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Odd Words September 20, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, FYYFF, Gallatin & Toulouse Press, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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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.

A Howling in the Wires August 9, 2010

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, 8-29, Debrisville, Federal Flood, FYYFF, Gallatin & Toulouse Press, Hurricane Katrina, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Gallatin & Toulouse Press announces the publication of A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writings from Postdiluvian New Orleans. This collection combines the vivid post-Katrina experiences captured by internet-based “bloggers” from New Orleans–individuals who don’t think of themselves as writers but who were writing powerfully in the months after 8-29–with the work of traditional writers. Some of those, like novelist Dedra Johnson and poet Robin Kemp, share their most immediate reactions from their own blogs. The book deliberately blurs the line between formats and focuses on cataloging some of the best-written and most powerful reactions of the people who experienced Katrina.

Editors Sam Jasper and Mark Folse are writers who turned to the Internet to chronicle their own experiences and reactions to Katrina and found in the months after 8-29 they were part of a larger community sharing the public and very private events of the period. The book will be published late August, 2010. A launch party and reading is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny.

Contributors include cookbook author and travel-and-sailing writer Troy Gilbert, poet Valentine Pierce, Professor Jerry Ward of Dillard University and poet/playwright Raymond “Moose” Jackson together with the work of bloggers who are by day engineers, teachers, geologists, computer programmers, bankers, and social workers but in their spare time writers of talent whose only prior outlet has been their Internet-based blogs. These works were edited minimally for basic spelling and grammar, mistakes easily made writing first hand accounts created under great duress, in an attempt to preserve the original “howl” of people who experienced these events first hand.

Editor Sam Jasper’s preface explains: “When we started this project, our goal was to find some of the best words that were howling in those wires once the wind stopped and the levees broke. We read through hundreds of thousands of words for weeks. Sometimes the pain in those words re-opened wounds we thought had healed. Sometimes the words gave us insight into another person’s experience and we were astonished by the nakedness, the vulnerability, the ferocity and often the defiance being expressed so soon after the event. Naked and raw and very, very public.”

“These voices, oblivious to each other and miles apart, sing in pitch perfect harmony—a phenomenon only possible where truth is absolute. Stunned courageous but always in motion, the Every Man and Every Woman of these Gulf Coast narrations and poems lean blindly towards recovery and redemption just as they struggle to comprehend the enormity of what has happened to them. Here you will find no analysis ad nauseum, no academic dissections, no punditry or pretension. Just ordinary folks caught up under extraordinary circumstances, telling their stories in real time, absolutely in the moment—in grief, in anger, and—most miraculously—in good humor. If you only ever read one post-Katrina related book, and if you think you can handle for that book to be an unapologetically unfiltered and dead honest journey back into those dark days and months after the storm, this thin volume is all you will need.”

    — Louis Maistros, author of The Sound of Building Coffins

“A powerful and immediate look at post-Katrina New Orleans. Sam Jasper and Mark Folse have done a great service to America by compiling these early writings from the storm.”

    — Stephen Elliot, editor of TheRumpus.Net and author of The Adderall Diaries and Happy Baby.

“There are no better guides to post flood New Orleans than the bloggers who emerged here during the immediate wake of the levee breaks. What’s particularly remarkable about these writers is that none hew to the snarky, cynical, superficial style found on most blogs–instead there is an enormous passion for New Orleans, real anger at its injustices and much needed rebukes to the received wisdom surrounding this moment of man made disaster.”

    — Ethan Brown, author of Shake the Devil Off and Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustle0072

“From Greg Peters’s prophetic warnings before the levees failures, to Jerry Ward’s abandonment of romance, to the rhythms of Sandra Grace Johnson’s arrest, to Mark Folse’s lifetime of Mardi Gras memories (pre- and post-dilluvian), the pieces in this book form a powerful chronicle of those terrible days when New Orleanians looked around and decided that, more painful than any of these things, would be the failure to move forward.” .

    — Lolis Eric Elie is is the producer for Faubourg Treme: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans and a staff writer for the HBO Series Treme

Gallatin & Toulouse Press is a new endeavor, publishing the work of emerging New Orleans writers to a wider audience. This is the first in a planned series collecting short, Internet-published works chronicling the storm and flood collectively known as Katrina and the recovery of the city of New Orleans.

A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writings from Postdiluvian New Orleans, Paperback: 160 Pages, Gallatin & Toulouse Press, ISBN 9780615388793. Inquiries to: gallatin.and.toulouse.press@gmail.com. (504) 324-6551 Available direct from the publisher Aug. 20, 2010.

You can pre-order here. Please shop local or direct. Amazon charges a ruinous discount to small publishers and we make only pennies on a sale there. Patronize your local bookstores or order directly from Gallatin & Toulouse Press.

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