Us, depicts the slow, ordinary death of an elderly woman from her husband’s point of view. Kimball will be in town to read at the Antenna Gallery in celebration of the release of Us on Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m. He will be accompanied by Blake Butler, whose new novel, There Is No Year, recently came out via Harper Perennial. Antenna Gallery.

& Thursday, June 2 @ 7:00pm 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series proudly presents “Get Hydrated and Get Charred!” An Authors’ Reception 7:00 – 8:00pm w/ Free Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks honoring French Poet RENE CHAR’S FUROR AND MYSTERY (Black Widow Press 2011) featuring distinguished scholars & translators MARY ANN CAWS and NANCY KLINE Poetry Reading & Book Signing at 8:30pm. Open Mic featuring the deliriously debonair emcee Jimmy Ross follows.

& Paul Greenberg will discuss and sign his book on the future of our oceans and overfishing, FOUR FISH: The Future of the Last Wild Food, at Octavia Books this Thursday. This sounds like an important book for people who live in a city the cuisine of which is dominated by seafood. While is book focuses on the harvesting of wild finfish, I can’t imagine there aren’t lessons for the shellfish we rely on so heavily here in New Orleans. “Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, he reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants”. Thursday, June 2 at Octavia Books.

& I really need to get over to the The Neutral Ground Coffeehouse on Daneel Street one Thursday for the new incarnation of Thaddeus Conti’s Dinky Tao poetry group, but I know it won’t be this week. Sorry, Thadeus.

& On Friday, visit Maple Street Book Shop and when you make a purchase and sign up for their e-mail newsletter, you’ll receive one of our new “green” green FIGHT THE STUPIDS bags. Each time you return to make a purchase and use the bag, you’ll get a little bit of “refund”. Friday June 3 at Maple Street Book Shop.

& The Ebony Center at 4215 Magazine Street hosts a weekly spoken-word, music and open-mic event. Tickets $7 general admission, $5 students. 11 p.m. Friday. I can’t get any details on this, but if you know who I can reach out to let me know.

& On Saturday author and professor at the UNO Creative Writing Program professor Bill Loehfelm, author of Fresh Kills and Bloodroot, be at Maple Street Book Shop Saturday, June 4, 2011, 1:00 P.M. to sign his newest, The Devil She Knows. Loehfelm’s latest has been compared to the work of Dennis Lehane. Saturday, June 4 at Maple Street Book Shop.

&On Saturday The African American Resource Center at the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts a monthly book club at which a different work of African American literature is discussed every month. Contact the AARC at 596-2597 for more information. Saturday June 4, New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA.

& On Saturday, Poet Gian “G-Persepect” Smith and Alphonse “Bobby” Smith host Pass It On, a weekly spoken-word and music event at the George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art, 2003 Carondelet St. Admission $6. 9 p.m G-Persepect is the poet featured in the Treme trailer.

& On Sunday the Milton Latter Library will host the first meeting of a New Memoir Writer’s Group! Free and open to the public!Get the support and feedback you want to really amke your story shine! Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m.. Latter Library.

First meeting this Sunday, June 5th at 2pm. And continuing the first and last Sundays of every month at the same time!

& Another Maple Street event, the First Tuesday Book Club will meet on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 6:00 P.M. to discuss Rebecca Skloot’s non-fiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks is known to scientists as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first ‘immortal’ human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today,

& Poets Reading Poets at the Milton Latter Library on Saturday, June. 4 will feature local poets reading a few poems each from their favorite poets. Featuring organizer Gina Ferrara, Jimmy Ross, Jonathan Kline, Danny Kerwick, Laura Mattingly and your humble narrator, me. (I’m leaning toward Garcia-Lorca, although Bukowski and Everette Maddox can’t ever be counted out).

& Wednesdays at the VASO Ultra Lounge (the old Hookah at 500 Frenchman) SMUT PRODUCTIONS, VILLA ENT. & VASO ULTRA LOUNGE presents: Poet’s Corner & Open Mic with a LIVE BAND. DOORS OPEN AT 9pm ONLY $5 COVER. SHOW STARTS AT 10PM GET THERE EARLY!!!! Hosted By Carl SMUT DA POET Smothers. Wednesdays, VASO Ultra Lounge

& If you know my history, you know why I would be interested in this book (althought at $65 I’m going to have to think about it hard). My father was senior vice president of Curtis & Davis, the architectural firm responsible for much of New Orleans’s modernist architecture including the Rivergate, with the worlds largest unsupported cast concrete roof, and Cabrini Church. Next Thursday Octavia Books will host a signing for Building Community: The Work of Eskew + Dumez + Ripple . Through an analysis of works by Architects Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, this book seeks to pursue the role of the architect as community builder and shaper of human experience in addition to their physical impact on the built landscape. A first monograph for the firm, the book introduces the Studio’s unique, personal and careful approach to the design of buildings of their own time and place within the culturally rich environment of New Orleans and the Deep South region. Thursday, June 9 at Octavia Books.

& You should probably also mark you calendars for this event later in June: The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will host the first official reading by new Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. The event will be preceded by a reception and the dedication of the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation Board Room, honoring the foundation’s contributions to the LEH. Doors open at 6pm, reading begins at 6:30. Thursday, June 23 at the Louisiana Humanities Center.

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