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Odd Words No. 139 August 30, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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After Hurricane Betsy passed and the novelty of crawling around on downed oak trees and skim boarding on the puddles wore off, I retired to the pastime I’ve enjoyed since I can remember: reading a book. With the power out, no Internet, phones out in the running car charging (and maybe you sitting with it basking in the air conditioning) and WWL-AM become a complaints and returns line from hell, there is no better time to wander over to your book shelf and pull off an old favorite, or that book you just had to buy six months ago that you haven’t gotten around to reading. If the kids are howling because their xBox is dead, try sitting everyone down in the coolest room or the porch with a book and read together, or better yet have someone read out loud. Pick something you still love and the kids can follow. If it were me, I’d probably choose Treasure Island.

Against the Day Update: Page 506 (48%) and no signs yet of musculoskeletal damage to my hands or sudden changes in vision or cognition from extended use of a Kindle. And yes I will end up buying a hard copy from the first independent bookstore to pimp mention Odd Words on their web page. I don’t understand why people find this book so difficult. There is way less math than Gravity’s Rainbow.

Either there were no events scheduled for the end of the week or weekend, or all the book shops have been to their websites and taken down those since they probably don’t have power. I’ve sent all the indie book stores an email asking them to let me know when they will re-open, and I’ll push that info out the Odd words Facebook page and Twitter account, both of which you subscribe to, right?

& Sunday at 3 p.m. is an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. Give everyone my regards, as since I’ve started swapping my sons at five o’clock on Sunday I just haven’t been able to make it. Make sure somebody helps Nancy haul in the amplifier and mike stand.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p..mm. Spoken Word New Orleans presents Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. repeating Sundays at Noon. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Tuesday, Sept. 4th the 1718 Society, a student-run literary organization made up of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students, will be continuing their reading series this fall. On the first Tuesday of every month, students and locals alike meet at 7:00 pm at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue to listen to local authors read their work and indulge in happy hour. Open to the public, these readings provide an opportunity to experience writers (primarily local poets, but also fiction writers both local and national), while giving students a forum to present their own work to their peers and the community. Lee Barclay will be September’s featured reader. She will be reading selections from New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost, which she edited. Maple Street Book Shop will be on site selling the featured reader’s book.

& On Wednesday, Sept. 5 Garden District Book Shop hosts Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright and their new book A Case For Solomon at 5:30 p.m.
A CASE FOR SOLOMON: BOBBY DUNBAR AND THE KIDNAPPING THAT HAUNTED A NATION chronicles one of the most celebrated—and most misunderstood—kidnapping cases in American history. In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar, the son of an upper-middle-class Louisiana family, went missing in the swamps. After an eight-month search that electrified the country and destroyed Bobby’s parents, the boy was found, filthy and hardly recognizable, in the pinewoods of southern Mississippi. A wandering piano tuner who had been shuttling the child throughout the region by wagon for months was arrested and charged with kidnapping—a crime that was punishable by death at the time. But when a destitute single mother came forward from North Carolina to claim the boy as her son, not Bobby Dunbar, the case became a high-pitched battle over custody—and identity—that divided the South.

& On Thursday, Sept. 6 17 Poets! launches their Fall season with Poet John Knight and Writer Constance Adler. Knight is the recipient of the Louisiana Literature Award for Poetry, the Langston Hughes Poetry Prize, the Pirates Alley William Faulkner Poetry Award and the Eyster Prize for Poetry. He is a native of Georgia, but now resides in Louisiana. Adler teaches a creative writing workshop and writes a blog, Emily Every Day. Her writing has appeared in Spy Magazine, Utne Reader, Self, Cable Guide, Baltimore Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Oxford American, and Gambit, New Orleans’s alternative newsweekly. You can check out the entire fall schedule on the 17 Poets! web page.

Looking ahead:

& The 1718 Society’s fall poetry reading schedule has been announced: Sept. 4: Lee Barclay; Oct. 2: Andy Stallings; Nov. 6: Carolyn Hembree and Dec. 4: Benjamin Morris. The readings all take place at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue.

& The New Orleans Review’s Walker Percy Prize for short fiction is now accepting submissions through Dec. 12.

&On Sept. 13 David Lummis celebrates the long-awaited publication of The Last Beacour, Part Two of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans. “Here is a guy who can paint accurately while he suffers—a talented bohemian, in other words. A worthy addition to your growing New Orleans shelf.” —Andrei Codrescu

& Starting Sept. 25th, the Keller Library and Maple Street Books will sponsor a new, lunch-time book club. The selection for August is Richard Ford’s Canada. The dates for the first four months are: Aug. 28th, Sept. 25th, Oct. 23rd, and Nov. 27th. (I’m pretty sure they didn’t meet on the 28th).

Remember August 29, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Federal Flood, Fortin Street, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Requiem

Odd Words No. 138 August 23, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Crikey. How could I have forgotten to post this last week? Just another sign that things here at the Fortress of Squalitude are spiraling out of control toward some revelation too terrible to comprehend, such as the floor of my son’s room.

Happy [Belated] Birthday Charles Bukowski.

The Laughing Heart

Against the Day Update: Page 442 (40%) and no signs yet of musculoskeletal damage to my hands or sudden changes in vision or cognition from extended use of a Kindle. And yes I will end up buying a hard copy from the first independent bookstore to pimp mention Odd Words on their web page.

& so to the listings:

& Tonight, Aug. 23rd Author Marie Bookman will be signing her Katrina-fueled book of poetry, Breach of My Heart, at Maple Street Book’s Healing Center location.

& On Saturday Aug. 25th at 1 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop Angus Woodward reads and signs Americanisation: Lessons in American Culture and Language. “Biti Namoeteri, an enterprising young man from South America’s Lichtenstein, comes to the US to get a graduate degree in Spiritual Geography, never expecting to become a multi-level marketer or to fall in love with a woman named Janet Broccoli. But he does just that, and then discovers that personal injury lawsuits can be the keys to both success and failure. Woodward’s narrative strategy is both accessible and experimental in this comic novel posing as a textbook.

& Saturday night, Aug. 25th at 6 p.m. historical fiction novelist Katherine Howe, author of the New York Times-bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, will be at Maple Street’s Uptown shop Saturday to read and sign her newest book, The House of Velvet and Glass. “Set in 1915 Boston, The House of Velvet and Glass is the story of a young woman poised on the cusp of a tumultuous new century, torn between loss and love, driven to seek answers in the depths of a crystal ball.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. is an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. Give everyone my regards, as since I’ve started swapping my sons at five o’clock on Sunday I just haven’t been able to make it. Make sure somebody helps Nancy haul in the amplifier and mike stand.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p..mm. Spoken Word New Orleans presents Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& Starting Monday, Aug. 28th, the Keller Library and Maple Street Books will sponsor a new, lunch-time book club. The selection for August is Richard Ford’s Canada. The dates for the first four months are: Aug. 28th, Sept. 25th, Oct. 23rd, and Nov. 27th.

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. repeating Sundays at Noon. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Tuesday, Aug. 29 the Healing Center location of Maple Street features Thomas Joseph Perez’ Katrina Lashes Arabia. “Katrina Owens is an American nurse working in a Riyadh hospital in Saudi Arabia. After six years in the desert kingdom, the outrageous Katrina now has had her fill of the dysfunctional Saudi society. Especially fed up with the oppression of women, she is itching to finish her contract so she can move on to a hospital job in more liberal Dubai. But on the same day that Hurricane Katrina hits her hometown of New Orleans, Katrina is harassed by a religious fanatic in a Riyadh bazaar. Katrina goes ballistic. To avoid arrest and imprisonment, Katrina takes refuge on the palace grounds of a powerful Saudi prince. As she settles in under his generous patronage, she realizes that he will secure for her an Exit visa only if she agrees to satisfy his needs… At the same time, she finds herself in the middle of palace intrigue involving biological weapons under development in the palace clinic. She has landed in the center of an international plot. The wily Katrina must elude her male oppressors as she outwits the tyrannical government that aims to imprison her . . . or worse.” If you’ve been waiting to go to the beach until Labor Day, this sounds like one for you.

Looking ahead:

& The 1718 Society’s fall poetry reading schedule has been announced: Sept. 4: Lee Barclay; Oct. 2: Andy Stallings; Nov. 6: Carolyn Hembree and Dec. 4: Benjamin Morris. The readings all take place at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue.

& The New Orleans Review’s Walker Percy Prize for short fiction is now accepting submissions through Dec. 12.

&On Sept. 13 David Lummis celebrates the long-awaited publication of The Last Beacour, Part Two of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans. “Here is a guy who can paint accurately while he suffers—a talented bohemian, in other words. A worthy addition to your growing New Orleans shelf.” —Andrei Codrescu.

Place Not Space August 20, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, geo-memoir, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Crap, another book I have to read. Actually two–Triburbia and Life, A User’s Manual–plus maybe re-read Dubliners. If Odd Words is a Geo-Memoir, as I have styled it, then I guess I need to keep up with the literature of place. And because sleep is such a goddamn waste of time:

Karl Taro Greenfeld, reviewers have been quick to do two things: compare Triburbia to Joyce’s Dubliners and pound on you about how dislikeable your characters are. Whereas I can see the comparison to Dubliners—that is, geography is story, geography becomes narrative—I don’t think that’s the most apt comparison. You two aim at very different things, with very different points of both departure and arrival. If anything, I think Triburbia is a lot like Georges Perec’s Life, A User’s Manual—this is no small compliment—only more modest in scope. The irony being your book is geographically situated in an entire neighborhood, whereas Perec’s is a mere apartment building. Much like both you and Joyce, Perec’s building becomes its own character.
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This Is Your Last Warning August 19, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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Walking in August August 18, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Fortin Street, History, je me souviens, Louisiana, memoir, Mid-City, New Orleans, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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By August we’re done like long basting turkeys in the oven, well-browned and in danger of drying out. The wasps proliferate in the back yard, nesting in the neighbors wild vines behind their shed. The mushroom cloud rising out of the line of cumulonimbus is all the weather forecast that you need, convection foretelling the afternoon’s thunderstorms which coax the grass into miraculous growth the landlord never tends to properly. The pigeons come up to my stoop like hobos although I never feed them. Still, my neighbors walk up toward the grocery on Gentilly or on Esplanade, a subtle racial divide on my quiet street. The feral parrots complete the tropical scene.

We still walk the sunny side up sidewalks not to prove a point but out of habit. Bicycles are almost as frequent as cars on my street not to make some fashionable statement like a car plastered in stickers but out of necessity. Pedestians converge from the fashionable bayou Faubourg and edge-of-Gentilly Fortin Street toward Cansecos and Terranovas groceries, Dr. Bob’s drug store–where you can put your prescription on account or have it delivered–to the democratic coffee shop and the fashionable wine bar and salon.

If I walk up at noon the pavement is brighter than the sky and a hat is advisable. Even the pigeons have sensibly retreated to the shade. I don’t pass as many people on their porches as I would in the evening but air conditioning has driven people inside in the Faubourg unlike black, working class Orleans Avenue ten blocks away where neighbors still gather on shady side stoops and old men drag kitchen chairs beneath the trees of neutral ground trees. Still I am almost certain to converge with or pass someone with a shopping bag when the only others out are tradesmen with their heads bound in bandanas working a saw table, pausing to wipe the sweat and sawdust from their brows with the crook of their elbows.

I sit writing this beneath a whirring air conditioner in South Lakeview. The nearest grocery is on Harrison Avenue a good 25 blocks away around the railroad tracks and a car is a necessity. Lakeview is where the city meets its suburbs, just over the 17th Street drainage canal from the typical American sprawl of Metairie. To the north is the lakefront: Lake Shore, Lake Vista, Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks, the desirable addresses of doctors, lawyers and other men and women of educated industry and the luck of the draw. I grew up in Lake Vista, designed as a paradise of cul-de-sac street divided not by alleys as in Lakeview but by pedestrian lanes named for flowers as the streets we named for birds, shaded paths converging on broad parkways that radiate from the center. Once there was Dudah’s Grocery and Miranti’s Drug Store with its nickle-plated conical cup cherry Cokes a nickle at the soda fountain, a cleaners and a post office. Some idealistic planner once hoped the residents would walk there but in the Fifties and Sixties the automobile ruled. Over time people found it just as convenient to drive up and down Robert E. Lee Boulevard to the new strip malls and the stores of the Center faded into memories.

Across City Park Avenue from South Lakeview in Mid City only stalwarts and holdouts walk to the stores of Carrolton Avenue. When I lived on Toulouse one couple always engagaed in caffinated morning conversation would walk down the street to make their daily groceries in the big greocery up on Carrollton Avenue. The corner doors in that neighborhood are all converted to houses, the shop windows drapped or shuttered. The houses of Mid City are narrow, nestled Craftsmen relics of another era, most with no parking, but even there its hop in the car for the identical aisles of Rouses Grocery and Walgreens, indistinguishable from the stores of Metairie.

You have to journey further into the city or across the bayou to my neighborhood off Esplanade to find where the folk and the houses still match, where the corner store still prevails, and in the evening the closer you get to Mystery Street the walkers proliferate on their evening errands. At six o’clock the sun is hidden by the trees along Esplanade but in August the 90s don’t abate until much later and still they come slowly up the shady side or coast on their bicycles in their after work tanks and shorts and sandals, old habits persistent or forgotten ways rediscovered, a neighborhood that lives in its history like a worn and comfortable pair of shoes.

Odd Words August 16, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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This time last year I though the Kindle was the Cylon of the literary world. I was convinced I loved books too much–the smell and the feel and the heft–to ever consider giving e-books the least attention until the world as I knew it was destroyed and I was forced to get one. And to use recycled garbage bags in the bathroom because all the trees were destroyed in the attack.

Then I went back to school, and picked up the world cheapest Android tablet, a device almost as useful as it is annoying in its quirks. It did, however, allow me to load up Kindle Reader for Android and give it a whirl. At first I just figured out how to get the public domain, Internet readings into Word and converted to PDF in a format I could read. The professor was a Kindle users, and would either search for something or ask someone in the class to do the same. I decided I had to try it (and a couple of the books were out of copyright and cheap).

Searching. Highlighting. Notes. I was hooked. Then I got a reminder from a credit card I’ve had for years that I had tens of thousands of those points you can use to buy useful things like flying toasters. It’s sort of like S&H stamps for people who remember those. I always wondered who saved up enough books of stamps for the Winnebago in the back. Did anyone ever really do that? Ah, but I had to go look and Lo! there was a Kindle. Granted it’s the cheap one that displays ads on the screen after you turn it off or when you use the menu but who cards? It was next to free.

Because I am never happy unless I overload myself with so much stuff to do that I start to feel unhappy, or worse exacerbate my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (which is probably why I do this in the first place, or perhaps ADHD and I — look, a squirrel — so between a full work week that tends so start around 6 a.m. when I check my VPN and two courses at UNO that start next week and the kids and the blog and the other writing I do I just had to decide now was the perfect time to read Thomas Pynchon’s 1085 page whirlwind of character, setting and plot Against the Day. I was maybe fifty pages in when I decided it might help preserve my sanity to go in and start highlighting every character’s name for reference.

Boy, am I ever hooked now. The problem is, I just know I’m going to go out and buy the damned book when I’m done. For people like me (us?) that bookshelf in the front room is as much a part of who we are as a facial tattoo. And since I’ve read everything else Pynchon has written there’d be this obvious, gaping hole in my library should another Pynchon fancier walk into the house. I wonder if the whiz kids in accounting and marketing took folks like us (or just me?) into account when they came up with this idea. “We can sell these addicts two copies easier and faster than glass pipes at the corner store!”

If I once thought the Kindle was the Cylon race of literature, I am now a fully woken skin job embed.

& so to the listings:

& Tonight (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m. Garden District Book Shop hosts Daniel Wolff and his new book Fight For Home: How (Parts of) New Orleans Came Back. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans became ground zero for the reinvention of the American city, with urban planners, movie stars, anarchists, and politicians all advancing their competing visions of recovery. In this wash of reform, residents and volunteers from across the country struggled to build the foundations of a new New Orleans. For over five years Wolff has documented an amazing cross-section of the city in upheaval: a born-again preacher with a ministry of ex-addicts, a former Black Panther organizing for a new cause, a single mother, “broke as a joke” in a FEMA trailer. “The Fight for Home “chronicles their battle to survive not just the floods, but the corruption that continues and the base-level emergency of poverty and neglect. From ruin to limbo to triumphant return, Wolff offers an intimate look at the lives of everyday American heroes. As these lives play out against the ruined local landscape and an emerging national recession, “The Fight for Home “becomes a story of resilience and hope.

I knew Dave Eggars was right when he told the Tennessee Williams Festival crowd a few years back there were a hundred Katrina manuscripts waiting to be written.

& On Saturday August 18th (so you don’t miss it by heading off to Whole Foods that morning) Octavia Books will celebrate Julia Child’s birthday featuring Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, “Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography…. Readers young and old will devour this fete pour les yeux.”

& On Saturday at 2 p.m. Octavia Books hosts an afternoon book signing with local fitness trainer Jennifer Lorman celebrating her new book, MOMMYMOVEMENT: New Baby • New Body • New Life. Lormand shares her proven method of getting your body back after baby.
& Also on Saturday at 1 p.m. Maple Street Book Shop will host Retired Basketball Players James “Dukes” Donaldson (Seattle Supersonics, San Diego/L.A. Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, Harlem Globetrotters; and NBA All-Star 1988) will be reading and signing his book Standing Above the Crowd: Execute your Game Plan to Be the Best You Can Be Saturday, August 18th at 1PM. Donaldson will be joined by Stephen Bardo (Continental Basketball Association, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs), who will be discussing his own book, How to Make the League Without Picking Up the Rock: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. is an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. Give everyone my regards, as since I’ve started swapping my sons at five o’clock on Sunday I just haven’t been able to make it. Make sure somebody helps Nancy haul in the amplifier and mike stand.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p..mm. Spoken Word New Orleans presents Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. repeating Sundays at Noon. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

Against the Day August 12, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, cryptic envelopment, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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“As an era of uncertainly comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s theire lives that pursue them.”
–From Thomas Pynchon’s own back cover summary of Against the Day

The Internet version of Cultural Anthropology 2052 is the only section with four books, one a thick and expensive text, which is why I got up this morning and after ordering as many books as I could from Alibirs, I downloaded Against the Day onto my new Kindle: all 1,085 pages of it. We won’t go into BIOS 1053, but I managed almost half of that before I got hired back and started dropping courses. Stay awake, make 3×5 cards and it won’t be so bad. (Yes, 3×5 cards. I remember card catalogs).

The only consolation is that the online version of the course looks much more interesting from the titles. In addition to the text Conformity and Conflict (14th edition; if you have one lying around call me) there are: Writing Womens’ Worlds: Bedouin Stories by Lila Abu-Lughod and Righteous Dopefiend by Philippe Bourgois and Jeffrey Schonberg. There’s another reference book on ethnographic field notes already on the Kindle as it looks mostly like a reference.

I hope to bill a good 40 hours a week. I only get paid for what I bill. I hope to manage both classes with good grades. It wouldn’t do any harm to pull up my mediocre 70s gradepoint (all A’s in English courses, barely C’s in others and we won’t even talk about my semester at LSU. In the midst of all this there will be Poetry Book Club’s monthly suggestions, books lingering on the unread pile, and now Pynchon’s twisted, sprawling tale of the death of the Guilded Age. I considered Infinite Jest and the Kindle Store pointed out people who purchased this book also bought Gravity’s Rainbow. As someone who has plowed through the latter at least a half dozen times, each with more relish and discovery, I could have followed the augury of online marketing but it was as if an unseen hand over ruled that algorithmic affinity. After I had pushed the button, I then remembered Daniel’s Handler’s “What The Swedes Read” column in The Believer.

“I would defy anyone to read Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, for instance, and not be tempted to give up more than once, so bamboozling and bitchslappy are the tougher sections. But if the books doesn’t defeat you, you will close it with the rare and deep pleasure of “Now that’s a book.”

How can I resist such an endorsement from a man with regular space in The Believer bold enough to start sentences with conjunctions? And it’s Thomas Pynchon. Infinite Jest will have to wait for next semester.

Last semester work slowly ramped up from 20 hours to closer to thirty and I carried three classes, a senior/graduate class in Writing American Nature and the obligatory course in English Literature Before 1690 or some such date. I choose Chaucer and haven’t had that much fun since I discovered Zap Comix. And as I managed all that, I read 2666. Perhaps I didn’t read it as closely as I should of. It was mostly my nighttime companion with all the skipping back that entails and at 898 trade pages that doesn’t exactly speed things along. Still, I managed it and will certainly go back through it again and more carefully. Two words divirged in a wood and some followed Wallace and Jonathan Franzen into the blank America panorama and others followed writers like Bolaño into a different nightmare, into something difficult, bracing and with a sense of danger, “an oasis of horror in a desert of boredom” as 2666′s epigraph from Chalres Baudelaire says. Somewhere along the path you pass Pynchon as well as the entire parade of Latin American writers of the late 20th century. Section Four, “The Part About the Crimes”, reads like a perverse combination of Julio Cortazar’s Hopsctoch and Blow-Up.

OK, you hate Pynchon. You hate Bolaño. There is a very black and white division among readers on these folks. But that is not the point of this ramble into insanity. If you see me bleary-eyed on the bus but intent on my Kindle, you will know why. If I must toil for Moloch I will take a C and genius over sleep.

Letting the Days Go By August 10, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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There are days when you are staring into the black labyrinth of your life and suddenly all of the pieces start to fall and fit into place, into an edifice of invincible exuberance and suddenly you no longer fear the Minotaur. Such irrational vitality calls for cranking up David Byrne being mounted by Agwe.

Odd Words August 10, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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A few random thoughts:

The next person who suggests G-Chat is the basis of a new literary movement I am unfriending on Facebook, which is to say I’m spending too much time inside on the Internet. Blame the rain.

According to The Millions, literary blogs only count if they are on Tumblr. ToulouseStreet.net out ranks The Doobie Brothers on Google, so there’s no way I’m moving.

Coaxing authors to New Orleans in August is clearly not an easy thing but writers are their publisher’s new marketing department and a few keep pounding away at it but this week’s list is short.

& On Saturday, August 11 at 1:30 p.m. Garden District Books will feature Pamela Binnings Ewen’s Chasing The Wind, a New Orleans-based novel on the intertwining of three disconnected lives: an attorney, a businessman and a Cambodian refugee child.

& On Sunday August 12 at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series Poet Melanie Leavitt reads from her work.

& Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p..mm. Spoken Word New Orleans presents Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& On Monday, August 13 at 6 p.m. Octavia Books will present a reading and booksigning with writer Kiini Ibura Salaam featuring her new collection of short fiction, ANCIENT, ANCIENT. Acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, “Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.”

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. repeating Sundays at Noon. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Saturday August 18th (so you don’t miss it by heading off to Whole Foods that morning) Octavia Books will celebrate Julia Child’s birthday featuring Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, “Chef and TV personality Julia Child likely would have delighted in and hooted over this wide-ranging picture-book biography…. Readers young and old will devour this fete pour les yeux.”

It’s a slow enough week, I might as well remind everyone that the Big Three indie bookstores are host various book clubs:

& Maple Street Book Shop hosts a First Tuesday Book Club at 5:45 p.m. on, well, the first Tuesday of every month. Check their website for titles.

& Octavia hosts two book clubs, a standard book club and a science fiction book club. The next regular book club meeting is August 18 so it’s probably not too late to get in on this month’s title: The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje.

& Garden District Book Shop also hosts two clubs. The standard book club meets the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., and helpfully lists the upcoming titles. The cookbook club usually meets on the first or second Monday of the month “depending on our guest speaker’s schedule”, includes a discount on the featured book and is a potluck!

Everything in Life Dreams August 4, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Poetry, quotes, Theater, Toulouse Street.
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MARELA (to Conchita): No, everything in life dreams. A bicycle dreams of becoming a boy, an umbrella dreams of becoming the rain, a pearl dreams of becoming a woman, and a chair dreams of becoming a gazelle and running back to the forest.
— Nilo Cruz, from Anna in the Tropics

Do you feel the dreams around you? The coffee longs for Columbia, your cigarette remembers Virginia, the walls recall the gypsum earth from which they came. That is a beautiful line from the play but I believe what is around you does not seek to escape or pull you into reverie but to push you out the door. All these mingled dreams of scattered places are like the forecast of the storm around the corner. Somewhere among the brightly colored and diverging lines is the unforeseeable track, the true path that leads to your own dreams. You may never reach the end but everything around you calls you to follow, past the boy on his bicycle, the tan woman in the black dress, her pearlescent neck, through the pouring rain and into the forest. Something rustles in the leaves then bounds away. You can see the faint track worn in the grass. You leave the path and follow it.

Odd Words August 2, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Fortin Street, literature, Odd Words, Poetry, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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                … I’ve driven to Amarillo
in one day and one night, through St. Louis
and Cuba, Missouri, where an old Coke facade

hung ike a stage prop above the gas station,

through Miami, Oklahoma, where there were birds
and cottonwords and Do Not Drive Through Smoke

signs and we wondered what could be burning

along a highway with so few exits, but by then
we were half-asleep and so when I say birds

I am inventing them. I am a revisionist.

– Poet Leigh Stein

Ms. Stein was the featured poet in this month’s The Rumpus Poetry Book Club. I could never pin her down on how autobiographical maIterial informed here book, especially the first sections. If I had enough space in my small apartment for a wall of poems (I have a place in mind but I think that’s where the bookshelves might have to go) this would be up there. “I am a revisionist.”

Sometimes I am the Typist. Sometimes I am a Revisionist. I am sitting at my home work desk while I type. While you read this your brain is soaking in dish-washing detergent. Relax, it’s Palmolive. I am wearing a promotional orange polo shirt embroidered with a Trystero logo and smoking an American Spirit Yellow. Your ashtrays are emptying the coffeepot. I am a terrible liar. I am a revisionist.

& On Saturday, Aug.4 at 2 p.mm. the Latter Memorial Library will host the monthly Poetry Buffet at 2 p.m. featuring Chris Champagne, Megan Harris and Valentie Pierce .

& On Sunday, Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. Poet Harry DelaHoussaye and writer Jeanne Soileau read from their work at the Maple Leaf Bar reading series.

& Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

& On Monday at 7:15 p.m. The Black Widow Salon will feature award winning writer and director of Loyola’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Uriel Quesada is coming Monday, August 6th to the Black Widow Salon. Upstairs at Crescent City Books @ 230 Chartres St. 7-9 p.m. (We start promptly at 7:15 p.m.) Seating is limited, so come early if you want to sit. Complimentary refreshments of wine, beer, and water.

Uriel Quesada (San José, Costa Rica) is the Latin American Studies Chair and the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola University. His areas of interest are Central American and Caribbean literatures and cultural studies, U.S. Latino studies, Queer studies and Latin American Popular Culture studies. He has written about Central American detective fiction, Latin American masculinities and travel writing. In 2009 he co-edited a special issue of the academic journal Istmo devoted to the study of gender and sexualities in contemporary Central American literature

& On Monday Aug. 6 Octavia Books will be present for the launch of Tom Wooten’s WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED, a narrative nonfiction account of recovery in five New Orleans neighborhoods. The event will be held at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center at Broad and Napoleon. The evening will include Talks by residents featured in the book, Author talk and book signing, Light dinner provided by Tsai NOLA and Live music.

& On Tuesday Aug. 7 McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music will host a reading by Gina Ferrara, Scott Nicholson, Danny Kerwick & Dennis Formento. There will be a collection for the recovery of FootHills Publishing, publisher of Dennis Formento and Danny Kerwick, which suffered a catastrophic fire. Michael Czarnecki and most of his family were out of town and his oldest son escaped unharmed, but they lost the house, the press, the back catalogue and books in progress.

It’s after the end of the world. August 2, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

Don’t you know that yet?

– Sun Ra

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