jump to navigation

Odd Words September 27, 2012

Posted by The Typist in literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

A plague of blessings, that’s been the story for the last several weeks when I type up all the conflicting listings for the busiest nights. Two weeks ago it was the choice between Carolyn Hembee’s poetry book launch and the season opener for 17 Poets! Fortunately I wasn’t forced to make a choice between NOLA poet spirit warrior Jenna Mae and Jimmy Ross’ birthday at 17 Poets! and something else, but tonight it is either John Sinclair at 17 Poets! or a fabulous line up of international prose stars hosted by Room 220 at Melvin’s. I’ve seen Sinclair several times before, and I can almost smell the tamales. I haven’t been good about keeping my the Odd Words’ public Google Calendar but I would if I thought groups would take advantage of it to try to spread the word love out across the week. Keeping up both would turn this into a part-time job paying, um, well All Access passes to the local literary shindigs with a Total Cash Value of Over $1,000! (Applause sign. A drop of sweat rolls out from beneath Bob Barker’s mask, flashes like a tiny spark of life in the stage lights. ) Still, I think I’ll have to start keeping up the calendar and emailing reminders to organizers to try to make it possible for people to do more rather than force them to choose.

No Against the Day/Kindle update again this week. Work is the curse of the reading and writing class, and I’m too old and have too many self-inflicted responsibilities to do the cold-water walk-up poet thing. Foot loose and fancy free for me means not paying attention except to worries and tripping on the sidewalk.

There are only five days left to sign up for the writer’s workshops at the annual Tennessee Williams Festival, so you better get on the stick. Workshop facilitators include: Catherine Frank: YA and Children’s Lit; Zachary Lazar: Literary Fiction; Bev Marshall: Contemporary Fiction; Chris Wiltz: Fiction: All Genres and Creative Non-Fiction. Spaces are filling up fast and classes are limited to 10 people, so register now to reserve your seat!

& J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy goes on sale today. I missed posting up Maple Street Book Shop’s launch party breakfast. This is Rowling’s first novel for adults and her first since ending the Harry Potter series.[COPY DESK NOTE: ADULT NOVEL? REALLY?] Do you really want to run out to Metairie for this? Of course you don’t, not with all of the indie stores here in New Orleans.

& John SinclairTonight at the Goldmine Saloon 17 Poets! presents the return of John Sinclair to New Orleans at 8 pm. Hailed as “The Hardest Working Poet in Show Business” (Ben Edmonds, San Francisco Chronicle) and “The Last of the Beatnik Warrior Poets” (Mick Farren, Los Angeles Weekly), John Sinclair is likewise a music journalist widely recognized as one of America’s leading authorities on blues and modern jazz. Famous for his role as DJ and a forced behind the MC5 during his days in Detroit, Sinclair moved to New Orleans in 1991 and joined the volunteer staff of WWOZ radio, winning OffBeat magazine’s reader’s poll as the city’s most popular DJ five years in a row (1999-2003). In 1992 he formed his band, the Blues Scholars (founded in Detroit ten years earlier), recorded his first CD in 1994 and began to tour the United States as a performance artist backed by jazz, blues and rock ensembles. He has collaborated with musicians from Little Milton and Jimbo Mathus to the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Ras Moshe, the Kudzu Kings, Afrissippi, the Pinkeye Orchestra and the Dutch rappers Lange Frans & Baas B. Sinclair has published several collections of his poetry along with his major work in verse, Fattening Frogs For Snakes: Delta Sound Suite, an investigation in verse of the Delta blues and the world that produced it. His latest collection SONG OF PRAISE Homage to John Coltrane was published in 2011 with Trembling Pillow Press and is accompanied by a CD with the same title. It is also available as an Ereader through Kindle.

& Tonight at Garden District Book Shop at 5:30 pm John Shelton Reed’s Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920’s. In the years following World War I, the New Orleans’s French Quarter attracted artists and writers with its low rents, faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square had become the center of a vibrant if short-lived Bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the “artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter,” as they styled themselves. In Dixie Bohemia Reed introduces Faulkner s circle of friends ranging from the distinguished writer Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer, from Tulane s president to one of its cheerleaders and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age.

& Tonight at Melvin’s on St. Claude at 7 pm Room 220 presents the first installation of this fall’s LIVE PROSE reading series with T. Geronimo Johnson, Khaled al-Berry, and Lucy Fricke at 7 p.m. at Melvin’s. Fricke is one of 14 residents in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) who have made a pilgrimage to New Orleans this fall—the program’s sixth annual visit—bringing writers from around the world to the Crescent City for a week of readings, tours, and classroom visits. Fricke and al-Berry are both distinguished writers of nonfiction as well as prose, and they have been the recipients of accolades and acknowledgements both here and abroad. Egyptian-born al-Berry, who currently works as a journalist in London, has written for numerous publications, including the BBC, and is a columnist for the Tahrir Newspaper. He is the author of the autobiography Life is More Beautiful Than Paradise, and his 2010 novel An Oriental Dance was shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize. Fricke is the author of two novels (in German). She has also worked as an organizer for such events as the Berlin International Poetry Festival and is the current director of the HAM.LIT festival in Hamburg. They are joined by New Orleans native and University of Iowa MFA graduate T. Geronimo Johnson.

& Friday night at Octavia Books hosts what sounds like a fascinating book, John Shelton Reed’s Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920’s. In the years following World War I, the New Orleans’s French Quarter attracted artists and writers with its low rents, faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square had become the center of a vibrant if short-lived Bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the “artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter,” as they styled themselves. In Dixie Bohemia Reed introduces Faulkner s circle of friends ranging from the distinguished writer Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer, from Tulane s president to one of its cheerleaders and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age.

& Saturday at 3 p.m. organizer Dennis Formento will host the New Orleans venue for 100,000 Poets for Change, the second anual world-wide event, at Cafe Istanbul at 3 pm. The event is free and open to the public with a focus on The crisis in public education and the American obsession with violence

& Saturday at 5 p.m. Simpatico Press poets Megan Burns, Gina Ferrara and Jonathan Kline will read at the Creole Gardens Bed and Breakfast Hotel,1415 Prytania Street. Simpatico Press is making chapbooks for this reading with work from all 3 poets, so come by and get a special chap.

& Saturday at 6 pm the Garden District Book Shop Bayou St. John Location T. Geronimo Jackson will be signing his book, Hold It ‘til It Hurts, at our Bayou St. John location. T. Geronimo Johnson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His fiction and poetry have appeared in “Best New American Voices,” “Indiana Review,” “Los Angeles Review of Books,” and “Illuminations,” among others. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Johnson teaches writing at the University of California-Berkeley. Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is his first book.

& 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.

& Also on Tuesday at 5:45 pm Maple Street Book Shop’s First Tuesday Book Club meets at 5:45 to discuss Sara Gran’s book, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. Newcomers always welcome. In the first of a new mystery series featuring quirky private investigator Claire DeWitt, Claire investigates the disappearance of a top prosecutor in post-Katrina New Orleans.

& Tuesday night at 7 pm the 1718 Reading Series hosted by students in the English departments of Loyola, UNO and Tulane will feature poet Andy Stallings on Oct. 2 at their usual venue, The Columns. I’ve got nothing bad to say about the Goldmine or the Maple Leaf, but there are only certain places you can relish a proper Sazerac with your poetry. Hopefully this does not disqualify me from any future Pirate Shots at You Know Where.

& Also on Tuesday night at 7 pm, the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop hosts its first night of Poetry at the Sandbar. Visiting poets Alison Pelegrin and Joseph Wood will read from their collections. The reading will be followed by a brief Q&A and book signing. Please find bios and sample poems below. Also, check out our Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/468920439796753/

A plague of blessings. 1718 is a group of students including UNO. What can I say?

Keeping the Beat on the Street September 24, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Back of Town, New Orleans, Toulouse Street, Treme.
add a comment

A new post is up on BackOfTown.com Treme blog discussing Episode One, Season Three. See y’all over there.

The Glory That Was Home September 23, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Federal Flood, Fortin Street, FYYFF, Memory, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, Rebirth, Recovery, The Narrative, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

I thought I would share an email reply I wrote this morning, to answer anyone who asked after me yesterday at Rising Tide VII:

Thank you for the pictures and write-up. My absence from Rising Tide 7 is sadly more than a case of overbooking, but I won’t spread troubles except to wish them bon voyage. The NOLA Bloggers Movement, born out of a mailing list started by some guy in North Dakota of all places, baptized on an Ash Wednesday evening at a bar in the French Quarter, and which birthed the first Rising Tide was one of those bright shining moments of solidarity like the crime march or the first anniversary (who were those two young Black women at the 17th Street Canal bridge between Bucktown and lily-white Lakeview? I dared not ask that day) that is behind us. The rag-tag assemblage has, like so many things down here postdiluvian, reverted to form: the latent conflicts of purpose and personality reasserting themselves, paths parting, new projects taking precedence.

It is a parade I no longer ride, but sometimes finger the old doubloons thoughtfully when I come across them

I Am Not Alright, But I Am Upright September 22, 2012

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , , , , ,
5 comments

Four people came to Toulouse Street looking for “new orleans upright tattoo” and all four clicked through to hear Raymond “Moose” Jackson’s “O’Neil’s Lament”. Some words have power beyond their simple human utterance, and Jackson’s words struck me so strongly as an epigraph for a place and time, an epigram for what others had already forgotten, that I will wear them on my right arm until the end. Bury me in a sleeveless shirt, right arm toward the room.

As I finish re-watching Season Two and prepare to read a year’s worth of Wet Bank Guide in preparation for Sunday’s premiere and the conversations to come on Back of Town I recall last season’s Treme teaser poem by Gian Smith, “Oh Beautiful Storm.” I think the refrain from “O’Neill’s Lament” on Jackson’s Illusion Fields disk gets as close to the wound inside the characters of Treme, a hidden stigmata that haunts them like a waft of church door incense on a lapsed Catholic, as an outsider can possibly get.

New Orleans or New Haven, first-time viewer or Treme Sunday devotee, give “O’Neill’s Lament” a listen before Sunday’s show.

We are not alright, but we are upright.

Malfaubourlgia September 22, 2012

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Faubourg St. John, Fortin Street, Gentilly, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

There is a discount outlet of Hell in my attic. I’m convinced. The rule is never to turn off the ceilings fans in my son’s room and the back kitchen, and more importantly not to turn them on late afternoon if you’ve forgotten and turned them off. Switching on the kitchen fan at three, even when the window unit is set to 72 degrees and you don’t break a sweat doing two sinks of dishes, is like turning on the oven.

There are more reasonable explanations for this if you insist. The house is old. I think the landlord said sometime in the 1920s, and I wasn’t sure if that was pride in its sturdiness or an excuse for its shortcomings. It seems solid enough in the main, and shook no more in the worst gusts of Hurricane Issaac than it does for a next-door, kettle-drum peal of thunder. The claw footed tub is charming, but the lack of a shower is not. The floor beneath the bathroom is giving way, the bathroom tiles fracturing for a second time in a year, and I moved the refrigerator from the small back room into the small kitchen when it began to list dangerously to port. The fourteen foot ceilings are a blessing when it’s warm, at least until you forgetfully turn on the fan you should not have turned off in the first place. Thespiders are quite safe in their high corners, although the flies from the track prefer to keep company with the groundlings and never venture up to spider height. Behind those 14 foot ceilings is an attic only accessible by the small vents at each end, and I am quite sure that what ever material once passed for insulation, horsehair perhaps, has turned to dust. The house faces north-south and as the long run of the roof captures the afternoon heat it’s attention Hell-Mart shoppers, special on boiling pitch just over the kitchen.

The flies are another clue to the Beezelbublian nature of the place. It could be the race track: all that horseflesh digesting all that fodder into horseshit that draws the crows in great droves when the tractor rakes the dirt, but there’s no point in letting rational explanations get in the way of those that go best with cold beer on dark, warm nights. It’s an old habit of mine. Long ago I told my children’s mother that the thunk she heard every night around 10 pm in my basement apartment on Massachusetts Avenue N.E. in Washington, D.C. was the ghost of the tenant who hung himself upstairs at just that time. Don’t tell me about the settling of an old row house as the last of the afternoon Potomac heat escapes. Give me a good ghost story instead. I never got much more out of that story than a look I found charming 20 years ago, but then she was raised from German-Irish stock in North Dakota where over the generations imagination became reserved for private worry over whether the corn and potatoes would last until spring, and suspension of disbelief was reserved for church.

I lived in a house of similar vintage in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, a beautiful old Craftsman style that would look right at home in New Orleans. It was The Norby House, once the family home of the owners of the local department store. I used to tell the children that the fertility of that shady place in back where plants grew rampant was because old Mr. Norby was buried there, even if I knew it had probably once been the privy. The windows in that houes were original, handmade glass with the ripples and bubbles of their forging. Everything was original including the cloth wiring, which hung from glass insulators attached to the floor rafters in the basement. One run ran up a pipe to a wall sconce my my daughter’s room, a line that I think was not conduit but perhaps had once been a gas line. seller’s The fresh coat of paint on that house peeled the first winter, as the heat leaching out of the house met the below-zero air outside. You could feel it along the walls: whatever had once insulated them floor to ceiling had crumbled to dust in the bottom third of the wall. The house came with not one but two oil tanks in the basement which together would make a proper locomotive boiler, and I still wonder how we managed to afford to fill them. I would do nothing about the gorgeous original windows except to drag out a 24-foot extension ladder twice a year, and haul up and down the original wood-frame storm windows, each about 20 pounds of wood and glass. They hung from hooks at the top, and I had to lean back away from the house with feet and knees interlocked to the ladder to get them on the hooks, realizing that the best I could hope for is that the ladder would follow me down and knock me unconscious so I wouldn’t feel the pain of my other injuries.

You have to have at thing about old houses approaching the clinically disturbing to stand at the top of a fully extended ladder and do that.

This is not a bad old house. There’s that stain on the kitchen floor that is traceable either to human sacrifice or someone rebuilding a motorcycle engine on the linoleum. The brown carpet would do any U.S. route motel proud, and the color hides most stains pretty well except coffee, the thing I spill the most. The windows are cheap aluminum which I discovered in my first week here can be jimmied with a screw driver using less effort than opening a jar of pickles. (I though I had perhaps left it unlocked, until I went to close it after the police left and noticed the latch was closed, and the small dimple in the frame.) Then again there are fans beneath those high ceilings in every room, and that claw foot tub I can actually submerge myself in. I passed on several places with the brutally-industrial, wall-mounted gas space heaters but when I heard the rent for something here on the Gentilly frontier of the fashionable Faubourgh St. John, I resigned myself to them. I have lived in enough old New Orleans houses to find the singing of the gas on a winter’s night soothing, even if I’d rather have the tremendously less efficient and more dangerous ceramic and iron grate sitting inside the bricked up fireplace. The flies are a bother but I would rather sit on my stoop and watch the horses at their morning exercise than than sit in a sterile granite kitchen staring out the window at a holiday-swallowing lawn. The mantles may just be mantles but the scrap of Krewe du Vieux-salvaged plywood hell fire that sits under the one in front is as much of a fire place as needed in New Orleans and goes well with the infernal commerce upstairs, where I like to imagine there are demonic bats in their hundreds waiting for evening, mosquitoes and a chance to get tangled in your hair.

Countdown to Treme Season Three September 21, 2012

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Treme.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Don’t forget Back of Town for all you need to know about the show. OK, you’ll probably go read Dave Walker first and you probably should but BoT rolling come Sunday night.

Odd Words September 20, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, FYYFF, Gallatin & Toulouse Press, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
2 comments

My mind is wandering away from books as I crash through a week’s school work in order to blaze through Season Two of Treme, which is not to say that watching Treme is drifting away from literature. I don’t think the world will ever see another Emile Zola or Upton Sinclair except through the lens of television. The Great Google turns up no recent trace of Salman Rushdie’s announced intent to author and produce a science fiction television series, but I still think David Simon has started something that is not likely to die but flourish in the future.

(Insight into the middle-aged mind: Sit on stoop and think, “Google Rushdie’s project”. Walk inside. Suddenly become unable to remember Rushdie’s name. Google “novelist jihad” and get a list of every novel with Jihad in the title or subject. Google “jihad against novelist” and read all about the recent events in the middle east, including Rushdie’s on television talking about it. Mission accomplished. Go take another whats-the-name-of-that-supplement-again.)

And then there is this:

& so to the listings…

& Tonight at 9 p.m. 17 Poets! features an Open Mic Host Jimmy Ross Birthday Roast with a reading from our celebrity host together with fellow poets Jenna Mae and Chris Toll. Ross is a poet, playwright and fiction writer. He has been long recognized as one of New Orleans’ finest satirists. Ross’ collection If Bricks Were Books was published by Think Tank press in 2003. He has been moderating the 17 Poets! Open Mic since 192007. His next collection is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. We all think we would like to be Jimmy when we grow up, but we’re waiting for Jimmy to get there first. Did I mention this is a Roast? There will be cupcakes. And frivolity. And drinking. And cupcakes.

& Thursday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts T. Geronimo Johnson featuring his riveting debut novel, Hold It ‘Til It Hurts.
Johnson is from New Orleans originally and although he now makes his home in Berkeley, he maintains a strong connection to his hometown – and New Orleans figures prominently in the novel. Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is one of the few literary takes on the war in Afghanistan and the veterans who served there. “The magnificence of Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is not only in the prose and the story but also in the book’s great big beating heart. These complex and compelling characters and the wizardry of Johnson’s storytelling will dazzle and move you from first page to last.” — Anthony Swofford, , author of JARHEAD.

& Also tonight at 6:30 p.m., Vicki Salloum will be signing her novella, A Prayer to Saint Jude, at the Maple Street Book Empire Shop Healing Center location.

& One more Thursday event: Richard Sexton, Randy Harelson and Brian Costello will be signing New Roads and Old Rivers at 5:30 p.m at Garden District Book Shop. The book captures the natural and cultural vitality of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, as seen in the stunning photographs of Richard Sexton, with text by Randy Harelson and Brian Costello. Pointe Coupee is one of the oldest settlements in the Mississippi Valley, dating to the 1720s. French for a place cut off, the name refers to the area s three oxbow lakes, separated from the Mississippi over centuries. A peninsula edged by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, Pointe Coupee remains a land rich in Creole heritage, distinct in geographical beauty, and abounding in historic homes and farms.

“Which,” he asks in his best imitation of the maniacal voice of folk singer Theodore Bikel as the Rance Muhammitz in Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, “do you choose?”

& Friday night at Octavia at 6 p.m. Stone Barrington is back in Severe Clear, a thrilling new addition to the series by perennial New York Times–bestselling author Stuart Woods—the fiftieth novel of his stellar career. Woods’ long list of titles include the New York Times–bestselling Stone Barrington and Holly Barker series.

& Also on Friday at 6 p.m. The Maple Leaf Book Store Bayou St. John locations kicks off the new The Diane Tapes Reading Series at 6 p.m., the first in a monthly reading series hosted by Ben Kopel and Anne Marie Rooney. Readers will include Ben Pelhan, a Pittsburghist living in New Orleans. He makes poems, screenplays, videos, and combinations of poems, screenplays, and videos. His work is available or forthcoming at OH NO, Spork, Fairy Tale Review, Diagram and YouTube. He likes most rivers, most movies, and most of the people he knows; Lara Glenum, Fullbright Fellow and NEA Translation Fellow, is the author of “The Hounds of No” and “Maximum Gaga”. Lara’s writing pushes the boundaries of gender politics and poetics through the use of the sublime and the grotesque. She is also the co-editor (with Arielle Greenberg) of the anthology Gurlesque, which promotes a re-imagined feminist aesthetic, which blurs the boundaries between femininity, burlesque, and the grotesque; Kristin Sanders is the author of the chapbook “Orthorexia” (dancing girl press). Her writing has appeared in places like Octopus, elimae, Strange Machine, HTMLGIANT, and Airplane Reading. Originally from California, she currently teaches at Loyola University, New Orleans, where she is the associate poetry editor at the New Orleans Review.

& Saturday at Xavier will mark the seventh annual Rising Tide Conference on the Future of New Orleans, with key note speakers including Lawrence Powell, author of The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans at 9:15 am and Lolis , author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and coproducer and author of the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans at 2 p.m. Lolis is also a member of the writing team of the HBO series Treme. Tickets are $28 in advance, $38 at the door, $18 students and include lunch and a day-long series of panels on subjects of interest to New Orleans. Octavia Books will be on hand so you can pick yourself up a copy of the author’s works, or maybe a copy of A Howling in the Wires, a collection of essays from the year after The Event including many of the founding members of Rising Tide. You know you always wanted a hard copy of Fuck You You Fucking Fucks by Ashley Morris.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. fiction writer Vicki Salloum visits the Maple Leaf Bar reading series with her novella, A Prayer to St. Jude (Mint Hill Books, 2012) Followed by an open mic.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p.m. 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 Tuesday the 25th the Lunch ‘n’ Lit group will be meeting at the Keller Library Community Center Loft at 12pm with Richard Ford’s Canada. Participants should bring their lunch. If you’re interested in joining a bookclub and you’ve got some daytime availability in your schedule, mark down the fourth Tuesday of the month.

& 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.

& A week from today you should mark your calendar for what sounds like a fascinating book, John Shelton Reed’s Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920’s. In the years following World War I, the New Orleans’s French Quarter attracted artists and writers with its low rents, faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square had become the center of a vibrant if short-lived Bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the “artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter,” as they styled themselves. In Dixie Bohemia Reed introduces Faulkner s circle of friends ranging from the distinguished writer Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer, from Tulane s president to one of its cheerleaders and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age.

& Also next Thursday (more details then) Room 220 presents the first installation of this fall’s LIVE PROSE reading series with T. Geronimo Johnson, Khaled al-Berry, and Lucy Fricke at 7 p.m. at Melvin’s.

& Also down the road (included here so I don’t forget to include it next week), on Oct. 4 the 1718 Reading Series hosted by students in the English departments of Loyola, UNO and Tulane will feature poet Andy Stallings on Oct. 2 at their usual venue, The Columns. I’ve got nothing bad to say about the Goldmine or the Maple Leaf, but there are only certain places you can relish a proper Sazerac with your poetry. Hopefully this does not disqualify me from any future Pirate Shots at You Know Where.

Faction September 15, 2012

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

“I wish you had explained how my eye works,” he continued. “I enlarge, that’s undeniable, but I don’t enlarge the way Balzac does, anymore than Balzac enlarges the way Hugo does. Everything hinges on that, the work resides in its style. We all lie more or less, but what is the mechanism and mentality of our lie? Well-perhaps I delude myself here-I still believe that my lies serve to advance the truth. With a wingbeat, truth ascends and becomes symbol. “
— Emile Zola

Hat tip to Sam Jasper, who left this as a comment on an earlier post.

Odd Words September 13, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
add a comment

A busy Thursday, a busy boy. I’ll save you my ramblings and just get this out so you can plan your evening.

&Tonight, Thursday Sept. 13 Room 220 presents the book launch for Carolyn Hembree’s Skinny, a collection of her poetry published by Kore Press, at 7 p.m. at Lipstick & Lingerie Boutique in Arabi (7011 St. Claude Ave). Copies of the book will be on sale and complimentary libations will be available. Donations are accepted. Carolyn Hembree is a poet and beloved teacher of English and creative writing at the University of New Orleans. Her work has appeared in a variety of respected publications, including DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Witness. Skinny, her first book, is the result of nearly a decade of work. It follows its protagonist from the Deep South to New York City, where she encounters a variety of horrors that Hembree vividly depicts in myriad poetic forms: ekphrastic works, prose poems, dramatic monologues, odes, elegies, a pastoral, and a word problem, among other free verse experiments. The publication of such an ambitious work is as much a testament to the resiliency of independent press as it is a welcome introduction to Hembree’s startling, shining voice. Read an essay on Hembree by Taylor Murrow at Room 220: http://press-street.com/fever-ribbons/ Read an interview with Hembree by Room 220 contributor Erik Vande Stouwe at NolaVie: http://nolavie.com/2012/06/an-interview-with-carolyn-hembree-67352.html

& 17 Poets! tonight at 7:30 p.m. presents Jamie Bernstein and Bill Lavender. Bernstein is the author of the story and song Black Santa. He first became visible in the New Orleans entertainment scene as a spoken word poet performing throughout the city before the turn of the century. In 2009, Jamie released his first album Songs from the Tree of Life. He released his 2nd album Very Same Dream in January 2011. Lavender is a poet, editor, publisher, and teacher. He grew up in Fayetteville, Arkansas but has spent most of his adult life in New Orleans. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including I of the Storm, which includes passages on the Katrina disaster, and an innovative book of short poems, While Sleeping. He also edited the ground-breaking anthology, Another South: Experimental Writing in the South, from University of Alabama Press. His poems and stories have appeared in dozens of print and web journals and anthologies, and his essays and theoretical writings have been published in Contemporary Literature and Poetics Today, among others. His latest book is Memory Wing from Black Widow Press.

& Also tonight. Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m. David Lummis celebrates the long-awaited publication of The Last Beacour, Part Two of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans at Octavia Books. “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 Garden District Books hosts

& Thursday is a busy night: At 5:30 p.m. Garden District Books features William Barnwell’s Lead Me On, Let Me Stand: A Clergyman’s Story in White and Black, “a moving, passionate memoir of a life of ministry by a dedicated preacher striving to bring together things that tend to pull apart–the church and the world, women and men, old and young, straights and gays, works and faith, the Deep South and the Far North, blacks and whites, a quest for the love described by philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard, “Love is the unity of hostile elements.”

& Sunday at 3 p.m. is an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p.m. 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.

My First Moleskine September 8, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
4 comments

The first full entry in my new Moleskine, kind gift of a dear friend. The Moleskine is the recreation of handmade notebooks made by 19th and 20th century bookbinders in Paris.

Odd Words No. 140 September 6, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, signings, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

Bill Lavender and the New Orleans academic and literary community lost their battle to save the University of New Orleans Press from the governor’s and university president’s budget ax, but Lavender sent out the following announcement this week: “I’ll be reinvigorating my old-micro press, Lavender Ink, with a new imprint, Diálogos, and aggressively continuing to publish work of the caliber we were producing at UNO Press. I may even try offering some private workshops. If you would like to receive updates about Lavender Ink / Diálogos shenanigans (we do hope to have a major launch event before the end of this year), please sign up for the mailing list. I promise I won’t spam you; I’ll just send updates once every couple of months.” One of Lavender Ink’s next titles will be Black Widow Salon host Micheal Zell’s Errata, described as “Italo Calvino meets David Lynch in a neo-noir tale of obsession.”

Against the Day Update/Kindle Update: Page 691 (63%) and and a bit of aggravation to my tennis elbow from holding up the surprisingly light Kindle (blame my bad posture). My thumbs keep wanting to go to the buttons at the bottom instead of the page turners on the side, but that’s electronics habits imposing themselves on the reading of a book. I remember my first reading of Gravity’s Rainbow back in the early 70s, frequently while siting in the back of some unrelated high school class. I would make lists of terms, places and historic figures to look up, and scurry to the library at lunch. I believe the librarian thought me mad and I didn’t want to get into what I was reading as I’m not sure the stern old woman would have approved. Reading something this dense in the age of Google is so much easier. And yes I will end up buying a hard copy from the first independent bookstore to pimp mention Odd Words on their web page.

Susan Larson has assembled a humbling list of book events for the fall for Gambit’s The Book Issue, but you know you’re going to use that issue to start your charcoal or lose the link so don’t forget to check back here weekly.

The Young Leadership Council’s One Book One New Orleans pick for the fall is Ned Sublette’s The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square
, by Ned Sublette. The onebookoneneworleans.com web site is down but you already own this one, don’t you? Really? Well, all the local indie bookstores are open and you have no excuse not to grab a copy. More details on the YLC’s annual project to get an entire city reading and talking about the same book when they get their website back up.

& so to the listings…

& 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.

& This weekend Sept. 7-9 Worldplay New Orleans hosts its annual Write, Nola! spoken word poetry fest including seminars and performances. Registration and a fee is required. The event concludes with a performance at Cafe Istanbul Sunday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. featuring an awards ceremony and performances by local and national artists.

& On Saturday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. the Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans will meet at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library for a discussion of GREAT EXPECTATIONS – Part I, Chapters 1-6.

& A new women-only book club has started up at Fair Grinds Coffee Shop, meeting at 1 p.m. Sundays. The current title (which they began Aug. 12th) is Bell Hooks All About Love. Drop a line to ladiesnight@noboyfriends.org for more information.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. is an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series.

& On Sunday evening at 7 p.m. 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, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. the Black Widow Salon sponsored by Black Widow Press starts its fall schedule with its annual Lafcadio Hearn Tribute. Special guest readers include: Priestess Miriam Chimani from the Voodoo Spiritual Temple reading about Marie Laveau and All Saint’s Day, Burlesque doyenne Trixie Minx reading about NOLA glamour, and historian/author/playwright Rob Florence reading from Hearn’s Chita. All ages welcome to bring Hearn books to read. Email books@crescentcitybooks.com for more information.

& 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.

& Next Thursday, Sept. 13th David Lummis celebrates the long-awaited publication of The Last Beacour, Part Two of The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans at Octavia Books. “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 Garden District Books hosts

& Also next Thursday the 13th at 5:30 p.m. Garden District Books features William Barnwell’s Lead Me On, Let Me Stand: A Clergyman’s Story in White and Black, “a moving, passionate memoir of a life of ministry by a dedicated preacher striving to bring together things that tend to pull apart–the church and the world, women and men, old and young, straights and gays, works and faith, the Deep South and the Far North, blacks and whites, a quest for the love described by philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard, “Love is the unity of hostile elements.”

Looking ahead:

& 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).

&The 2012 Louisiana Book Festival is Oct. 27 in Baton Rouge. If you want to get into the closer hotels downtown book early, as I ended up way out on I-10 last year desperately trying to reproduce my forgotten business cards at Kinko’s. Odd Words will be there writing up the best of the fest if you can’t make it.

Monsoon Afternoon September 2, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, geo-memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
1 comment so far

Taken in part from an old post to Wet Bank Guide on July 7, 2006.

The power is out again. As the storm pours down around me and the fan sulks quietly in the corner, I think: gin-and-tonic, no ice (best not to open the fridge, old boy). Time to take up the white man’s cocktail and succumb to the climate here on my comfortable mini-veranda. No, I correct myself. Just because I’m sitting on a porch in New Orleans in shorts and sandals in the cool of the downpour, I am not on vacation. This is my home. Inside is my office. The power will come back, and I will have to take up the burden again, to make the world a better place through the automation of banking.

I pad into the house, leaving the front door open to let in the storm cooled air, and make my way back for more iced tea. Taking the advice of my inner nabob, I gab an umbrella and head to the back shed to take some ice from the outside fridge. Nothing out there but ice trays, nothing to spoil should the power stay out. As I open the back door to the house, the rain-chilled air rushes in, reminding me that the shotgun floorplan was not built for easy target practice. The design allows, among other things, for the circulation of air through the house, front to back. It is an accommodation to the climate from the days when light came from lamps and ice was a rare treat this far South.

Europeans and their African slaves lived here for centuries before the widespread introduction of air conditioning, or even the simple relief of an electric fan or an ice-cooled drink. They built lives and houses and customs that made it livable. I had learned to live in this antique climate before I left, to make the same accommodations. My partner of some years was allergic to the nasty critters that make their homes in the damp of air conditioner condensers, and are blown out with the frigid air in search of sinuses to aggravate, and so I lived for several years here mostly without air conditioning, choosing old houses built before even electric fans were common place, running up the water bill instead of the light bill with more frequent showers. I chose my clothes in the same, sensible way. When left back in 1986, I arrived in Washington, D.C. with a suitcase full of Haspel suits and short-sleeved Oxford cloth dress shirts, a straw hat perched on my head.
I was quickly corrected against such a quirky if practical wardrobe. Here in America, with ubiquitous air conditioning and in-the-door chilled water and ice dispensers, where Ready Kilowatt had spit atom and electricity would someday be too cheap to meter, my wash-and-wear suits and short-sleeved shirts were a silly anachronism, an affectation inappropriate to the serious halls of Congress. Never mind that the climate of Washington is the same as New Orleans, simply a few less weeks of it. I succumbed and bought a new wardrobe.

When I came home to New Orleans and became a full-time telecommuter, I had promised myself I would dress every day in collared shirt (perhaps a polo, I allowed myself), with chinos, shoes and socks. I would dress as if I were headed in to the casual-every-day Midwestern office I had left behind, the company logo pin we are all encouraged to wear clipped just beneath my collar. It would be, I told myself, an important psychological aspect of becoming a full-time home worker.

Yesterday I wore socks for the second time since I abandoned this resolution. The last time I dug through my sock drawer was for dinner at Galatoire’s, and that seemed a worthwhile reason to clap myself from neck to ankle in tropical wool (dreaming of my long lost seersuckers), and pull on a pair of the lightest socks I could find. Today even the business casual polos are gone: sleeveless shirts, shorts and sandals are my daily work dress. This way, I reason, I can keep the air turned up and the fan turning and likely manage to both eat and pay the utility bill. It’s not slovenliness or affectation to dress this way. It’s just how to live in a country where the air is as thick as rain even on a sunny day, where thunderstorms are as routine as the passage of the mailman every afternoon, and the storms can sometimes steal away your modern lifestyle, and leave you sitting on the porch with a glass of tea, debating whether to open the freezer to steal some more ice.

The mailman (who unknowingly prompted this entire train of thought) makes his way through the curtain of rain under a blue poncho, the top held off his face by the bill of his ball cap. I wonder when the local mail carriers stopped wearing pith helmets, something you rarely see anymore. People increasingly retreat into their energy-efficient homes and forget how to live here. It’s not just simple matters of dress or habits. For most the marsh is something that occasionally smolders in the East, a place as remote as the farm that supplies the meat in the case next to the seafood counter. The back of town swamps are now simply the places we avoid driving through when the rain is measured in inches an hour. Slab houses flood because of the corruption of politicians, not as a fact of forgotten geography.

When the storm passes and the convection from the thunderhead is gone, the heat will come back like the wave of a tsunami. I’ll get up and close the doors to the house, and trap the storm cooled air inside. I won’t save the arctic ice pack, or even that much on my light bill, but I will have reclaimed some of what we have all lost over the last generation. I will recapture another small piece of how to live in a place called New Orleans.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,687 other followers