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Bad Air September 30, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, odd, Toulouse Street.
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“…depression was a successful adaptation to ceaseless pain and suffering…”
— novelist Jonathan Franzen on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air

…which I trust he explained somehow between the car and the stereo remote, but I missed it and so went into the kitchen to get something to drink. When I came back there was a review of a movie about a man who has built a tornado shelter in his house and moved into it. In the clip his wife is pleading with him desperately and increasingly angrily to explain the shelter, the time he spends there, why he sometimes never comes out from it at night or vanishes into it at all hours with no explanation.

Charming. The usual host is off and some fellow is filling in and all he really did was dust off an old review of Franzen’s Freedom, which was just released in paperback, and queued up the author’s year old interview with Terry Gross. I doubt he picked the movie review either. It was what the reviewer had pitched and had accepted, what was scheduled for this week, just another cart to feed into the machine. It’s not as if he spent the weeks leading up to Terry Gross’ absence plotting how to ruin the Friday night of a hundred thousand temperamentally melancholic Americans home alone on Friday night, pushing the emotional tachometer to its limit hoping for a multi-car crash like a NASCAR fan with a prominent italic 3 tattooed on his arm.

While the review ran the fill-in host probably walked up the hall to the latte dispenser and pressed the button for sugar-free, low-fat mocha. I took my glass of water back into the kitchen, selected another, smaller glass, and poured some run and then some of my ice water into it. This was probably not a wise choice after last night’s exhausting revels, the endlessly flowing Jameson and bottled water back for a featured reader and the drinks after, but there was something about the confluence of events on that radio show that called for it.

He probably took his steaming foam cup back to the studio and sat idly watching the VU meters, thinking he would have to pick up some over cleaner on the way home. It was his turn to clean the kitchen and he was scrupulous about it, meant above all to avoid those weekends when his wife would come behind him, sigh, and do something over because she felt it not quite right.

After he finished recording the outtro from the depressing episodes he wasn’t really listening to, he gabbed a pad of pink sticky notes, wrote out oven cleaner (having used up the last of it a few weeks ago), and stuck the tab on the inside fold of his wallet. As he filled in the paperwork for the broadcast he gave no further thought to the last time he cleaned the oven, his wife having her Saturday off reclined on the couch reading the new, corrected text edition of Ariel.

He had knelt with his head swimming from the dilute scent of lye, the rag he had been using to wipe away the last of the blackened cleanser clenched in his rubber glove, studying the temperature sender at the back of the burner, wondering exactly how one could kill themself in an oven. Did they have to defeat the safety feature that cut of the flow of gas when there was no heat, or was it overridden by turning the dial all the way to the start position, which allowed the gas to flow prior to ignition? The latter, of course. It was not like jumping off of a bridge, an irrevocable moment. You would have to kneel with the rotten egg warning scent of the gas in your nostrils for a long time.

Aren’t you done yet? his wife asked when she came in for more tea. What have you been doing for the last hour?

Cleaning the stove he said, not realizing how long he had spent staring into the dull, enamel darkness of their treasured antique Merritt. His knees ached in spite of the cushioned garden pad kept for such chores. He dunked the cloth in the bucket of rinse water without turning to face her, waited for her footfalls to vanish down the hall and and then resumed wiping the dark nooks and crannies until they glowed with a dull brilliance, trying to scrub away the last traces of whatever had just happened.

Benjamin Morris at Studio in the Woods September 30, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Poet Benjamin Morris reading to open his residency at The Studio in the Woods in Lower Coast Algiers in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event was also a surprise book launch of a limited series letterpress book titled Coronary, dedicated to his father Toxey M. Morris, M.D., a sonnet cycle inspired by his father’s recent heart attack.

Benjamin's father Dr. Toxey Morris, M.D., seated next to Lucianne Carmichael, founder of Studio in the Woods, reads from his son's book

Podcast of Benjamin Morris reading.

Listen: Benjamin Morris at Studio in the Woods 9-28-11

Odd Words September 29, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Sometimes I read some of the young turk literary blogs like HTML giant–“Tao Lin Tweets a non-meta Tweet!”– and I get this sensation of an emptiness masquerading as…no, not a sensation, a specific visual memory.

Stand up and turn the mechanical rotary dial through all twelve channels. (It is 196x. There is no remote. There are only twelve choices, most of them empty. The images are black-and-white). Between the working channels are the screens of static, the visual representation of the hissing of the absence of a carrier wave. (Someday this will be an art installation entitled “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”. It is 196x. There are no such things as Art Installations.) There is nothing on. Push in the knob marked On/Off/Volume. (It is 196x. There are no accepted ideograms for these functions).

The image collapses into a dot, which slowly fades from the screen.

Before we get to the listings: I drove over to Far Algiers to Studio in the Woods for what I kept calling the Investment Dinner and Reading (not sure what else to call it) launching poet, scholar and journalist Benjamin Morris’ residency at A Studio in the Woods. He turned the event into a surprise book launch for Coronary, a sonnet cycle on the subject of his father’s recent heart attack. A beautiful letter press work by printed by Fitzgerald Press. I will post up a podcast of his reading separately.

&

so to the listings:

& Tonight I share the podium with poet and publisher Danniel Kerwick at 17 Poets! at the Goldmine Saloon. Danny will read from his new book of poems ATTACH IT TO EARTH. I will read partly from a small, limited edition chapbook PHONO GRAPH which I thought the occasion of my first featured reading called for. There are only 33 numbered copies, so get yours against the odd chance it it will be worth something when I’m dead. Thursday, Sept. 29 7:30 p.m. at the Goldmine Saloon, Dauphine St. at the corner of St. Peter.

& Also this Thursday, Michael Martone – author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction and contributor to Harper’s, Esquire, The Best American Essays and The Best American Short Stories – will celebrate the release of a new book of short stories, For For a Quarter, along with two of his former students, Michael J. Lee and Christopher Hellwig on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Antenna Gallery.

& Rev. Jerome G. LeDoux, formerly of St. Augustin Parish in the Treme, will sign his tale of the battle to save the nation’s oldest predominantly Black parish “War of the Pews” at Farbourg Marigny Art & Books Monday, Oct. 3 7-10 p.

&I don’t normally go much into cookbooks but when natural-born nautical bon vivant Troy Gilbert is on deck its all hands for bad puns and Gilbert, co-author of Cafe Degas Cookbook, singing his tasty work at the Maple Street Book Shop (the one on Maple Street) on Saturday, Troy is also the co-author of New Orleans Kitchens: Recipes from the Big Easy Best Restaurants and Dinner with Tennesee Williams. He will be sharing the signing table with Robert Medina and his New Orleans firehouse cookbook IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT. Oh, the bad puns I could get out of that but I won’t.

& Also on Saturday, the Milton Latter Library monthly poetry reading organized by Gina Ferrara will feature poets Joel Daily, Brett Evans and Murray Shugars reading their work. Saturday, Oct. 1 at 2 p.m., Milton Latter Memorial Library.

& On Sunday the ALCU will hold their annual Banned Books 2011 Celebration of our Freedom to Read, featuring live readings, trivia, door prizes, drinks, food and more at Raplh’s on the Park, 900 City Park Ave. I have a hard time imaging this event at Ralphs, a rather nice restaurant the bar of which is where the lakefront forty-plus single set mingle. I’ve been with a friend and it’s a bit frightening, as if it were mating season in the hallucinatory lizard bar scene in Fear & Loathing. I plan to go in and order a Hi Life just as a matter of principle, but I don’t expect to get one. Or if I do, it will be $8. If there’s an open mike (I doubt it), I’m going through my Burroughs to see just how committed the sort of people who picked this spot are. Something from the Soft Machine, I think. Sunday, Oct. 2, 5:30 pm.

&On Saturday, Garden District Book Shop will feature Jesmyn Ward signing her novel SALVAGE THE BONES, a family saga set against the backdrop of an approaching hurricane on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Garden District Book Shop.

& On Sunday the Maple Leaf Bar Poetry Series will post Poet Murray Shugars reads from his work followed by an open mic.

& Who knew two local museums sponsor book clubs? Well you do know. I missed touting the start the the Ogden Book Club’s current title, which began last Tuesday. If you still want to get in on “Approaching the Magic Hour: Memories of Walter Anderson” by Agnes Grinstead Anderson contact ebalkin@ogdenmuseum.org. And the New Orleans Museum of Art is preparing to start a new book club title he Hare with the Amber Eyes: a Family’s Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal with a special program Thursday, Oct 6. at noon, with the club meetings starting up Wednesday Oct. 12. Contact Sheila Cork at NOMA (who seems to have started up all this museum book clubbing in town) at scork@noma.org.

& Next Thursday Octavia Books will host ex-pat Catharine Savage Brosman (currently resident in Houston; our condolences) professor emerita of French at Tulane University reading from and signing her eight collection of poems, UNDER THE PERGOLA. She is the author of numerous books of French literary history and criticism, two volumes of nonfiction prose, and seven collections of poetry, including most recently Range of Light and Breakwater. Thursday Oct. 6.at 6 p.m., Octavia Books.

Finally, several writing and manuscript contest and announcements.

& Trembling Pillow Press announces the Bob Kaufman Book Prize, with entries open from Sept
15-Nov 15. There is a 25.00 fee and manuscripts will be judged by Bernadette Mayer. The winning manuscript will be published in 2012 by the press. Online submissions are accepted at the press’ newly redesigned website at tremblingpillowpress.com

& 411 NOLA is sponsoring The Poetic Soul contest in concert with the spoken word event WRITE, NOLA! POETRY FESTIVAL. Judge will be Asia Rainey. The contest encourages young poets with the first guideline: The Poetic Soul Contest accepts entries form all writers aged 14 and up regardless of their location, their level of writing experience and whether or not they have published their work in the past. Poems previously published elsewhere are welcome. Poems must be written or performed in English. There is a $5 poem entry fee and winners will be published on 411 NOLA. There are also cash prizes for first and second place, and winners will also receive copy of Rainey’s book SOUL CHANT.

&Bayou Magazine, the biannual journal of the University of New Orleans creative writing program, announces the third annual James Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction and the new Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry. Both contests carry a $500 prize and publication in Bayou Magazine. Both have an entry reading fee that includes a years subscription to the journal. Submissions are open Oct. 1 – Dec. 31. Details are on the website.

I’ll leave these up until the contest closes because writers are such organized people, as evidenced by the fact I am sure I will be back her today or tomorrow going Ah Hell, I Forgot to Include.

See you at the Goldmine or somewhere else around town with all these excellent events. Stop by and say hello. I’m the old fart in a young man’s hat. And please send notices of your events to odd.words.nola@gmail.com.

Why Does the Sun Go On Shining? September 28, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Odds&Sods, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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If you have found this blog occasionally depressing lately well you are probably not the only one. Thanks for all the “are you OK?” emails and, yes, fine. Thanks. I do sometimes spill my soul in unseemly fashion and I have what a licensed therapist called a “melancholic temperament”. Who knew the humors were still a part of modern medicine? (Scans office shelves for jars marked “Leeches”). He is licensed to dispense with all sorts of troubles so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Then again, consider that day some years back as I was hanging from the crumbling edge of a work project precipice, staring into the toothy maw of Ophuk, the demonic opposite of Ganesha, kind god of great undertakings. Our leader, a teacher of yoga and Unitarian minister, took one look at our long dog faces and asked us each for a statement of personal affirmation to get us back on track. It came my turn, and without binking I offered this: today is a good day to die. And I smiled.

Remember, it’s always darkest just after the 5,000 ton counterweight falls off the drawing desk of Terry Gilliam and hurtles toward your sad, coyote ass like that light at the end of the tunnel madly whistling in clouds of steam to get you off the tracks.

Just drink lots of fluids, keep you towel handy and above all:

Which takes us to today’s lesson, taken from Micheal Stipe’s Epistle to the Athenians. No. Wait. Stop. If your neighbors aren’t pounding on the wall before the end of this you’re not doing it right. Turn it up and try again.

There. Doesn’t that fell better? PRN q.s. ad. lib.

This is not Hell. This is the Street September 28, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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First posted Oct 13, 2008. Reposting in solidarity with OccupyWallSt.org. The first General Assembly of Occupy New Orleans occurs at noon Sunday, Oct. 2 in Washington Square Park. It is time to throw the bloody fist onto the shore and claim this land as your land, as our land.

I work for a bank I choose for years from discretion to call Moloch, which is moving all it’s New Orleans jobs to another city: mine included. Perhaps by posting this or showing up Sunday I will never work again. Perhaps it is better to stand in the rubble of what America has become roasting pigeons on a stick that to continue as we are. I don’t have much faith in the political proclivities of New Orleans. We can be quick to anger but nothing burned here in 1968. Still, a century ago a few men of color conspired together, purchased a forbidden railroad ticket, and set in motion the events that ultimately toppled Jim Crow.

I was lucky enough to see with my own eyes the recent stock-market crash, where they lost several million dollars, a rabble of dead money that went sliding off into the sea. Never as then, amid suicides, hysteria, and groups of fainting people, have I felt the sensation of real death, death without hope, death that is nothing but rottenness, for the spectacle was terrifying but devoid of greatness… I felt something like a divine urge to bombard that whole canyon of shadow, where ambulances collected suicides whose hands were full of rings.”

– Federico Garcia Lorca

New York (Office and Denunciation)

Under the multiplications,
a drop of duck’s blood;
under the divisions,
a drop of a sailor’s blood;
under the additions, a river of tender blood.
A river that sings and flows
past bedrooms in the boroughs-
and it’s money, cement or wind
in New York’s counterfeit dawn.
I know the mountains do exist.
And without wisdom’s eyeglasses,
too. But I didn’t come to see the sky.
I’m here to see the clouded blood,
the blood that sweeps machines over waterfalls
and the soul toward the cobra’s tongue.
Every day in New York, they slaughter,
four million ducks,
five million hogs,
two thousand pigeons to accommodate the tastes of the dying,
one million cows,
one million roosters
that smash the skies into pieces.

It’s better to sob while honing the blade
or kill dogs on the delirious hunts
than to resist at dawn
the endless milk trains,
the endless blood trains
and the trains of roses, manacled
by the dealers in perfume.
The ducks and the pigeons,
and the hogs and the lambs
lay their drops of blood
under the multiplications,
and the terrified bellowing of the cows wrung dry
fills the valley with sorrow
where the Hudson gets drunk on oil.

I denounce all those
who never think of the other half,
the irredeemable half,
who raise their mountains of concrete
where the hearts of little
forgotten animals beat
and where all of us will fall
in the final fiesta of jackhammers.
I spit in your faces.
That other half hears me,
eating, pissing, flying in their purity,
like the supers’ children
who take their flimsy palettes
to the holes in spaces where
insects’ antennas are rusting.
This is not hell, this is the street.
That is not death. That is the fruit stand.
There are broken rivers and distances just out of reach
in the cat’s paw smashed by a car,
and I hear the song of the worm
in the hearts of many young girls.
Rust, fermentation, earth tremors.
You yourself are earth drifting among numbers in the office
What am I going to do, put the landscapes in their right
places?
Put in good order the loves that soon turn into photographs,
that soon become pieces of wood and mouthfuls of blood?
No, no: I denounce,
I denounce the conspiracy of these deserted offices
which erase the plans of the forest,
and I offer myself as food for the cows milked empty
when their bellowings fill the valley
where the Hudson becomes drunk with oil.

Federico García Lorca, 1929-1930

(translation of the first half of the poem by Greg Simon and Steven F. White)

(translation of the second half of the poem by Galway Kinnell)

John Sinclair at 17 Poets! September 26, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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A rough podcast of poet and performer, musicologist and activist John Sinclair at 17 Poets! at the Goldmine Saloon at the launch of his book Song of Praise – Homage to John Coltrane, published by Trembling Pillow Press. Introduction by Dave Brinks, founder of the press.

Brinks discusses the genesis of the book and Sinclair’s connection to New Orleans, and Sinclair talks about his longtime fascination with Coltrane and the decades of reviews, articles and poems that comprise the book, reading several pieces from the book.

John Sinclair at the 17 Poets! in New Orleans Sept. 22 2011

Odd Words Reminder: 100000 Poets for Change New Orleans September 24, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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100,000 Poets for Change, New Orleans, in concert with poets and other artists in 500 cities in 80 countries around the world An idea originally proposed by Michael Rothenberg & Terri Carrion’s plan has gone globally viral. New Orleans is a famous center of creative expression in the US and the eyes of the world have been on us since Katrina and Macondo. Come to Alcee Fortier Park (“Mystery Street Park”) at Esplanade and Grande Route St. John, (today) Saturday, Sept. 24, 4-6 p.m. Free and open to the sky. Take a stand. Bring a chair. Come to speak (or sing or dance) or just to listen.

I am suspicious September 24, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Fortunate mortal! the tide of Time has turned for you! But remember that her all is enchantment,–that you have fallen under the spell of the dead,–that the lights and the colors and the voices must fade away at last into emptiness and silence.
— Lafcadio Hearn, “Strangeness and Calm: from Lafacadio Hearn’s Japan

It seems at times that we have fallen not just into the habits deep rooted as City Park Oaks but from some high place where the color of the comment that greeted me in my too-early morning mail seemed inconceivable. Discussing the City’s decision on a new development at the site of the old Canal Street Walgreens someone I respect suggested that the high end retail the City Council suggested appropriate would have to wait for the urban removal of “the trash retails, the trashy people…” at that end of downtown Canal Street.

This came from one of the reasonable people on this neighborhood mailing list, someone I have come to respect. Perhaps it was the time it was written–2:44 a.m. when insomnia or an evening’s drinking leaves us in the company of the monsters of the Id. Or perhaps it was one of those black moments when no one on the sponsor list returns your call, the night is blinding dark and that bottle of Old Jim Crow somehow falls into the shopping bag. Perhaps she meant something entirely different: the homeless and drifters who people Canal Street, something else.

I have shocked a few people when discussing race when I borrow a line from AA and announce, “my name is Mark, and I am a rascist” but the curse we carry in this town and all across the south is an almost genetic propensity for the views we were simmered in all through our childhoods, from the screaming white women of Ninth Ward railing against desegregation on the television fifty years ago to the genteel way my grandmother would say the world “nigra.”

There was a brief window in 2005 and 2006 when it seemed things might be different. We all gathered together in church halls and unflooded cafeterias, people of all races and incomes, renters and homeowners, babies of Charity and Hotel Dieu, as optimistic as the liberated citizens of the first soviets. We seemed poised on the edge of something revolutionary, a people ready to take back our city from the forces that had run it into the ground for a century, anxious to build a bright and shining city on the hill out of the ruins of the flood, one made in our own image, out of our imaginations.

Our Menshevik innocence and naivete would soon enough be dashed.

There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ….

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark-—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
— Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I was the housing chair of the loose collective called the Mid-City Recovery Group, and the fact that the established neighborhood organization would not lend their name to the proceedings should have been a clue. There was something afoot that could undermine the power structures built over centuries, something full of dangerous possibilities. One of the problems we faced was a lack of rental housing. The Road Home program (for what is was worth) was finally coughing up some money for home owners but nothing was being done for the small landlords, the owners of doubles, that made up much of the housing stock of Mid-City, at least not in a proper way. I stood in a small store buying cigarettes one morning and listened to a few tradesmen dressed in the motley colors of the houses painted yesterday, complaining how people were slapping up coats of Zinzer over the mold so as to cash in on the skyrocketing rents.

There was nothing on the horizon that promised better until some ambitious individuals, the sort we were quick to call carpetbaggers, stepped in and proposed to renovate several buildings into apartments, among them the old Crystal plant everyone in town knew from the sign that rose above the Pontchartrain Expressway. They planned to leverage tax credits that would require the set-asides by income. We did our research carefully. We had the architects assigned to our group by the city check into these developers and the answer came back they were first rate. The New York Housing Authority, we were told, never speaks–even off the record–about their development partners but this particular group had won their private praise for the work they did. The construction was first rate, their screening of tenants and management after the fact were stellar. These were not some “Section 8 OK” landlords but people who still believed they could make an honest buck off of urban redevelopment and be proud of what they did.

The group required some approval from the neighborhood before the tax subsidies could be released and the old-line neighborhood group would have none of that. A letter from our ad hoc group, however, would suffice. My own ad hoc committee was divide but I convinced them we needed to bring it to the full group for a vote. They did not approve, but I was allowed to go forward.

The tension in the church sanctuary that night was palpable as I made my arguments: there is no money in sight for the small landlords who made up much of the neighborhood, the city was starved for affordable housing for the low-wage workers that make our economy work. These people were first rate, would take an abandoned building in a blighted corner of our neighborhood and make something good of it, provide the affordable rental housing the city desperately needed.

As the evening progressed into its second hour I felt like Lawrence of Arabia in the film scene in which the victorious tribesmen of Arabia argue over what to do with Damascus after taking it from the Ottomans, wondering if this is what it was like to organize the first parliament in a newly minted country that had only known the authority of the village and the clan. I heard the word “Section Eight” spoken in a way I had heard before in our prior deliberations but never with such incendiary force, as if it were a synonym for al-Qaida.

I won that battle after those two ugly hours but fell away from the recovery group soon after, more worn out than disillusioned. We had, after all, carried the day. But somewhere inside a naive idea died: that the flood had washed away the old divisions, made us all the children of Katrina, wandering through the desert on our way to the promised land.

“The Bitch didn’t care. Her waters came up the MRGO and took the paint-bare, black-eyed-pea shotguns of the Lower Nine the same as it took the Bunny Bread, virgin-in-a-tub brick ranch houses of Chalmette. Claiborne Avenue or Judge Perez drive, they cried and struggled and drowned just the same. The waters that swept up Canal Boulevard and Paris Avenue didn’t stop in at the Hibernia to check anybody’s balance. They took everyone in their path, no checks accepted.”
— Mark Folse, “Talking with the King”, Wet Bank Guide

I believed that once, when I was willing to stick my neck out and defend our crazy mayor’s Martin Luther King day speech of 2006, mindful of having heard similar things said when I stood outside Black churches while working for politicians (us white staffers left outside to leaflet cars but I would often stand by an open window and smoke a cigarette, listening to the glorious preaching and music). But the disillusionments came fast and furious: listening to Stacey Head’s mocking of housing activists bent on preserving the craftsman-built old housing projects so people could come home, listening to the assembled ministers defend the right of a black contractor to charge ridiculous rates for garbage collection and calling out as racist anyone who questioned why we would pay twice what neighboring parishes did for the same service.

I belong to multiple neighborhood mailing lists (the one I am an administrator of in the place I no longer live, the one where I am now renting an apartment on the Stalling Park end of the fashionable precincts near the Bayou, on what I call the Fortin Frontier. There are days when I am more comfortable with Gentilly Boulevard than with Esplanade Avenue, and if asked where I live I will say Gentilly.

Another early morning email was a discussion of some police action just a few blocks over, a prowler in a back yard, which ended with one writer saying if you see anything suspicious call 9-1-1. Good enough advice until the last line: “and you get to decide who is suspicious.” While my neighborhood mailing lists come no where near the tenor of the comments on NOLA.com, there are days when I am tempted to sweep all of that email into the delete folder unread, or even to unsubscribed. My revolutionary days are behind me, and as I go through my files I sometimes wonder if I should stick that Mid-City Housing folder up in the same box where my copies of Bakunin on Anarchy and Trostky’s Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution quietly crumble with age.

I keep coming back to something I wrote years ago at another nadir of enthusiasm, something that stands for me along with a few other quotes by better writers: Sun Ra’s “Its after the end of the world. Don’t you know that yet?” or the words of poet and playwright Raymond “Moose” Jackson that are inked on my arm around my fleur de lis, the ones I think said in so few words everything I tried to say in my own thousands of words written on what it is like to live list in postdiluvian New Orleans: “I am not alright, but I am upright.”

I may never give up entirely, surrender completely to the insular tribal loyalty of “the friends I have gathered together here on this thin raft” and will come back and write another post like this, triggered by some event or remark that seems to call out for an answer. Or maybe not. Until then I will leave you with this:

“Perhaps I ask for too much. If history and the city consumes us all one-by-one but the city lives on, that perhaps what was always intended, why were were all lured home. In the end, perhaps [author Thomas] Pynchon has given us the model to surviving it’s after the end of the world. If history has gone too wrong for any one of us to stop what is happening around us, maybe it is better to amble down a shady street in New Orleans without a particular thought in my head except the distant sound of what might be [Pynchon's anti-hero character Tyrone] Slothrop’s harmonica, to disappear into the random noise in the signal.”

Odd Words September 22, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I always forget something when I do this too early in the morning. See below for added events in italics?

It’s Arthur Guinness Day and I spent too much of yesterday listening to Democracy Now!’s coverage of the Troy Davis execution and I could use a pint now, Mr. Guinness but it’s early so instead, how about a little Seamus Haney instead? If you’re not familiar with Author Guinness Day, pop into your favorite Irish (American) “pub” and ask what they’re doing today? If you get a blank stare, find yourself a new local.

& Tonight poet, musician and activist John Sinclair will perform at 17 Poets! along with Simon Pettet. Trembling Pillow Press, the publishing house of 17 Poets! organizers Dave Brinks and Megan Burns, have just published Sinclair’s latest book SONG OF PRAISE HOMAGE TO JOHN COLTRANE. Sinclair, who has made his home in Detroit, New Orleans and now Amsterdam, has had a long and colorful career not only as poet but as DJ, a founder of the White Panther Party, manager of the band MC5, political prisoner, and musicoligist. If you missed him at the Ogden last Thursday you had best get yourself downtown tonight, Sept. 22 at 7:30 pm at the Goldmine Saloon.

& Also tonight, Octavia Books may have to clear out the folder chairs when they host Neal Pollack, author of STRETCH: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude, the “a hilarious true account of an overweight, balding, skeptical guy’s unexpected transformation into a healthy, blissful yoga fiend.” Thursday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m., Octavia Books.

& On Saturday, New Orleans will participate in 100,000 Poets for Change, a sort of vague (it’s organized by poets) viral event in which poets gather all across the nation to, well, probably read poetry. And drink. All in the name of change, which poets never have enough of and which America could use some of. What can poets do? How about run a national gracefully, with a commitment to democracy and justice? Look up José Luis Bustamante Rivero and Leopold Sedar Sengho. I will bring the Molotov cocktails. (It’s a drink. Relax) Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at Fortier Park (the little, triangle pocket park at Mystery Street and Esplanade Avenue).

& Also on Saturday (and omitted from the first posting; tracking all this stuff down is hard) Tekrema Center for Art and Culture will host SoulSpeak Afrobeat Partym The first of its 2011-2012 performance series, with a jazz poetry set with Sheldon “Shakespear” Alexander, a live performance by the extraordinary Donald Harrison Quartet at 10 P.M. in Tekrema’s Aya Garden. “SoulSpeak Open Mic is for poets, artists, and stevedores.” Food and Cash bar; Saturday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. Tekrema Center for Art and Culture, 5640 Burgundy Strreet Cover $7.

& This weekend The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society will lift glasses in honor of their namesake, William Faulkner on his birthday. Please try to keep your tributes to under 100 dependent clauses. Remember Faulkner House requests an RSVP for their events to faulkhouse@aol.com. Sunday, September 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Faulkner House Books.

& Also this Saturday, Maple Street Book Shop will bring back story time with Miss Maureen, in her magical story time apron, readiong from various storybooks starring pigs, 11:30-12:30. And now I can’t get All The Little Piggies out of my head. Saturday, Sept. 25 at 11:30 am.

&Get your fill of mystery with a two-fer at Garden District Books on Saturday, featuring Rexanne Becnel and her book The Thief’s Only Child and June Shaw, author of Deadly Reunion. Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m.

& In other tribute news, on Monday Crescent City Books will be paying tribute to Lafcadio Hearn, who died on September 26, 1904, by reading his work. Bring a Hearn book and something to drink or just bring yourself. There will also be a few Hearn titles available if you don’t have one handy. Any questions, email Michael @ mzell@earthlink.net. Monday Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Crescent City Books.

& If you can’t get your fill of YA vampire literature, maybe you should check to see if you can see yourself in the mirror. And you should probably get down to Octavia Books to meet author Heather Brewer and pick up a copy of THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD and the new THE SLAYER CHRONICLES. Garlic necklaces optional. Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m., Octavia.

&On Wednesday I’ll be off to Far Algiers to an invitation-only event at Studio in the Woods for a potluck dinner and reading by SitW fellow Benjamin Morris. It’s not open to the public, but I just wanted to give Ben a shout out for being accepted into their artists retreat program.

& I guess it’s safe to post this now that I have my tickets, but the New Orleans Museum of Art is bringing back its Bestoff Sculture Garden performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in October. And, this being in New Orleans, the weather will likely cooperate. This sold out quickly last time (I missed it) so you had best get over the Eventbrite and get your tickets before they are all gone again.

&OK, this isn’t until next Thursday but I was just tickled to find this while doing my usual Internet research to put together Odd Words. Yr Humble Narrator will join Danny Kerwick as featured readers at 17 Poets! Kerwich has just published a new book of poetry, and I’ll be putting out a limited edition chapbook for the occasion.

At the Diagnostic Center September 21, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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somebody may die tonight
& nobody knows when
pour a little whiskey
turn off CNN
the sky is full of stars that float
like candles in a field
surrender up the gravity
let your body yield.

tomorrow you may wake up
to some alarming news
the coffee pot, the ticking clock
the office socks and shoes
tonight there are no messages
nobody’s making deals
surrender up the gravity
let your body yield.

some think they’re the masters
but everyone’s a slave
dig your share of treasure
& make yourself a grave
you buy your weekly ticket
but you know your fate is sealed.
surrender up the gravity
let your body yield

the system’s full of sickness
& someone’s going to die
’cause the cure is much too painful
let the sleeping dogs all lie
swallow all your medicine
& pray you will be healed
surrender up the gravity
let your body yield.

The faster we go the rounder we get September 20, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Toulouse Street.
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Fail again. Fail better September 20, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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h/t to The Rumpus Video Interruption { I want Isaac’s job}

The Sound of Water September 18, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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frog detail from “Frog and Mouse” by Getsuju, ca. 1800, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The old pond:
a frog jumps into
the sound of water.
— Basho

Gone Fishin’ September 17, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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“My husband’s a lazy and shiftless Southerner,” she said once, telling me the annecdote because she thouht it funny. She says she meant it in jest but all those earnest North Dakotan women took it seriously, cooing poor dear over their glasses of apres-training wine. I always wondered if if was one of those moments of unintended truth drinks after a long day of work-related drudgery can bring out, the sort I spent the last long week guarding against.

Lazy and shiftless. I had planned to sleep until noon to make up for too little sleep all week, the rigors of travel and the evenings of drinks, dinner and then more drinks I only managed to escape one evening out of six. Perhaps I could if I get up and hang the room darkening paper curtains I bought for the front (although my son has no problem sleeping until noon in a room flooded with sunlight through the cheap, unfitted venetian blinds.)

And there’s the laundry I left behind, plus two hotel laundry bags more. And the promised trip to take my daughter bicycle shopping. I need to do a final ruler proof of my chapbook, pick up my sample paper and start printing. And then there is the Wikipedia entry for Everette Maddox, all those books I carted off to Richmond but found no time for until last night’s flight.

Which is how I come to be sitting in bed sipping coffee and typing this instead of rolling over to try to banish the exhaustion of a long week. Things to do, people to see, and the Saint’s home opener is Sunday. Forget that fist of whiskey I poured when I finally got home last night, hopping for the sleep of that can tolerate a sidewalk for a bed, and which I did not finish before 1:30 this morning,

There are days when I think I need the equivalent of a gastric bypass for my enthusiasms, combined with careful adjustments to lifestyle: a reduction in my daily intake of work for people who are letting me go in just over than a month, and a daily program of vigorously exercising better judgement in what I take on. Yes, by god, Everette Maddox should have a Wikipedia page but what possessed me at this particular moment in my life to start it requires not an explanation but a diagnosis and program of treatment.

Yes, Maddox needs that page and if no one else has done it in a decade well, there’s me. He certainly deserves it, among other honors fitting to a poet of some note (and notoriety). I think if I win the lottery I will establish one of those specialized bequests in his name, of the sort I often used at U.N.O. that allowed a sort of payday loan against next month’s student worker check. Mine I think would be a bar tab somewhere (although they have torn down all the bars around U.N.O., and what the hell kind of university can’t manage a strip of conveniently located bars?), granted on merit to a creative writing student by a panel of judges randomly selected from the afternoon crowd at the Maple Leaf.

I think Maddox should also have a library christened in his honor, since we are finally (half a decade later) getting around to replacing flood-damanged luxuries like libraries. And schools. And fire stations. We are an industrious and thrifty people down here for certain in spite of what those North Dakotan social workers thought. Out front there should be a commissioned bronze sculpture showing Maddox sleeping on a bench in the back of the Maple Leaf, a tribute to a man who looked bourgeois conventionality straight in the eye, and asked if it could stand him a drink.

I think I’ll leave the paper blinds in their boxes for now, the laundry scattered on the floor with the books, and spend the rest of the morning planning my first month of unemployment. First, flag all email notices from Linked-In, Monster and Dice as spam. Rise up promptly at noon and make coffee, and after a reasonable interval dress and take the bus to the Napoleon House. Have breakfast of some sort from their lunch menu and a drink, and commence a poem or some other writing work. Read for a while to the scratchy classical LPs if nothing comes. When I feel worked out, wander down Chartres and stop in the used bookstore with a couple of cups of coffee for an extended conversation with Micheal about literature.

One the sun has crossed the yardarm fortify myself at the Chart House for the streetcar ride Uptown and find an amenable and quiet workplace with cheap PBR and an atomic jukebox. Resume writing, or just sit there and chat up the bartender, reading a bit when she gets busy. Flirt until you convince her that any decent establishment would have Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby’s 1951 pop hit Gone Fishin‘ on the box. Leave before the band starts to avoid the cover charge and plop down on a bench outside to listen. Make a point, out of decency, to arrive home before moon-set.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. At least until the shampoo runs out.

Happiness is for Saps September 17, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Everette Maddox, New Orleans, Odd Words, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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This is New Orleans; everyone changes here.”
— G.A. Shirley, Greyhound bus driver
(From a letter from Everette Maddox
to Bob Woolf, 1978, quoted in
The New Orleans Review)

Reading Everette Maddox’s letters to Bob Woolf is fascinating but makes a man thankful for an unmade bed of my own one room over from a respectable liquor cabinet. Think I’ll have a few fingers fist of whiskey when I get home and read something cheerful like Lay Down in Darkness.

Odd Words: Hangover Coda Edition September 15, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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“What is the good of these notebooks? No one tells the truth, not even the one who writes it down.”
— Jules Renard quoted on HTML Giant

Crafty bastards, those Frenchmen. I bought a biography last night (as a present) and had it signed by the charming author, with whom I was having drinks in the Afterwords Bar in Washington, D.C. We talked for quite a while but never touched on the relationship of truth, memory and memoir, talking a good bit more about the writing life, particularly the life of the poet; the particular charms of Oxford, MS; and, comparing notes on various beers we were drinking. As Sandar Beasley’s Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is a matter-of-life-and-death subject (living with a wide specturm of deadly food allergies), I would assume that she leanrs toward the exceptionally careful, although the creative amplification of a cautionary anecdote would be quickly forgiven.

Odd Words will be delayed due to the jazz jam session at HR 57 on H Street N.E. in Washington, D.C. I read this with the band, and the drummer offered to get me back to the hotel in time for my 8 a.m. meeting if I would stay and read some more, an offer I kindly declined and I really need to get some sleep.

I may have to abandon some clothes after my trip to Kramer Books & Afterwords, where I had the pleasure of a couple of beers with the marvelous poet and excellent drinking companion Sandra Beasley, who recommended HR 57 (thank you).

& Tonight 17 Poets! at the Goldmine Saloon features Louisiana’s new Poet Laurette Julie Kane. Jazz Funeral (Story Line Press, 2009), which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; Rhythm & Booze (University of Illinois Press, 2003), Maxine Kumin’s selection for the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the Poets’ Prize; and Body and Soul (Pirogue, 1987).

She is also the co-editor, with Grace Bauer, of Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox (Xavier Review Press, 2006), which was a finalist for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Poetry Prize; and the associate editor for 20th-century poetry of Voices of the American South, the Longman anthology of Southern literature (2005). With Kiem Do, she co-authored the nonfiction Vietnam memoir Counterpart: A South Vietnamese Naval Officer’s War (Naval Institute Press, 1998), which became a History Book Club Featured Alternate Selection. She is currently Professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. a feat of geographcial courage that should be remembered among the notable polar explorers. Thursday, Sept. 15 at 17 Poets! at the Goldmine Saloon, 7:30 p.m.

& Just because you should be as least as conflicted as I am, trapped in Virginia far away from all this, I will point out that 17 Poets is scheduled up against Ogden After Hours, which tonight featurers. Ogden After Hours – John Sinclair, John Sinclair author, poet and activist John Sinclair (born October 2, 1941, in Flint, Michigan) mutated from small-town rock’n’roll fanatic and teenage disc jockey to cultural revolutionary, pioneer of marijuana activism, radical leader and political prisoner by the end of the 1960s. Known locally in New orleans for his spoken word, Sinclair comes home for a set at the O. It does start at 6 p.m. and readings don’t usually start at 17 Poets! until 8, so you really should go for a two-point conversion here.

&Also tonight, if you’re addicted to Game of Thrones, have devoured every volume of that series, Maple Street Bookstore’s Maple Street location invites you to meet the author C.S. Friedman who presents the third in her Magister Trilogy, Legacy of Kings, on Thursday, September 15, 2011, 6:00 P.M. Sped through A Dance with Dragons? Try this trilogy on for size. It already feels weird typing “at their Maple Leaf location.”

& Friday at Octavia books Tiff Holland discusses and signs her collection of stories, BETTY SUPERMAN. “The stories in…are true, except when they’re not. They’re based on Holland’s relationship with her mother, a story arc all its own, only Betty isn’t her mother and Holland’s not the narrator, not completely. Over the course of the chapbook, both Betty and the narrator suffer from serious illnesses. One of them is recovering; one of them is not. Consequently, they’ve ended up spending more time together. They have “adventures,” as Betty calls them. They inexplicably find themselves in Betty’s red PT Cruiser driving around to Walgreen’s and Cracker Barrel, selling gold for cash, and pumping gas. In unsentimental and percussive prose, Holland examines Betty as character, dragon lady, and mother. ” I will be a few minutes past closing the cabin door at Richmond International Airport at 6 p.m. but this sounds irresistably interesting. Friday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m., Octavia Books.

& Also on Friday Vincent Cellucci will read from his new book of poetry about a journey through New Orleans, An Easy Place to Die on Friday, September 16, 2011, 6:00 P.M. Cellucci has the first “book trailer” I’ve seen for a New Orleans poet.

& Tuesday at Octavia meet David Gessner: environmental advocate, provocateur, and author of My Green Manifesto. Beyond the oil-soaked pelican, beyond the burning oil rig, beyond mainstream coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there lies a deeper story. At the height of this record-setting catastrophe, Gessner——came to the Gulf in search of that story, and what he found was heartbreaking: the region’s once thriving ecosystem had been devastated, but the cause was much larger and more complex than one isolated accident. Part absurdist travelogue, part manifesto, THE TARBALL CHRONICLES is more than anything a love letter to the Gulf. I think this will end up on the essential Louisiana shelf alongside Mike Tidwell’s Bayou Farewell.

& Mark your calendars for September 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm when The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society will lift glasses in honor of our namesake, William Faulkner on his birthday. Remember Faulkner House requests an RSVP for their events to faulkhouse@aol.com.

& I guess it’s safe to post this now that I have my tickets, but the New Orleans Museum of Art is bringing back its Bestoff Sculture Garden performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in October. And, this being in New Orleans, the weather will likely cooperate. This sold out quickly last time (I missed it) so you had best get over the Eventbrite and get your tickets before they are all gone again.

Until I can finish Odd Words for this week go to your bookshelf and select a book you love. Let it fall open to the page the book chooses and read what is revealed aloud to the Moon and Venus which are gorgeous in the midnight sky tonight. That will be this week’s feature literary event.

On second thought, go back and read that last struck out paragraph and take immediate action, before the moment splips away

Please Don’t Call Me Ishmael September 11, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in art, cryptic envelopment, Toulouse Street.
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Or, How I Came to Encounter the Great White Fail Whale on a Voyage to the Wind-Swept Concrete Seas of Richmond, VA.

It began with a telephone call to my replacement. He was late into his second week of day-long huddles in a tiny room at Moloch’s in-name-only tower in downtown New Orleans, and LT–he goes by LT, and is every bit a small-town boy from a little place just outside Richmond–was catching on quick and enjoying himself thoroughly. Having found a good thing on his first night out to dinner, I believe he has now his own waiter at the Palace Cafe and a cocktail waiting for him by the time he is seated.. His wife called on Thursday of that second week and informed him that he would have sole custody of his two young sons for the coming weekend, because she was running away with her girlfriends to places unspecified. Perhaps an island in the tropical reaches of the vast Southern Ocean. Or Ocean City, which is for some people the next best thing.

It was clearly my turn to go to Richmond. And I had an ulterior motive. On returning from my last trip to Richmond I arrived too early at the airport and found myself first in the gift shop, and ultimately in Applebees. You might not be sure which is worse, killing time in an airport gift shop or eating a blackened chicken salad at Applebees (which was more than tolerable), but in truth I left the gift shop with an illustrated Poe for my son and a tin of Absinthe-flavored mints but not with a tee-shirt I had hesitated over for half an hour. In the long run, my salad and rum-and-tonic with a Vicodin (I was just over some surgery) turned out to be the better half of the deal, for I ended up not purchasing the shirt and regretting that decision almost from the moment they closed the cabin doors.

I didn’t purchase the shirt, placed in the gift shop by the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, because I did not much care for the quote on the back (I have nothing against Rilke, mind you) but it seemed completely unrelated to the art on the front. Ah, but the art on the front. It haunted me the entire flight back, spoiling my Vicodin happiness at ending a week of business travel and returning home.

The front piece was a screen reproduction of artist iona rozeal brown’s “a3 blackface #59″ (yes she writes her name in all lower case, and titles her paintings in the same manner). According to the small catalog book I purchased today, brown “unites[s] African-American and East Asian cultures. Her paintings resemble nineteenth century Japanese ukiyo-e wookdblock prints, but they present contemporary urban characters included by hip-hop.” I think they neglect to mention that there is a hint of manga and anime about the paintings as well.

This is the painting (or rather, tee-shirt) I fell in love with but failed to purchase on my last trip, reproduced as best I can from a small catalog book with my cell phone.

You can view and zoom into the VMFA’s web version here. Notice the legend at the bottom right of image on that web page for there in lies my tale.

I not only agreed to go to Richmond to spare LT’s another week of eating in New Orleans while his wife dished out the mac-and-cheese to the boys, I booked an early Sunday flight for the express purpose of arriving in time and going to the VMFA to sit before this picture for a long time, and collect not just a tee-shirt but any other image I could find: catalog, poster, post card, the whole lot.

I am very fond of Asian art and culture. I’m trying to time a trip to the Birmingham, Ala. Botanical Garden’s Japanese Garden just in time for the maples to turn. I found the juxtaposition of urban American characters in an Asian setting compelling. The fact that one of the subjects was smoking a cigar added a bit. Last, I have begun to grow my hair out into a queue, and the image of the character having his hair braided drove home the last nail. My own is nothing quite like Queequeg’s or the painting’s subject, mind you, but I haven’t ruled out the idea of a few small skull beads of the sort Dr. John favors. (Blame Piano Dave for this last idea. I haven’t gotten that far yet, and I am pretty sure that a braid with skull beads would not go over well at Moloch World Headquarters. I catch enough so far good-natured ribbing for having my hair that long as it is).

I was, frankly, completely smitten by this picture on several levels.

So I arose at 0:my-god-fifteen this morning, a quarter hour ahead of my alarm clock and almost three hours prior to my 7:00 am flight via Philadelphia to Richmond. There were later flights available, the sort that would have been more direct and landed me around 5 p.m. local time, ideal for grabbing the car, getting to the hotel and walking across to the hundreds of beers, quite good food and satellite radio New Orleans music of the Capital Ale House. Instead I chose the 7:00 am because I was obsessed with this image, was determined if necessary to relocate one of the viewing benches and plop myself in front of it for a good hour, then run up as big a bill as necessary in the gift shop.

When I arrived there was a gentleman in a blazer who promptly asked if he could help direct me. I told him what I was looking for, but he was clearly just a docent and had no idea. He led me to the front desk, where everyone was busy ringing up tickets to the big Faberge exhibit but the young man on the end stationed at a computer volunteered to help me. It took him a while to find it, but finally he spun around his monitor and asked, this one?

Yes, I said. Where is that hanging?

He paused for a minute and then told me. It normally hangs in the 21st Century Art gallery on the second floor. However, that space had been cleared to make room for an installation titled Mocha Dick by artist Tristan Lowe. It is in fact a giant, near-life size whale made from industrial felt and an inflatable armature. A whirring fan of the sort that powers inflatable children;’s amusements can be heard keeping the whole thing upright.

I engaged a half-dozen docents in conversation about my disappointment but they appeared to be mostly local college students working out their service requirements. The chances of running into a curator on a Sunday who would hear my tale and be struck by the industry and dedication of getting up at an ungodly hour just to see this one painting and who would take my privately into the back to view it were a hopeless fantasy.

All I could think of was: Fail Whale. My entire plan to book an early flight to spend some quality time ogling this gorgeous painting was spoiled by a Fail Whale. And not just any whale, but a white whale. A white whale great enough to fill the entire 21st Century Art gallery. (I have no idea where the artist gets the title, unless he meant the foam that sits atop his mocha latte).

I would gladly share my queen bed with a scarified stranger performing dark rituals before bedtime that set off the smoke detector for the chance to see the iona rozel brown painting, but instead I got what you see above, and a gorgeous but small (5×5) catalog of the modern art collection, which will end up permanently creased to page 100 on my bookshelf on a plate stand, to display the painting as best I can. because there is not a print, a poster or even a postcard. I’m glad I picked up the tee-shirt at the airport on my way in because they didn’t even have that at the gift shop.

Great White Fail Whale indeed.

I consoled myself with visiting the late 20th Century exhibit, spending entirely too much time in front of their sole Rothko, his rich blacks an antidote to my disappointment in white found where my painting should have been hanging. It’s not a bad collection for a mid-sized city, almost all of it donated by the Sidney and Frances Lewis Foundation. The one Warhol in the collection is based on the series Warhol did of a strip of portraits (Marilyn Monroe being perhaps the most famous example), but this one was from a set of camera booth photographs of Frances Lewis titled something like Sidney’s Harem. It is (thankfully) not in the catalog and I didn’t make a note of the title but I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Not an unpleasant way to spend an afternoon, but like the obsessive Ahab my own fixation was brought to an unhappy end by a great white whale. Nothing to be done, except to put on the tee-shirt and head over to the Capital Ale House to console myself with a few of their hundreds of beers, Belgian frittes and a black-bean burger (think a crab cake made from black beans). I contemplated a bit of absinthe after my visit to the mostly disappointing Edgar Allen Poe museum, but I think a tankard or three of ale is the right remedy for a long voyage come to a disappointing end.

The Wrath of Achilles September 10, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I was going to write something about 9/11, but I think this says much of what I had to say and I have to get up at 4:30 am for a flight out of town. So read this instead.

Odd Words September 8, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I’m so worn out from typing all these listings I’m too tired to even link to the Rumpus. If you want some literary chatter, go back and reread this if you missed it over the holiday weekend. Or maybe Maud Newton’s [sigh] piece on how we are all becoming David Foster Wallace. Well, everybody but Ray who is becoming Raymond Carver. What I am becoming can be ordered on the Toulouse Street shopping page under Surprise Box. Or you can just listen to this.

You might also want to consider this: is texting going to create a new generation of poets and poetry readers? “The poem is a form of texting … it’s the original text,” says Carol Ann Duffy, the UK’s poet laureate told The Guardian. “It’s a perfecting of a feeling in language – it’s a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We’ve got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future – and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It’s a kind of time capsule – it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form.”

Um, I’m not so sure about this, although it could be the future of prose fiction.

& At Ogden After Hours this week John Swenson will sign NEW ATLANTIS: MUSICIANS BATTLE FOR THE SURVIVAL OF NEW ORLEANS. The book chronicles the struggles of musicians in the aftermath of Katrina to restore New Orleans musical culture. Rolling Stone calls the book “a fast-moving hybrid of richly detailed journalism and compelling partisan memoir.” $10 admission for non-members, but you can attend the booksigning for free. Ogden After Hours will also feature cellist Helen Gillet, access to the exhibits and a cash bar (and no, you can’t take your drinks in the exhibits; I tried). Ogden Museum of Art, Thursday Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.

&If you haven’t gotten your fix of Southern Gothic from THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE (about which I’ve only heard positive things from those with early copies), check out debut novelist Chris Buehlman THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER. “Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.” Garden District Books, Friday, Sept. 9th at 5:30 p.m.

&On Saturday, Garden District features MISS TIMMINS’ SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, part coming-of-age story, part murder mystery tells the story of a young English teacher who starts out seeking love, but ends up finding freedom. Author Nayana Currimbhoy will sign and discuss Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.

& This sounds almost too strange to be true until you remember MAUS: New Orleans artist Alan Gerson talks about and signs his just released THE 9-11 COMIC BOOK at Octavia Books on Sunday, 9/11. “Packing blunt storytelling by N.P. Clearly, backed by gut-grabber artwork by Gerson, THE 9-11 COMIC BOOK recounts the events of 9-11 with horror and hope. The Narrator is none other than the Angel of Death.” I’ll be flying on 9/11 (because that’s the way we roll) but I think this is too interesting not to have. In fact, I just ordered my online from the store. Octavia Books, Sunday, Sept. 11 2 p.m.

&You might want to dust off your Mr. Darcy costume from the last Mandeville Jane Austen Festival and join Autsen scholar William Deresiewicz discussing JJANE AUSTEN EDUCATION, which uses Austen’s novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen’s teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man’s discovery of the world outside himself. Suitable Mr. Darcy duds are suggested by the cover’s paper doll on the event page. Garden District Books, Tuesday, Sept. 13t at 5:30 p.m.

& The Loyola Writing Institute Fall 2011 Writing Workshop: Writing Well-Crafted Fiction will be led by Stephen Rea, author of FINN MCCOOL’S FOOTBALL CLUB. The class will run eight weeks starting Tuesday, Sept. 27. Cost is $250 and you can register here. Deadline to sign up is Sept. 13.

&A week from today noted local novelist Robert Olen Butler will read from and sign his newest, A SMALL HOTEL, again at Garden District Books. (I wonder if they get a percentage of the bar from the coffee house for all these events?) Set in contemporary New Orleans but working its way back in time, A Small Hotel chronicles the relationship between Michael and Kelly Hays, who have decided to separate after 24 years of marriage. (Sounds like it could be more fun than a double bill of Blue Valentine and Synechdoche, N.Y. followed by a close reading of Lay Down in Darkness. For some of us, at least. But I’ll want a copy anyway). Sadly I’ll be out of town but you should be at Garden District Books, Thursday, Sept. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

Down the road a bit, mark your calendars for Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s celebration of the birthday of its namesake, Nobel laureate William Faulkner and toast concurrently the birthday of one of the Society’s co-founders, author and scholar in Southern literature, W. Kenneth Holditch. Dr. Holditch will give a talk on Faulkner and Tennessee Williams and their importance on contemporary writing and sign his new book
on Tennessee Williams. Co-presented by The Louisiana State Museum, the event is free to the general public with advance reservations. To reserve, contact Faulkner Society at Faulkhouse@aol.com or call (504) 524-2940 to reserve or reserve copies of books in advance. For more details on authors, visit http://www.wordsandmusic.org. Free refreshments.

While we’re peering into the future, I am scheduled as a Featured Reader at 17 Poets on Thursday, Sept. 29, so be sure to cancel all possibly conflicting plans. Mention the phrase “Isolation is the Gift” and I’ll buy you a Hi Lfe.

New Orleans Poetry Summit Podcast September 6, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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17 Poets! presented a display of New Orleans literary magazines and bric-a-brac dating back to the early 20th Century on Sept. 1, together with a panel drawing together host Dave Brinks with fellow notable local poets Bill Lavendar, Lee Meitzen Grue, Dennis Formento, Kalamu ya Salaam, John Clarke and Dr. Jerry Ward. Below is a podcast of the discussion panel. It’s unedited audio directly from my digital recorder (I’m not an audio tech) so apologies in advance for any quality issues.

Gold Mine Saloon Panel

Some photos are here on Facebook.

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis September 5, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, second line, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Cross-posted at the Treme blog BackOfTown.com

The tragic death by drowning of actor Micheal Showers, who played New Orleans police Capt. John Guidry in “Treme,” has an eerie resonance both for fans of the show, echoing the death of John Goodman’s character Creighton Bernette. Showers’ death has been ruled a drowning, but in the missing persons report filed by his girlfriend she indicated he was suffering from depression, anxiety and had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. There is no official report that his drowning was other than accidental.

While I suspect most New Orleanians have put such thoughts behind him, his death should register beyond the confines of a television show. Official suicide rates tripled in New Orleans in early 2006, the period represented by Season One and Bernette’s fateful ferry ride. Mortality rates spiked by one third, based on a study of Times-Picayune death notices that included displaced residents who died elsewhere. (Conflicting studies focusing on official, local deaths poo-poohed this notion but disregarded that in that period over half the city’s residents remained displaced). In the evacuation trailer parks to the north, fifty percent of residents met the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder, and the suicide rate in the parks was 17 times the national average.

Some (many) may think this post disrespectful of the dead, to speculate on how Showers met his death by drowning, but a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis echoes the experience of so many of those who made up the spike in post-Katrina mortality, the sense that they had lost the life they had before with no prospect of recovery. Bernette was, like most Treme characters, a composite, based both on Ashley Morris and documentary filmmaker Stevenson Palfi, who took his own life post Katrina Palfi lost not only his Mid-City home but files, photographs and film that helped produce his documentaries “Piano Players Rarely Play Together” and an unfinished film on Allen Toussaint.

Whatever brought Showers to the edge of the river, a breath of fresh air to clear his head after a night of drinking, or an ultimate moment of despair, something about his death resonates in a way most people in New Orleans would rather not contemplate but then I’m not most people, spent too many months in 2005 and 2006 tracking and cataloging the dead, too many hours each January compiling an annual list of all the victims of murder. In my own space at Toulouse Street (and formally on Wet Bank Guide), we remember.

Treme is ultimately about the resilience of the people of New Orleans, their insistence to save not just a bit of real estate but a culture and a way of life, and that resilience is more powerful and poignant against the unspoken backstory that Creighton Burnette’s death hints at, a tripled suicide rate, thousands dead from lack of medical care or just the loss in the elderly of the will to live. It is important to remember not only the 1,753 official Katrina deaths but the over 4,000 carefully cataloged by journalist Robert Lindsay five years ago.

Treme is about the Last Battle of New Orleans but the casualties are mostly off screen, like the millions of Civil War dead that haunt the soul of every bushwhacker turned Western gunslinger, and Showers’ brings that back to mind. RIP Micheal Showers, and I’m sorry if you and yours think I have hijacked that particular and personal sorrow but it so clearly brings back the desperation and loss that makes the triumphs of survival depicted in Treme more noble. You were a small part in the great machine of a film that reminds the rest of America–long since moved on–that we in New Orleans second line for our dead and why we do so and for your part in that, in every snap of a tourist’s camera as the band and joyful mourners pass, every second line from now on is in some small way for you.

The Cereal Box Compulsion September 5, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, books, literature, Odd Words, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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You know the one: sitting at the table without something to read at hand and you devour every word on the Raisin Bran box while absentmindedly spooning the cereal into your mouth. And you find yourself wondering, just before lunch, what it was you had for breakfast.

I was catching up on Stephen Elliott’s Daily Rumpus emails and he mentioned a story about how to avoid the cheap literary trick of a middle aged character revisiting an old habit or haunt and wondering why they don’t do that or go there anymore. He pointed to a story, Thom Jones’ I Want To Live, as an exceptional example of how not to do that.

I search for the story and discover the book that contains it on Amazon (but I don’t shop on Amazon, at least not for books) and the appearance of the story in Harper’s Magazine. I click on the Harper’s link but of course it’s behind a pay wall. I could subscribe, I am reminded, for as little as $16.97 a year, about what I might pay for a Very Good or better copy of the book on Alibris with shipping. Or I could subscribe to Harper’s online.

I used to read Harper’s faithfully for many years but somewhere along the way I let the subscription drop. It was always worth the cost for the stories, for the essay by Lewis Lapham when he was editor, for a thoughtful and well written exploration of some current event. The problem now is that current events bore me. Politics bore me. Peoples bore me/literature bores me, especially great literature,/Henry bores me,/with his plights & gripes/as bad as Achilles,/who loves people and valiant art, which bores me…

Where was I? Oh, yes, why I don’t read magazines much unless the cell signal is poor at the dentist. Keep me away, please, from anything having to do with current affairs. Anything datelined Washington, D.C. leaves me regretting I threw out my moldy copy of The Anarchist Cookbook and grinding my teeth furiously. I have a new subscription to The Believer and each copy lives on my kitchen table, ensuring I do not have to resort to the cereal box. I love my Oxford American. Beyond that, I simply can’t seem to sustain a magazine.

My sister takes The New Yorker and dutifully passes them on to me for the stories and poetry. I subscribe to a few literary journals and now The Believer and Oxford American (the last a gift from my sister). Perhaps it would not be a bad idea to resubscribe to Harpers. There aren’t many places left that publish stories and poetry, and they will not survive without subscribers.

Or perhaps I will buy another book. I spend far to much on books lately (My mother calls. I take my mail at her address. You have another package, she says gaily, with the unspoken message that a virtually blind 87-year old has had to wrestle the damn thing out of the postal box in her building’s lobby). I have a pile that I am beginning to transfer onto a special shelf, the ones I have yet to read.

I look forward to the day in late October when I will turn in my badge and Blackberry to Moloch when I really should be looking forward to another job. If I didn’t have a decent severance, I would be scanning the online job listings instead of typing into this screen but I need a sabbatical very badly, and relish having a chance at least to catch up no that pile of books. As I suggested earlier, perhaps I will turn this circumstance into a true sabbatical dedicated to reading and writing, but I have not yet conjured a plan to make that possible.

Everything I have done in my adult life-journalism, politics, IT and lately the corporate grind of banking–have worn my out beyond my years. I divide my day into coffee, try not to drink more coffee so late in the day [fail], and a drink or two at the end of the day to take the edge off the coffee. Why does the father in the television series The Wonder Years always come home and make a drink? Why does every middle-aged character done slogging through another day always make a drink? To take the edge off the coffee that made their day possible. I think of the Wonder Years because the character was one year ahead of me and I always identified closely with the show, but now I am the father.

I still can’t make up my mind between Harper’s and another book, but one thing is certain. I will buy one or the other even though I am over budget (again) this month, for the same reason I purchased a membership to the New Orleans Museum of Art last Spring when I thought my job would end in May, and another to the Ogden just this month. Come October I will have time on my hands to fill, time that will be spent well, and best spent at the only thing that keeps my day from starting with a drink instead of a coffee: studying the craft of writing and writing. Only by that resolution can the rest take care of itself.

Originally intended to publish tomorrow so as not to crowd the earlier piece but since it slipped out onto Facebook and Twitter (with a link back) I might as well let it go.

Storm Poem September 3, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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The Hurricane
by William Carlos Williams

The tree lay down
on the garage roof
and stretched, You
have your heaven,
it said, go to it.

Somewhere under the rainbow September 2, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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“Write drunk. Edit sober.”
— Ernest Hemmingway

Probably not the best advice but then there was Papa and Tennessee and if I gave it some serious thought I could go on. Bukowski only took the first piece to heart and left us all his editors but its worth the search, panning through the best forgotten to find that glint of gold in the bottom of the pan, the diamond among the quartz.

I do some of my best writing hungover with a bit too much coffee in me, and I hate those days when I have to drive into the office and the words and ideas pop like fireballs from a roman candle and no time to stop and write them down, busy as an insect scuttling from one task to the next and you come home and lay in bed and can’t bring any of them back. Damn. Another hundred babies in the mouth of Moloch.

Work is truly the curse of the drinking creative class.

————————————————————

The office is as featureless as the road stretching toward the cloud mountains of the rolling Dakotas, occasional billboards screaming pay mortgage, ten o’clock meeting. go to grocery, answer email, do laundry, deadline tomorrow. Smack dead and nodding in the middle of the continent dreaming of oceans, ghost signals on the FM and pedal steel soybean reports crackling over the AM.

You stare at the highway but don’t let yourself become hypnotized, eyes roam over the instruments, speed 78, gas three-eights, tach and temp steady but not too long. There is a term from aviation that I often encounter at work, task saturation. On the highway starting at the map on your knee or desperately searching the radio and suddenly the lonely overpass stanchion on the next road to no where is coming up on you at 120 feet per second and only the rumble strips save you.

You begin to wonder what lies up those empty roads, numbered exits, no services. Somewhere out there a tree stands alone, older than North Dakota and you wonder what spirits inhabit the rise it has conquered and held against a hundred brutal winter. Take the other turn and find a glacial pond filled with trumpeter swans ballet graceful on their brown stage yet raucous in their calls as a brass band testing their embouchures.

Speed climbs over 80 breasting the next rolling ridge, gas one-quarter (bingo to Bismark), radio useless, the horizon rushing toward you vacant as a corridor of discount malls and over the crackle of Saskatchewan cattle prices a tinny voice in the back of your head urgently deadpans: Eject! Eject! Eject!

The tires hiss in your ears, a distant bit of sand, butt sunk in the damp wash, baby waves rolling in the calm, the kiss of the wave and the gentle hiss of it’s retreat calling you in, the gentle tug like eyes and hands locked backward into the bedroom and in this dangerous 80 mile-per-hour daydream suddenly the undertow is pulling you toward another horizon, the conquistador possibilities of a southern ocean. Loud arrows in the sky call to you, pointing south: last star to the right and straight on until dawn.

Odd Words September 1, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Let’s say you have most of a degree in English literature, with a major in the college newspaper and a minor in the nearby bar that launched the Radiators and Little Queenie. You are about to be laid of with a generous severance package, but your lack of a bachelors and the need to conserve money prelude going back to school.

How do you craft your own MFA like experience? Assume you manage to stretch six months severance out to a year by free-lance writing and anything else this side of the corner you have to do. How to go about crafting a program, and keeping yourself to it, with the goal of taking your writing to the next level?

You can skim the internet for syllabi, mostly reading lists, but without instructors how do you learn to take apart the bits of craft and learn from them? Perhaps the same way you took that not -quite-a-degree in English and managed to make yourself an IT worker, and later an IT project manager. Identify the most important books of criticism, both general to the genre and specific to the writers on your reading list, and books on craft in general, and add them to your syllabus. Read them first then set writing tasks they suggest, tied to the writers you have selected for your syllabus.

To a generation raised on classes and degrees in creative writing this probably seems madness, but creative writing programs are a recent innovation in the history of literature. Somehow all the generations of writers between the bardic times of apprenticeship and the creation of the M.F.A in creative writing managed this.

The other night on TheRumpus.net poetry chat with Aracelis Girmay she spoke of circulating the draft of her last book to family members, afraid that the poems on family history might be “dangerous and irresponsible.” All the best writing is dangerous and irresponsible, calls up the author’s demons for a chat not so much to exorcise them but to tame them and make them the servants of Prospero. My last post was dangerous and irresponsible, to spread my life out like the leaves of a book but I started down that path long before I discovered that creative non-fiction and memoir were among the hot products of our generation’s literature.

Dangerous and irresponsible. I will eventually have to find another job, and risk time best spent looking given my difficult-to-get-hired middle age. I have one child in college and another on the way. Responsibilities. The very idea of this project is dangerous and irresponsible. And irresistible. Turned out of my good corporate job, why not take my exile and turn to a study of the alchemic mysteries of the craft of writing, my library dukedom enough>? Call it the Prospero Project.

And so to the listings:
& Speaking of major undertakings: tonight Dave Brinks’ and Megan Burns’ 17 Poets! will mount a massive display of New Orleans literary publications from the 1940s to the present at the Goldmine Saloon, 701 Dauphine Street at the corner of St. Peter. The event will feature an open discussion by New Orleans most prominent poets and publishers, incuding KALAMU YA SALAAM, LEE MEITZEN GRUE, DENNIS FORMENTO, DR. JERRY W. WARD, RODGER KAMENETZ, MONA LISA SALOY, JOHN CLARK, NANCY HARRIS, JOHN TRAVIS, RALPH ADAMO, BILL LAVENDER, NANCY DIXON, JIM CASS and many others from the New Orleans community.

This event will be followed by poetry reading featuring GINA FERRARA (celebrating her d-day!) and OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross. Sign-up for Open Mic begins at 7:00 p.m. For more info please visit 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series website: http://www.17poets.com. The catalog of works to be exhibited is so long I’m going to put them in a separate post. If you already have plans for tonight, you ought to reconsider them. 17 Poets at the Goldmine Saloon, Thursday Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

&Before I make it downtown, first stop will be at Octavia Books to see George Pelecanos read from, discuss, and sign his new book, THE CUT. Pelecanos is an independent film producer, an essayist, the recipient of numerous international writing awards, a producer and an Emmy-nominated writer on the HBO hit series The Wire, and the author of a bestselling series of novels set in and around Washington, D.C. He currently writes for the acclaimed HBO series Treme. I spent most of a decade in Washington, D.C. at the height of the crack wars, so esides his ties to Treme, the focus of his crime novels on Washington is a plus for me. I know only his film work, and it’s time I dived into his novels.If you missed Pelecanos on Susan Laron’s The Reading Life on WWNO-FM on Tuesday, check the podcast or tun in 12:30 pm on Saturday. Octavia Books, Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.

& Speaking of Gothic, Garden District Books will host debut novelist Chris Buehlman for a Reading & Signing of his new novel THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER on Friday. Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice. Friday, Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

& On Wednesday,Sept. 9 Octavia will host a reading and signing with native Louisiana author Jenny Wingfield featuring her debut novel, THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE, an “Indie Next” pick for July. Fannie Flagg calls it “”Raw, dark, and powerful. Southern Gothic at it’s best. Puts one in mind of Erskine Caldwell and Flannery O’Connor.” That’s some pretty high praise. [Sigh]. Another book in the pile, and probably a hardcover at that.

&A continuing Wednesday event is the spoken word open mic at VASO on Frenchman Street, hosted by Carl SMUT DA POET Smothers. There is a $5 cover, drink specials, and free admission for all participating artists. “All Poets, Singers, Musician’s And Anyone With Something To Express Are Welcome.” Doors at nine, show at 10 p.m. Wednesday, VASO Ultra Lounge, 500 Frenchman St.

& Next Thursday at Ogden After Hours, John Swenson will sign NEW ATLANTIS: MUSICIANS BATTLE FOR THE SURVIVAL OF NEW ORLEANS. The book chronicles the struggles of musicians in the aftermath of Katrina to restore New Orleans musical culture. Rolling Stone calls the book “a fast-moving hybrid of richly detailed journalism and compelling partisan memoir.” $10 admission for non-members, but you can attend the booksigning for free. Ogden After Hours will also feature cellist Helen Gillet, access to the exhibits and a cash bar (and no, you can’t take your drinks in the exhibits) Ogden Museum of Art, Thursday Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.

Down the road a bit, mark your calendars for Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner!, the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s celebration of the birthday of its namesake, Nobel laureate William Faulkner and toast concurrently the birthday of one of the Society’s co-founders, author and scholar in Southern literature, W. Kenneth Holditch. Dr. Holditch will give a talk on Faulkner and Tennessee Williams and their importance on contemporary writing and sign his new book
on Tennessee Williams. Co-presented by The Louisiana State Museum, the event is free to the general public with advance reservations. To reserve, contact Faulkner Society at Faulkhouse@aol.com or call (504) 524-2940 to reserve or reserve copies of books in advance. For more details on authors, visit http://www.wordsandmusic.org. Free refreshments.

& The Loyola Writing Institute Fall 2011 Writing Workshop: Writing Well-Crafted Fiction will be led by Stephen Rea, author of FINN MCCOOL’S FOOTBALL CLUB. The class will run eight weeks starting Tuesday, Sept. 27. Cost is $250 and you can register here. Deadline to sign up is Sept. 13.

That is, as folks are want to say in the piney hills to our north, all she wrote.

If you are reading this and your event is not on here, that’s because you didn’t drop me a line to odd.words.nola@gmail.com.

Literary History at the Goldmine Saloon September 1, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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As promised, here’s the complete announcement and catalog of works on display tonight, Thursday Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at 17 Poets at the Goldmine Saloon, corner of Dauphine and St. Peter Sts. in the French Quarter.

“Magazines have come and gone, people have come and gone, and so much of what we were intensely into has become only a flickering memory.”
— Tom Dent

On Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 7:00PM, the GOLD MINE SALOON and 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series will host an OPEN DISCUSSION and EXHIBIT featuring dozens of “original” NEW ORLEANS LITERARY publications (books, magazines & other epherma) relating to the Crescent City’s HISTORICAL contributions to AMERICAN ARTS & LETTERS.

Please join us for this EVENT featuring many of the MOST PROMINENT PRACTITIONERS of the PAST and TODAY as we present an OPEN DISCUSSION by distinguished artists, poets, writers & scholars who’ve been central to the act of ARTS & LETTERS in New Orleans, including KALAMU YA SALAAM, LEE MEITZEN GRUE, DENNIS FORMENTO, DR. JERRY W. WARD, RODGER KAMENETZ, MONA LISA SALOY, JOHN CLARK, NANCY HARRIS, JOHN TRAVIS, RALPH ADAMO, BILL LAVENDER, NANCY DIXON, JIM CASS and many others from the New Orleans community.

This event will be followed by poetry reading featuring GINA FERRARA (celebrating her d-day!) and OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross. Sign-up for Open Mic begins at 7:00 p.m. For more info please visit 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series website: http://www.17poets.com

The Gold Mine Saloon is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans at the corner of Dauphine and St. Peter St. (701 Dauphine Street).

—Some of the NEW ORLEANS RELATED PUBLICATIONS featured in this EXHIBIT will include:

NOLA (1840’s)
CREOLE VOICES ed. by Edward Maceo Coleman, 1945; A Centennial Edition celebrating LES CENELLES, the first African-American anthology of poetry published in New Orleans in 1845, ed. by Armand Lanusse.

NOLA (1850’s)
Mysteries of New Orleans by Baron Ludwig von Reizenstein, 1854-55.

NOLA (1870’s)
Old Creole Days by George Washington Cable, 1879.
The New Orleans of Lafcadio Hearn featuring illustrated sketches from the Daily City Item.

NOLA (1880’s)
Gombo Zhebes by Lafcadio Hearn, 1885.
Chita, A Memory of last Island by Lafcadio Hearn, 1888.

NOLA (1890’s)
The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar, 1899.
The Grandissimes by George Washington Cable, 1899.

NOLA (1910’s)
KRAZY KAT: The Comic Art of George Herriman, 1913.

NOLA (1920’s)
Double Dealer, Issue 2; ed. by Julius Weis Friend and Basil Thompson, 1921.

NOLA (1930’s)
Blues: A Bisexual Monthly ed. by Parker Tyler and Charles Henri Ford, 1933.

NOLA (1940’s)
Iconograph, Issue 3 and Supplement; ed. by Kenneth L. Beaudoin, 1946.

NOLA (1950’s)
Old French Quarter News ed. by Bruce Lippincott, 1950.
CLIMAX: A Creative Review in the Jazz Spirit, Issues 1 and 2; ed. by Robert Cass, 1955-56.
New Orleans Poetry Journal Press ed. by Maxine Cassin, various titles 1956-1982.

NOLA (1960’s)
Outsider, Issues 1,2,3 and 4/5; ed. by John and Louise Webb, 1961-63, 1968-69.
A Touch of Recognition by Maxine Cassin, 1962.
Order and Chaos by Henry Miller, Loujon Press, 1966.
No Big Thing ed. by Eugene M. Turk, 1967.
The Free Southern Theater ed. by Tom Dent, Richard Schechner and Gilbert Moses, 1969.
NOLA EXPRESS ed. by Darlen Fife and Robert Head, 1969.
After Word Comes Weird by Darlene Fife and Robert Head, 1969.
Dancing by Al Young, 1969.
Groove, Bang, And Jive Around by Steve Cannon, 1969.
New Laurel Review founded by Alice Claudel and ed. by Lee Meitzen Grue, 1960’s to present.

NOLA (1970’s)
Insomnia or The Devil at Large by Henry Miller, Loujon Press, 1970.
Magnolia Street by Tom Dent, 1972.
The Black Collegian ed. by Kalamu ya Salaam, 1974.
nkombo, Issue 9; ed. by Kalamu ya Salaam and Tom Dent, 1974.
Why I Live in the Forest by James Nolan, 1974.
Barataria, Issues 1-4; ed. by Louis Gallo and Ralph Adamo, 1974.
Distaff: Forum for Southern Women ed. by Mary Gehman, 1975.
Sadness at the Private University by Ralph Adamo, 1977.
French Quarter Poems by Lee Meitzen Grue, 1979.

NOLA (1980’s)
Southern Black Cultural Newsletter, Issue 1; ed. by Tom Dent, 1980.
What Moves Is Not the Wind by James Nolan, 1980.
Quilt, Issue 1; ed. by Al Young and Ishmael Reed, 1981.
Blue Lights and Other River Songs by Tom Dent, 1982.
Fell Swoop ed. by Joel Dailey, 1983 to present.
Songbook by Everette Maddox, 1982.
NIGHTSEASONS by Peter Cooley, 1983.
Charlemagne: A Song of Gestures by John Gery, 1983.
Exquisite Corpse ed. by Andrei Codrescu, 1987-2005.
Maple Leaf Rag Anthology ed. by John Travis, 1980 to present.
Autopsy by Kay Murphy, 1985.
BODY AND SOUL by Julie Kane, 1987.
Contours for Ritual by Martha McFerren, 1988.
A History of Women and New Orleans ed. by Mary Gehman and Nancy Ries, 1988.
Blue Print by Yictove, 1989.
The Ape Woman Story by Nancy Harris, 1989.
Portals Press ed. by John Travis, various titles, 1989 to present.
Mesechabe: A Journal of Surregionalism ed. by John Clark and Dennis Formento, 1980-90’s.

NOLA (1990’s)
Word Up: Black Poetry of the 80’s from the Deep South ed. by Kalamu ya Salaam, 1990.
The Missing Jew by Rodger Kamenetz, 1992.
Magic City by Yusef Komunyakaa, 1992.
WOMEN IN CARS by Martha McFerren, 1992.
The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz, 1994.
Poet-Chief: The Native American Poetics of Waly Whitman and Pablo Neruda by James Nolan, 1994.
New Orleans Review: The Other South vol. 25, no.1-2; ed. by Ralph Adamo, 1995.
The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction by Mary Gehman, 1996.
New Orleans Review: An Other South vol. 21, no.2 ed. by Ralph Adamo, 1999.
Rogue Wave ed. by Beth McCormack, 1996-2004.
Southern Journey: A Return to the Civil Rights Movement by Tom Dent, 1997.
Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry ed. by Jerry W. Ward, 1997.
All Saints: New and Selected Poems by Brenda Marie Osbey, 1997.
Ain’t No Spring Chicken: Selected Poems by Ahmos Zu-Bolton, 1998.
360 Degrees, A Revolution of Black Poets ed. by Kalamu ya Salaam, 1998.
From a Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets, ed. by Kalamu ya Salaam, 1998.
Belief Blues by Kay Murphy, 1998.
rogue embryo by Camille Martin, 1999.
I Am New Orleans and Other Poems by Marcus B. Christian; ed. by Rudolph Lewis and Amin Sharif, 1999.
Lower 48 by Joel Dailey, 1999.
Lavender Ink ed. by Bill Lavender, various titles, 1990’s to present.

NOLA (2000’s)
Frozen Embraces by Biljana Obradovic, bilingual, English and Serbian, 2000.
Fattening Frogs for Snakes by John Sinclair, 2002.
Another South: Experimental Writing in the South, ed. by Bill Lavender and Hank Lazer, 2002.
Pages from the Book of the Sun: New and Selected Poems by Niyi Osundare, 2002.
Rhythm & Blues by Julie Kane, 2003.
All Fires the Fire by Andy Young, 2003.
Words of Fire: An Anthology of the Dragon’s Den Poetry Night, ed. by Heidi Peite, 2003.
The Altar of This Moment by beverly Rainbolt, 2003.
If Books Were Bricks by Jimmy Ross, 2003.
Jayne Mansfield’s Dog by Alex Rawls, 2004.
YAWP: A Journal of Poetry & Art ed. by Dave Brinks, 2004 to present.
Appetite by Jean-Mark Sens,, 2004.
Red Beans And Ricely Yours: Poems by Mona Lisa Saloy, 2005.
Xavier Review vol. 25, no. 2; ed. by Richard Collins, 2005.
MEENA: A Bilingual Literary Magazine, Arabic and English, Issues 1-3; ed. by Andy Young and Khaled Hegazzi, 2005 to present.
New Orleans Review vol. 31, no. 2; ed. by Christopher Chambers, 2006.
Blind Visionz by Michael “Quess” Moore, 2006.
What Gets Into Us by Moira Crone, 2006.
Simpatico Press ed. by Daniel Kerwick, 2006 to present.
Solid Quarter ed. by Megan Burns, 2006 to present.
Geometry of the Heart by Valentine Pierce, 2007.
Roach Opera by Christian Champagne, 2007.
University of New Orleans Press, ed. by Bill Lavender, various titles, 2007 to present.
All Mothers Are Boats by Herbert Kearney, 2008.
aepoetics by Thaddeus Conti, 2008.
Memorial + Sight Lines by Megan Burns, 2008.
Constance, Issues 1-2; ed. by Patrick Strange and Eric Kiesewetter, 2006, 2008.
The Katrina Papers by Jerry W. Ward, 2008.
Olympia Street by Michael Ford, 2008
The Richard Wright Encyclopedia ed. by Jerry W. Ward and Robert J. Butler, 2008.
Spherical Woman: Collected Poems by Kysha Brown Robinson, 2009.
The Caveat Onus by Dave Brinks, 2009.
The Parade Goes On Without You by Andrea Boll, 2009.
TRANSFIXION by Bill Lavender, 2009.
My Name is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry and Other Jazz by Arturo Pfister, 2009.
Slosh Models by Brett Evans, 2009.
Etheral Avalanche by Gina Ferrara, 2009.
The Loup Garou by Moose Jackson, 2009.

NOLA (2010’s)
What Can’t Be Lost ed. by Lee Barclay, 2010.
Unsolicited Poems by David Rowe, 2010.
Dorado, Issue 1; ed. by Peter Anderson, 2010 to present.
A Howling in the Wires ed. by Sam Jasper and Mark Folse, 2010.
According to the Drunken Elders of My Past by Geoff Munstermann, 2010.
Downtown by Lee Meitzen Grue, 2011.
SONG OF PRAISE: Homage To John Coltrane by John Sinclair, 2011.
The War of the Pews: A Personal Account of St. Augustine Church in New Orleans by Rev. Jerome G LeDoux, S.V.D., Margaret Media, 2011.

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