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Odd Words October 4, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Everette Maddox, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& then there is this, courtesy of Maud Newton [sigh]. A tempest in a thimble to my humble self, so far removed from the important world in which such people move. The problem I see with the proliferation of book blogs is for the writer and avid reader who spends too much time on them, the realization of how many potentially wonderful books are being churned out by presses large and small that I will never find time to read, one of which is the comprehensible book in Borges’ Library of Babel in which I will find the key that unlocks “aha! that is how it is done!”, to realize how deep and broad the competition is, a river I could never swim. It is a wonder that the visitors to such places, myself included, bother to write at all, but once you’ve been cursed with a tongue of fire there is no going back to mending nets.

& so, onto the listings…

& This coming Tuesday is Everette Maddox’ birthday, and the loose-fitting plan so far (hatched by me because I don’t have enough to worry about already) is to show up in the patio of The Maple Leaf Bar around 7:30 p.m. to read and celebrate the words of New Orleans’ most iconic poet, founder of the Maple Leaf Reading Series and by all accounts–including his own–a mess. I think a sort of half-baked plan involving the Leaf, poetry and alcohol would meet with the approval of the author of “Just Normal“. If you haven’t read Maddox you have no excuse since UNO Press, back in the days when it mattered, issued the wonderful I hope it’s not over and goodbye anthology. In fact, if you haven’t read Everette Maddox you are not allowed to mention Confederacy of Dunces again until you have rectified this oversight.

& Tonight at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts the New Orleans premier of MEANWHILE, BACK AT CAFE DU MONDE . . . Life Stories about Food, including readings and signings by the book’s creator/editor Peggy Sweeny-McDonald and contributors Margarita Bergen, Nell Nolan, Sal Sunseri, Liz Williams, Karen Benrud, Drew Ramsey, Matt Murphy, Leon Contavesprie, and more. “Based on presentations of Meanwhile, Back at Café Du Monde . . ., these foodie monologues invoke your own special comfort foods, recalling tasty memories of life, love, family, and friends to warm your heart, feed your soul, and make you pause to savor the sweetness of life!”

& Also at 6 this evening, Maple Street Book Shop Uptown will host Sonpri Gray signing her latest book, Kept, an insightful-narrator-rises-above-her-humble-circumstances book (as opposed to a gaggle-of-inseparable-girls-friends-and-their-lives subgenre of Chic Lit. I would definitely have picked up this book for my ex- on spec at the library, and I had a pretty good track record on picking winners.

& At 7:30 p.m. 17 Poets! hosts poets AMANDA AUCHTER and PATRICE MELNICK followed by OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross. AUCHTER is the founding editor of Pebble Lake Review. She is the author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2012 Perugia Press Award and of The Glass Crib, winner of the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award for Poetry. MELNICK is a writer, arts administrator, educator and business owner. Melnick taught English and creative writing at Xavier University in New Orleans for 13 years where she founded and developed one of the first creative writing programs in New Orleans at a historically black university. Additionally, Melnick has taught a literary nonfiction workshop in the low-residency MFA program at the University of New Orleans

& Saturday is the monthly Poetry Buffet at the Latter Library at 2 p.m., featuring poets Vincent Celucci, Chris Shipman and L.A. Weeks reading from their work. I have to get the mistress of ceremonies and talented poet Gina Ferrara to start posting bios for her folks, ’cause I have to stop writing this and go make some money.

& Also this Saturday the excellent Crescent City Books is hosting a 20th Anniversary Reading/Reception from 2-4 p.m. with guest Carolyn Hembree, professor at the University of New Orleans and the author of the recently released collection of poems Skinny. Also, day-long discounts and giveaways are also promised. Best collection of new, used and noteworthy and collectible books anywhere. Try stopping by to visit with Michael when the American Booksellers are in town and try not to get trampled.

& On Saturday at 6 p.m. Maple Street Uptown will feature Andrew Kahrl signing and reading from his book, The Land Was Ours: African-American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South. The Land Was Ours delves deep into the history of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and tells the history of African-American beaches and resorts on Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In particular, the book traces the human and environmental history of Lake Pontchartrain’s southern shore over the course of the 20th century, and looks at how the struggle for outdoor leisure and recreational space became an important element of the larger civil rights movement in New Orleans. This definitely sounds interesting for those of us old enough to remember Lincoln Beach.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. 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.

& 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 at 6 p.m. Octavia hosts a presentation and signing with John McCusker celebrating the launch of his new biography, CREOLE TROMBONE: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz, a book that is going to wind up on my shelves for sure. “Drawing on oral history and Ory’s unpublished autobiography, Creole Trombone is a story that is told in large measure by Ory himself. The author reveals Ory’s personality to the reader and shares remarkable stories of incredible innovations of the jazz pioneer. The book also features unpublished Ory compositions, photographs, and a selected discography of his most significant recordings.”

& Maple Street’s downtown book club at the Healing Center , which meets the second Tuesday of every month, is reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. They will be discussing it Tuesday at 7 p.m. Newcomers are welcome!

& On Wednesday Maple Street Uptown presents Philip Meric at 6 p.m. to discuss The Fortress of New Orleans, compiled by Evans-Graves Engineers, Inc. Please join us for a wine and cheese reception before the presentation. The Fortress of New Orleans: A Photographic Tour of the Largest Civil Works Program in U.S. History serves as a visual record of representative parts and pieces of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, a true flood and surge defense system comprised of traditional earthen levees and floodwalls as well as state-of-the-art flood-control components that are viewed as engineering marvels.

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