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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).

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