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Odd Words October 11, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Fortin Street, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”
– Tennessee William

The chiseled academic definition of Creative Non-Fiction allows no room for creativity beyond style and there are only so many songs in the world. Tennessee Williams wrote drama, a species of fiction but when my brother died and my boss waited for an explanation all I could think to say was, “you probably thought Tennessee Williams was making all that shit up.” I try to imagine her, this Nordic woman from the polar edge of North Dakota, in her college-career crowning role as Blanche DuBois. All stage magic is dishonest, the pickpocket elevated to gentleman in a top hat with a pocket full of silk handkerchiefs. The best magic starts with “give me a quarter” and ends with it appearing behind your ear, just another moment on a street but more than that. What does it matter if it was a nickle or a dime? No one will dispute the creative power and the inner truth shining out of recognizable faces in Williams’ plays. Creative Non-Fiction is just another pigeonhole and good writing, fictive or factual, should draw you out of the mail room and into an unfamiliar place filled with familiar objects, people whose names you are certain you should know. Tell a story and tell it true, letting the facts arrange themselves as necessary. Don’t let exact change get in the way.

& so to the listings….

& Comix Comics fans will want to check out Stephan Pastis: Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out: A Pearls Before Swine Treasury at 5:30 tonight at Garden District Book Shop. From fire-breathing jugglers to sword-swallowing illusionists, this treasury showcases all strips from “Larry in Wonderland” and “Because Sometimes You Just Gotta Draw a Cover with Your Left Hand,” along with Pastis’ original commentary, which provides insight into what Pastis was thinking at the time random strips were conceived, and also fan reactions. Tackling topics ranging from current events and modern technology to human and croc nature, “Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out” offers up a sideshow of feisty characters, including arrogant, self-centered, and totally hilarious Rat, who leads his four-legged collection of freakish friends through a carnival of misadventure. Joining the circus-like cavalcade are Pig, the slow but good-hearted conscience of the strip; Goat, the voice of reason that often goes unheard; Zebra, the activist; and those eternally inept carnivorous Crocs, who we learn happen to taste a lot like chicken. Pastis’ cynical humor and sharp wit imbue this entertaining vaudevillian collection

& Thursday at 8 p.m. 17 Poets! presents Ben Kopel and Carrie Chappell followed by open mic hosted by Jimmy Ross. Doors open at 7 and sign up for open mic begins at 7:30. Kopel was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1983. He holds degrees from Louisiana State University, The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and The University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Chappell is a poet by ways of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and now living in New Orleans. Her poems have appeared in Boxcar Poetry Review, Bateau Press and elsewhere. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans, where she serves as Associate Poetry Editor for Bayou Magazine.

& Saturday from 10:30 am – 12 noon the Poems and Pink Ribbons project will host a reading by workshop leaders and participants. This program gives women with breast cancer and cancer survivors an opportunity to express themselves through poetry, working with local poets. At the newly renovated and expanded Rosa Keller Library, 4300 South Broad. The instructors in Poems and Pink Ribbons are Jarvis DeBerry, Kysha Brown-Robinson, Geryll Robinson, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Melissa Dickey and Gina Ferrara. Come out and show some love and support for their brave students.

& Saturday afternoon the New Orleans Dickens Fellowship will host their monthly discussion on their current reading, Great Expectations. They will Part I, Chapters 7-14 at 2 p.m. at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library.

& Also on Saturday Crescent City Books will host George Schmidt Reading and Reception on for the Crescent City Books 20th Anniversary Celebration. The event will run from 2-4 p.m., with the reading/q&q/discussion from 2-3 p.m. and reception/signing following until 4 p.m. George Schmidt speaks about his art and signs his retrospective book “Satire, Scandal, and Spectacle.”

& At the Downtown Library on Saturday check out the Mutabilis Press/Improbable Words Poetry Reading featuring a Louisiana All-Star cast including Stella Brice, Megan Burns, Peter Cooley, Gina Ferrara Bruce Fuller, Ava Leavell Haymon, Julie Kane, Rodger Kamenetz, James Nolan and Biljana Obradovic. It’s not on the library’s Nutrias.org site and there’s no time posted on the event’sFacebook page so check back there and here later for the time.

& Downtown on Saturday Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. David Lummis will be signing his new book, The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans, Part 2: The Last Beaucoeur at Maple Leaf Book Store’s Healing Center location. This much anticipated sequel picks up almost exactly where Part 1 left off. It’s the morning of Friday, August 26, 2005, and B. Sammy Singleton is still reeling from the night before. Something is very wrong. Sammy’s best friend, Catfish Beaucoeur, is missing, having left behind clues including a book of lynching photography and a disturbing handwritten poem.

& Don’t pig out at Sunday dinner or you won’t appreciate the Sweet Potato Guacamole when Garden District Book Shops hosts Fred Thompson and Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides. Side dishes are the very heart and soul of southern cuisine. So proclaims Fred Thompson in this heartfelt love letter to the marvelous foods on the side of the plate. From traditional, like Pableaux’s Red Beans and Rice, to contemporary, like Scuppernong-Glazed Carrots, Thompson’s 250 recipes recommend the virtues of the utterly simple and the totally unexpected. “Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides” celebrates the sheer joy of cooking and eating these old and new classic dishes

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series poet Chris Champagne reads from his work, followed by an open mic.. 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.

& Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Tulane University’s Dixon hall hear authors E.O. Wilson and Alex Harris discuss their book Why We Are Here. Presented by Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods; Center for Bioenvironmental Research; New Orleans Center for the Gulf South; and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, this historic collaboration between a beloved naturalist and a great American photographer presents a South we’ve never encountered before. Perceiving that Mobile was a city small enough to be captured through a lens yet old enough to have experienced a full epic cycle of tragedy and rebirth, the photographer and the naturalist joined forces to capture the rhythms of this storied Alabama Gulf region through a swirling tango of lyrical words and breathtaking images.

& 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.

& & Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books and again Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Maple Street Book Shop Michael Zell of Crescent City Books celebrating the launch of his debut novel, ERRATA. A young New Orleans cabbie named Raymond Russell has been dramatically shocked by the intensity of a crime and is blocked such that he cannot write about it directly. He lets elements leak out associatively so as to prime the engine of his obsessive mind for what he must reveal. Picture a neo-noir Nabokov. The title Errata reflects Raymond’s 22 day attempt at correction of his seeming culpability. Associative language forms the building blocks of the story via Montaigne-esque essays, 1984 World’s Fair era history, and literary ruminations. Errata uses neo-noir conventions as the trappings for an ambitious boundary-blurring meditation on balancing the in between of isolation and sociability, wisdom and madness, symbol and text, and innocence and guilt.

& Also on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. the Hubbel Library in Algiers will host an author night featuring New Orleans Impressionist Cityscapes: The Allure of the Image by Phil Sandusky in the carriage house behind the Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan Street.

This book looks beautiful. It’s a good thing I don’t have a coffee table or I would be one broke-ass, semi-employed student and writer who can’t afford a coffee table much less this book I’m sure. It’s going on the imaginary display shelf close to that Diego Rivera catalog all in Spanish I couldn’t afford at Crescent City Books.

&If you can’t get across the river check out the Alvar Library also on Tuesday night but at 7 p.m. featuring Delia Tomino Nakayama & Peter Nu: Poetry, Song, & Piano Music. Peter’s amazing steel drum is not out of the question, I hope.

& Heads up: It’s time to register for the workshops at the Louisiana Book Festival held the day before the Festival, Friday, Oct. 26. This year’s four WordShops will focus on the fiction writing process, writing for young adults, writing about Louisiana and the process of getting published or self-publishing. The all-day WordShop will feature Robert Olen Butler who will present “After Craft: The Process of Writing Fiction.” It starts at 9 a.m. at the Capitol Park Museum. Butler is the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain. Three half-day WordShops are also scheduled, one morning session and two afternoon sessions. From 9 a.m. to noon, The New York Times bestselling young adult author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers will teach “Just Write: Here’s How! A Workshop for Writing Young Adult Novels” in the Seminar Center of the State Library. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Capitol View Room of the State Library, authors Cheré Dastugue Coen and Ronald M. Gauthier will present “So You Want to Be Published?” This WordShop takes a look at the challenges and rewards of getting work published. Also from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., author Ken Wells will present “Selling Louisiana: Think Locally, Publish Nationally” in the Seminar Center of the State Library. To register for WordShops call Michelle Hobkirk at 225-342-4931 or download the registration form from the “Exhibits & Workshops” section of http://www.LouisianaBookFestival.org. Registration and payment are due by Oct. 23, $40 for half-day WordShops and $75 for the full day. Free parking is available.

If you are not on this list well I’ve asked you before and will remind you again: send the deets to odd.words.nola@gmail.com as soon in advance as possible.

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