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Odd Words May 14, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 4 p.m. the Smith Library in New Orleans hosts Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, bestselling authors of both adult and young adult book series, have teamed up and are visiting us for an afternoon to chat about their brand new books and answer questions about your earlier favorites. Signing to follow.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm Garden District Book Shop features Monte Dutton’s The Intangibles. It’s 1968. The winds of change are descending on Fairmont and engulfing the small South Carolina town in a tornadic frenzy. The public schools are finally being completely integrated. Mossy Springs High School is closing and its black students are now attending formerly all-white Fairmont High; the town is rife with racial tension. Several black youths have been arrested for tossing firebombs at a handful of stores. White citizens form a private academy for the purpose of keeping their kids out of the integrated school system. The Ku Klux Klan is growing. This is a story of a high school football team that puts aside its differences, never realizing that, outside its bounds, the world is unraveling. It’s a story about the cultural changes, good and bad, that take place when two societies shift and finally come together. The Intangibles is a story of triumph achieved at considerable cost.

& Porter Shreve will be reading and signing The End of the Book at Maple Street Book Shop Thursday at 6 pm. The End of the Book is the story of an aspiring contemporary novelist who may or may not be writing a sequel to Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio. Adam Clary works in Chicago for a famous internet company on a massive project to digitize the world’s books, but secretly he hates his job and wishes to be a writer at a time when the book as physical object and book culture itself have never been more threatened.

& Come meet internationally best-selling author Sarah Pekkanen (The Best of Us, These Girls, Skipping a Beat, and The Opposite of Me) at Octavia Books at 6 pm Thursday when she presents & signs CATCHING AIR, a new novel that once again delivers her “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” style (Booklist) and will have readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). It is the story of two couples – a pair of brothers and their wives – who leave everything behind to run a bed and breakfast in bucolic Vermont. But what starts out as an experiment in simpler living turns out to be more complicated than any of them could have imagined, testing the limits of love, family, and the power of forgiveness.

& At the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hear poet and editor Peter Cooley. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Divine Margins (2009), A Place Made of Starlight (2003), and The Astonished Hours (1992). His poems have been widely anthologized in collections such as Best American Poetry (2002) and Poets on Place (2005). Cooley served as poetry editor for the North American Review from 1970 to 2000. He has taught at Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin. He lives in New Orleans. Born and raised in Detroit. He earned a BA at Shimer College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at the University of Iowa.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) rom 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Friday at 2 pm Garden District Book Shop invites you to meet bestselling author and star of Chelsea Lately as she signs her new book Uganda Be Kidding Me. Tickets are $29.43 and will include admittance for 2 adults as well as one copy of Uganda Be Kidding Me. Only copies of Uganda Be Kidding Me purchased from Garden District Book Shop will be signed. This is a signing only. Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever. On safari in Africa, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she’s fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she’s always game for the next misadventure. Complete with answers to the most frequently asked traveler’s questions, hot travel trips, and travel etiquette, none of which should be believed, UGANDA BE KIDDING ME has Chelsea taking on the world, one laugh-out-loud incident at a time. Chelsea Handler is the star of her own late-night talk show on E!, Chelsea Lately, and E!’s comedy series After Lately, as well as the #1 bestselling author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang; Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea; and My Horizontal Life.

& At 6 pm Friday Garden District hosts Clifton Crais’s History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain. Born in Louisiana to a soon-to-be absent father and an alcoholic mother—who tried to drown him in a bathtub when he was three—Clifton Crais spent his childhood perched beside his mother on a too-tall bar stool, living with relatives too old or infirmed to care for him, or rambling on his own through New Orleans, a city both haunted and created by memory. Indeed, it is memory—both elusive and essential—that forms the center of Crais’s beautifully rendered memoir, History Lessons. In an effort to restore his own, Crais brings the tools of his formal training as a historian to bear on himself and his family. He interviews his sisters and his mother, revisits childhood homes and pours over documentary evidence: plane tickets, postmarks, court and medical records, crumbling photo albums. Probing family lore, pushing past silences and exhuming long-buried family secrets, he arrives, ultimately, at the deepest reaches of the brain. Crais examines the science of memory and forgetting, from the ways in which experience shapes the developing brain to the mechanisms that cause the chronic childhood amnesia—the most common and least understood form of amnesia—from which he suffers. Part memoir, part narrative science and part historical detective story, History Lessons is a provocative, exquisitely crafted investigation into what it means to be human.

& Show your New Orleans Public Library Card and get FREE entry into the RT Booklovers Convention Giant Book Fair on Saturday, May 17th. Over 700 new and bestselling authors will be signing and selling copies of their latest novels. For more information about the RT Booklovers Convention, and to see a full list of authors attending, visit rtconvention.com

& Julie Lamana will be signing her middle-grade novel, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, Saturday, 11:30-1PM at Maple Street Book Shop. Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm. A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable.

& Saturday at 3 pm the Norman Meyer Library hosts Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing But Did Not Know Who To Ask! Join us for a conversation with author Kimberla Lawson Roby, Latoya Smith (editor at Grand Central Publishing) and Linda A. Duggins (publicity director at Grand Central Publishing) about the writing process, the industry and being an author in 2014. Q&A and book signing will follow.

& Join Gallatin & Toulouse Press as they launch the novel In Irons by Stonewall Chapbook award-winning local playwright Louie Crowder at the newly renovated Apple Barrel on Frenchman Street.

& Sunday at 11 am Garden District Books features GMA host Robin Roberts’s and her memoir Everybody’s Got Something in which she recounts the incredible journey that’s been her life so far, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. With grace, heart, and humor, she writes about overcoming breast cancer only to learn five years later that she will need a bone marrow transplant to combat a rare blood disorder, the grief and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away, her triumphant return to GMA after her medical leave, and the tremendous support and love of her family and friends that saw her through her difficult times.

& Sunday at 1 pm at Octavia Books meet New York Times bestselling authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong presenting ODIN’S RAVENS. The duo co-authored their debut middle grade series, THE BLACKWELL PAGES. ODIN’S RAVENS is the epic sequel to LOKI’S WOLVES. Perfect for Percy Jackson fans, the series is filled with explosive action, adventure and larger-than-life Norse legends. When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern-day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right? But the descendants’ journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that’s only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor’s hammer, and stop the apocalypse–a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This Sunday features an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& Sunday also brings The Revival of Spoken Word at the Regency Reception Hall, 7300 Downman Road. Poets from “back in the day” will be reuniting one more time. This show will feature Peteh Muhammad Haroon Gina Marie Christopher Williams Kenneth Dillon Charles EasyLee Peters Blaque Wido Marcus Page Brandi FlueryTony WilsonTarriona Tank Ball Michael Pellet Erika Murray and many more. Free Food. Hosted by Black Steel( Régan Paul LeCesne) and Spoken Word New Orleans. $5 cover.

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

& Monday at 6 pm Master short story writer Ellen Gilchrist, winner of the National Book Award, returns with her first story collection in over eight years at Garden District Book Shop. In Acts of God, she has crafted different scenarios in which people dealing with forces beyond their control somehow manage to survive, persevere, and triumph, even if it is only a triumph of the will. In one way or another, all of these people are fighters and believers, survivors who find the strength to go on when faced with the truth of their mortality, and they are given vivid life in these stories, told with Ellen Gilchrist’s clear-eyed optimism and salty sense of humor.

& Also at 6 pm Monday The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& Monday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts The Fiction Writers’ Group, a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& Tuesday brings the third annual Best vs Worst Slam! Best vs Worst pits Team SNO against Team POO, a team of fake poets played by real life comedians of The New Movement. The concept is simple: Team SNO performs real pieces while Team POO entertains us with outlandish characters and hilarious “poems” in a two-round slam.Don’t miss your chance to check out one of our most fun and unique shows of the year. It all goes down this Tuesday, May 22nd at Press Street on 3718 St. Claude Ave. Doors open at 7 PM.  Show begins at 7:30.  Admission is $5. 

& Tuesday join author Robert Simonson signing his book The Old Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore at the Cane & Table, 1113 Decatur Street. No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate. The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Books will be available on-site from Garden District Book Shop.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Eve O. Schaub’s A Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. It’s Dinnertime. Do You Know Where Your Sugar is Coming From? Most likely everywhere. Sure, it’s in ice cream and cookies, but what scared Eve O. Schaub was the secret world of sugar–hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food. With her eyes open by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to eat no added sugar for an entire year. Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet–including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. The stories, tips, and recipes she shares throw fresh light on questionable nutritional advice we’ve been following for years and show that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping–with less and even no added sugar.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Also at 8 p.m. every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. This week’s features are Gina Ferrara & Izzy Oneiric.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

&Wednesday at 7 pm Esoterotica, brings back “Pervspectives” originally part of the New Orleans Fringe Festival 2013, transforming the AllWays, 2240 St. Claude Avenue, into a completely immersive, and erotic fetish club experience. You will see what happens at, during, and inside a fetish event, from the unacquainted newbie to the seasoned player. Through interaction, performance monologue, poetry and prose, “Pervspectives” brings you the kinky, the sensual, the sometimes hilarious, and the undeniably human experience.

The Fourth Battle of New Orleans May 9, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in assholes, Federal Flood, FYYFF, New Orleans, Ninth Ward, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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My father Sidney J. Folse, Jr, A.I.A, was a professional contemporary of the August Perez family, Sr. and Jr. Forty-five years ago my father risked everything to stop construction of the Riverfront Expressway. He was senior vice president of Curtis & Davis, a firm highly dependent on government contracting. (They built, among other landmarks, the Rivergate and the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library). Every arm of big local money and government wanted that expressway built, the very people who controlled his livelihood, that of his employers and every man under him. He did not care. He stepped up, as president of the local A.I.A chapter that was vehemently opposed to its construction. He challenged the head of downtown business association to a debate on WWL-TV, which that gentleman declined. When he tried to drop off my oldest sister’s wedding portrait at the Times-Picayune, he was told “that bitch’s picture will never run in this newspaper.” (It was, thanks to my mother’s intervention with Nell Nolan). Nathaniel Curtis and Arthur Davis could have told my father to back off. They did not. For this the city owes these gentleman a great debt.

I know the unintended consequences of that battle. I drive down Claiborne and see it all the time. Still, imagine where Woldenberg Park and the Moon Walk now stand a six-lane elevated expressway. That is not the issue here. (Imagine, for that matter, the giant framework of a sound-and-light show in Jackson Square in front of the Cathedral. It was planned. The wiring to support it exists today under the flag stones surrounding Jackson Square).

The issue is: where do we draw a line in the sand? New Orleans is undergoing an ugly, greed-fueled transformation I predicted almost ten years ago on my blog Wet Bank Guide. Many things have been proposed since the storm in the name of redevelopment. Sean Cummings’ Elisio Lofts, another high-rise abomination at the foot of Elysian Fields, was stopped. The redevelopment of the old Holy Cross School site with another inappropriately sited high-rise proposed by Perez APC, has just won approval from the New Orleans City Council.

Enough.

I want to walk up to August Perez III and say, “I am the son of Sid Folse, and I am here to fuck with you.” I can’t determine if Perez Jr. is still around. Certainly papa Perez Sr would understand what that meant. I don’t hold my father’s lofty position. No one will consider that I debate Pres on WWL-TV for 30 minutes after the news. It does not matter. I am my father’s son. I gave up much to come home after the storm: my job, my financial security, my marriage. I stood in front of the Mid-City Planning Group after the storm and fought for an endorsement of the Crystal Apartments while some of my neighbors hurled the words “Section 8″ at me with the same vehemence as the mothers who spit on and shouted “nigger” and “monkey” at Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, Gaile Etienne entering McDonough 19 and Ruby Bridges entering William Frantz.

I won.

I will choose my battles and I will win again. Perez’s abomination combines the worst of the Riverfront Expressway and the Claiborne Expressway. It is an attempt to usurp the historic riverfront in the name of commerce: not an expressway for the convenience of suburban drivers and trucks bound for the (then dying) wharves, but the usurpation of the Ninth Ward for the wealthy in search of a view. The final outcome will impact the 89% Black Lower Ninth Ward as the Claiborne Expressway did the people of Treme. It will destroy the rapidly recovering neighborhood to “save” it, as people rush in to convert its quaint homes into valuable properties leveraged by Perez’s development.

This, I propose, is where we draw the line in the sand. This is where the subjects of the people who have ruled this city since the Civil War from their comfortable Uptown (and now their Warehouse District condos: thanks Lester Kabacoff, father of Pres) should rise up. Except for a brief shining era during the terms of Moon Landrieu and “Dutch” “Little Caeser” Morial, the wealthy have sculpted this community to fit their wants and desires with no regard for the people who once labored on the decrepit wharves and now staff the tourism monster.

Enough.

I will choose my battles and I will win again.

This is where the dollar-eyed dreams of the post-Federal Flood elite come to their end, or the city we all came home to save dies. If this stands, the high-rises will march the length of the park Mr. Cummings helped engineer with recovery dollars to make his property more valuable. This is how redevelopment is done today, how the Anacostia Projects were torn down in D.C., the working class Blacks banished to the counties, in the name of redevelopment. This is how historic Charleston, S.C. became a part-time ghost town after Hurricane Hugo.

Enough.

I have paid in blood and tears for the privilege of coming home. I will pay again and again until the work is done, or I have drawn my last breath.

Mr. Perez, I am the son of Sidney Folse, Jr. A.I.A, and I remember. I am here to fuck with you. I am burning with the spirit of my ancestor.

I will do everything in my power to make you regret this confrontation.

Fuck You You Fucking Fucks.

Correction: This is directed to Angela O’Byrne, who is the new principal of the firm operating under the Perez name. If it’s just a name on the door, my apologies to August III.

This changes nothing.

52: THAT BRIGHT MOMENT April 8, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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YOU ARE TRAPPED IN THAT BRIGHT MOMENT
WHERE YOU LEARNED YOUR DOOM
— Samuel R. Delaney in City of a Thousand Suns

[Slight return...]

I’ve just finished my taxes and realized i made a $5,000 mistake last year. Also, the IRS does not do payment plans for the unemployed.

The unemployed who plan to to run up a credit card to go the Europe and lock themselves in a castle in the Tyrolean Alps for a month were I will determine if I am a poet or a poseur, doing an intense side class on Ezra Pound because we all have our mountains to climb.

We all have our mountains to climb and so in spite of all this I will do whatever is necessary to make sure my daughter is settled safely at Columbia University for her graduate degree and Matthew realizes his musical dreams no matter the cost.

No matter the cost even if you are on the black diamond slop to penury. You have been poor before and remember how it is done. Marianne and I lived for years as two, first in college on a fraction of my daughter’s allowance, managed when my newspaper salary was in the high four figures and don’t regret a moment of those days.; I made my choices and I remain convinced they were the right thing to do.

The right thing to do is to find the life you were meant to live and do it regardless of the cost. I pray my children discover their path young and are ready for every ugly bump, blowout and broken axle life throws in their way. I waited until too late in life and now I pay in currency of blood.

In currency of blood I would pay the price demanded of me. My family’s blood is older than the Lakota in the Dakotas, and no less bound to the land I stand upon. My claim to this place, Mr. Jefferson, is more honest than your patrimony as is my honest Creole blood. I am home and here I make my stand. For all my decisions there is a cost and now I have to pay.

Now I have to pay the bankers who unmanned me and the Central Government I foreswore any real allegiance to almost a decade ago, proudly tossing the American flag in the trash when I needed a new pole to fly the ensign of the City of New Orleans every July 4th, Memorial Day and any other inappropriate occasion. I wish I’d kept them so I could fly the charred remnants upside down at half mast when George Bush take his last overlight to hell. No matter: I am a citizen of New Orleans and an accidental resident of any other entity. I know who I am.

I know who I am and not a citizen of Delaney’s dystopia. I’ve known for a long time there was no enemy over the mountain, that pro patria nonsense. I know who I am, a poet not a poseur, and yet rebel against my own cause. “A post-post-modernist” someone kindly inscribed in an autographed book but that is not quite right. I am a broken link in the DNA array of the next step of evolution. Farewell Aquarius and your outworn Piscean god. “We are ready for a new avatar,” Coco sang but I am not it. Perhaps a fraction of John the Baptist, wailing in the wastelnd, fit only to wash her feet but not to baptize.

Trapped in that bright moment in which I learned my doom:, mountains to climb no mattèr the cost, whomever I must pay in currency of blood. I know who I am. I am finished.

TWF14: The Law and Order Episode of Who Killed the Essay March 24, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, lyric essay, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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“This is the Law and Order episode of Who Killed the Essay,” moderator John Freeman said to open the Tennessee Williams Festival panel “The Return of the Essay.” “Someone killed it. We’re going to find out later from Lennie Briscoe,” the character from the crime drama franchise. Panelists Dani Shapiro, Kiese Laymon and Roxanne Gay promptly put a bullet in the head of Freeman’s metaphor.

“The essay isn’t dead, it never died,” panelist Roxanne Gay shot back. “We have the arrogance in this age of believing that we’re going to be the end of literature when it has been around for millenia. That is always appalling to me. The book is dying. Are you kidding me? People were writing books on rice paper. Calm down. Books aren’t going anywhere, readers aren’t going anywhere. I think things are shifting. The essay from Montaigne to [fellow panelist] Kiese, we’re still doing it. I think we’re in the golden age of the essay. I’ve never read more stunning essays than the ones I read every single day and the art hasn’t been perfected because it can’t be perfected but people are practicing it at such a level. If the essay is dead, then the afterlife is quite wonderful.”

“The internet has done a lot of terrible things, but one of the best things it’s done has democratize this writing thing. It has allowed us to read all these amazing essays,” Laymon said. “I think there was a golden age. I think [James] Baldwin was the golden age. Every day, or every other day, I read an essay on the Internet that actually scares me as a writer. I think those are the best essays, I think s— I can’t do it. I just can’t do it as well as other people can do it. Now we have people not waiting for crusty editors to say: here’s your stamp that says, now you can put it out there. Also it puts out some art that is not so great, but it’s also allowed me to read some of the greatest essays that I have read in my life.”

“I don’t think we can know a golden age that we’re in one,” Dani Shapiro, countered. “I will admit tweeting this morning the title of this panel and saying, I don’t think it’s vanished. I also think it’s worth noting that the word essay means attempt, to attempt to get something right and true and universal and authentic down on the page. That’s like saying human nature is dead.”

Freeman asked his panelists: “If style is a struggle and essay is an attempt, what are you attempting in an essay? What makes you want to put the struggle in that form?”

“There’s an urgency when I’m writing an essay,” Gay explained. “Something has gotten under my skin. One of the first essays that got under my skin. One of the first essays that got my attention was “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence”. It was about a young girl that was raped in Cleveland, Texas. The New York Times wrote a story about the town–poor, poor town–and think of these poor boys but there were like 30 of them. The magnitude of the crime was horrific and the shoddiness of the reporting was also horrific. I went into this fugue state trying to temper my rage with understanding how we got to a place as a culture where we’re worrying about a town instead of this 11 year-old girl. The essays that I love writing the most are where I’m trying to make sense of this crazy world, but also acknowledge the god in this world.”

“Kiese, you [mention] the fact that an essay is going to deal some collateral damage to their family, because the wedge into a topic is not just your experience. It’s everything you grew up with. I wonder if you could talk about writing about your family and those essays and how you weighed what you would actually reveal because the truths you tell are quite difficult.”

“I feel like I’ve been writing about that question in my essays and my fiction. I come from a family in central Mississippi. I was raised by my mother. She was 19 when she had me. I went to graduate school and went to stay with my grandmother [also] in Mississippi. They’re both wonderful, brilliant people but whenever they got around white people their wonder and their brilliance and their thickness shrunk, and I think a lot of time they want me to also shrink my brilliance on the page. In [one] essay I talk about my mother pulling a gun on me when I was 19, partially because she wanted me to act right. I was trying to say in that essay there is a consequence to acting right in this country especially for folks of color…I think we talk about the consequences too often of not acting right, but there is a self consequence for acting right.

“Form is really important for me and I’m pushing back against forms and against my mom and I was trying to push back against my inclination to write predictable punditry. My inclination is to just write the traditional, standard essays that will make people say, ‘that’s a smart African-American man’ as opposed to being a potentially revelatory Black human being.” Later in the panel he added, “I come from a community where sadness, funk, funny happens all the time and I was being encouraged to take the funk and funny out.”

“Dani, you’ve written about your family in two memoirs, and this book Still Writing, it looks like a book about writing but then it’s threaded through with all these tiny memoirs,” Freeman asked Shapiro. “Did you find that to write about writing did you have to write about your family?”

“When it comes to form and when it comes to realism, it feels like in the last ten years of my writing life things have been breaking apart. The more I try to make something whole the more it breaks apart. I think what you just said about realism and the surreality that is at the core of it in some way is so true: the puzzle like structure, my last memoir Devotion was puzzle-like, every essay that I’ve written in the last five years. When I started Still Writing I was writing a blog because my publisher told me I had to write a blog. And I was thinking what can I blog about that’s not going to make me want to stick pins in my eyes every day. What I wanted to write about was how to do this every day. I didn’t want to write another book about craft. I wanted to write about what it takes: the courage, the tenacity, the persistence, the resistance. Then I started getting letters from people says, ‘I really needed this today’ and I thought, people are actually asking me to write a book. How often does that happen?”

“I’m reading this and what is it like to revise your life, the story of your life in public.” Freeman said.

“I think it would be an amazing thing for the same writer to spend an entire writing life writing the same memoir every ten years because it would be a different book every ten years because the relationship between the self and the story is the story. When I wrote Slow Motion [arising from the death of her father] I had feeling that this was the before and after moment. I wasn’t old enough to know that there is more than one before and after moment. It was also my son’s illness fifteen years later, and my mother’s death.

There was an essay in Ploughshares that was called “Plane Crash Theory.” I think it’s my best essay. It began shortly after 9-11, my infant son was dropped down a flight of stairs by a baby sitter and for months and months I couldn’t write a thing. It was all in the shadow of 9-11 and felt like a shadow had flown over our house and was hovering there. I was having coffee with a friend of mine in Brooklyn who’s a writer and I said, ‘I haven’t written a word since Jacob fell down the stairs’ and she said, ‘that’s your first sentence’. I couldn’t tell the whole story because the essay couldn’t contain that he was dropped down the stairs but that a few weeks earlier I had noticed these little movements and he was later diagnosed with this rare seizure disorder. An essay couldn’t contain both of those, so I took all of my anxiety and my fear and my feeling of–writing, what is the point of it–but finding a way to pour all of that into a very disciplined form and tell the whole story emotionally and not tell the whole story, what to leave in and what to leave out, which is such an important part of writing memoir and essay.”

“I think one of my most popular essays to write was the hardest to write,” Gay said in a comment that resonated for me in the post-Katrina room. “It was about The Hunger Games, because I love, love, love the Hunger Games to insanity. I started to think what is it about the Hunger Games that captures me as an adult because they are YA . There is a young woman in the novel Katniss, she has to endure the unendurable over and over again is that it showed PTSD as it is, as something that cannot necessarily be cured but something that you learn to live with, and as something that will shape the decisions you will make.”

Freeman asked the panelists if there was someone, an essayist, who opened a door and what they did. “I would say in a word [Joan] Didion if it was an essayist,” Shapiro said. “Grace Pailey was for me an example of the life of a writer, a life I wanted in some way. When I think of Grace I think of her sentences, I think of her fiction, the distillation, a certain kind of minimalism before there was minimalism. She was tremendously important to me.”

Gay, after citing the encourage of her parents from age four, cited Edith Wharton. “She was doing it when women weren’t encouraged” to write. “She is the master of the elegant sentence.” And Zadie Smith: “she is fierce. She makes me feel like I can do anything with the word.” Laymon also talked about his grandmother’s influence. “My grandmother taught me how to work. She worked at a chicken plant and the way she talked about it, the craft, she made me feel I was beautiful.” His essayist pick was James Baldwin. “The Fire Next Time was the first book that I really, really read. I would tear it apart. Ultimately I think I became the writer I want to be because in The Fire Next Time, someone who was so great could not make space for Black women. You could be so sublime and so great and not make space for this entire group of people you should make space for. Baldwin’s otherworldliness is something I could aspire for, not just because of his prose but because of the gaps in his prose.”

Odd Words January 2, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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This coming (quiet) week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 5:30 pm the Norman Mayer Library continues its Writing Workshops led by Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants. Call the branch to reserve your spot: 596-3100

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

& At 2 pm Saturday, the Latter Memorial Library presents the Poetry Buffet hosted by Gina Ferrara. This week features a smorgasboard of New Orleans poets each reading for five minutes.

& Saturday at 4 pm J.M. Redmann signs The Shoal of Time at Faubourg Marigny Art & Books. Michele “Micky” Knight, a New Orleans PI, meets an out-of-town team of investigators who are working a human trafficking case. They want someone local to show them around. It sounds easy, and a woman with smiling green eyes is asking. But it stays easy only if Micky stops asking questions—and she’s never been good at that.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& Monday at 4 pm the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts a GLBTQ book club conversation for teens and their allies! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading..

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& The Maple Street Book Shop’s First Tuesday Book Club‘s January meeting will be at 5:45PM at7529 Maple Street) They’ll be discussing The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Newcomers are always welcome!

& The Southern Food and Beverage Museum and the East Jefferson Public Library host Culinary Legacies, featuring Poppy Tooker at 7 pm in the Jefferson and Napoleon Rooms. One of the most vocal and enthusiastic ambassadors of the food of New Orleans today is native daughter Poppy Tooker. She teaches classes to locals and tourists. She is an author, having produced several cookbooks. She is the host of a local weekly radio show, Louisiana Eats!, and she appears regularly on a local public television program which discusses the culinary cultural happenings of the week.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading, presentation and signing with author Michael Allen Zell and artistic collaborators Louviere + Vanessa (L + V) featuring their new book, THE OBLIVION ATLAS. L +V will have in tow some of the actual gold leaf photographs from the book to show and tell. This unique book begins with the simple idea that “motion must be frozen before being recreated as motion.” The multi-medium artwork of L + V is set in motion as influence and inspiration for short stories by Michael Allen Zell, and L + V in turn have created new work to serve as backdrop and counterpoint to the stories.

& Wednesday at 6:30 pm Fleur de Lit presents Reading Between the Wines with local authors discussing and reading from their work and signing their books! The series will take place on the first Wednesday of the month at Pearl Wine Co. in the American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave. Must be 21 or older to attend.

The victim was never publicly identified December 27, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in Crime, Memory, Murder, New Orleans, NOLA, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I don’t know how many times I have typed those words in the last 24 hours, but it is far too often. After neglecting my memorial lists for murder victims, I set out to complete the 2012 list and the 2013 list before New Years, resolved to start up again fresh come January. I get my information from the NOLA.COM murder map which ties back to stories on NOLA.COM tagged “new-orleans-murders”. When I started the list in 2010 the victims were almost always later identified by the coroner and reported by NOLA.COM. That continue through 2011. But as I began to catch up from mid-year 2012, I increasingly found no corresponding story of the unidentified victims, and then often much later when a suspect was identified or arrested. I fear when I count up my entries for 2013 I will find that the stories on NOLA.COM do not tally to the number in the sidebar of the Crime page. My memorial has become as much a catalog of murders as a memorial to victims, and says as much about the death of the Times-Picayune as it does about the people who fall on the streets of New Orleans.

Solstice Brothers December 21, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fortin Street, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Yule.
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It’s been seven years since I left the land of Norman Rockwell seasons, fields of trees in their fiery finery and frost on the pumpkins. I am lucky enough to have a row of burr oaks across Fortin Street that put on a  moderate display but the understated seasonal star of Louisiana is the cypress. Here where winter is mild, theirs is not the bright fireworks of more northern trees: more the burnished copper, bronze and gold of bangles on brown arms. There is one spot hidden in plain sight, not far from the Christmas twinklies that draw the crowds at the holidays, right up against the Friday night lights of Tad Gormley Stadium, a field of cypress drapped with moss that look their best when half done,  the armature exposed with just enough leaves left to qualify as nature’s contribution to the seasonal decorations, their grey beards suggesting some wild creatures of the forest learned in the seasons.Today’s windstorm will, I suspect, strip them bare, a reminder to those with eyes to see them it’s the tipping of the year.

Odd Words December 19, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh will be signing his new cookbook, Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way, at Maple Street Book Shop. In Cooking from the Heart, Chef Besh shares the lessons he’s learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, Cooking from the Heart is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh! Cooking from the Heart, Chef John Besh’s third cookbook, revisits the locations, lessons, and mentors that shaped his culinary journey

& TEN Gallery (4432 Magazine St> will host a reading at 6:30 pm. The theme is The Surface. Readers will include Richard Goodman, Alison Baker, and Maia Elgin.

& The East Jefferson Regional Library will host a Great Books Discussion Group on A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving Thursday at 7 pm in the A/V Conference Room – 2nd Floor. Otherwise, the library is on a holiday programing break through the end of the year.

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

& Saturday at noon Octavia Books hosts Phillip Collier’s Making New Orleans. This book takes you through the ever-evolving history of the Big Easy, owing to the boundless list of past and present locally made products. This volume is an homage to New Orleans’ rich past, bringing to life forgotten foods, coffees, beers, soft drinks, ironwork, furniture, clothing, perfumes, music, money, ships, airplanes, rockets, books, newspapers, and patent medicines. Written by fourteen local writers and historians and featuring over 200 unique New Orleans products, along with vintage advertisements, labels and photographs, this is the perfect book for lovers of all things New Orleans.

& At 2 pm Octavia hosts a signing with author and editor Mary Fitzpatrick and film location manager, producer and scriptwriter Virginia McCollam featuiring the new and final book of the Preservation Resource Center’s trilogy. NEW ORLEANS: Days & Nights in the Dreamy City is an around-the-clock trip to the favorite spots of more than 100 insiders. If you want to see New Orleans as people really live it or if you are fortunate enough to live here and want to travel beyond your own zone, here’s a remarkable diversity of the city’s greatest places according to locals. Celebrities like John Stirratt of WILCO, David Simon of Treme, the Duplass Brothers writing/directing team, crime novelist George Pelecanos and actors Wendell Pierce, Bryan Batt and John Goodman add their favorite spots to places chosen by the powder room attendant at Brennan’s, the Harley-Davidson dealer, the Uptown pediatrician, transplanted nanny, master silversmith, journalist, photographer, developer, and Julia Street drifter

& At 4 pm Saturday Jay Mazza will be signing his new book Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge at the Louisiana Music Factory.. Mazza attended over 350 of Kermit’s performances. Using notes, recollections, archival news reports and extensive interviews with many of the musicians, he has crafted a detailed history of a special time and a unique venue, which holds an exalted place in the memories of those who were there. The book features photographs by Herman Leonard, David Rae Morris, Cheryl Gerber and others. Mazza is also the author of I Got the Fish in the Head: A Radiators Retrospective, essays on the iconic homegrown rock band the Radiators — the 30-year purveyors of “fishhead music” and Up Front and Center, New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century. With this third book, Mazza steps up into the first rank of writers capturing New Orleans’ ever shifting music scene.

& Also at 4 pm Saturday Nadine Blake Gallery, 1036 Royal St., hosts a launch party and signing for The Riddles of Existence Written and Illustrated by Dalt Wonk. Inspired by the costume designs of New Orleans’ century-old Mardi Gras traditions, The Riddles of Existence is a kind of modern reinvention of Tarot Cards. But these cards are not for predicting the future. They are for having fun now. The Riddles of Existence are an oversized deck of fifty cards, each with a full-colored figure wearing a costume. Beneath the illustration, there is a riddle in verse. The costume is the answer, or hint, to the riddle.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features poet Mike True reads from and signs his new book from Portals Press, Diabolical Seas, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& All area libraries will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

. T

Odd Words December 12, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Friday at 7 pm as part of Vaughan’s Lounge annual Christmas Party Jay Mazza will be signing his new book Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge. Mazza attended over 350 of Kermit’s performances. Using notes, recollections, archival news reports and extensive interviews with many of the musicians, he has crafted a detailed history of a special time and a unique venue, which holds an exalted place in the memories of those who were there. The book features photographs by Herman Leonard, David Rae Morris, Cheryl Gerber and others. Mazza is also the author of I Got the Fish in the Head: A Radiators Retrospective, essays on the iconic homegrown rock band the Radiators — the 30-year purveyors of “fishhead music” and Up Front and Center, New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century. With this third book, Mazza steps up into the first rank of writers capturing New Orleans’ ever shifting music scene.

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday at 2 pm Octavia Books hosts a signing with Errol Barron featuring his new book, ROMA OSSERVATA, a collection of drawings and watercolors of the historic center of Rome that depicts the monuments, spaces, and details of the city in a highly personal, often humorous, way. Barron is the Richard Koch Professor of Architecture at Tulane University and in that capacity taught in Rome in 2011 and 2012 when he made the drawings that are accompanied by descriptive text in English and Italian. Two essays provide a context for the drawings: one by Professor Romolo Martemucci, Director of the Pantheon Institute, focusing on the essential act of observation and one by Professor Barron, Roma/Nola, considering Rome and its relation to American cities, particularly New Orleans.

Saturday the Haiku Society of America convenes its quarterly meeting with the New Orleans Haiku Society, with a long list of event at the Latter Library, 5120 St. Charles Avenue. 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

• A hands-on “How-to-Haiku” workshop led by Tom Painting
• A reading and book-signing by “Haiku Elvis” (Carlos Colon)
• A presentation on “Haiku and Video Games” by Nicholas Sola
• A musical haiku duet performed by Johnette Downing and Juliet Seer Pazera
• Closing out Issa’s 250th birthday year with a sharing of favorite haiku
• And more!

And on Sunday:

• Haiku walk and Kukai in Audubon Park
• “Haiku Elvis and Friends”: a public reading by conference participants
at the famous Maple Leaf Bar

& Saturday at 11am Garden District Books presents Errol Laborde, John Besh, Rebecca Snedeker, Carolyn Kolb, John Clark, Errol Barron, Julia Reed at the Preservation Resource Center Holiday Boutique at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bishop Polk Hall. Here’s the signing schedule.

  • Saturday
    • 10:00-11:00AM: Errol Laborde signs his book Mardi Gras : Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival.
    • 11:00-1:00PM: John Besh signs his book Cooking From the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way.
    • 1:00-2:00PM: Rebecca Snedeker signs her book, Unfathomable City : A New Orleans Atlas.
    • 2:00-3:00PM: Carolyn Kolb signs her book New Orleans Memories : One Writer’s City.
  • Sunday
    • 11:00-12:00PM: John Clark signs his book What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo.
    • 12:00-1:00PM: Errol Barron signs his book Roma Osservata/Rome Observed.
    • 2:00-3:00PM: Julia Reed signs her book But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria! : Adventures in Eating, Drinking, and Making Merry.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

& Saturday at the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library, celebrate the holidays with games, music, crafts, short films, an artists market, giveaways and prize raffles. 11 am until 4 p.m.

& Saturday night at 7 pm the journal TENDE RLOIN’s presents another ColdCuts reading featuring WHITNEY MACKMAN, ALISON BARKER and RODGER KAMENETZ! Cold Cuts is a poetry reading interested in performance and a performance interested in reading poetry. Each reading will consist of 3 – often on the theme of 2 poets and a 3rd weird thing: the performative. “W encourage all our poets to perform and all our performances to poet. We like to showcase our TENDER LOIN writers, and we like to showcase local artists.”

& Saturday at 8pm PhotoNOLA: A Gallery for Fine Photography hosts a gallery opening and book signing The Oblivion Atlas, a collaboration between acclaimed photo-based artists Louviere + Vanessa and author Michael Allen Zell in a beautifully designed book full of evocative photographs and frozen-image short stories. Oblivion Atlas will also be part of a multi-artist book signing at the Contemporary Arts Center on Sunday.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features The Haiku Society of America presents Haiku Elvis (Carlos Colon) signing his new book, Haiku Elvis: a Life in 17 Syllables. Also featuring other visiting members of the Haiku Society for their national conference.

& Sunday at 4 pm PhotoNOLA will be hosting a multi-artist book signing feature photographic publications from twelve artists, including:

  • Jane Fulton Alt – >em>The Burn + between fire/smoke
  • William Greiner – Show and Tell
  • Russell Lord – Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument, the Foreword for Burtysky: Water, and the Foreword for Inventing Reality
    Deborah Luster – Tooth for an Eye
  • Louviere + Vanessa – Oblivion Atlas
  • Tammy Mercure – Twelve Nashville Waffle Houses + Some Long Hotels
  • Multiple Artists – Inventing Reality: New Orleans Visionary Photography
  • Christopher Porché-West – New Orleans: What Can’t Be Lost
  • Jared Ragland – Aggregates
  • Josephine Sacabo – The Nocturnes
  • Clayton Spada and Jacques Garnier – The Great Picture: Making the World’s Largest Photograph
  • Mary Virginia Swanson – Publish Your Photography Book

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& On Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Dr. Nancy Dixon, Editor of N.O. LIT: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature. This book is the most comprehensive collection of the literature of New Orleans ever. Designed as an introduction for scholars and a pleasure for everyone, this volume will set the standard for years to come. Writers from around the world have long been drawn to New Orleans, but not until N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature, edited by Nancy Dixon, has their work been collected in a single volume. Dixon has gathered some of the most prominent writers long associated with New Orleans, like Lafcadio Hearn, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Eudora Welty, but perhaps more fascinating are the ones we can discover for the first time, like the writers of Les Cenelles, French Creoles of color who published the first anthology of African American literature in 1845, or Los Isleños, descendents of the 17th-century Spanish immigrants from the Canary Islands, still a close-knit community today

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday from 7:30 to 11:00 pm is the Poetry Ball Reunion at Cafe Istanbul in New Orleans. Asali Devan Ecclesiastes and Frederick “Hollywood” Delahoussaye are the featured performers. Many, many more poets and musicians from prior Balls this year are set to perform. The poster that’s attached, with its 15 names, will be updated tomorrow to include Katarina Boudreaux, Exquizito, Louis Maistros, and–we hope–several more. Wednesday is meant to an appreciation of our warm host venue, Cafe Istanbul, of Chuck and Suleyman there, and of the performances we’re already enjoyed at Balls gone by. The Balls have been truly a gas and a privilege to attend. Special thanks to Dave Brinks and Paul Punzo for starting them–oh my goodness, they’re gonna say it–rolling.

Odd Words December 5, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

Don’t forget this weekend is the Pirate’s Alley Faulker Society’s Words & Music festival. See the Odd Words’ special listing post for more details. Room 220 interviews one of the prominent featured participants Horacio Castellanos Moya at Room 220.

& In conjunction with Professor Melissa Harris-Perry’s Fall 2013 course, Hip-Hop and Feminism, Tulane University, in partnership with the Anna Julia Cooper Project, LLC, is hosting a mini-conference on the topic of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will bring together a small group of scholars, students, artists, and activists for an intensive series of discussions focused on the contemporary challenges and opportunities at the intersection of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will be held at Tulane University on Thursday, December 5th and Friday December 6th, and will feature a Thursday night keynote delivered by Joan Morgan, author and cultural critic who coined the phrase “hip-hop feminism” with the publication of the bestselling When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist. This conference is organized by the Anna Julia Cooper Project. Named in honor of one of the most noted African-American intellectuals in the history of the nation, the Anna Julia Cooper Project is an LLC based in New Orleans that investigates how gender and race intersect to shape women’s politics in the South. Details of the conference can be found at femhiphop.weebly.com/.

& Tonight Maple Street Book Shops hosts Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde at 6 p.m. for a book discussion 1and holiday dinner. Space is limited, so please reserve your book (hardcover, $35) and seat (no additional cost) by calling (504-866-4916) or emailing (people@maplestreetbookshop.com). Errol will talk about his latest work, Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected New Orleans expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, women’s groups, flambeaux, the Carnival foods, and more

& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm author Rich Cohen, who first visited Octavia Books in 2012 for the release of THE FISH THAT ATE THE WHALE, returns to present and sign his new book, MONSTERS: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. The gripping account of a once-in-a-lifetime football team and their lone championship season, Cohen breathlessly recounts the thrilling narrative of their championship season. It’s a story filled with outsized characters and unbelievable-but-true anecdotes gleaned from extensive interviews with the players themselves. It’s a story about fathers and sons, love and loyalty, hope and redemption, pain and joy. It’s a story about football, in all its beauty and all its brutality—the uniquely American sport.a

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents the play the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm starting Friday through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday at 9 am join Octavia Books at the Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market for a special signing and recipe tasting with New Orleans’ own James Beard award-winning chef John Besh featuring his new book, COOKING FROM THE HEART: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way. Besh shares the lessons he learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, COOKING FROM THE HEART is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss and David Catrow.

& Saturday at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop features Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s The Tilted World. Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love, from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the NY Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly.

& Also on Saturday at Garden District come meet John Currence, author of Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (and Then Some). In his first cookbook, Currence gives you 130 recipes organized by 10 different techniques, such as Boiling/Simmering, Slathering, Pickling/Canning, Roasting/Braising, Muddling/Stirring, Brining/Smoking, and Baking/Spinning, just to name a few. John’s fun-loving personality rings true throughout the book with his personal stories and history, and his one-of-a-kind recipes. Each recipe has a song pairing with it and the complete list can be downloaded at spotify.com. Over 100 documentary-style color photographs by photographer Angie Mosier complete this stunning look at the South.

& The Poetry Buffet returns to the Latter Memorial Library for it’s monthly reading at 2 pm, featuring Darrell Bourque, Lee Grue and Rodger Kamenetz.

& Saturday evening at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a special evening with chess Grandmaster Jesse Kraai when he comes to Octavia Books to read and sign his chess novel, LISA. This debut novel by chess GM Jesse Kraai tells the story of a 13-year-old California girl who defies her mother and her school to study chess with Russian master Igor Ivanov. Lisa is an exploration of what it means to get an education in chess, and a meditation on what makes the game so compelling to those who play. As much about art and education as it is about pawns and kings, Lisa tells a story that will resonate with anyone who’s ever set foot in a tournament hall, or has ever pursued beauty and excellence in any arena. Following his reading, Grandmaster Kraai will play blindfolded chess with a top New Orleans chess junior.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features a group reading by John Gery’s UNO MFA poetry students.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia books hosts a reading and signing by two novelists: Daniel Chacon’s HOTEL JUAREZ: Stories, Rooms, and Loops and Jonathan Kline’s THE WISDOM OF THE ASHES.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& Monday at 7 pm Crescent City Books hosts the launch of The Oblivion Atlas, by Michael Allen Zell, whose first novel Errata (also from Lavender Ink) was a Times-Picayune top 10 book of 2012, with book design and illustration by the award-winning Louviere and Vanessa (L+V), who were named in Oxford American’s 2012 “Superstars of Southern Art”, is now available and launches with several events over the holidays and at PhotoNOLA. All events feature a reading by Zell with showings of the artwork by L+V. Please join us at any or all of these events:

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Ogden Museum of Art hosts a book launch for Inventing Reality: New Orleans Visionary Photography. The collection, published by Luna Press and curated by D. Eric Bookhardt, presents a vision that is both subjective and representative of a broad spectrum of techniques, providing an overview into the creative renaissance that is taking place in the city today. “In photography, this city and the surrounding region have long been a spawning grounds for visionary or magic realist imagery dating to Clarence John Laughlin’s surrealist works of the 1930s,” writes Bookhardt. “Today a coterie of younger emerging artists, often reflecting alternative socio-cultural milieus, have – in concert with their more established peers – expanded this visionary vocabulary.” Bookhardt’s insightful essay details the rich history of photographic arts in New Orleans, and his individual introductions to each photographer’s series provide context for the works of 2013 Guggenheim Fellow Deborah Luster, David Halliday, Josephine Sacabo, and Louviere+Vanessa, among other established and emerging artists

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday Maple Street Book Shop will feature a reading of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas with Rebecca Snedeker (the local editor for the book), as well as local contributors Nathaniel Rich, Dana Logsdon, and Joel Dinerstein at our Uptown shop, Wednesday, December 11th at 6PM.

& Wednesday at the Alvar Library at 6:30 pm Poets & Writers, Inc. presents Reflections on Revolutionary Egypt Poet and nonfiction writer Andy Young has been living in Cairo for the last year and will return to Egypt in January. She will read from her poems and essays reflecting on revolutionary Egypt and share some of her photographs of the street art which reflects the state of resistance on the streets of the city.

Odd Words: Words & Music Special December 4, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The Words & Music Festival, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, is officially underway. The theme for this year is “Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.” You can get all the details here: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/Schedule.html. All events except Wednesday evening’s are by admission.  Here are some highlights:

  • Wednesday’s opening event of the Words & Music Festival at 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, featuring author Rodger Kamenetz along with Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann. A Screening of Walker Percy, the documentary film, follows at 6:15 pm.
  • Friday the annual New Orleans, Mon Amour session, after the famous essay by the late National Book Award winner Walker Percy,features a program Thursday which includes a discussion about his work by his distinguished biographer the Rev. Patrick Samway, SJ. We start New Orleans, Mon Amour, 2013 with a book appropriate to this year’s theme: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.
  • Also on Thursday There will also be session on writing about architecture and food (two beloved New Orleans topics) featuring authors Deborah Burst and Elizabeth M. Williams ; a paper presentation by Dr. Nancy Dixon on Faith in Early New Orleans Literature, examining the role of Catholicism and alternate religions in early New Orleans literature beginning with some of the city’s earliest works up to the 20th century; the keynote talk will be delivered by the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., distinguished biographer of National Book Award winner the late Walker Percy; a set of fiction panels featuring authors Christine Sneed, T. Geronimo Johnson and David Armand; a paper presentation The Walker Percy I remember presented by Garic “Nikki” Barranger, an affectionate appreciation of Walker and Bunt Percy will be at the center of Nikki Barranger’s presentation, which deals with the frictions attendant on Walker Percy’s philosophy by one of the founders of the Society and a close friend of the Percys.
  • Literature and Lunch will feature will feature Michael Sartisky, left above, President of The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and author of A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Louisiana Art, who will discuss the ways the visual arts have been influenced by not only the Gulf light but by the arts, notably music and storytelling, historically in Louisiana. Joséphine Sacabo and Dalt Wonk, who recently created a new press specifically for creating beautiful books devoted to the arts, produced a remarkable book, Nocturnes, feature Joséphine’s images and Dalt’s poetry. The new company, Luna Press, also produced a collector’s limited edition of Dalt’s French Quarter Fables, combining his fables with his illustrations. They will be joined by bestselling poet and non-fiction author Rodger Kamenetz, whose new collection of poetry inspired a stunning collection of abstract expressionist art by his friend, The art images are reproduced in Rodger’s new book of poetry, To Die Next to You.
  • Thursday’s afternoon sessions will feature Shari Stauch, creator of Where Writers Win. Shari has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years; LITERARY ROLE MODELS …And the Agents Who Help Them Achieve Their Dreams Against All Odds! featuring author David Menache of New Orleans, introduced by his agent, Brandi Bowles, who worked with David to complete an inspiring memoir and then sold it; 21st Century Publishing Alternatives introduced by Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win and a member of the Faulkner Society’s Advisory Council, will feature April Eberhardt, who owns the April Eberhardt Literary Agency and is expert in alternative options, including successful formats and planning for self-publishing. Ms. Eberhardt will be joined by William Coles, who has been a finalist multiple times in multiple categories of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
  • Thursday ends with Music in the Mood of the Season
    The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is Co-Sponsoring with the French Quarter Festival and St. Louis Cathedral, the kick-off concert for the annual Christmas concert series at the Cathedral. The concert will feature the fabulously entertaining jazz band,
    Harmonouche, led by French guitarist and harmonica player Rafaël Bas.

WHEW. That’s just Thursday.

  • Friday morning’s events features Faith and Literature: Robert Hicks, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Widow of the South , which will feature Naomi Benaron, Bellwether Prize winner for her novel, Running the Rift, will lead this session, a discussion of how faith or a search for it or even a lack of it can inform your writing. Joining them will be Leslie Lehr, who won the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Novella in 1998 and whose new novel, What A Mother Knows, is a retelling of the Old Testament story, the Judgement of Solomon; and Pamela Binnings Ewen (at left) nominated for the Christy Award for her work and whose new novel, The Accidental Life, is a compelling story of the consequences of a live birth during an abortion; PAN AMERICAN CONNECTIONS: FICTION Make it Real, Inject Black and Blue Humor
    Steve Striffler, Ph.D., who holds the Doris Stone Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of New Orleans, will set the stage for this session featuring our special Pan American Connections guest of honor, Horacio Castellenos Moya, who is a master of black humor in the face of horror. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness and other novels, as well as an impressive body of work as a journalist in both Latin America and the United States. Currently, in exile from his country, El Salvador, he teaches in the MFA Program in Spanish at the University of Iowa. His novel Senselessness is both a study in a revolution gone wrong and the search for meaning in the midst of horror. Daniel Castro, a New Orleans native whose heritage is Cuban and El Salvadoran, is invited to interview Castellanos Moya for this session. Daniel won our 2012 gold medal for his incredibly imaginative novella Inspection.
  • Friday’s Literature and Lunch features Cuba, My Beloved: Writing from the Heart about Tough Political Issues. This session will center on the appeal to readers of literature inspired by passion. Featuring George Fowler (left) author of the new book My Cuba Libre: Bringing Fidel Castro to Justice, and Humberto Fontova, bestselling author of the new book, his fifth, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. They will be introduced by Raúl Fonte of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation, who is a professional engineer and patent attorney.. Prior to their presentation, Latina poet Melinda Palacio will read a new poem in tribute to the Pulitzer Prize Cuban American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, who passed away while playing tennis on October 12, 2012
  • Friday afternoon brings THE AESTHETICS OF LITERATURE What’s in a Name? A Literary Field Full of Daisies, introduced by novelist George Bishop, author of the new Night of the Comet, this session will be led by Lee Froehlich, the Managing Editor of Playboy Magazine, an excellent writer himself, has spent much of his adult life on the job editing some of the most exciting writers of our time. Beyond that he is a incurable addict of serious literature consumed voraciously in his leisure time. He will lead off this session discussing the importance of selecting memorable names in creating successful characters for fiction, using the Daisies of literature, such as Daisy Miller, as his focus. Joining him will be internationally noted poet Gordon Walmsley, editor of the Copenhagen Review, who has now turned his hand to fiction with his first novel, Daisy, The Alchemical Adventures of a New Orleans Hermaphrodite; and GQ Magazine critic Tom Carson, author of the new novel Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter and other events.
  • Saturday morning brings three master classes that each deserve their own bullet: MASTER CLASS: NARRATIVE NON-FICTION What Works and Why. This session will be led by literary agent Jeff Kleinman, left, of Folio Literary Management, who judged the Narrative Non-Fiction category of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition this year. The program will begin with a reading by best-selling non-fiction writer Gary Krist, author of City of Scoundrels, The masterfully told story of 12 volatile days in the life of Chicago, when an aviation disaster, a race riot, a crippling transit strike, and a sensational child murder roiled a city already on the brink of collapse. Other featured authors are the men and women he selected to place: Alex Sheshunoff of Ojai,CA, Misplaced Paradise, Winner; Sybil Morial of New Orleans, Witness to Change, Leah Lax of Houston, TX, Uncovered, and the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., “I am Properly Back Where I Started From”: Flannery O’Connor to Her Editor Robert Giroux, all runners-up;
  • MASTER CLASS: FICTION What is this Thing Called Novella? Novellas are really hot with publishers right now. Why? Lots of people write what they think are novellas but are really either longish short stories or short novels. So how do you write a real novella. Featuring Lisa Zeidner (left), author of bestselling novels Layover and Love Bomb and founder and director of the MFA program at Rutgers, and Moira Crone, (at right), winner of the Robert Penn Warren Award for her fiction, including her collection What Gets Into Us, former director of the MFA program at LSU, and author of the new novel, The Not Yet. They will explain for writers what a novella is and how to achieve it; and,
  • MASTER CLASS: FICTION The Evil of the World Inspires Quests for Meaning…and…Compelling Literature Featuring Horacio Castellanos Moya, left, born in Honduras and raised in El Salvador, and whose work centers on horrific consequences during revolutions in El Savador and Guatemala. Also featuring Ron Rash, a native of the Carolinas whose work has focused on Appalachia, and Tom Franklin, a native of Alabama who writes in the dark, southern Gothic tradition. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness, and 11 other novels, along with short fiction collections. He also has had a dramatic career as a political journalist in countries where it has been dangerous to be political at all. One of Latin America’s most important authors, his work only recently has begun to appear in English translations. His novels are born out out of rage over inhumanity and injustice. Ron Rash, center, a master short fiction writer and poet, as well as a critically acclaimed novelist, is author of the novel Serena, a portrait of evil personified, which has been adapted for a feature film starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence scheduled for release this winter. Like Castellanos Moya, Rash looks around his world and is appalled by the evil he sees and is inspired to capture that evil in his stories and their characters. Tom Franklin, like Rash, is a master of the short story form, and his books have included Poachers, which won the Edgar Award and other honors. Many of his characters are reminiscent of Faulkner’s unattractive family of Snopes and the degenerate Popeye of Sanctuary. Most recently, he co-authored a novel, The Tilted World, with his wife, the renowned poet and essayist, Beth Ann Fennelly. Invited to appear with them is Barnes Carr, selected by Ron Rash as winner of the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story for his dark story, The Needle Man.
  • LITERATURE & LUNCH brings Jesus Christ, Superstar! featuring Reza Aslan, religious studies superstar, author of the international bestselling new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as his previous bestsellers, No God But God and How To Win A Cosmic War, all works that have been translated in more than a dozen languages.
  • Saturday afternoon offers PAPER PRESENTATION The Moral Implications of the Time-Space Continuum presented by Gregory Freidlander, who will discuss the Einstein Hologram Universe theory of fundamental physics, not from a standpoint of the math but from the standpoint of logic and the moral underpinnings. “In order to understand the theory first I have to convince you that dimension is a function of time and doesn’t exist independently, and I will do that, says Mr. Friedlander! His paper revolves around the concept that that the existence of the universe derives from you, that your individual morality affects the universe, and that you can and should act with as much integrity and courage as your situation allows; THE HOLLY WOOD EXPERIENCE–WORKSHOPS, NTRODUCTION
    Workshop No. 1 feeatures Leslie Lehr a produced screenwriter, who currently is adapting her new novel, What a Mother Knows, for the screen—will introduce and participate in Hollywood Experience; and, Workshop No. 2 brings Writing a Screenplay to Sell on Spec featuring Mark Evan Schwartz, this session will zero in on a dynamic opening and lead characters. In theprofessional world of spec feature film screenwriting, the first ten 15 pages of a screenplay can make it or break it. If the set up through inciting incident and characters don’t immediately captivate, propelling the story and its leading characters forward in a way that compels the reader to keep turning the page, the agent, manager, development exec, and/or producer will pass. The Hollywood theme continues after these workshops with HOLLYWOOD EXPERIENCE PART TWO–Developing Authors: How to Improve Your Chances of Selling your Novel to Hollywood studios, Television, or Major Publishing Houses. Presented by Marilyn Atlas, an award-winning film, television, and stage producer and talent manager of actresses, actors, and authors.

Ready for more?

  • Sunday starts off with the MASTER CLASS: POETRY: This session will be introduced by poet Caroline Rash, a finalist in the 2013 Faulkner — Wisdom Competition and Associate Editor of The Double Dealer and led by the widely published, critically acclaimed poet Beth Ann Fennelly. Appearing with them will be Gail Waldstein, who was selected by Beth Ann for the Faulkner Society’s 2013 Gold Medal for Poetry. Joining them will be Geoff Munsterman, Associate Editor of The Double Dealer, whose new collection, just published by Lavender Ink Press, is: Because the Stars Shine Through It.
  • Sundayu morning also brings: Presentation of a paper Sherwood Anderson’s Search for a New Faith presented by Don De Grazia. De Grazia is author of the novel, American Skin (Scribner/Jonathan Cape) and an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, New City, TriQuarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, The Italian American Reader, Rumpus, The Great Lakes Review, Make Magazine, and other publications. He also a screenwriter in the Writers Guild of America (east) and co-founder/co-host of Come Home Chicago, a live event series dedicated to celebrating the Chicago storytelling tradition in all its forms; The Year of Flannery O’ Connor featuring the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J. and W.Kenneth Holditch, scholar in the literature of the South; and, THE POLITICS OF RELIGION
    What you need to know about State Religions in Modern World, The Study of Other Faiths and How Such Studies Can Point You Back to Your Own Faith and to the Creation of Compelling Literature. This session will feature Reza Aslan, a Muslim who converted to Christianity and then returned to Islam and author of Zealot: the Life & Times of Jesus Of Nazareth, and Rodger Kamenetz (at right), critically acclaimed poet and bestselling non-fiction author of The Jew in the Lotus, a memoir about his studies of Buddhism and meetings with the Dali Llamma.
  • The festival will conclude with Sunday’s Literature and Lunch featuring: The Quests for Meaning of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner featuring Williams and Faulkner scholar W. Kenneth Holditch, who is co-founder of both the Tennessee Williams Festival and the Faulkner Society.

Odd Words November 29, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

Skip ahead with me one week to the Faulkner Society’s Words and Music Festival, which kicks off for the public on Wednesday Dec. 4. Odd Words will have a full listing next Thursday, but here is a taster to whet your appetite.

& This coming Wednesday, Dec. 4 features the 2013 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WORDS & MUSIC WRITERS ALLIANCE, featuring readings of new work, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, led by bestselling poet and non-fiction author, Rodger Kamenetz, who will start the program with a reading from his new collection of poetry, To Die Next to You. The new book is beautifully illustrated with abstract expressionist paintings by artist Michael Hafftka and slides of the illustrations will be shown during Rodger’s reading. Other authors scheduled to read are members of the Peauxdunque chapter of the Writers Alliance, including Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann, will be reading from his new Collection of Poetry, just published by Lavendar Ink. Subject matter of readings will be related to the theme of Words & Music, 2013: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets. Following an intermission for refreshments, there will be a 6:15 pm screening of Walker Percy, a new documentary film by Win Riley of New Orleans, who will introduce the film and explain the perils and pleasures writing and producing a literary documentary. Win will take questions after the film. The Faulkner Society will have copies of the documentary for sale at the event and at the Words & Music Book Mart during the remainder of the festival. Next Thursday features almost a dozen events (see below for some details on Thursday). For more information and to start planning the W&MF weekend early, visit the website: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/wordsandmusic.html.

& Also please note that all New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Library locations remain closed Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, reopening Saturday.

& so back to the chronological weekly listings.

& Octavia Books is hosting eight great local authors as guest booksellers on Small Business Saturday, November 30. Each author will be chatting with customers and recommending favorite books and will be happy to talk about and sign their own books as well. Carolyn Kolb begins the first shift at 10:30 a.m., and will be signing her new book, NEW ORLEANS MEMORIES: One Writer’s City. Rebecca Snedeker, whose book UNFATHOMABLE CITY was just released this month, will begin her shift at Noon. George Bishop, author of the novel THE NIGHT OF THE COMET, will arrive at 1:00 p.m., followed by Tom Sancton, SONG FOR MY FATHERS, and Sylvaine Sancton, SOME BIRDS at 2:00 p.m. Lawrence Powell, author of THE ACCIDENTAL CITY, a history of the city from its founding through statehood, will arrive for his shift at 3:00 p.m. Ryan Murphy and Grace Millsaps, author of the new children’s picture book, WHAT THE SLEEPY ANIMALS DO AT THE AUDUBON ZOO, will come at 4:00 p.m.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops features Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett. Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.

& Later at 2 pm Ryan Murphy & Grace Millsaps, the authors of What the Sleepy Animals Do At the Audubon Zoo, will be reading and signing their delightful book at Maple Street as well.

& In between, Maple Street hosts M.A. Kirkwood at 11:30 am signing her second and latest book, Claire Ange, which is a young adult novel set in New Orleans. “On the face of it Claire Ange is about an abused girl who rises above her circumstances. Underlying this basic premise is so much more: spiritual insight, the interconnectedness of history past, present and future, and the lives of strangers who intersect, become changed by their encounters, and through these connections move forward to new levels of being. A humorous tone permeates throughout, as Claire and her spirit-observer encounter an array of colorful characters as they make their respective journeys. This, and the rich tapestry for self-discovery for both, makes for an engrossing and memorable read and a top recommendation for a vast readership: basically, anyone looking for a spiritually complex story of evolution and change.” — Midwest Book Review

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. Novelist Deborah Reed Downing will read from and sign her new book, Friends of Chickens, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& It’s the last qualifier slam of the year for Team SNO! Sunday, December 1st marks our final show before we finalize the 2014 Team SNO selection process in January with our semi-finals and finals. We'll kick off our December show with a raucous open mic. After, a group of poets will battle it out to secure the last spots in 2014 SNO semi-finals. $5 admission. Free to slam.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& Monday Crescent City Books, 230 Chartres St. hosts the Black Widow Salon at 7 pm, featuring Guests Ratty Scurvics and John Porter talk songwriting. Ratty Scurvics is an artist in several disciplines. As a painter he has exhibited in solo and group shows in New Orleans, Chicago, Austin and Dallas. As a writer he has published works of short fiction and poetry as well as three produced musicals. In the area of theater he has enjoyed an award winning career as a composer and musical director. In the field of music he’s produced forty-two solo records including the scores for eight plays and five musicals. Englishman John Porter is an acclaimed musician and producer. Early on he was part of Bryan Ferry’s fledgling band The Gas Board. John has produced many records, several of them Grammy Nominees and Winners, including by The Smiths, The Go-Go’s, B.B. King, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside, Elvis Costello, Jon Cleary, Carlos Santana, and Ratty Scurvics.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& At 5:45 pm Tuesday Maple Street Book Shop’sat the First Tuesday Book Club‘s December meeting they’ll be discussing The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Newcomers are always welcome!

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with Matt Sakakeeny featuring his new book, ROLL WITH IT: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. ROLL WITH IT is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.

& Robert Stone, who won the National Book Award for his 1974 novel Dog Soldiers, will be reading from Death of the Black-Haired Girl at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s campus. You can catch an interview with Stone at Room 220.

& At 7 pm Tuesday McKeown’s Books & Difficult Music hosts FIVE Writers: Readings from their latest works.

Geoff Munsterman hails from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and attended Belle Chasse High School, The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts | Riverfront, & Kenyon College. His poems have been featured in story|south, YAWP, Margie, among others. His debut collection, Because the Stars Shine Through It came out last month from Lavender Ink in New Orleans. Of it, poet John Kinsella said: “At once wry and matter-of-fact, Munsterman can register pathos and deadly insight into the contradictions of his social environment, his friends, neighbours, family and self.”

Benjamin Morris is a writer and researcher whose work appears in such places as the Oxford American, the Edinburgh Review, and the New Orleans Review. A member of the Mississippi Artist Roster, he is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission and a residency from A Studio in the Woods. His next book, a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is forthcoming from the History Press next year.

Cassie Pruyn has been living and writing in New Orleans since 2010. She is currently studying poetry at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, working on a project that explores what happens when we travel 3,640 miles across the ocean and land in a vast, “unexplored” wilderness––among other things. She was finalist in the 2013 Indiana Review 1/2K Prize, and third runner-up in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, with work forthcoming in The Double Dealer.

Matt Roberts’ work has been published in Isotope, Ninth Letter, Sweet, Ecotone, on NPR’s Morning Edition and elsewhere. His essay, “The Myopia of Scale,” was a Notable selection in Best American Essays 2009, and he is a founding editor of The Normal School literary magazine. He is working on a novel about imaginary birds and the people who drive hundreds of miles to stare at their Crayola-colored plumage through binoculars.

Katy Simpson Smith received her Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, will be published next fall by HarperCollins.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday Poppy Tooker (Louisiana Eats), Elsa Hahne (The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians), and Elizabeth Pearce (The French Quarter Drinking Companion with Allison Alsup & Richard Read) will be signing their books and participating in a Question and Answer session Wednesday, December 4th, at 6PM at Pearl Wine Co., located inside of the American Can Company (3700 Orleans Ave). After the signing, sponsored by Fleur de Lit and Pearl Wine, there will be a Top Chef viewing party. Maple street Book Shop will be on-site selling books! Pearl will offer a selection of wines for $5 a glass, and Indochow will provide a food pop-up with Thai, Vietnamese, and BBQ!

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Margaret Talbot and The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century. Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens. The arc of Lyle Talbot’s career is in fact the story of American entertainment. Born in 1902, Lyle left his home in small-town Nebraska in 1918 to join a traveling carnival. From there he became a magician’s assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, then an actor in major Warner Bros. pictures with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard. After that, he worked as an actor in cult B movies, and finally as a part of the advent of television, with regular roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Ultimately, his career spanned the entire trajectory of the industry.

& Also at 6 pm Christy Jordan, the new doyenne of Southern cooking, visits Octavia Books and presents, signs, and gives sample tastes from her new cookbook, COME HOME TO SUPPER, a heartfelt celebration of family dinners–with an emphasis on easy-to-prepare comfort foods. To Christy, the dinner table is where everyone can talk about what happened that day and share their struggles and triumphs. Conceived and written to reflect the reality of today’s hectic schedules, COME HOME TO SUPPER includes more than 200 deeply satisfying dishes that are budget-minded, kid-friendly, and quick

& Wednesday the Jefferson Parish Library and the Tennessee Williams Festival present Coffee and Conversation featuring Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival at 7 pm. Errol Laborde discusses his latest book. From Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday, New Orleans is transformed. Queens and fools, demons and dragons reigh over the Crescent City. This vividly photographed book is a lively, comprehensive history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

& Don’t forget Thursday’s opening event of the Words & Music Festival at 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, featuring author Rodger Kamenetz along with Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann. A Screening of Walker Percy, the documentary film, follows at 6:15 pm.

Odd Words November 21, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in Book Stores, books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
2 comments

The coming week in literary New Orleans:

This weekend is Fringe Fest, the city’s festival of avant garde theater. A few of these events deserve a shout-out in Odd Words:

  • Two incredibly talented poets present From Her Mouth Came the Flood: “This be a war, pretty girl..” Two women navigate the world of feminine fear in this gritty, intimate, poetic journey into feminism and womanhood. Taking us from an apartment complex in California to the banks of the Mississippi, Desiree Dallagiacomo and Sasha Banks push the woman’s narrative to the forefront and challenge conventional themes of femininity. Dryades Performance Space, 1232 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Wednesday through Sunday at 9 pm. Fringe ticket and button required.
  • In Voce Veritas, the 2013 Spoken Word Event includes heartfelt, inspiring, and hilarious performances by Justin Lamb, Micheal “Quess” Moore, Kaycee Filson, Akeem Martin, Sam Gordon, and Mwende Katwiwa. The line-up includes members of New Orleans’ own infamous Team SNO as well as finalists and champions of events such as The National Poetry Slam and The Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam. Saturday at 5 pm & 7 pm. Free and open to the public.

  • Bayou Blues- Return of the Queen is an experimental solo-performance based on the true experiences of a young dark skinned girl in New Orleans. This poetic tale flows in movement, music, and monologue as she faces discrimination, a dysfunctional family, and heartbreak. It blends the journey of traditional black theater with refreshing aspects of the future. “ It is a delight to watch such a talented actress using her many skills,” says the DC Theatre Scene. 4 out of 5 stars from DC Metro Theater Arts. Experience Shaina Lynn’s homecoming, Bayou Blues- Return of the Queen. Thursday-Saturday at 7 pm, Sunday at 4 pm. Fringe ticket and button required.
  • Thursday through Sunday poet Lisa Pasold presents The She-Wolf of Spain Street, a story-telling walk along Spain Street…recounting the fantastical tale of Princess Vladimir. Hear how she drank champagne from her Monegasque mother’s tit, went astray in Monte Carlo, was rescued by She-Wolves, and sailed to New Orleans. The rest is lies…especially that rotten rumor about the bananas.
  • New Orleans Poetry Brothel presents Down and Outskirts. “Be seduced by our poetry “whores.” Eruptions of song, burlesque, and private poetry readings tell the disjointed tale of an underground brothel that surfaces after the city closes down Storyville.” Thursday and Sunday at 7 p.m., Friday at 11 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Backyard Ballroom, 3519 St. Claude Ave.
  • Esoterotica, Original Erotic Readings by Local Writers, presents “Pervspectives” as part of the New Orleans Fringe Festival, transforming the AllWays Lounge, 2240 St. Claude Avenue, into a completely immersive, and erotic fetish club experience. Through interaction, performance monologue, poetry and prose, “Pervspectives” brings you the kinky, the sensual, the sometimes hilarious, and the undeniably human experience. Thursday through Saturday at 9 p.m.

& Thursday at 5:30 p.m. the Norman Mayer Library hosts a Writing Workshop Led By Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with social hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Friday night starting at 5 p.m. The Tennessee Williams Festival hosts a literary scavenger hunt through the French Quarter, “Books and Booze.” Everyone knows that the very act of reading and writing is a solitary one. Come out for a night that changes all of that, where trivia and challenges will be the norm as you peruse bookstores and the writing mind alike… Join us as we bring literature and writing to life with an evening that celebrates local bookstores, authors and readers alike! Advanced tickets required.

& Friday at 6 p.m. UNFATHOMABLE CITY BOOK LAUNCH at 6pm at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Joint talk, signing and reception with authors Rebecca Solnit & Rebecca Snedeker

& Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. Garden District Book Shop presents Todd-Michael St. Pierre’s The Southern Po’Boy Cookbook. Humble and delicious, po’boys are the favorite of local folks in the Big Easy, who snatch them up by the thousands at delis, bars, and corner stores every day. In recent years, gourmet chefs have been getting innovative and raising these popular submarine sandwiches to new heights. The Southern Po’ Boy Cookbook brings the many flavors of these scrumptious treats to the home cook’s kitchen. The first cookbook to focus solely on po’boys, this beautiful, full-color compilation offers all the traditional fillings — roast beef, fried oysters, shrimp, soft-shell crab, catfish, and sausage — and an array of delectable new variations. For a healthier sub, the author offers up turkey breast or Vietnamese banh mi-inspired po’boys. And for the more adventurous, the foot-longs crammed with seafood-stuffed artichoke hearts, French poutine, and alligator will entice anyone.

& At 1 pm Garden District features Errol Barron’s Roma Osservata/ Rome Observed, a collection of drawings and essays that focus on Rome’s historic center. Over 200 drawings illustrate the spaces, monuments, and details of the city and reveal the flavor of living in the center as Professor Barron did on two teaching assignments for the Tulane University School of Architecture Rome Program in 2011 and 2012. Two essays, one by Professor Romolo Martemucci, Director of the Pantheon Institute, and one by Professor Barron, give a lively context for the drawings. Notes on all the drawings are included that explain, often in a humorous way, why the drawings were chosen and what they suggest beyond their well known historical importance.

& Saturday at 1:30 pm Octavia Books presents a storytime reading and signing featuring authors Grace Millsaps & Ryan Murphy, illustratrators John Clark IV & Alyson Kilday, the “krewe” that created this outstanding new children’s picture book, WHAT THE SLEEPY ANIMALS DO AT THE AUDUBON ZOO. Have you ever taken a child to the zoo and had to explain why the animals were not as active as they expected? That’s what happened to Renee’s father when he took his daughter to New Orleans’ Audubon Zoo.

& Room 220 Presents the local launch of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker, from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday at the All Ways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave). Maple Street will be on hand selling the book. Unfathomable City is a collection of essays and corresponding maps whose creation involved more than 50 contributors from New Orleans and beyond working as authors, editors, artists, researchers, cartographers, and performers of miscellaneous duties. This Happy Hour Salon is, in part, an event in their honor, but it’s also free and open to the public. The event will feature readings from the book by Solnit, Evan Casper-Futterman, and Andy Young and Khaled Hegazzi (reading as a duo), as well as presentations by Snedeker and editor-at-large Josh Jelly-Schapiro. It will also involve food, live music, projections of art from the book- and drinking in the afternoon. Despite the day-drinking (and cigarette-smoking that tends to come with it), this will be a kid-friendly event.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week’s reading is cancelled due to a conflict with the Saint’s game.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& At 6 p.m. on Monday Garden District Book Shop presents Jacinto Lucas Pires with translator Dean Thomas Ellis and The True Actor, the third novel by Portuguese writer, musician, and playwright Jacinto Lucas Pires. The True Actor recounts the story of the grotesque character, down-on-his-luck actor Americo Abril who is confounded by the various roles he plays in real life—weary dad, blocked artist, henpecked husband, miserable lover—and the role he lands in the avant-garde film Being Paul Giamatti. Jacinto Lucas Pires’ The True Actor manages both a postmodern boondoggle and a touching story of identity and love and loss in austerity-era Portuga

& Beginning Monday the Jefferson Parish Public Library hosts a NaNoWriMo session in which writers come to the library and sit down to write their novels as part of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-the-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—a raucous celebration. Participants start the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walk away novelists. Free of charge and open to the public.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Snowden Wright’s PLAY PRETTY BLUES. The mysteries of blues legend Robert Johnson’s life and death long ago became myth. Part researched reconstruction, part vivid imagination, this lyrical novel brings Johnson alive through the voices of his six wives, revealing the husband and son inside the legend.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& The Blood Jet poetry reading series continues at B.J.’s Lounge at 8 p.m. on Wednesday featuring Lafayette poets Clare Martin and Jonathan Penton. MadHat Press Managing Editor, Penton, founded Unlikely Stories in 1998 and has helmed it through its incarnations of Unlikely 2.0, the current Unlikely Stories: Episode IV, and the 2010 anthology Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind, along with Unlikely Books. He served as Assistant Editor for three Big Bridge annuals, served on the editorial board of Mezcla: Art and Writing from the Tumblewords Project and Banned in El Paso, and has webmastered a number of artistic projects. His own poetry chapbooks are Last Chap (Vergin’ Press, 2004), Blood and Salsa and Painting Rust (Unlikely Books, 2006) and Prosthetic Gods (New Sins Press, 2008). Martin’s debut collection of poetry, Eating the Heart First, was published fall 2012 by Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection. Martin’s poetry has appeared in Avatar Review, Blue Fifth Review, Melusine, Poets and Artists and Louisiana Literature, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web, for Best New Poets and Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net. Her poems have been included in the anthologies The Red Room: Writings from Press 1, Best of Farmhouse Magazine Vol. 1, Beyond Katrina, and the 2011 Press 53 Spotlight. She is a lifelong resident of Louisiana, a graduate of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a member of the Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective and a Teaching Artist through the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Martin founded and directs the Voices Seasonal Reading Series in Lafayette, LA, which features new and established Louisiana and regional writers. Clare is Poetry Editor of MadHat (Mad Hatters’ Review) and Editor of MadHat Lit.

Odd Words November 14, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at noon the New Orleans Museum of Art Book Club meets to discuss November’s selection Diane Arbus by Patricia Bosworth. This groundbreaking biography examines the private life behind Arbus’s controversial art. The book deals with Arbus’s pampered Manhattan childhood, her passionate marriage to Allan Arbus, their work together as fashion photographers, the emotional upheaval surrounding the end of their marriage, and the radical, liberating, and ultimately tragic turn Arbus’s art took during the 1960s when she was so richly productive. Bosworth’s engrossing book is a portrait of a woman who drastically altered our sense of what is permissible in photography.

& Thursday at 5:30 p.m. the Norman Mayer Library hosts a Writing Workshop Led By Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants.

& A 6 pm Maple Street Book Shop celebrates the publication of Nia Terezakis’s extraordinary book, Artful Feast: An Elegant Lifestyle for Dining with a signing. Join us in welcoming Nia. We’ll have champagne and hors d’Oeuvres. Nia Terezakis, M.D. grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, the daughter of Greek immigrant parents. Family recipes and holiday entertaining were important aspects of her Greek heritage

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with social hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& From Nov. 6 through Dec. 20, the J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library will host an exhibit of posters celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Marcel Proust’s “Du Côté de Chez Swann” (“Swann’s Way”), the first volume of “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (translated into English as “Remembrance of Things Past”). It can be seen in the Library Living Room on the first floor. A cooperative effort between the library and the Department of Languages and Cultures, the exhibit is part of a series the French Consulate in New Orleans gave to French teachers at Loyola University New Orleans.

& New Orleans’s annual Children’s Book Festival will kick off at the newly renovated Latter Memorial Library Friday night with Twinkle, Twinkle, a night of music inspired by children’s literature by the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra at 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Festiva will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free book, activities, free food, story telling, book signings and more.

& Saturday brings the Gold Mic Awards, hosted by WHODATEPOETS.COM. The WHODATPOETS present the Golden Mic Awards & Summit. On Saturday, Nov 16 workshops and forums will be held at Cohen High School. Poets from all over the region will participate. The Youth Chapter will participate as well. Later that evening Spoken Word Artists from all over the region will participate in a Formal Event called The Golden Mic Awards where poets will be awarded by the votes of other poets within the Whodatpoet Community. Workshops will include: Marketing & Branding, Business Management for Full Time Artists, The Art of Slamming, Hosting 101, and How To Structure A Masterpiece. The afternoon session will feature a Town Hall Meeting where all Female Poets will be separated from Male Poets. Both groups will have a keynote motivational Speaker. The groups will come together for a General Assembly and be dismissed in enough time to prepare for the Golden Mic Awards that evening.

The Golden Mic Awards will definitely be a Formal Event. Tuxedos and Gowns will be preferred attire but if you can’t afford tuxedos/gowns then where your most professional attire. No blue jeans, shorts, and streetwear. During the morning workshops, Poets will vote their nominees. A private committee of Non-Poets will tally the votes and the Golden Mics will be presented that night. The Registration for the Golden Mic Award & Summit is $20 per poet and it includes a Continental Breakfast, Registration Packet, and 2 seats for the Golden Mic Awards (poet plus a guest). Registration will begin at 8:30AM at Cohen on Sat. Nov 16.

& This Saturday brings he 12th Annual New Orleans Bookfair + Media Expo is FREE, all-ages, and will be full of independent authors, artists, small presses, local publications and much more! Featuring too many exhibitors to list here (ove r50), visit the web site for full details: http://www.neworleansbookfair.com/exhibitor-list/

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday. This week I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson and Judy Schachner.

& This Saturday at 1 p.m. find out what is it about New Orleans that has always attracted and nourished the creative mind. The answer, according to Eugene Cizek, PhD, F.A.I.A in his introduction to Where Writers Wrote in New Orleans, is the original Creole architecture of the city that maximizes use of light and air, a tropical environment that offers, in his words, “the spirit of time, place and humanity.” Angela Carll includes restaurants, bars and other hangouts known for attracting a literary clientele. She filled the pages with fascinating facts and “secrets” of the hundreds of writers who immersed themselves in the city’s spirit. Read about natives, part-time residents or long term favorite sons from the city’s founding in 1718 to the present.

& Saturday at 1:30 pm Octavia Books hosts a children’s book event with favorite local children’s book author Dianne de Las Cassas and illustrator Holly Stone-Barker launch party for their new book, THE HOUSE THAT SANTA BUILT.

& The 1718 Society, a literary group of Loyola, Tulane and UNO students, is hosting a writing workshop this Sunday at noon at Rue De La Course

& Sunday at 12 p.m. Garden District Book Shop features Janet Wyman Coleman’s Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival. This story of the rescue of eight dolphins off the coast of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina underscores the bonds between dolphins and their trainers, as well as those among dolphins themselves. After a 40-foot tidal wave destroys the dolphin pool at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, eight dolphins disappear, presumably washed into the Gulf of Mexico. Via helicopter and boat, the trainers set out to search for the dolphins, who were raised in captivity and thus unaccustomed to feeding or protecting themselves

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week’s reading is cancelled due to a conflict with the Saint’s game.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& UNO Press celebrates its resurgence with a catalog release party, announcing its slate of upcoming books. The party will take place at the publisher’s office located in the Liberal Arts Building at the University of New Orleans lakefront campus, LA Rm. 138 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Monday, November 18. Light refreshments will be provided. The party also marks the launch of the University of New Orleans Center for the Book, which will run a summer publishing institute and continue to publish books of local interest under the UNO Press imprint. Publisher Abram Himelstein will talk about the newest chapter of the press, including highlights from the Winter 2013/Spring 2014 list.Titles we will celebrate: The Tom Dent Reader edited by Kalamu Ya Salaam; Talk that Music Talk – a book exploring the traditional methods of teaching brass band music by UNO’s Rachel Breunlin and Bruce Sunpie Barnes; How We Do It – the history of Fi Yi Yi in words and pictures as recorded by UNO’s Jeffrey Ehrenrich and the Fi Yi Yi Mandingo Warriors; a book of Clementine Hunter’s early paintings introduced by Richard Gasperi; The Backstretch – an in-depth look at the people who make racing happen at New Orleans’ oldest horse track edited by the Neighborhood Story Project; Bouki Fait Gombo – a history of the slave community of the Whitney Plantation by Ibrahima Seck; Courting Pandemonium – the newest novel from UNO’s Fredrick Barton; and, Contemporary Austrian Studies Vol. 23 edited by Günter Bischof and Ferdinand Karlhofer

& Monday Octavia Books hosts a reading & signing with much-loved New Orleans poet Gina Ferrara featuring her new book, AMBER PORCH LIGHT. The poems in Gina Ferrara’s AMBER PORCH LIGHT occupy equal spheres of beauty and danger. Each holds its share of compressed energy, woven with images and lyricism, examining both the ordinary and the extraordinary, revealing what is possible when luminosity arrives in bursts.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Beginning Monday the Jefferson Parish Public Library hosts a NaNoWriMo session in which writers come to the library and sit down to write their novels as part of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-the-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—a raucous celebration. Participants start the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walk away novelists. Free of charge and open to the public.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday John Baron will be signing his book Concert Life in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, Tuesday at Maple Street Book Shop. Until now, no study has offered a thorough history of this exciting and momentous era in American musical performance history. John H. Baron’s Concert Life in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans impressively fills that gap.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Garden District Books hosts Terry Tarnoff’s The Chronicle of Stolen Dreams. Nick Blake has just returned from the battlefields of Europe and is part of a lost generation trying to make its way in postwar America. As he sets out on a journey across the country, the summer of 1947 comes alive in a mind-bending, history-altering romp. Nick witnesses the birth of electric blues in Chicago, encounters the first members of the Beat Generation taking to the road, gets caught up with the original motorcycle gang invading small-town America, and is party to the first sightings of UFOs across the Midwestern skies. Along the way, he encounters a young Muddy Waters, an even younger Jack Kerouac, and a blues-loving, harmonica-playing alien named Jaxson Epsilon, the most unusual character of them all. Jaxson has a secret that is about to change the course of human history as he endeavors to alter the dreams of every man, woman, and child for generations to come.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday Nik De Dominic and Michael Tod Edgerton will read their poetry 8 p.m., at the UNO Campus Art Gallery (on Harwood Drive). The reading will be followed by a booksigning and wine and cheese reception. This event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored in part by a grant from the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia.

& The Blood Jet poetry reading series continues at B.J.’s Lounge at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, featuring poet Joseph Bienvenu will perform with musician Jeff Pagano and guitarist and songwriter Bones.

Odd Words November 7, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 5:30 p.m. the Norman Mayer Library hosts a Writing Workshop Led By Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Carolyn Kolb will be reading and signing her book, New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City, Thursday, November 7th, at 6PM at Maple Street Book Shop. Refreshments will be served. Kolb provides a delightful and detailed look into the heart of her city, New Orleans. She is a former Times-Picayune reporter and current columnist for New Orleans Magazine, where versions of these essays appeared as “Chronicles of Recent History.” Kolb takes her readers, both those who live in New Orleans and those who love it as visitors, on a virtual tour of her favorite people and places.

& LadyFest Poetry Series presents its second performance Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Buffas Back Room. Readers include: Whitney Mackman, Gina Ferrara, Emily Ewings-Tramble, Alexandra Reisner, FreeQuency, Chanel Clarke, Alice Urchin, Laura McKnight, Ayanna Molina-Mills, and M.E. Riley.

& Eminent jazz journalist and critic Stanley Crouch will present his new biography of Charlie “Bird” Parker, Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, at 6 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 8, at the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Road). Crouch’s new biography—the first half of what will become a two-part project—has been roundly praised as a nearly novelistic retelling of Parker’s life, work, and the world in which he ascended to jazz greatness.

& Zella Palmer Cuadra will be discussing the people and recipes featured in her book, New Orleans con Sabor Latino, Friday, November 8th at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books. New Orleans con Sabor Latino is a documentary cookbook that draws on the rich Latino culture and history of New Orleans by focusing on thirteen New Orleanian Latinos from diverse backgrounds. Their stories are compelling and reveal what for too long has been overlooked. The book celebrates the influence of Latino cuisine on the food culture of New Orleans from the eighteenth century to the influx of Latino migration post-Katrina and up to today

&  Also on Friday at 6 p.m. Garden District Books will host Jon Meacham featuring his book Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion presents a richly detailed portrait of the third President that considers his early life, roles as a Founding Father and considerable achievements as a master politician.
Meacham lets us see Jefferson’s world as Jefferson himself saw it, and to appreciate how Jefferson found the means to endure and win in the face of rife partisan division, economic uncertainty, and external threat. Drawing on archives in the United States, England, and France, as well as unpublished Jefferson presidential papers, Meacham presents Jefferson as the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history. This is a ticketed event. Admission tickets are $5.00, and include a coupon good for $5.00 off the purchase of any Jon Meacham book. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the book shop, over the phone, or at the door.

& Join artist Willie Birch, the Hot 8 Brass Band, and author Matt Sakakeeny to celebrate the launch of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans, starting at 8 p.m. at Sweet Lorraine’s (1931 St. Claude Ave.). Roll With It is a firsthand account, chronicled by Sakakeeny, of the lives of members of the Hot 8, Soul Rebels, and Rebirth Brass Bands that lays out their efforts in art, work, and life in the context of a changing New Orleans and the long tradition in which their music exists. Artist Willie Birch contributed artwork for the cover and throughout

& Friday at 1 p.m. Garden District books also hosts Zella Palmer Cuadra’s New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking. a documentary cookbook that draws on the rich Latino culture and history of New Orleans by focusing on thirteen New Orleanian Latinos from diverse backgrounds. Their stories are compelling and reveal what for too long has been overlooked. The book celebrates the influence of Latino cuisine on the food culture of New Orleans from the eighteenth century to the influx of Latino migration post-Katrina and up to today.

& The literary journal THERMOS’s editors will all be in New Orleans Nov. 7-9 to host the second annual Poetry Exchange Project Symposium at Tulane University and at other locations in the city, culminating in the Hunter Deely Memorial Reading
featuring Carroll Beauvais, Megan Burns, Carrie Chappell, Peter Cooley, Nik DeDominic, Melissa Dickey, Cassandra Donish, Maia Elgin, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Elizabeth Gross, Michael Jeffrey Lee, Kay Murphy, Brad Richard, Dan Rosenberg, Zach Savich, Shelly Taylor, Jay Thompson, Afton Wilky, and Mark Yakich. A complete list of Friday events can be found here on the THERMOS blog, thermosmag.wordpress.com.

& Join Octavia Books at the Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market at 9 a.m. for a siging with Zella Palmer Cuadra featering her new cookbook, New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking. Her book is a documentary cookbook that draws on the rich Latino culture and history of New Orleans by focusing on thirteen New Orleanian Latinos from diverse backgrounds. Their stories are compelling and reveal what for too long has been overlooked. The book celebrates the influence of Latino cuisine on the food culture of New Orleans from the eighteenth century to the influx of Latino migration post-Katrina and up to today

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday.

& Saturday at 1 p.m. Octavia Books hosts a storytime and a signing with Sylvaine Sancton celebrating her debut children’s picture book, Some Birds. With gentle humor and a skilled eye, author/photographer Sylvaine Sancton captures birds of South Louisiana at rest and at play in their natural habitat. Featuring funny and fresh photographs of great blue herons, wood ducks, brown pelicans, black swans, and more, this charming book is for the young and the young at heart. An accessible glossary discusses the habits and habitats of each bird species included in the pages

& Saturday at 4 p.m. Garden District Books presents mystery writer Kay Kendall’s Desolation Row, the tale of the wife of a draft-dodger accused of the murder of a fellow war-resistor in Canada. The Mounties are convinced they have their man, but Austin Starr is not. Once courted by the CIA, and a lover of mystery and espionage novels, Austin launches her own investigation into the murder. When ominous letters warning her to stop her sleuthing turn into death threats, Austin must find the real killer or risk losing everything. Her love—and her life—are on the line.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features a group reading by contributors to the latest issue of Xavier Review, a special issue featuring persons who teach in the English Dept — poets Bilijana Obradovic, Anya Groner, Hannah Saltmarsh, Ralph Adamo, and others, fiction writers Jay Todd, Bob Skinner, Mark Whitaker, essays by David Lanoue, Nicole Greene, and others.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Beginning Monday the Jefferson Parish Public Library hosts a NaNoWriMo session in which writers come to the library and sit down to write their novels as part of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-the-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—a raucous celebration. Participants start the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walk away novelists. Free of charge and open to the public.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books offers an evening with Frank de Caro presenting and signing his new book, STORIES OF OUR LIVES: Memory, History, Narrative, a memoir that explores why all our stories matter. Featuring an array of colorful personal stories from Frank de Caro’s life and years of field research as a folklorist, Stories of Our Lives is part memoir and part exploration of how the stories we tell, listen to, and learn play an integral role in shaping our sense of self.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Wednesday the Jefferson Parish Library and The Tennessee Williams Festival feature Coffee and Conversation, an author event featuring Poppy Tooker. On her popular radio show of this name, Tooker has captured amazing oral histories about the food of Louisiana. This book brings those words to the page, including interviews with Chef Leah Chase, Randy Fertel of Ruth’s Chris, the Roman Candyman, Creole kosher cook Mildred Cover, and more. Recipes and portraits by local photographer David Spielman garnish this addition to Louisiana food literature.

&&nbspThe Blood Jet poetry reading series resumes at B.J.’s Lounge at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, featuring Josh Wexler, pianist & M. E. Riley, poet.

Crisp November 3, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in Fortin Street, geo-memoir, lyric essay, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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To say the insubstantial  air is crisp is to notice the absence of summer floral profusion, the sweet olive blossoms fallen and the jasamine gone to pods. Deprived of garden aromas and the spice smell of crawfish and shrimp boiling, the hearing becomes more astutue; the sounds of football and concerts carry through the evening air with the alacrity of flocks of starlings. As the flowers dwindle to funereal marigolds, the evergreen oaks’ deep green is familiar and comforting as a favorite sweater, the cypress and odd fellow’s oaks that dot the landscape like Jazz Fest banners echo the marigolds reds and oranges and yellows, hearth colors announcing the imminent birth of the cool.

Odd Words October 17, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans for Oct. 17-23:

The Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans and WWNO are launching a new collaboration called Storyville, which will bring true stories about New Orleans to listeners of public radio.  The stories will be periodically broadcast  during All Things New Orleans, WWNO’s half-hour radio news magazine which airs Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and are available as podcasts here.

& Thursday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books celebrates the release of former journalist Rebecca Theim’s important new book, HELL AND HIGH WATER: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times-Picayune, essential reading for anyone interested in New Orleans or the future of journalism in America. Internationally lauded for its heroic role chronicling the death, destruction and public ineptitude during and after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune’s unofficial rallying cry became “We publish come hell and high water.” Despite plummeting circulation and ad revenues after the storm and during the Great Recession, the newspaper remained profitable and boasted the country’s highest readership in a city its size. But New Orleans in 2012 faced “Katrina without the water,” as one veteran reporter described it, when the newspaper’s owner, New York media conglomerate Advance Publications, put the then-175-year-old The Times-Picayune at the center of a risky experiment in American newspaper journalism. It would become a three-day-a-week publication and instead shift focus and resources to its much derided website, making New Orleans the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper.

& Also on Thursday at 7 p.m. New Orleans Literary & Performance Series presents its second program of the Fall 2013 season: “WHEN BUTTERFLIES DRINK THE TEARS OF THE TURTLE” with big respect to New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Traditions, Native American Traditions and Poetry & Song! THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 7:00PM @ GOLD MINE SALOON, 701 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, French Quarter. This special one-night-only event will feature: BIG CHIEF MONTANA and EYES-SEE QUEEN CHIEF AUSETTUA AMORAMENKUM of WASHITAW NATION, ALFRED UGANDA ROBERTS and ERIC B on percussion, REVEREND GOAT CARSON on buffalo jaw string, KATARINA BOUDREAUX on vocals & keyboard and NEW YORK / SAN FRANCISCO POET ZACK ROGOW.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Friday at 6 p.m. Garden District Books hosts Carolyn Kolb’s New Orleans Memories: One Writers City.  Kolb provides a delightful and detailed look into the heart of her city, New Orleans. She is a formerTimes-Picayune reporter and current columnist for New Orleans Magazine, where versions of these essays appeared as “Chronicles of Recent History.” Kolb takes her readers, both those who live in New Orleans and those who love it as visitors, on a virtual tour of her favorite people and places. Divided into sections on Food, Mardi Gras, Literature, and Music, these short essays can be read in one gulp or devoured slowly over time. Either way, the reader will find a welcome companion and guide in Kolb.

Friday at 7 p.m.  Local author Dean Paschal reading from his new novel, The Frog Surgeon at McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music, 4737 Tchoupitoulas.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday. This week author Rob Owen will be reading and signing his book Spyboy, Cheyenne, and 96 Crayons. An eight-year-old boy masks for the first time as Spy Boy in his Mardi Gras Indian tribe. He proudly leads his tribe down crowded New Orleans streets, but when he looks back, he discovers that he is lost and separated from his friends. Follow Spy Boy as his spirit guide, Cheyenne, and his box of ninety-six crayons help him return to his family.

Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Zeitgeist Performance Center Voices of Resistance: Poetry at the New Orleans Anarchist Book Fair will present an  all-star lineup of New Orleans poets explore manifestations of resistance in their creative lives. Featuring: FreeQuency, A Scribe Called Quess? (Team SNO), Delia Tomino Nakayama, Geoff Munsterman, Marla Chirdon, Emmanuel Segura, and a special performance by Jose Torres-Tama. Hosted by Jenna Mae.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This Sunday Gina Ferrara reads from and signs her new collection of poems Amber Porch Light.

& Sunday at Garden District Books at 1 p.m. Tom Zigal will read from and sign his new novel  Many Rivers to Cross, The story takes place in the first three days after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in late August 2005. The narrative follows several characters stranded in the flooded city as they struggle to surviveMany Rivers to Cross is the second novel in the New Orleans Trilogy. The first being. The White League.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& The New Orleans Haiku Society will hold their monthly meeting at the Village Coffee Shop on Ferret at 6 p.m.

Monday Octavia Books hosts the book release celebration of Shane Finkelstein’s debut novel, FINDING GORDON LIPSCHITZ. At his twenty five year high school reunion, Harris Greenberg finds out that his class valedictorian has gone missing. In an attempt to run away from his own problems, Harris embarks on a desperate mission to find him. Enlisting the help of old friends, Gordon Lipschitz is found in the most unlikely place, a shell of his former self. The search becomes a journey of self-discovery for four friends whose lives turned out much differently than any of them expected.

This Monday 6:30 p.m. brings Author’s Night at the Hubbell Branch of the NOPL, featuring Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation with  author Michael Nolden Henderson for a discussion of his book.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required

Monday at 8 p.m. , Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are taking a field trip from their regular venue all the way up to the wilds of Riverbend to share some of their most sensual selections at Z’otz on Oak St. You know Z’otz, the finest and funkiest purveyors of rich coffees, savory teas, sumptuous baked goods and so much more to delight your senses. So what better place for our ribald and randy ranks to visit?

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

This Tuesday Join Room 220 as we host the venerable Oxford American for a Happy Hour Salon featuring local contributors to the current issue. The salon will take place from 7 – 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Saturn Bar (3067 St. Claude Ave.) and will feature readings and live music. Copies of the new issue will be on hand. Come hear: Pia Z. Ehrhardt’s existential spiral spurred by the deaths of two great horned owls in her yard near City Park; Nathan C. Martin’s dispatch from the two weeks he spent selling fireworks from the side of a Mississippi highway; Anne Gisleson’s exploration of the crossroads of writing, yoga, and BDSM in an Arabi strip mall; and, Brian Boyles‘ report on the wolves that stalk Angola Prison’s perimeter fence. PLUS: Michael Patrick Welch and his Lil Current Vocal Club will perform a set of live music. Welch’s profile of the painter constantly at work on the exterior of the Mother-In-Law Lounge appears in the current OA.  Moments not occupied by readings and live music will feature New Orleans’ own DJ Maxmillion spinning 45s from his expansive collection.

Tuesday at 7 p.m. McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music will host a Poetry Reading with Thaddeus Conti, Jason Moore, Haley Rundel and Todd Trulock

4737 Tchoupitoulas

& On the second Tuesday of every month the Jefferson Parish West Bank Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 p.m. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

Wednesday at Maple Street Books Kala Ambrose will be signing her book Spirits of New Orleans at Maple Street Book Shop at 6 p.m. Prepare to embark on a unique and enticing journey into the haunted history and magical ceremonies of New Orleans. Prepare to be introduced to supernatural rituals and practices in order to fully understand and embrace the cultural significance of the variety of beliefs, superstitions, legends and lore.

At Octavia Books on Wednesday bestselling author George Pelecanos returns to Octavia Books to give a reading from and sign copies of his new novel, THE DOUBLE. Every man has his dark side…Spero Lucas confronts his own in the most explosive thriller yet from one of America’s best-loved crime writers. Pelecanos is also a core part of David Simon’s writing team. If someone is going to die, look for Pelecanos’ name in the credits. This new Spiro Lucas novel reads like a classic noir thriller, full of action and suspense.

Also on Wednesday the Tennessee Williams Festival Coffee and Conversation series at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts  The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, Susan Larson’s informative response to questions most frequently asked when she served as book editor of the Times-Picayune. Tourists and locals alike want to know what to read, where authors lived, which bookstores to browse, and when literary festivals are scheduled. Now all the answers can be found in this one convenient volume, the only complete directory of New Orleans’s “write life” available.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week features Rodger Kamenetz and poetry/painting collaboration To Die Next To You, and music by Married Women. Kamenetz’s book features two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, who have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More than a collaboration, this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying. If you haven’t seen this amazing collaboration between Kamenetz and painter Michael Hafftka you really need to get yourself down to BJs to hear Rodger read and get a copy.

Odd Words October 3, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Roger Kamentz’ new collaborative book of poetry and art To Die Next to You and a delegation from the University of Iowa International Writing Program highlight this week in literary New Orleans.

& On Thursday Oct. 3 Room 220 invites you to Please join in the first installment of our Fall 2013 series of Happy Hour Salons as we host a delegation of esteemed authors and poets from around the world, courtesy of the University of Iowa International Writing Program. The salon takes place from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The readers include:

  • Dmitry Golynko’s poetry has appeared in just a few—but always impressive—places in English, such as Graywolf Press’ anthology New European Poets. His book As It Turns Out was published in English by Brooklyn-based Ugly Duckling Presse. He is the author of four other books of poems, published in his native Russia, where he is a researcher at the Russian Institute of Art History, faculty at the St. Petersburg University of Cinema and TV, and a contributing editor at Moscow Art Magazine. He’ll tell you how to whip it out with a child paraplegic and a Chechen terrorist.
  • Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor for Esquire in Singapore and several other publications. She co-edited an anthology of revisited Asian folktales titled Eastern Heathens, co-directed a documentary about older people’s sexuality titled Post-Love, and is co-founder and communications director for the curatorial operation studioKALEIDO. Her first book, Ministry of Moral Panic, will appear later this year.
  • Sridala Swami is a fiction writer, poet, photographer, film editor, teacher, radio producer … you name it. She’s been published all over the world, particularly in her native India, and is the author of the poetry collection A Reluctant Survivor. She is at work on what seems like an innumerable number and variety of projects, including a collection of interviews with contemporary Indian poets. She blogs, occasionally, at The Spaniard in the Works.
  • Dénes Krusovszky is an accomplished poet and translator—the English-language poets he’s rendered into his native Hungarian include John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and Simon Armitage—as well as editor of the literary quarterly Ex Symposion and of the JAK World Literature Series, which features contemporary foreign fiction and poetry in Hungarian. He has published three volumes of poetry, the last of which won the József Attila Prize, which is apparently a very big deal.

& Join Deborah Burst, author of HALLOWED HALLS OF NEW ORLEANS: Historic Churches, Cathedrals and Sanctuaries in a toast to the history of New Orleans Churches, featuring Redemption Restaurant. She will share her journey in discovering the mystery of New Orleans Historic Churches followed by a book signing and discussion at Redemption Restaurant–a converted church–at 5:30 p.m.

& On Thursday Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing at 6 p.m. with Kathleen Kent featuring her new novel, THE OUTCASTS set in Reconstruction-era Texas and New Orleans. In her first two bestselling, critically acclaimed novels—The Heretic’s Daughter and The Traitor’s Wife—set in Puritan New England, Kent imagined characters and stories based on her Salem ancestors and established herself as a master of historical fiction. As she did in her first two novels, Kent has drawn on history to tell a captivating tale of a woman fighting to make a life for herself against seemingly insurmountable odds, and an honorable man struggling to do the right thing, no matter what. As guns are drawn and debts are settled, some—both good and evil—will die in pursuit of their dreams, and their vengeance.

& Also Thusrday at 6 p.m. Maple Street Book Shops features a reading at 6 p.m. with authors James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello who will be discussing their book, The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, now in paperback. From Caspian drilling rigs and Caucasus mountain villages to Mediterranean fishing communities and European capitals, this is a journey through the heart of our oil-obsessed society. Blending travel writing and investigative journalism, it charts a history of violent confrontation between geopolitics, profit and humanity.

& Garden District Book Shop features Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce & Richard Read’s The French Quarter Drinking Companion at 6 p.m. Thursday. Part travelogue, part guidebook, and part exposé, this hip and informative guide will introduce every watering hole of note in the French Quarter. From the seersucker-friendly Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone to the sordid hangouts along the back streets of the Quarter to the iconic and down-to-earth Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the authors visit them all, providing a bar-side review of the music, drinks, patrons, and décor.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& On Friday David Rich—whose acclaimed debut, Caravan of Thieves, drew comparisons to Elmore Leonard, Robert Ludlum, and John LeCarre—returns with a new crime thriller featuring Lieutenant Rollie Waters, Middle Man. He will be Maple Street Books at at 6PM.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday.

& This month’s Poetry Buffet at the Alvar Library features Moose Jackson, Jimmy Ross, and Andrea Young read from their work Saturday at 2 p.m.

& AT 2:30 p.m. the Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans meets at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library. They will discuss David Copperfield, Chapter VIII “My Holidays, Especially One Happy Afternoon” and Chapter XIV, “My Aunt Makes Up Her Mind About Me.” The New Orleans Branch of the Dickens Fellowship holds meeting September through May, reading one of the works of Charles Dickens each year. The meetings include book discussions, movie versions of the novel, and lectures by Dickens scholars. This year’s book is DAVID COPPERFIELD. Dues are $20/person (couples $30) payable in September.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights:

  • The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.
  • The Black Star Cafe, 800 Belleville St. in Algiers at 7 p.m.;
  • The Shadowbox Theater at 2400 St.Claude Ave. at 7 p.m.;
  • Espe’s Kitchen, 1743 N Broad St. at 7 p.m.; and,
  • the T******* Wine Lounge, 3001 Tulane Ave., doors at 7 p.m., Admission $5.

For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& On Monday Octavia Books hosts author John Miliken Thompson’s return to Octavia Books at 6 p.m. when he reads and signs his new Southern gothic novel, LOVE AND LAMENT, based on a figure in the author’s life based on a family diary. A dauntless heroine coming of age at the turn of the twentieth century confronts the hazards of patriarchy and prejudice, and discovers the unexpected opportunities of World War I

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday Octavia Books features a reading and signing at 6 p.m. with writer Rodger Kamenetz celebrating the release of his new book of poetry. Each poem in this beautiful book is illustrated by painter Michael Hafftka. TO DIE NEXT TO YOU is a unique event in the literary and artistic world. Two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More than a collaboration, this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shop presents Errol Laborde and his new book Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. Even within its loyalty to tradition, Carnival in New Orleans has changed dramatically since the 1980s. Terms such as Lundi Gras, Muses, Krewe d’Etat, and Orpheus are now part of the lexicon, while krewe names such as Venus, Mecca, and Freret survive just in trivia conversations. This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, Twelfth Night, women’s groups, the foods of Carnival, and more.

& On Tuesdays the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Carroll Beauvais and Vincent Cellucci will read their poetry on Wednesday, October 9, at 8 p.m., at the University of New Orleans in Liberal Arts 197. The reading will be followed by a booksigning and reception. This event is free and open to the public. Carroll Beauvais’ poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Collagist, Bateau, and elsewhere. She has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Syracuse University’s MFA program, where she was a Creative Writing Fellow and awarded the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and animals. Vincent A. Cellucci wrote An Easy Place / To Die(City Lit Press, 2011) and edited a recent anthology (Lavender Ink, 2013).

& Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Books Deldon McNeely will be signing Becoming: An Introduction To Jung’s Concept of Individuation, published by Fisher King Press, at our Uptown shop, Wednesday, October 9th at 6PM. In Becoming, she unpacks the essential concept of individuation, helping to demystify what that process entails. Both placing it in historical, philosophical context and discussing its contemporary relevance, she helps us appreciate the why and wherefore of doing deep psychological work. McNeely has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. She studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich and graduated in the U.S. from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week’s featured readers are local fiction writer Sara Jacobelli and NY poet Daniel Schoonebeck.

& Don’t forget to stop by and visit The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition exploring the work of 1960s counterculture artists Jon and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. The display, “Alternative Imprints: Jon Webb, Gypsy Lou, and the Hand-Sewn World of the Loujon Press,” will be on view in the Williams Research Center, located at 410 Chartres St., through Saturday, Nov. 16. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and admission is free.

Odd Words September 26, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 p.m. the UNO English Departments hosts Yeah, You Write!, a reading by undergraduate writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction featuring Garrett Piglia, Jasmine Angel, Riley Bingham, Ryan Bonfanti, Shaima Washington, Sierz Martinez and William Web at the Sandbar.

& Also tonight at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shop hosts Ava Leavell Haymon and Eldest Daughter, Poems. “In Eldest Daughter, Ava Leavell Haymon displays her mastery of the craft and engages us with the poetic gifts we have come to expect from her. As in previous collections, she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks. Concrete descriptions of a woman’s life in the mid-twentieth-century American South mix with wider concerns about family lies and truths, and culture that supports or forbids clear speech.”

& At 7 p.m. the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library will offer a free screening of the film version of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in honor of Banned Books Week.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Odd Words usually doesn’t list plays, but how can I resist one written by a book store manager and set in a bookstore? What Do You Say to a Shadow? opens THIS FRIDAY at 7:30 PM, at the Shadowbox Theatre. In this original one-act by local author Michael Allen Zell, an old woman wanders into a French Quarter bookstore right before closing. As she tells her tale, woven with crime, New Orleans history, and books, the bookseller realizes there may be more to this person than meets the eye. Starring Big Easy Award winning actors Mary Pauley and Richard Mayer. Directed by Angela Jo Strohm. Final weekend Sept. 27-29th. 7:30 PM on Fridays. 7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

& Friday night Maple Street Book Shop hosts Texas gals and lifelong friends, Johnell Kelley and Robbyn Hill, a.k.a. Joan Rylen, signing their third and latest book, Big Easy Escapade 6-8PM. This is the third in their series of girl-get-aways turned mysteries.

& National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward comes to Octavia Books Friday night to present and sign her new book, MEN WE REAPED at 6 p.m. In this stirring memoir, Jesmyn Ward contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the still great risk of being a black man in the rural South. In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why?

& Saturday at 10:30 a.m. the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts Book Talk by Martha Fitzgerald and her book The Courtship of Two Doctors: A 1930 Love Story of Letters, Hope & Healing. Journalist Martha Fitzgerald will discuss her parents, who were two doctors in training, one in New Orleans, and one in Nebraska whose letters describe 1930s New Orleans and pre-antibiotics medicine.

& At 11 a.m. Maple Street books hosts Poppy Tooker signing her book Louisiana Eats 11:30-1PM at our Uptown shop (7529 Maple Street). A native New Orleanian, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who make it. She hosts the popular weekly radio show Louisiana Eats From which this book originates. From the transcripts of fifteen one-on-one interviews featuring specialists of iconic Louisiana foods, Tooker introduces the reader to the stories behind the everyday foods that make culinary history.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday will feature Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. Racoon loves pizza, but someone is always chasing him away from his favorite food with a broom! The solution? A secret pizza party, of course!

& The Algiers Regional Library will host a Banned Books Event Saturday at 2 p.m. All ages are invited to listen and read aloud from books that have been challenged or banned in schools, libraries and communities over the years. Special guest Susan Larson, host of WWNO’s The Reading Life will also share an exerpt from one of her favorite titles.

& Saturday at 3 p.m. the New Orleans event for the global 100,000 Poets for Change will host a reading/event to promote peace, justice and an ecologically sustainable way of life at the Zeitgeist Multi Disciplinary Arts Center Inc, 1618 Oretha C Haley Blvd, from 3-6 p.m. with a start-studded cast of local poets including include Jamie Bernstein, Johnette Downing, Mark Folse, Adelle Gautier, David Lanoue, Nanette Ledet, Delia Tomino Nakayama, Scott Nicholson, Melinda Palacio, Valentine Pierce, Kalamu ya Salaam and Mona Lisa Saloy. (I typed “star studded” before I remembered I was on the list. Really.)

& Sunday afternoon Octavia Books hosts a children’s book double-header. First, at 1 p.m. there is Denise Walter McConduit and THE BOY WHO WOULDN’T READ. In this captivating and hilarious illustrated poem, young readers will learn that a world without words is confusing and downright exhausting! Meet Robbie, who would rather hide under his desk and swing from chandeliers than read. At 2 p.m., it’s Rob Owen’s SPY BOY CHEYENNE, AND NINETY-SIX CRAYONS. This colorful journey demonstrates strength and independence while participating in important cultural and family traditions. An eight-year-old boy masks for the first time as Spy Boy in his Mardi Gras Indian tribe. His dad, Big Chief, and everyone else in the tribe, make suits in almost every color, including Goldenrod and Granny Smith Apple, just like the colors in Spy Boy’s crayon box. Spy Boy proudly leads his tribe down crowded New Orleans streets, but when he looks back, he discovers that he is lost and separated from his tribe. Follow Spy Boy as his spirit guide, Cheyenne, and his box of ninety-six crayons help him return to his family

& New Orleans Banned Book Week celebration at Le Nuit Comedy Theater will feature readings from Banned & Challenged Works by authors including Mark Folse, Lorin Gaudin, Denise W. McConduit, Kay Murphy, and Greg Herren. Also, music by Seva Venet’s Freedom of Jazz Trio! And a special screening of “Within Our Gates,” a film by Oscar Micheaux. I promise this will not be a family friendly event as I will be reading the first stroph of Allen Ginsberg’s “HOWL” including all the naughty bits that landed the book in an obscenity trial.

& At 3 p.m. Sunday, Octavia Books will then feature Carrie Brown and THE LAST FIRST DAY. From the author of The Rope Walk, here is the story of a woman’s life in its twilight, as she looks back on a harrowing childhood and on the unaccountable love and happiness that emerged from it. “Brown has accomplished one of literature’s most difficult feats-to write compellingly, and convincingly, about human happiness. The Last First Day is marvelous.” -Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic.

Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans:

& WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights:

  • The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.
  • The Black Star Cafe, 800 Belleville St. in Algiers at 7 p.m.;
  • The Shadowbox Theater at 2400 St.Claude Ave. at 7 p.m.;
  • Espe’s Kitchen, 1743 N Broad St. at 7 p.m.; and,
  • the T******* Wine Lounge, 3001 Tulane Ave., doors at 7 p.m., Admission $5.

For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM.

& Monday’s meeting of the Fiction Writers Group at the East Jefferson Regional Library is cancelled.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books features a presentation and booksigning by John Mosier celebrating the publication of his new book, VERDUN: The Lost History of the Most Important Battle of World War I, 1914-1918. Alongside Waterloo and Gettysburg, the Battle of Verdun during the First World War stands as one history’s greatest clashes. Yet it is also one of the most complex and misunderstood, in a war only imperfectly grasped. In VERDUN, historian John Mosier offers an insightful reassessment of this titanic struggle in time for the 100th anniversary of the war’s commencement in 2014 .

& The 1718 Society’s October Reading will be Tuesday at 7PM at The Columns Hotel. Author and journalist Daniel Brook is the featured reader. His most recent book is A History of Future Cities. In a captivating blend of history and reportage, Daniel Brook travels to a series of major metropolitan hubs that were once themselves instant cities— St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Mumbai—to watch their “dress rehearsals for the twenty-first century.

& Also on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Garden District Books features Pamela Binnings Ewen’s An Accidental Life. New from lawyer-turned-novelist Pamela Binnings Ewen, An Accidental Life is fiction based on fact: the testimony of registered nurse Jill Stanek before a U.S. Congressional Committee confirming that it was routine for doctors in Chicago’s Christ Hospital to have nurses take infants born alive during abortions down to a “soiled utility room” and leave them to die.

& The East Jefferson hosts an Author Event! In Search of the Spirit World by John Werner Tuesday at 7 p.m. Werner discusses “all phases of the spirit world, particularly the powers of good and evil, heaven and hell, the difference between the spiritual abodes of man and angelic being, and more.” Werner was born a Catholic but he also comes from a family of psychics.

& On Tuesdays the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week’s featured readers are poet/publisher Bill Lavender reading from his new novel Q & Jamie Bernstein reading from his "fictional biography" of James Booker.

& Don’t forget to stop by and visit The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition exploring the work of 1960s counterculture artists Jon and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. The display, “Alternative Imprints: Jon Webb, Gypsy Lou, and the Hand-Sewn World of the Loujon Press,” will be on view in the Williams Research Center, located at 410 Chartres St., through Saturday, Nov. 16. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and admission is free.

OMG did he just say “vagina”? excerpts from Joyce’s Penelope episode from Ulysses for Banned Books Week September 25, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Floey made me go to that dry old stick Dr Collins for womens diseases on Pembroke road your vagina he called it I suppose thats how he got all the gilt mirrors and carpets getting round those rich ones off Stephens green running up to him for every little fiddlefaddle her vagina and her cochinchina theyve money of course so theyre all right I wouldnt marry him not if he was the last man in the world besides theres something queer about their children always smelling around those filthy bitches all sides asking me if what I did had an offensive odour what did he want me to do but the one thing gold maybe what a question if I smathered it all over his wrinkly old face for him with all my compriments I suppose hed know then and could you pass it easily pass what I thought he was talking about the rock of Gibraltar the way he put it thats a very nice invention too by the way only I like letting myself down after in the hole as far as I can squeeze and pull the chain then to flush it nice cool pins and needles still theres something in it I suppose I always used to know by Millys when she was a child whether she had worms or not still all the same paying him for that how much is that doctor one guinea please and asking me had I frequent omissions where do those old fellows get all the words they have omissions with his shortsighted eyes on me cocked sideways I wouldnt trust him too far to give me chloroform or God knows what else still I liked him when he sat down to write the thing out frowning so severe his nose intelligent like that you be damned you lying strap O anything no matter who except an idiot he was clever enough to spot that of course that was all thinking of him and his mad crazy letters my Precious one everything connected with your glorious Body everything underlined that comes from it is a thing of beauty and of joy for ever something he got out of some nonsensical book that he had me always at myself 4 and 5 times a day sometimes and I said I hadnt are you sure O yes I said I am quite sure in a way that shut him up

Odd Words September 12, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, reading, Toulouse Street.
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This week: The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, Poetry & Pink Ribbons and a play within a, um, bookstore.

& Thursday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts the launch of The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, Susan Larson’s informative response to questions most frequently asked her as book editor of the Times-Picayune. Tourists and locals alike want to know what to read, where authors lived, which bookstores to browse, and when literary festivals are scheduled. Now all the answers can be found in this one convenient volume, the only complete directory of New Orleans’s “write life” available.. “Larson’s guide includes: a brief history of the fiction writers, poets, journalists, playwrights, historians, critics, essayists, and others who have flirted with the Crescent City’s muse across the years; a tour of both famous and lesser-known sites throughout the literary landscape, including authors’ homes and hangouts; an extensive reading list of favorite New Orleans titles in categories from mysteries to cooking; and a catalog of bookstores, libraries, literary events, and other resources.

& Thursday also features a Book Release party for the newest poetry collection from Trembling Pillow Press, Laura Goldstein’s loaded arc. Laura Goldstein will be reading from her new collection along with SPECIAL GUEST JS MAKKOS, who will also be performing and releasing his newest chapbook. The launch will be at 1501 St. Roch Avenue at 8 p.m. Goldstein has published six chapbooks as well as poetry and essays in the Denver Quarterly, American Letters and Commentary, MAKE Magazine, How2, Jacket2 and other fine publications. Laura holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches Writing and Literature at Loyola University and co-curates the Red Rover Series with Jennifer Karmin. She lives in Chicago with her husband, artist Brett Ian Balogh. loaded arc is her first full-length collection of poetry. JS MAKKOS is the publisher at Language Foundry, a print maker and poet.

& This is a music event but Jonathan Brown, who is also in the M.F.A. program at U.N.O, is the featured performer. He moved from a hip-hop orientation into music and toss in the M.F.A. and I’m putting this in. Also, Liz Hogan, another M.F.A. candidate at U.N.O., will be performing with the band Shiz. At the Allways Lounge, doors at 7, show at 8. Just in case you thought M.F.A. candidates were a staid lot of elbow patches and girls in glasses, come check this out.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Thursday The Power of Poetry: A Workshop For Teens workshop sponsored by the Poets & Writers Inc. and led by Poet-Teacher Delia Tomino Nakayama continues at the NOPL Children’s Resource Center Branch, 913 Napoleon Ave. There are workshops today, Monday, Sept. 16, Wednesday Sept. 18, all from 4-6 p.m.

& On Friday at 1:30 p.m. the Walker Percy Center at Loyola University will host Mark LaFlaur reading from and discussing his book Elysian Fields in the cozy living room of Loyola’s Monroe Library. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Maple Street Book Shop will be onsite selling books. LaFluers quirky and compelling tale of two brothers in New Orleans, one a poet seeking to escape his ailing mother and his brother and flee to San Francisco, received starred reviews from both Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly.

& Also on Friday at 7 p.m. Maple Street Book Shops hosts a launch party for the latest copy of the New Orleans Review. The new Fall issue is a set of 8 pieces (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). A number of NOR editors and writers will read brief excerpts from some of the pieces. Wine and cheese will be served prior to the reading.

& Odd Words usually doesn’t list plays, but how can I resist one written by a book store manager and set in a bookstore? What Do You Say to a Shadow? opens THIS FRIDAY at 7:30 PM, at the Shadowbox Theatre. In this original one-act by local author Michael Allen Zell, an old woman wanders into a French Quarter bookstore right before closing. As she tells her tale, woven with crime, New Orleans history, and books, the bookseller realizes there may be more to this person than meets the eye. Starring Big Easy Award winning actors Mary Pauley and Richard Mayer. Directed by Angela Jo Strohm. September 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29th. 7:30 PM on Fridays. 7 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

& Starting this Saturday Poetry & Pink Ribbons begins in annual series of Write to Wellness workshops. Local NOLA writers lead creative writing workshops and wellness exercises for breast cancer patients, survivors, family and friends. Bring your story. Leave inspired. The instructors include Jarvis DeBerry, Alison Perlegrin Kelly Harris, Maurice Ruffin and Kysha Brown Robinson. There will be a reading by participants of their work on Oct. 19.

& Saturdays Maple Street Bookshop hosts Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30 a.m. This week features The Dark by Lemony Snicket, my favorite children’s author pen name of all time. Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does.

& Saturday night the Tender Loin reading series continues at Kajuns Pub at 7 p.m. featuring JOSEPH MAKKOS, and visiting poets LAURA GOLDSTEIN and DANIELA OLSZEWKA! Cold Cuts is a poetry reading interested in performance and a performance interested in reading poetry. Each reading will consist of 3 – often on the theme of 2 poets and a 3rd weird thing: the performative. But we encourage all our poets to perform and all our performances to poet. We like to showcase our TENDER LOIN writers, and we like to showcase local artists. We also like your butt.

& There will be no Sunday reading at the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, due to the Saints game. Or rather due to the stadium-sized sound system that goes with their giant TV screen. It’s a great place to watch the game if you want to feel like you’re in the Dome. Not so great for poetry readings in the back.

& The Scholastic Writing Awards of Southeast Louisiana will kick off their annual competition this Sunday at the University of New Orleans Alumni Center at 4 p.m. featuring readings and performances by past Scholastic winners and Team Slam New Orleans, along with appearances by John Biguenet and Susan Larson. Students, take this chance to register early for the Write@UNO Weekend Workshops–a limited number of spots are available!

Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans:

& WhoDatPoets.com lists four Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights:

  • The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.
  • The Black Star Cafe, 800 Belleville St. in Algiers at 7 p.m.;
  • The Shadowbox Theater at 2400 St.Claude Ave. at 7 p.m.;
  • Espe’s Kitchen, 1743 N Broad St. at 7 p.m.; and,
  • the T—–y Wine Lounge, 3001 Tulane Ave., doors at 7 p.m., Admission $5.

For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (If I don’t block out the name of the location at 3001 Tulane, Facebook will reject my ad for promoting alcohol. Go figure.)

& The Haiku Society of New Orleans monthy meeting this Monday will be at the Coffee Shop at 5335 Freret. 6-8pm and dinner across the street at Origami, as the Latter Memorial Library is under constructions. Free and open to all haiku lovers.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday at 4 p.m. Poet-Teacher Delia Tomino Nakayama meets with interested teens and their Parents at poetry workshops initiated especially for teenagers at the Children’s Resource Center of the New Orleans Public Library.

& On Tuesday at 6 p.m. at The Garden District Bookshop Pat Kogos discusses and signs her book, Priory, Louisiana. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina enters the Gulf of Mexico, and coastal residents flee the chaos. In the plantation town of Priory, Louisiana, guest rooms of a local inn, The Retreat, become shelter from the storm. Evacuees bond at The Retreat over shared heartache. They watch in disbelief as homes get swept to sea. Loved ones go missing. Passions ignite. No one will escape untouched.Priory, Louisiana is a story about the relentless nature of regret, the puzzling role of God in human suffering, and the opportunity to reinvent yourself after the life you know has washed away.

& Also on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts the release event with Poppy Tooker along with photographer David Spielman for <e & m>LOUISIANA EATS! This book gives readers an in-depth, behind the scenes look at Louisiana food producers and personalities interviewed on her popular WWNO (NPR affiliate) radio show of the same name. LOUISIANA EATS! features portrait photographs by David Spielman, revealing faces – some familiar and some, previously unknown who are the subject of each chapter.

& Tuesday at the Allways Lounge at 7 p.m. author Andy Reynolds debuts his novel Spectacle of the Extension. Reading fropm the book on Tuesday will be Sophia Vibra Horodysky and Moose Jackson Jackson will also perform with his band Shock Patina. ” “A young painter armed with a sarcastic tongue and the ability to pull amazing espresso shots, Em has moved across the country to shed her past and lose herself in her artistic process. One night the painting she’s been working on for months comes to life, its presence causing her to question the decisions she’s made and her relationship with reality.”

& On Tuesdays the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm. Also, the East Bank Regional Library presents their weekly local author event featuring Sue Campbell’s Conversations in Heaven, The Amazing Journey at 7 p.m.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& On Wednesday at 2 p.m. in University of new Orleans LA 236 at Les White, Lisa Verner, and Neal Walsh discuss the books that changed their lives. We’ll have snacks and cold drinks for your enjoyment! Open to the public.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. Featured will be Desireee V. Dallagiacomo, and Thaddeus Conti extemporizing over images from his recently published art book Coloring Book for the Criminally Insane from Gallatin & Toulouse Press. Open mic to follow our features, limited sign up.

& Don’t forget to stop by and visit The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition exploring the work of 1960s counterculture artists Jon and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. The display, “Alternative Imprints: Jon Webb, Gypsy Lou, and the Hand-Sewn World of the Loujon Press,” will be on view in the Williams Research Center, located at 410 Chartres St., through Saturday, Nov. 16. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and admission is free.

Complicated Life September 10, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Shit Is Fucked September 9, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in Murder, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Violence, We Are Not OK.
4 comments

Child Funeral

Every single day, someone comes to this blog searching for the victim of a murder in New Orleans. Some days, perhaps birthdays or the anniversary of a death, there are dozens of hits on the list of murder victims I have kept for the last several years. I have not finished last year’s list because it is just so fucking painful. We all have our crosses to bear. Why take up this particular one of cataloging the dead?

I ask myself that question, and then I see a photograph like this of Paris Samuels, age 2, looking at the casket of her sister, 13-month-old Londyn Samuels, who was murdered by gunfire on August 29, as reported by the New Orleans Advocate. And I think if I do not do something, I shall go mad.

Shit Is Fucked. The drunken scene from The Wire where McNulty and Bunk lament the state of their lives, their police work, the general inability to deal with a world gone mad.

We live in a city full of golum-hearted motherfuckers, and short of God going all Sodom and Gomorrah I have no idea how it ever ends.

Remember August 29, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Debrisville, Federal Flood, geo-memoir, ghosts, home, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, levee, New Orleans, NOLA, Sinn Fein, the dead, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I am not sure when I made this graphic. Friends in the core group of NOLA Bloggers who came together after the storm were talking about draping the blogs in black back in ’06 or ’07. I thought this was just simpler. And strangely, it never occurred to me to post it today until this morning until someone I just met a few months ago made it their avatar on Facebook.

I supposed I knew at some deep level the anniversary was coming. I still get email from the Rising Tide conference that core group of bloggers spawned years ago, which continues even without a lot of its founders who have moved on, and that is always on the weekend before or after. Still, Katrina–what we came to call the Federal Flood–was not in my mind. I have other worries: a son struggling in his first days of college, an ill mother, a play I want to mount, troubled friends and lovers, a complicated life.

The story goes on: the new levee authority sues the oil companies, the levees such as they are, are as fixed as they’re going to get, the giant gap along Marconi Drive at the Orleans Canal pumping station included. The blighted houses remain, some with their fading residue of rescue marks. The new pumps as the canals will or will not work when the time comes, and the evidence of tests is mixed at best.

As busy as I am I can’t help but feel that I dishonor the ghosts I made a commitment to years ago. I think of the folder of bloated bodies I collected via news photographer friends, lost with my last computer. I think of the abandoned homes I still see in Gentilly, “[t]hese empty shells of former lives that line so many streets … the windows staring lifelessly at broken sidewalks, the facades washed pale and colorless.”

I spent my crisis day this week, the day I made a cocktail at 3:15 p.m.to steady myself for all of the news of that day, going out with a friend to eat sushi and see Jon Cleary and drink a little too much for a weeknight. Lest you think me irresponsible I did all I could to board and shore up the catastrophes of that day, and then went out to escape it for a few hours in pleasant company. It’s how we do. Before I went out I had to go sell some things from the house we bought when I uprooted my family and brought them here to the heart of a disaster zone. I sold some pots and trellises to the Michelle Kimble, a pre-eminent preservationist both before and after the storm, and we talked about a lot of things. The storm never came up. After she left I looked at some tile art my ex-wife had bought laying on the floor for this weekend’s sale, including one of St. Francis Cabrini church. I left it there for the sale.

With all my current problems and work perhaps I have reached the point I wrote about long ago before I abandoned the Katrina-blog Wet Bank Guide. ” If history and the city consumes us all one-by-one but the city lives on, that perhaps what was always intended, why we were all lured home. In the end, perhaps [Thomas] Pynchon has given us the model to surviving It’s After the End of the World. If history has gone too wrong for any one of us to stop what is happening around us, maybe it is better to amble down a shady street in New Orleans without a particular thought in my head except the distant sound of what might be [Tyrone] Slothrop’s harmonica, to disappear into the random noise in the signal.”

Odd Words August 22, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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August is winding down and at least one bookstore is back from Maine, or wherever it is fabulously wealthy indie bookstore owners go in August. (Just kidding).

& This Thursday Octavia Books presents James A. Cobb, Jr.’s FLOOD OF LIES. In August 2005, the world looked on in horror as thirty-five residents of St. Rita’s Nursing Home perished beneath the rising waters of Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana’s attorney general immediately targeted the owners of St. Rita’s, Sal and Mabel Mangano, for prosecution. A national media frenzy erupted, labeling the couple as selfish, cold-hearted killers, willing to let beloved parents and grandparents drown—but the reality was much different. Flood of Lies tells the real story of the Manganos: a couple who sacrificed everything to save the lives of their beloved residents. “When an elderly couple are charged with murder in the drowning deaths of thirty-five bed-ridden residents of St. Rita’s Nursing Home, an emotional edge-of-your-seat thriller takes off like a shot! The players: a wily and profane defense lawyer, a ferocious prosecutor, devastated families of the victims, and a ravenous media that brands the defendants ‘Monsters of Hurricane Katrina.’ My advice—block out enough time to read this wonderful book in one sitting.”
—John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Saturdays Maple Street Bookshop hosts Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30 a.m.

& Sunday at 1 p.m. Octavia Books hosts storytime and a booksigning with Alex McConduit featuring his latest children’s picture books, THORN IN MY HORN, about a young musician in New Orleans who LOVES to play his horn. His mother, on the other hand, cannot stand to hear the noise! She’s literally a thorn in his horn! This beautiful book includes detailed illustrations by Darrell Rollo that accurately depict the French Quarter, Jackson Square and other iconic places in The Big Easy. THORN IN MY HORN is a rhyming, children’s picture book suitable for ages 3 and up.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar is the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. This week poet Valentine Pierce reads from her work, followed by an open mike. In the back patio, weather permitting. Periodic features and an open mic every Sunday.

& WhoDatPoets.com lists four Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights:

  • The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.
  • The Black Star Cafe, 800 Belleville St. in Algiers at 7 p.m.;
  • The Shadowbox Theater at 2400 St.Claude Ave. at 6 p.m.;
  • Espe’s Kitchen, 1743 N Broad St. at 7 p.m.;
  • and,
    <li<the T*e*r*p* Wine Lounge, 3001 Tulane Ave., doors at 9 p.m., Admission $5.

For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (If I don’t block out the name of the location at 3001 Tulane, Facebook will reject my ad for promoting alcohol. Go figure.)

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Tuesdays the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Tuesday at Cafe Istanbul Art Klub of New Orleans hosts Literary Speaking at Cafe Istanbul hosted by Ben Mintz of NOLA Defender and featuring writers Chuck Perkins, Moose Jackson and Ross Peter Nelson. $5 or FREE for Art Klub Members (click “get tickets” to become a member now). Event at 7 p.m. “Open Jelly” microphone follows at $10.

Wednesday at 4 p.m. Octavia Books features a children’s book event: Farmer Brown and all the cows reunite this August as children’s book author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin are releasing a brand new picture book CLICK, CLACK, BOO! And, they are on their way to Octavia Books to meet you, and read and sign book for you. Farmer Brown does not like Halloween. So he draws the shades, puts on his footy pajamas, and climbs into bed. But do you think the barnyard animals have any respect for a man in footy pajamas? No, they do not. For them, the Halloween party has just begun. And we all know these critters far prefer tricks over treats. 1There are big surprises in store for Farmer Brown! Doreen Cronin is the author of many bestselling picture books, including Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure; Bounce; Wiggle; Duck for President; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; Dooby Dooby Moo; and the Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

& This Wednesday in the back room of Buffa’s Bar, poet and artist Thaddeus Conti presents a performance of Felonious Drunk and his Unmentionables reunion tour, a lounge act performance piece. Buffa’s open mic follows and welcomes all performers.

Odd Words July 4, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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This weekend marks the Community Book Center’s 30th anniversary. This Afro-centric New Orleans institution–part bookstore, part art gallery, part meeting place–invites the entire community to join and celebrate with a full weekend of events, including:

  • Friday, July 5: Musical Interlude with special guest “Jiar” (10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). “Peace Talks: Ending Monkey Chatter” ith the Rev. Dr. Denise L. Graves (11 am-noon); Creole Cooking Demonstration with Chef D from 1-3 p.m., more music and a discussion of the book Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fannon, a a Fish Fry, Music and Dancing starting at 4 p.m. (donation: $10).
  • Saturday, July 6: An Education Panel Discussion led by Dr. Adrienne D. Dixon, author of The Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education (10 am – noon); artist Amy Bryan hosting a children’s workshop (noon – 2 p.m.); reading and signing by Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, author of Red Beans and Ricely Yours (2-4 p.m.); Reading and signing by Iyanla Vanzant, author of Peace from Broken Pieces (4 p.m.); and finally solo guitarist Renard Boissier sings and plays ( 7 p.m. $10 donation).
  • The weekend closes out Sunday July 7 with a Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring trumpeter Mario Abney (11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Donation of $15 for adults, $5 for children).

& I just visited with Jimmy Ross and he’s pretty sure there won’t be any poets hanging around outside Flora Coffee Shop and Gallery this Thursday what with the fireworks and all. Look for this meeting the following week.

& The New Orleans Public Library Calendar announces that the Hubbell Branch Library will be closed from July 4-9, reopening on July 10. NOPL will be closed system wide on July 4th of course, and the Jefferson Parish library will be closed July 4 and 5. Be sure to check the NOPL’s website for all kinds of events for all ages to numerous to list here. You can find the Jefferson Parish Library’s calendar here.

& On Friday at 6 p.m., Octavia Books hosts author/actress Victoria Rowell — Drucilla on “The Young and the Restless” — returns to Octavia Books to read from and sign her new novel, THE YOUNG AND THE RUTHLESS, another hilarious and shocking send-up of the soap opera world.

& Saturday’s Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library will feature New Orleans Poets Reading New Orleans Poets at 2 p.m.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar is the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. Poets Billy Bonsach and Julian Stock read this Sunday. In the back patio, weather permitting. Periodic features and an open mic every Sunday.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Also on Tuesday the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

Every Wednesday at Buffa’s in the back room there will be music and poetry hosted by Laura Mattingly from 7-8 p.m. followed by an open mic.

Wednesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts Peter M. Wolf and his book MY NEW ORLEANS, GONE AWAY: A Memoir of Loss and Renewal. “I adore this book and read it in a kind of dreamy fog, unable to put it down and think of anything else. It strikes just the perfect note for a New Orleans memoir, smart and graceful, with the affectionate heart of a native son and the clear eyes and keen intelligence of a scholar of cities. And it’s a very brave book, coming from a man who’s struggled and taken risks for his passions.” Susan Larson, The Reading Life, WWNO.

Wednesday night Esoterotica is back with Esoterotica Presents “Sexmas in July” Provocateur’s Secret Santa, in which various provocateurs read a piece written about another whose name was drawn from a hat. And I have absolutely no idea what Oddball is going to have to say about Mr. Funky, but I promise: it will be funky. Or vaguely Japanese. Or something. What does Mr. Funky wear under his hakama? This group consistently produces some of the best writing and performance of any semi-open mic event in New Orleans and I highly recommend you check it out. Or, as Jim Morrison asks in the Oliver Stone film The Doors, “Where’s your will be to weird?”

Also on Wednesday the Louisiana Endorsement for the Humanities celebrates the new issue its magazine Louisiana Cultural Vistas with Abita Brewery and Zapp’s Potato Chips and three contributors discussing three compelling topics: Photographer Ralph Burns reviews his portfolio of photos from 1970’s New Orleans; Assistant Warden Cathy Fontenot of Louisiana State Penitentiary talks about the history of the Red Hat Cellblock at Angola; Matt Sakakeeny reviews the evolution of noise regulation in New Orleans. Doors open at 6pm and the party is free to the public. We’ll be live-tweeting at @knowlouisiana, and free Abita and Zapp’s will flow.

Odd Words June 27, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, spoken word, Toulouse Street.
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Featured Event: Ever thought of dating a poet, once of those charasmatic masters of the microphone you swoon to hear speak? Friday night Team Slam New Orleans is hosting a fundraiser for their trip to back to the National Poetry Slam in Boston this August. Team SNO will be hosting a date auction at the Red Star Gallarie from 8-11 p.m. hosted by The Hump Connection featuring D.J. Victoria Vixxen. Team SNO is a two-time winner of the nationals so everyone is encouraged to go out and help them raise that last $1,000 they need to get there. Come play for a date & hear in your very own ear the fierce & tender magic that’s Team SNO.

See you logo here! Sponsorship available. To reach 7,500 self-identified book readers & buyers, contact Mark Folse at odd.words.nola@gmail.comr

See your logo here and on Facebook daily! Sponsorship available. To reach 7,500 self-identified book readers & buyers a week, contact Mark Folse at odd.words.nola@gmail.com.

Some other literary chatter:

Pick up the current issue of the Oxford American to read a feature-length essay by Press Street co-founder Anne Gisleson, “Condolences from Death Row.” The essay, an early draft of which Gisleson read at a Room 220 event in May 2012, uses the author’s receipt of a letter from a death row inmate, who her attorney brother represented, as the jumping-off point to ruminate about their father’s recent death and her own mortality. Gallows humor (that, as we learn through Gisleson’s descriptions of her father, clearly runs in the family) and an urgent sense of longing pervade the essay, which is yet another piece of evidence that one of New Orleans’ best prose writers is getting better before our eyes.

Also check out Micheal Zell of Crescent City Books’ essay on the seminal New Orleans author, historian and folklorist Marcus Christian at Room 220.

Local poet and essayist Rodget Kamanetz has just co-published a book of pomes with illustrations by Michael Hafftka, To Die Next To You. From Amazon.com: “Two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More that a collaboration this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying.”

Finally, this month’s find on the Intertubes is the Tumblr blog Structure & Style, where Rebecca Hazelwood and Savannah Sipple find marvelous poems and serve them up as a many course meal of poetic wonder. Check it out.

& so to the listings…

& This evening at Maple Street Books Brenda Marie Osbey will be signing her latest poetry collection, All Souls: Collected Poems (forthcoming, 2013); All Saints: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997), which received the American Book Award; Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991); In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988); and Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983; University Press of Virginia, 1985). She is the author also of a series of Kongo-New Orleans libretti, including Sultane au Grand Marais: a New Orleans Opera (Rites & Reason Theatre, December, 2011).

& This Thursday at The International House, 221 Camp Street, welcomes journalist Stephanie Hepburn for a presentation & signing celebrating the launch of her new book, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AROUND THE WORLD: Hidden in Plain Sight. Octavia Books will be selling the books on location and Stephanie will be signing books following her presentation. A complimentary cocktail will be served. From New Orleans to New Guinea. From Baltimore to Bangladesh. From Laos to Los Angeles. Stephanie Hepburn brings uncommon passion and penetrating insights, born of exhaustive investigation, to a topic which needs both.

& This week’s Alvar Arts, held every third Thursday at The Alvar Library from 7 to 9 pm, features Ken Foster discussing his latest book, I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Dog. Working in collaboration with book packager Becker & Meyer, photographer Karen Morgan, and Penguin USA, Foster will describe the collaborative process that produced the book, which features nearly 100 full color photos and historic images in addition to Foster’s text

Likely as not you will find a bunch of poets sitting around outside Flora’s Coffee Shop in an informal reading/meeting organized by Jimmy Ross. 8 pm-ish.

& Friday night Team Slam New Orleans is hosting a fundraiser for their trip to back to the National Poetry Slam in Boston this August. Ever thought of dating a poet, once of those charasmatic masters of the microphone you swoon to hear speak? This is your chance. Team SNO will be hosting a date auction at the Red Star Gallarie from 8-11 p.m. hosted by The Hump Connection featuring D.J. Victoria Vixxen. Team SNO is a two-time winner so everyone is encouraged to go out and help them raise that last $1,000 they need to get there. Come play for a date & hear in your very own ear the fierce magic that’s Team SNO. Team members include Akeem Martin, Justin Lamb, Sam Gordon, Kaycee Filson and Quess?. Team SNO came in sixth out of 32 of the best teams of the country in the recent Southern Friend Poetry Slam hosted by Team SNO. Quess? says the SFPL is “a competition that is getting fiercer every year. That was with that new members who just started writing, much less performing just last year. I put EVERYTHING on my team. We’re some of the best slam poets in the world and one of the best teams.”

& Also this Friday Word Connections @ The Juju Bag Cafe Open Mic features Mr. Spoken Word Lionel King. Word Connections aims to be a weekly fix of good times with people you know and soon will know, words being shared, great food being served, drinks and laughter all night with the amazing ambiance provided by The JuJu Bag Cafe’s outdoor patio area. Open mic so all poets (and singers) are welcomed to come sign up and showcase their skills

& Also on Friday night Octavia books hosts author Sheila Heti celebrating the paperback edition of HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? with a reading and book signing. Hailed as “a breakthrough” (Chris Kraus, Los Angeles Review of Books) for the critically acclaimed Sheila Heti, HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? is an unabashedly honest and hilarious tour through the unknowable pieces of one woman’s heart and mind. It has ignited conversation and earned Heti comparisons to Joan Didion, Henry Miller, Kathy Acker, and Gustave Flaubert. “Funny…odd, original, and nearly unclassifiable…Unlike any other novel I can think of.” —David Haglund, The New York Times Book Review

& On Saturday at 11:30 am Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop will feature Dr. Sues’ The Butter Battle Book.

Also on Saturday, the , the Teen Zone of the Main New Orleans Public Library will be hosting an visit by two Young Adult authors, for teens: e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, author of FAT ANGIE, and Michelle Embree, author of MAN STEALING FOR FAT GIRLS. The authors will read from and discuss their books. 2 pm at the Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar is the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. In the back patio, weather permitting. Periodic features and an open mic every Sunday.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Also on Tuesday, Maple Street Book Shop’s The First Tuesday Book Club will be meeting at 5:45PM at the Uptown location to discuss Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Pick up your copy today! Newcomers are always welcome. August’s titled will be In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White.

& Also on Tuesday the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

Every Wednesday at Buffa’s in the back room there will be music and poetry from 7-8 p.m. followed by an open mic.

Coming next week: The Community Book Store on Bayou Road celebrates its 30th anniversary with two days of events July 5 and 6

Creole Red June 24, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in food, Louisiana, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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In other parts of the world they dream of watermelons in August, and the home-grown tomatoes of Guy Clark’s famous song are just beginning to get spots of pink. Here we dream of Creole tomatoes, grown in the particular alluvial soil at the river’s lower reaches, and they come in June. I have grown my own tomatoes in places as far north as North Dakota, and yes the flavor of a vine fresh tomato is amazing, but it falls short of the particular savor of the Louisiana Creole. There is a certain minerality like that of of certain wines, a flavor imported by what old-world vintners call terroir. Unlike wine, where the experts say minerality is a lack of fruitiness and has absolutely nothing to do with the soil in which the grapes are grown, there is clearly a particular flavor imparted to tomatoes grown in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish, which surround the lowest reaches of the river. The tomatoey fruityness is extraordinary, but there is something else just underneath that, a crystalline mystery that I can only describe this way: if ice had a flavor, it would be that note under the fruit of the Creole tomato.

I live for this season, will paper the cabinets over the kitchen with grower’s stickers until my landlord has a fit. Like a prisoner counting his days to release, I am counting how many Creole tomatoes I can manage before the season is run. Bagels with a tomato for breakfast, sandwiches in which meat and cheese are reduced to a garnish and my usual heavy hand with the course Creole mustard holds itself to just the slightest schmear. For a snack, a Creole with just a bit of salt is the finest piece of fruit you will ever eat For dinner I just ate a bowl of nothing but cut up Creole’s and (sadly, store-bought) cucumbers. I hadn’t finished it when a friend popped up on Facebook asking “who wants some garden cucumbers”. Oh, me, me! And careful how you dress them. Vinaigrette is ideal but don’t go overboard. You don’t want some tarted up Balsamic getting between you and your tomatoes. After cruising the aisles of the neighborhood grocery not a single one of the fancier bottled Vinaigrette contained olive oil. I’m clearly going to have to whip up my own dressing. A simple white wine vinegar, good olive oil, a good grind of my five-pepper store blend and a bit of the Grains of Paradise my sister found me. A bit of salt. Nothing more, really. Maybe a bit of garlic if we’re going to call it vinaigrette but as much as I am likely to pop a whole clove into my mouth like a piece of candy, here we are all about the tomatoes. Even the cucumbers are mostly there for texture, although I find their own mild fruitiness perfectly complements the Creoles.

There are a lot of things to miss if you live away from New Orleans–Carnival, the music, the unique cooking, the go cups–but nothing could bring tears to my eyes faster than Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans than slicing into the priciest hydroponic or even my own home grown Dakota tomatoes, and recognizing immediately that there is no substitute for a real Creole. Someday they will be gone. St. Bernard and Plaquemines are vanishing into the Gulf of Mexico at a frightening rate, the rich soil that flavors the Creoles pouring over the continental shelf as the levee-ed off terroir slowly subsides back into the sea. All the more reason, now that my dinner is done, to think about dessert: just one more thick slice, no salt, no oil, no vinegar; just the pure fruit of the finest tomato on earth.

Odd Words June 20, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, reading, Toulouse Street.
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Sad news: Maple Street Book Shop is closing its downtown Healing Center and Bayou St. John locations. I didn’t shop there often enough, but I don’t think I have bought a book anywhere else since it opened. I have such a backlog to read, and to paraphrase the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books. (If you not a ’70s comix fan, just let the name guide you if you want to know what they were talking about. Hemp makes excellent paper, in civilized countries).I remember when I meekly walked in to my first sales call for my first self-published book and Donna Allen immediately took 10 copies and wrote me a check; no question of consignment. I don’t mean to hold them high above other local indie book sellers but Donna and uptown manager Gladin Scott are people who live to sell books, and are happy to support emerging local artists. The Bayou St. John location was such a great addition to my own neighborhood, they are going to be sorely missed. BSJ manager Matt Carney was always a pleasure to visit with when I stopped in. The shop is going to be sorely missed.

I missed Bloomsday 2012 with what I’m generally referring to as the Boiling Cauldron of Pharmacologically-Enraged Contagin, but organizer Michell Zell reports, “We mostly filled the upstairs dining area at The Irish House with around four dozen people. There was a strong range of readers, including from puppeteer Pandora Gastelum to UNO prof Richard Goodman, and from the insight of relative John Joyce to Dickens Fellowship co-founder Marigny Dupuy. Onward and upward next year.” Zell has grown this event amazingly from the rag tag bunch I managed to pull together in the back of Mick’s Pub three years ago. Next time your downtown, stop into Crescent City Books to say thanks. And, well, it’s a bookstore. You know what to do. I may have to pick up a copy of Finnegan’s Wake as pleasant pennance.

Another notable local event you won’t have to wait a year to attend is Esoterotica. Guided by mistress Aimé SansSavant, this rollicking collection of comedy, stories poetry and the long-running soap opera Model X-Y is one of finest collections of readers and performers you will find at an open microphone in New Orleans, With her core of provocateurs and a parade of willing new comers (“virgin voices”, she called them one night) put on a show at the Allways once a month. (Among the now less virginal voices you will find one Oddball, who bears a strange resemblance to the editor of Odd Words, but appearances can be deceiving.) If you’ve already picked out the same $1,200 technical rain slicker Jim Cantore wears during hurricanes to be buried in to be better prepared for the second circle of hell, you should definitely get down and check them out. You can read more about this group in June’s Antigravity. Their next event is for Pride Day this Friday, “Queer Hearts”! A Benefit for Women with a Vision and an Open Mic!”, and the next regular show is in July. Watch this space. Don’t miss it.

& At 5:30 on Thursday the Garden District Book Shops presents David Berg’s Run, Brother, Run.From a renowned trial lawyer, a searing family memoir of a wild boyhood in Texas that led to the vicious murder of the author’s brother by actor Woody Harrelson’s father. Writing with cold-eyed grief and lacerating humor, Berg shares intimate details about his striving Jewish family that perhaps set Alan on a course for self-destruction, and the wrenching miscarriage of justice when Berg’s murderer went unpunished. Since burying his brother, David has never discussed how he died. But then about three years ago, details from his past crept into his memory and he began to research his family’s legacy and his brother’s death, informed by his expertise as a seasoned attorney. The result is a raw and painful memoir that taps into the darkest human behaviors, a fascinating portrait of an iconic American place, and a true-crime courtroom murder drama—all perfectly calibrated.

& The Booked for Murder Book Club meets at the Norman Mayer Library at 5:30 pm. Club meets every 3rd Thursday of the month. New members are welcomed to join.

& There will be an open mic poetry reading at Flora’s Coffee House hosted by Jimmy Ross at 9 pm Thursday. Jimmys says he hopes to makes this a regular thing through the summer.

& On Friday Esoterotica hosts their annual Pride event “Queer Hearts”! A Benefit for Women with a Vision and an Open Mic! Mlle SanSavant says ” join our provocateurs on the stage to share your original queer-rotic experiences, fantasies, needs, and desires! Whether they are sexual, sensual or downright dirty, we want to hear your voice! So bring it loud and proud because it’s freakin’ Pride, People!” Doors at 7, show at 8 at the Allways Lounge. Donations encouraged.

& On Friday, Spoken Word rules at the Special Tea Coffee House. Doors at 7, show at 8. By admission

& At the Community Book Store on Bayou Road, Chakula will be performing ‘Poems from the Unknown Poet’ at 7 p.m.

& On Saturday at 11:30 am for Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Uptown she’ll read Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler!

& Todd-Micheal St. Pierre will be signing his Taste of Treme cookbook at Fluerty Girl, 3117 Magazine Street, starting at 11 a.m. and again Sunday at Fluerty Girl’s Metairie location starting at 1 p.m.

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar is the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. In the back patio, weather permitting. Periodic features and an open mic every Sunday.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& On Tuesday at 2 pm the Alvar Library will host Blackout Poetry, a literary craft event for teenagers. Participants will black out words on pages of donated old books to create their own poetry.

& Also on Tuesday the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

Assaying the State of the Essay March 24, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Sunday’s panel on Creative Non-Fiction at the Tennessee Williams festival spent much time answering Adam Kirch’s infamous (well, to some of us) essay in the New Republic, “The New Essayists, or the Decline of a Form? The essay as reality television.” Novelist and Tulane professor Thomas Beller, the author of a series of personal essays titled How To Be A Man suggested that the readers and writers of the current explosion of personal essays have mixed motivations. Essayists look to be “a legitimate [interior] voice speaking to the outside world” but that too many writers suffer from what Dorothy Parker called “the frankies”, the desire to share beyond their own best interest and that of the reader.” Readers, he said, were often “looking for somebody to make a fool of themselves.”

Panelist John Jeremiah Sullivan was one of Kirsh’s first targets: “A talented writer such as John Jeremiah Sullivan might, fifty years ago, have tried to explore his complicated feelings about the South, and about race and class in America, by writing fiction, following in the footsteps of Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. Instead he produced a book of essays, called Pulphead, on the same themes; and the book was received with the kind of serious attention and critical acclaim that were once reserved for novels.” The Southern Editor of the Paris Review and contributor to GQ, Harper’s Magazine and Oxford American took exception to the idea that essayists, especially those who write for magazines are somehow beneath literary notice. He called it “cultural eugenics’ and a reject of 300 years of English literary history to attack magazine writers or suggest the essay was dead. “Lamb, Hazlitt, de Quincy were all writing for magazines” but are presented now cleaned up and anthologized.

Beller said that too many essays today are predictable. “Too many essays even in the best magazines, from the first two paragraphs you know where they’re going.” He praised Sullivan’s work for its twists and turns. comparing them to early Paul McCartny songs. “They are like three or four songs all strung together.” Panelist Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat and a contributor to Creative Nonfiction, Oxford American and Slate, turned to writing and essays in particular after a career in acting. says she tries to creative performative moments on the page. “The essays that fire on all cylinders show the workings of a human mind, [the author's] or another’s.” Beller, who suggested something similar earlier (see above) said the form also allows writers to take “their eccentricities out into the world,” which lead to a discussion of his own contribution to the New York Times Food section on the peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

Exotic Romancing March 24, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Is New Orleans truly the most exotic locale in the United States, or just the victim of good press? Panel moderator David Johnson started out the Tennessee Williams Festival panel on Writing New Orleans: The Most “Exotic” Place in America with a famous quote by Williams: “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

Noted geographer and author Richard Campanella was quick to challenge the prevailing notion. Buying into the exoticism “privileges for the picturesque” when the residents of the city do not spend 365 days a year at Carnival or second lines or watching Mardi Gras Indians. He traced the notion of the city’s reputation as the initial collision of newly arrived Americans with the original Creole settlers and the Spanish Administration, and writers of that initial period set the stage for those who would follow and set the exotic tag firmly in place: Grace King, Lafcadio Hearn and Lyle Saxon. “They romanticized it and it was picked up by the city’s industrialized tourist industry.”

Kim Marie Vaz stood up for the city’s exotic reputation. “We generate our own exoticism because our culture is unique,” the author of a recent work on the carnival Baby Dolls asserted. Writer Nathaniel Rich suggested the city preserves its exotic aspects because it is “the most self-referential city in American. It doesn’t care what’s going on outside” which he said was the source of the city’s “wonder and problems.” New Yorker Thomas Beller, now a Tulane professor, said when he first moved to New Orleans he was trying to impose his own internal geography onto the city, and came to recognize the city’s troubled side as “the New York I grew up in the 1970s.” He found the city’s character was created in part by a disposition to holding onto things and investing objects with an emotional value.”

Campanella said much of the current influx of new residents to the city can be traced to its exotic reputation. Beller said the influx of new residents more inclined to progress and preservation “provokes kind of allergic reaction” among many New Orleanians. “They really are upset about the erasure that goes along with that. And I’m a bit more inclined to favor the holding onto things. New Orleans is very good for that.” Asked about the city’s continuing ability to absorb new residents into the existing culture without erasure, Campanella said “it’s not the end of history. It’s the next chapter.” Vaz said the culture would continue to change and grow. “You have a lot of people who are working 365 days a year to preserve the culture.”

Vaz and Campanella traced much of the city’s exotic reputation to early writers like Heard and King, but called out Lyle Saxon of the famous WPA Guide to New Orleans and Robert Talent, author of several books promoting the city’s exotic legend. “My work is a reaction of the exoticism of Talent and Saxon,” Vaz said of her work on the Baby Dolls, an old carnival tradition that grew out of the city’s segregated prostitution district as a marching krewe of Black sex workers. “People are surprised that [much of the culture] came out of intense segregation.” Campanella agreed that academic writers are questioning the past focus on the “exoticism and exceptionalism.”

Thomas Beller is the author of two works of fiction, Seduction Theory and The Sleep-Over Artist, and a collection of personal essays How To Be A Man. Richard Campanella is a geographer with the Tulanue University School of Architecture and the author of six critically acclaimed books, including Bienville’s Dilema: A Historical Geography of New Orleans. Nathaniel Rich is the author of two novels, Odds Against Tomorrow and The Mayor’s Tongue. Kim Marie Vaz is an associate dean and professor at Xavier University and author of The BABY DOLLS: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition.

The Geography of Pleasure March 23, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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That was the money quote at Friday’s panel on New Orleans in the 1920s: Bohemia, Baby Dolls and Storyville, from panelist Alecia Long, author of The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race and Respectability in New Orleans, 1965-1920, along with fellow panelist John Shelton Read’s pun about serious works of non-fiction suffering from colon:itis. Delving as far as an hour and a half allowed into the world of prostitution and the original Baby Dolls–all sex workers who broke the convention against woman masking at the time–it was Read’s somewhat drier but headline fresh description of the birth, brief flowering and decay of New Orleans as a bohemian center to rival Greenwich Village that was headline fresh for Orleanians watching the struggle over gentrification along the river.

Read described the cohort of young artists and writers who came to New Orleans to create in the French Quarter “a vest pocket Greenwich Village [where] living was cheap and the neighbors tolerant. Writers such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Oliver Lafarge, Sherwood Anderson and a young William Faulkner were among those who settled for a spell into the then run-down Quarter, and Anderson entertained visitors including Theodore Dreiser, Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein, and Bertrand Russell. What fascinated about his presentation was his almost anthropological dissection of the rise and fall of Bohemias, from the first artists who arrive in search of local color and cheap living, the Beatnik-like hangers-on and slumming Uptowners who soon follow until the French Quarter in particular was an attraction for “Uptown ladies and tourists” and one writers’ description of the neighborhood at the end of Bohemia’s blossoming would sound familiar to today’s visitors: “stale beer, garbage, drunks and tourists.” The tea shops established by the original Bohemians for their own pleasure became popular with visitors, Le Petite Salon brought book-club ladies from Uptown and Le Petite Theatre was founded the original writers and artist found themselves being pushed out by rising rents and less congenial neighbors. Read details all of this in his book Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s.

The pre-1920s French Quarter would surprise local residents but not the bohemian settlers of the period. Bourbon Street was a family block filled with working class people, largely Italian, and the remnants of old Creole families. Royal Street was the center of licentiousness, lined with clubs and served as bars, gambling dens and houses of prostitution combined, and even the now staid-Hotel Monteleone serviced the trade that brought to the quarter. New Orleans after the turn of the 19th century was changing, with new high rise buildings going up across Canal Street and a new sense of boosterism sought not only to drive sin out of the quarter, but even threatened to demolish much of it for a new civic center, the only remnant of which is the old Municipal Auditorium. Storyville, Long tells us, was a compromise. There was too much money to be made off of the “below the neck pleasure business”, as much if not more from alcohol sales as from prostitution, and much of that found its way into the pockets of the city and its employees down to the cops lucky enough to draw that beat. Relocating the vice industry into a single district a bit further away from downtown was the solution, although Long reminds us the district stood directly behind the old Krauss and not two blocks from the Maison Blanche department stores, and would have abutted right up to the planned civic center running from Treme Street all the way to Royal.

Storyville finally fell victim to the ultra-conservative war-time Federal government which decreed that no troops could be stationed in a city with a sanctioned red light district. Not that the business went away entirely–“you can make prostitution illegal but you can’t make it unpopular,” Long quotes an unnamed politicians–it simply moved into other parts of town. The famed district met its final end when most of it was demolished for the Iberville Housing Project.

There are vestiges of the old sex workers still alive in New Orleans culture today, thanks to the revival of the traditional of the Baby Dolls by Antoinette K-Doe. The original Baby Dolls according to Kim Marie Vaz, author of “BABY DOLLS”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition, the original Baby Dolls were black sex workers of the era who marched with their “sporting gentlemen” (pimps) in contravention of the understanding that women did not mask in the streets, and in stark contrast to the more formal Black carnival krewes that survive today with their elaborate and exclusive balls Invitations to those events were as sought after and hard to get as invitations to Rex in the white community, and the organizations were quite conservative. Today’s Young Men’s Illinois Club emerged as a break away from the original group after the scandal of a married man escorting a young woman not his wife into the ball, much as today’s Krewe d’Etat grew out of a desire to parade among the younger generation of Momus who rejected the old krewe’s decision to refuse to parade rather than integrate.

The original Dolls used none of the props seen today, no baby bottles or suckers. Instead they dressed in the finest clothes they could manage and paraded shamelessly through the streets, drinking and dancing all the way, escorted by their sporting gentlemen often attired as police. The latter is rather funny if you consider the relationship to the sex workers who were the original Dolls to the law. The revival of the Baby Dolls contributes another facet to New Orleans Black carnival of fancy dress balls and Mardi Gras Indians.

All of the panelists books are available in the Festival Book Shop located in the Hotel Monteleone.

The Kingdom of God Is A Hand. February 9, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, Carnival, Central City, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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MLK Band

The evening begins with Ruby Bridges and ends with this picture of two young men in the Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School Marching Band. I wonder how many in the crowd remember who Bridges is, the small girl sent by parents as obedient as Abraham through the spit and vitriol walk to Golgotha past the Ku Klux mothers, into the segregated 1960 William Frantz Elementary School in the Ninth Ward. This evening she rides a float of honor in a Carnival parade staged by women the eldest of whom were likely raised like myself in Catholic and suburban schools as white as 1960 William Frantz and everyone in the crowd and on the floats likes to think we are far past all that.

The two unnamed young men attend a Ninth Ward school named for the famous civil rights leader, a school as uniformly black as William Frantz was white in 1959, a new school in the charter anarchy unleashed after the Federal Flood in the name of free-market reform. I wonder if their parents, likely raised in the Bantustan New Orleans Public School System and turned loose after their allotted sentence with half an education, carefully reviewed the dozens of new schools before selecting this one, or if they chose it because of Dr. King’s name, because it opened in the mostly de-peopled Ninth Ward, its name and location a symbol of a struggle that began in 1960 but which has never really ended.

The pair stopped right in front of me on St. Charles Avenue and 2nd Street during a stop in the parade, the older keeping up the parade rest beat while verbally schooling the younger one who struggled to keep up. I study the picture for some resemblance, perhaps they are brothers, but I don’t find any and think a wise band director chose to place the novice next to the older one, someone willing to take the younger under his wing and teach him the ropes. The seriousness of his face before I raise my phone camera as he speaks to the younger, all the while keeping up the rigorous tattoo, the way the younger one tries hard to match the drum strokes, shows the older to be someone with the innate authority to lead by example. He will make a fine teacher or preacher or military officer someday, in one of the few openings in America where the color of character really matters.

When I raise my camera the young men are both suddenly eyes-front and Marine Band erect, representing at their best. In a city where too many young men his age mistake fear for respect, he has mine immediately, both as teacher of the tradition and as the clearly proud person picture who wears his uniform patches as if they were a Nike swoosh drawn by the hand of God. It’s not fair to judge their school or the entire charter school movement by one young man but I have to think that the Dr. King school is doing something right. His pride and discipline shine like the best military band or ROTC unit you will see this carnival. His willingness to take responsibility for the younger drummer while never missing a beat, the way he snaps to attention and the young one follows his lead, is a badge of character as clear as the letters on his jacket, stands out from the crowd like the white plum on his hat.

I can’t help but think of how the most successful charter schools cherry pick students, of all the kids left behind in the Orleans Parish and Recovery School Districts, the ones unlucky enough to land in a corporate McDonald’s charter to be processed like so much meat, those who wind up bleeding out on someone’s porch over slights real or imagined. The teacher Jesus did not set out to save the whole world. Translations later he is said to proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand but I have to wonder if he meant his own hand; take this, he said, and be lifted up. Someone has lifted this young man up and he extends his to the younger and even as I type up this years list of the murdered I find in the middle of a Carnival parade not a moment of escape but a moment of hope.

Odd Words February 7, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Well, it’s Carnival time and everybody’s having too much fun to get to bookstore events, but here is a short rundown of regularly scheduled events. I have queries out to Spoken Word New Orleans and the Writer’s Block to make sure they are keeping their schedule. Watch the Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

As there is not much going on, here’s a list of books you could be reading if you are stranded far away and want something to read that really ought to have a gumbo stain somewhere on the pages:

  • Mystic Pig, by Richard Katrovis, the great undiscovered New Orleans novel that always tops my list.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. Usually this is the top of most lists and for good reason. I’m just a great fan of No. 1
  • Higher Ground, by James Nolan. Yes, it’s a Hurricane Katrina novel but its the one you need to read for comic relief from the rest.
  • Mimi’s First Mardi Gras by Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore. This is the illustrated children’s book I always read to my children over and over from Twelfth Night until Mardi Gras Day when they were living in the far north.
  • New Orleans, Mon Amour by Andrei Codrescu. No one takes you deeper into the spirit world of the city that erupts every Mardi Gras Day than Codrescu.

Just around the corner after Carnival is the annual Tennessee Williams Festival, and the program has just been published and the box office is open for ticket sales. You can get all of the details here on this year’s program. Odd Words will be there again this year covering the best of the fest, and I’ll have some previews of speakers and programs in the weeks to come.

& On Sunday at 3 p.m. the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series, the oldest continuous series in the south, will host a Mardi Gras open Mike. Next week, Feb. 17 poets Valentine Pierce and Radamir Luza will be featured

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Poets perform as our resident artists paints the crowd and performers. Also at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street. No longer at the Bayou Road location..

& Every Monday, 9 p.m. Writer’s Block, usually held on the amphitheater steps on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square. Check the Facebook page for details.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& UPDATE: No Wednesday show at Special Tea due to Carnival. Wednesday nights from 7-10 Lyrics and Laughs bridges comedy and poetry featuring performers from both genres at Special Tea, 4337 Banks St.

Odd Words Update January 13, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in 504, art, literature, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, publishing.
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A correction & an addition: Special Tea at 4337 Banks Street is now the home of Spoken Word New Orleans’ Sunday event. They also host another event on Wednesdays:

& Wednesday nights from 7-10 Lyrics and Laughs bridges comedy and poetry featurig performers from both genres at Special Tea, 4337 Banks St.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is  Poetry and Paint Brushes. Poets perform as our resident artists paints the crowd and performers. Also at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street. No longer at the Bayou Road location.

If you host events be sure to keep odd.words.nola@gmail.com in he loop.

Odd Words January 10, 2013

Posted by Mark Folse in books, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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A quick, belated congratulations to the Times-Picayune/NOLA.COM Top 10 books for 2012 list for fans of New Orleans- and Louisiana-set tales.

& Saturday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. Garden District books hosts Nancy Sharon Collins’ The Complete Engraver: Monograms, Crests, Ciphers, Seals, and the Etiquette of Social Stationery. “n this age of emails, texts, and instant messages, receiving a letter has become a rare treat. Engraved stationery can make a piece of correspondence, whether a short note, formal letter, or business card, even more special. Once an integral part of social life, the use of engraved stationery has become a lost art. In The Complete Engraver, author Nancy Sharon Collins brings this venerable craft to life-from the history and etiquette of engraved social stationery in America to its revival and promise of new visual possibilities. “

& Saturday evening at 7 p.m. the Shadowbox Theater will host The top finishers from our monthly poetry slams will compete for a chance to advance to the Team SNO finals and represent New Orleans at the 2013 Southern Fried Poetry Slam and defend Team SNO’s title at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, MA. Hosted by Pass It On co-founder, HBO Treme-featured poet, and MelaNated Writers Collective member, Gian Francisco Smith. 7 p.m. $5 admission.

& Sundays at 3 p.m. the soutt’s oldest continuous reading series at The Maple Leaf Bar meets in the back patio with featured readers followed by an open mike. The January list is not out yet but watch the Odd Words Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates before Sunday. This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from Poets & Writers, Inc. New Orleans.

& 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 word events and visiting artists all around town. Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.

& Monday, Jan 14th at 4 p.m. Garden District Book Shops features Miles Arceneaux’s new novel Thin Slice of Life, the latest in a series of mysteries penned under the “nom de plume” Miles Arceneaux by Texas-based writers Brent Douglass, John T. Davis and James R. Dennis, who began the novel as a lark–a daisy-chain manuscript with participants writing chapters in turn. Critical encouragement, a Best Mystery Manuscript award, and friends’ enthusiasm for the book combined to encourage the trio to finish it. Miles is currently working on the third novel in the series introduced by “Thin Slice of Life.”

& Every Monday at 9 p.m. on the amphitheater steps on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square it’s the outdoor open mic Writer’s Block. No rule, no mic, no rules, just right. Bringing cookies is an excellent introduction, and stay for the weekly finale, a rousing sing-a-long of Mercedes-Benz led by organizer Kate Smash.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

& Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Garden District Book Shop presents William Rau’s “quintessential resource of 19th-Century European Painting” From Barbizon to La Belle Époque, Ninteenth-Century European Painting.”Touted by scholars for its unparalleled approach in 19th-century art history scholarship, this limited, first edition is expected to generate high demand.”

This scholarly yet approachable book by William Rau sheds new light on the history of 19th-century European painting by examining the works of over 200 masters, covering dozens of movements from Romanticism to Impressionism, and everything in between. Masters of 19th-century art, including Corot, Bouguereau, Alma-Tadema, Godward, Monet, Renoir, van Gogh, Pissarro, Mönsted, Grimshaw, Dawson, Elsley, Vibert, Soulacroix, Herring, Sr., Delacroix, Courbet, Lewis, and Gerome are examined.

& Tuesday Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts presentation and book signing with Tulane Law School’s Vernon Palmer featuring his new book, THROUGH THE CODES DARKLY, an examination of the history of Louisiana’s “Code Noir” or slave laws.

& A week from today on Thursday, January 17 at 6 p.m. “New Orleans Food Goddess” Lorin Gaudin and photographer Romney Caruso celebrating the launch of their new book, NEW ORLEANS CHEF’S TABLE: Extraordinary Recipes from the French Quarter to the Garden District. With a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Loyola University of New Orleans, and a culinary diploma from The Ritz-Escoffier in Paris, she parlayed her education to become a Food Editor/Reporter for national, regional and local publications as well as local television and radio stations. Lorin is a contributing editor/writer for The New York Post, Culinary Concierge, Where Magazine New Orleans and Where Y’at Magazine.

Odd Words December 27, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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It’s hard to wrap my brain around cleaning and rearranging the house from stem to stern as I contemplate the couch and my holiday book look: So Recently Rent a World by Andrei Codrescu, The Collected Stories of Dylan Thomas and a copy of All The Thinks Men in hardback from the library book sale in Leavenworth, KS sent by my sister. The number of fantastic titles I have picked up from Alibris and Abe that are boldly stamped WITHDRAWN or DISCARD simply amazes me. I don’t understand why a library would want to get rid of books.

Its a quiet week, perfect for settling into the couch with your holiday book.

& There’s only one bookstore event this week. Maple Street Bookstore’s Healing Center location hosts a book reading and signing with Melinda Palacio and Lucrecia Guerrero. Palacio’s newest poetry collection, How Fire is a Story, Waiting creates images that are at once heartbreaking and humorous. She tackles elemental subjects of family and childhood with the same depth and grace as that of myth making and death. Divided into four sections, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, Palacio tempers heartbreak, violence, and disappointment with the antidote of humor, beauty, and an appreciation for life. In Guererro’s book, Tree of Sighs, a young girl, Altagracia, faces an uncertain future with a bitter and secretive grandmother after the sudden death of her parents. After the two sink into poverty, Altagracia ends up with a woman who takes her to the United States, changes her name to Grace, and puts her to work as a full-time domestic servant. Tree of Sighs is the story of Grace’s journey to uncover her past as she straddles two cultures in the search for her own identity.

& Saturday night at 9 p.m. Cafe Istanbul hosts the Southern Friend Fundraiser to support New Orleans’ hosting the Southern Fried Poetry Slam in June, 2013. The cover will be $10 and free for the first 10 poets to make the the list. This show will be sponsored by the good poets at WordPlay N.O.

& Sundays at 3 p.m. the south’s oldest continuous reading series at The Maple Leaf Bar meets in the back patio with featured readers followed by an open mike. On Dec. 30 poet Melinda Palacio reads from and signs her new book, How Fire Is A Story Waiting. This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from Poets & Writers, Inc. New Orleans.

& 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 word events and visiting artists all around town. Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.

& Usually Every Monday at 9 p.m. on the amphitheater steps on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square it’s the outdoor open mic Writer’s Block. No rule, no mic, no rules, just right. Bringing cookies is an excellent introduction, and stay for the weekly finale, a rousing sing-a-long of Mercedes-Benz led by organizer Kate Smash.

& 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. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest.

The Not-So-Black Death November 2, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Federal Flood, Fortin Street, Murder, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I open the folder that spent the last seven years in the Toulouse Street shed, and you can smell the light dusting of black mold. I go through it page by page, toss a few on the scanner, and tuck the most precious into gallon zip lock bags but my sinuses are on fire. I imagine the almost microscopic spores settling into the carpet and couch. I should have done this in the kitchen but it’s too late now. I will have to vacuum the front within an inch of its life. I never gutted a house like Ray, never faced the decision of my friend Eric to lose the respirator because working in a Type III in August in New Orleans is a choice between strangulation quick or slow. I remember the workers back in ’06 in the convenience store, grabbing a large, milky coffee and a Mexican sweet roll to start the day, bandannas bandito-style around their necks, the only protection they would have against the gypsum dust and mold.

You gotta die of something I think as I step out onto my stoop for a cigarette. The air is laced with hydrocarbons from the upriver refineries and my coffee is brewed with water from the sewer of mid-America. The other night I saw a man I haven’t run into in a while whose daughter suffered from dangerous levels of lead when first tested, an educated man and wife living in a carefully renovated house, not your idea of a tenement with peeling yellow paint, children stuffing flakes in their curious mouths but in parts of this city the dirt is thick with lead and arsenic. Their daughter is fine now but how many other children are playing in a packed-dirt rental backyard right now?

You gotta die of something, and that fried oyster po-boy might kill you in ways your clucking doctor might not imagine as she renews your cholesterol medicine. R.I.P., Mr. Folse, the shrimp boat captain said on Facebook when I told her I would continue eating wild caught Louisiana seafood. The planes had been out that day, she said, spraying Corexit on the latest sheen from British Petroleum’s Deep Water Horizon wellhead. For now those initials stand for Reel In Po-Boys, and who can blame her for still fishing when I-10 is lined with smiling chefs telling us to Eat Louisiana Seafood? What happens to Corexit when you dump it into a deep fryer? Who knows? Nothing to see here. Move on. What do you say to people who came home to complete ruin that would deter them living here? What would keep the people suffering today in New York away from a steady diet of diesel exhaust, Jersey VOCs and stress? What would take the farmers off the land, the ones who wrestle 50-gallon drums of poison without which they couldn’t make the bank note? What could keep that shrimp boat captain off the water? Short of Chernobyl and soldiers loading people onto trucks, nothing.

You gotta die of something, and if I put down the cigarettes what other diabolical entertainment might my grandfather’s ghost reach up from his alcoholic’s grave to suggest? If I were forced to stop eating seafood you can put me on suicide watch right away. The water is as clean as the Sewerage & Water Board can manage, and wins taste tests, but I know from a local brewer that Dixie used its own purified well water because the city’s Ph was skewed because there are still antique lead pipes in the system. They just don’t know where. I once found a slug beneath my patio chair one New Year’s Day, the hole where it went through the webbing. So it goes. You pick your place and take your chances. You are more likely to be killed or seriously injured by a car while walking in New York City than you are to be shot in New Orleans. After the flooding from the second hurricane in two years to strike New York you start to ask the question you answered a thousand times yourself: why do people live there.?

I am not worried about how I die so much as where, and that is the one decision about death most of us get to make. I was born here in New Orleans in a hospital on Perdido Street. I will die here and invite anyone who wishes to dispute that point to join me. I want to die where my diet is a cheap and easy contributing factor, where a wake is an occasion to shame the Irish, where a band is more essential than a minister. No bouquets for me. Just bury me when the sweet autumn clematis are in bloom, on a cool October day with someone cooking with the windows open, and the sound of the band carrying to the next ward on the apple-crisp air. Just put a pack of smokes and my Zippo in the box to get me through the day.

Yakumo Fee Nah Ney October 21, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in City Park, cryptic envelopment, Mardi Gras Indians, music, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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We go in the Wisteria Gate because the crowd is so large and the Japanese Garden in New Orleans is so small. We end up at the back of the crowd as the tour guide makes his spiel, and as everyone finally moves into the garden my friend pulls me back toward the plaque in front so she can read it.

She thinks the name Yakumo Japanese Garden is funny. I’m trying to explain to a gentleman with foreign-accented English why the name Yakumo Nihon Teien (Yakumo Japanese Garden) is funny to a New Orleanian. There’s no quick way to explain Jocomo fee nah nay except to say it’s a Mardi Gras Indian chant rooted in Creole and leave it at that. While we are talking a Japanese gentleman comes up and begins to earnestly read the plaque at the entrance. “And Yakamein,” my friend reminds me, “don’t forget to tell him about yakamein.” The Japanese man bends neatly at the waist to read to the bottom with the practiced habit of bowing rather than hunching over as I did. He comes up from reading the bottom of the plaque and stands admiring it. A woman behind me says something in Japanese, and the man turns to pose beside the plaque. “That’s Yakumo’s great-grandson,” she says in English over her camera, and I frantically dig for the phone. He is Bon Koizumi, a professor at the University of Shimane, Junior College and Adviser to the Lafacadio Hearn Memorial Museum in Matsue, I learn when I exchange my embarrassingly cheap and a bit tattered business card for his elegant one, trying to bow just a bit deeper as much for the embarrassing card as the honor. without getting into a contest that leads me to tip over, feinting like a lineman trying to draw an offsides so that I bow just a bit lower and come up last without provoking a second bow. It is not just an exchange of cards. It is a special moment, Yakumo’s great-grandson in the garden named for him on the day of Japan Fest.

Bon Koizumi, great-grandson of Yokumo Koizumi (Lafcadio Hearn), in the Yakumo Japanese Garden in New Orleans.

This is an above average Japan Fest for me. After an early set by Kaminari Taiko I manage to watch the entire tea ceremony. In the past it was done in a small room and the doors were closed once it began, but this year it has been moved to the atrium. Once I’m done snapping pictures, I try to sit on my heels with my feet folded under and realize if I want to be invited to participate, I’m going to need a year of stretching and practice before I could sit in that position for 30 minutes. I catch most of the Kendo demonstration, and decide to take their offer to go up on stage and give one of them a few good whacks on the helmet. I take a card. (Another thing to do? Really?). I find the Haiku Society and enter the one I wrote the night before. I don’t know the man behind the table but he recognizes my name as last year’s winner, and we make arrangements to get my book prize. Always nice to make an impression. I once again stump the women who will write your name in calligraphy on a book mark with my annual request for Dancing Bear in traditional characters. The younger woman who draws mine resorts to voice searching some site on her iPhone but manages to make me another temple bell pendant for this year. I wander through the Go room and pick up a pen made from recycled paper at the City of Matasue table. Matasue is a sister city to New Orleans, based in part on Hearn’s residence in their city and our’s. I grabbed some lunch from Ninja sushi, and manage to chop-stick up the last few grains of rice from my plate one by one.

I’m having a fantastic time, and I haven’t met Bon Koizumi yet.

My particular friend and my son text me within minutes of each other. Both have decided to come. Awkward, the little sing-song voice in my head telsl me but it turns out fine. Later they sat and chatted naturally as I went to buy us waters, another fortuitous moment in the day. I buy them wristbands and my son is off to the anime room upstairs but I notice the ikebana table is already torn down. It is four o’clock and I forgot that the times had been shifted to work around the 5k race this morning. It is all over except for the final taiko set. She and I wander back into the hall full of vending tables and I go back to see if the porcelain plate, a fluted rectangle with a high-gloss tropical ocean blue finish in one triangular patch, and the other rough clay with fine striations like the rakings of a karesansui garden. Miraculously it is still there. I’m dead broke and trying not to buy anything but I desperately want one of the miniature net floats, the glass balls bound in a net of rope that I have seen before in Quarter shops long ago. I had a long conversation with the couple behind the table when I first stopped there earlier in the day about the full-sized float, telling them they used to wash up on Grand Isle and such places. They didn’t know they were found in the Gulf. We discuss the wide-ranging Japanese fishing fleet and ocean currents while I occasionally pick up and admire the plate, then wander off empty-handed.

When I come back, they remember me. We’re about to close up, he says, I’ll make you a deal on anything on the table. I pick up the plate. Ten dollars, he says. I smile and reach for the last miniature float and my wallet. As we turn to go I notice something I did not see before, or which was not on the table. It’s a clearly used walking stick inscribed with three Kanji characters. I love walking sticks and can’t resist picking it up, holding it in two open hands and staring after hefting it. The characters mean I have walked the three mountains, he tells me, explaining that pilgrims who visit the Three Mountains and climb to the Shinto temple at the summit of each have their walking sticks stamped with these characters. I think I manage a wow while nodding in appreciation and stand holding the stick out before me at forearms length in my open palms like a an altar boy holding the cloth for the priest at the consecration.

I will never know why, perhaps something about the way and length of time I hold the stick that way, my head moving slightly to take it in from handle to foot, stopping each time to rest on the three characters. Take it, he says.

What? I answer. Take it, he says. It’s yours.

I hardly know what to say. The couple are American enthusiasts. This is not the stereotypical story of admiring an Asian man’s watch too long or too enthusiastically.

Seriously? I ask again, impolitely I realize. I’m just dumbstruck by his offer.

Absolutely, he says with no further explanation,smiling, arms folded to end the discussion.

I don’t know what else to do but return the stick to is customary stance resting on the ground, and shake his hand and thank him.

Earlier I spoke with the architect who designed the Japanese garden, offering my admiration and hearing about his two summers studying in Japan. I offer to volunteer, to pick litter from the dry stream bed that wanders through the garden, the nod of karesansui in the small space, anxious to learn some of the secrets. I feel an invisible poke in the ribs through the corner of the eye from my friend. (Another thing to do? Really? When do you plan to sleep?). I tell him of the gardens I have seen in the U.S., and my dream of a pilgrimage to Japan to visit the gardens. We exchange cards; no bowing this time.

I have always spoken of my hope to visit the Prefecture of Kyoto in Japan and see the gardens as a pilgrimage. Now I stand in my house holding a pilgrim’s stick with its unearned, at least by me, inscription. Yamagata Prefecture is not near to Kyoto. Perhaps I will never climb the Three Mountains of Dewa if I go to Japan, but holding this object I think about the relationship between this gift and geis, the ancient Celtic curse of obligation. I know visiting the gardens of Kyoto is not just a bucket list dream of a man working paycheck to paycheck with no prospect of retirement beyond Social Security. It has always been more than just that but as I place the stick against the wall next to the front room bookshelves I know that I will go, that I must go. There was a reason for the gift neither I nor the gentleman who gave it to me understood at the time, an unspoken communication between the stones of the Shinto temples of Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono and those of the gardens of Kyoto and the American gardens I have seen, the stones I have seen today, a reminder of a dreamy, romanticized desire straight from the pages of Yakumo Koizumi become now an obligation of pilgrimage, no longer a possible indulgence of a man with time and money to spare but an ordained act of grace.


Postscript: Most readers will glance past the title and think it just a clever turn of phrase from a former headline writer, but there is something a bit deeper. The chants written down by Sugar Boy Crawford half a century ago and which became the song “Iko Iko” are phonetic appropriations from Creole, warped either by time or Sugar Boy’s phonetic transcription. Jocomo fi nou wa na né is one researchers assertion, meaning Jocomo caused our king to be born. Jocomo fi na né is approximately “Jocomo made it so”, and I think Yokamo did.

Odd Words October 18, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
3 comments

New Orleans has more independent new-and-used bookstores per capital than any other major city except Manhattan in New York, which is a dead tie, according to Micheal Zell of Crescent City Books. More on all this later when I get through my notes on yesterday’s forum on New Orleans Literary Life at the University of New Orleans’ English Department’s 3rd Wednesday speaker series.

Against the Day Update/Kindle Update: Page 1085/100%. I sort of missing doing this the last few weeks, but I finished the book 10 days ago and hated the Kindle experience so much that I immediately downloaded Tom DeLillo’s the Angel Esmerelda and Matt Johnson’s Pym: A Novel on a recommendation by Maud Newton [sigh]. I am currently reading Louis’ Maistro’s New Orleans Stories: New Orleans Stories which is I should mention free. Why wouldn’t you want to go out and download that? My offer still stands to purchase my copy of Against The Day to fill that gaping hole in my Pynchon shelf from the first Indie book store owner to offer up a blurb for Odd Words.

& so to the listings…

& Tonight, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. 17 Poets! hosts novelist LOUIS MAISTROS and poet JOSEPH MAKKOS followed by OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross. Maistros is a longtime resident of the New Orleans 8th Ward neighborhood, is the author of The Sound of Building Coffins and Anti-requiem: New Orleans Stories. His work has appeared in publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Relix Magazine, the Baltimore City Paper, Entrepot, and many others. He is also an accomplished art photographer, and has been called “a wizard with light, shadows, and colors” by Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane. Makkos is also a resident of New Orleans, serves as a full-time faculty member in the English department at Delgado Community College. He also operates an independent letterpress studio & publishing house, where he serves as editor-in-chief. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.

& Cynthia LeJeune Nobles will present and sign her fascinating historical book The Delta Queen Cookbook, a combination history and cookbook on the world’s last authentic overnight wooden steamboat and the food that was served on boardtTonight at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books The Delta Queen Cookbook brings the Delta Queen’s story to life with an engaging historical narrative and over 125 recipes prepared by the steamboat’s former chefs during their tenures in the “cookhouse.”

& Imagine growing up in New Orleans and developing a food allergy. (Try finding a place to eat dinner with someone with a violent allergy to anything that swims. This is hard.) Imagine growing up with a father known for his rich, Creole-style cooking, who instilled a love and appreciation of food from the very start. Now imagine not being able to eat most of his dishes anymore. That’s what happened to Jilly and Jessie Lagasse when they were diagnosed with gluten allergies in 2001 and 2004, respectively. So they learned to adjust, changing the ways they cooked, ate, and used ingredients. THE GLUTEN-FREE TABLE provides a well-balanced base of recipes that can add flavor and enjoyment to the menus of even the most demanding gluten-free eaters. Tonight, Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Garden District Book Shop.

& Tonight at Tulane City of Matsue, the official friendship city of New Orleans will host a Special Lecture on Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn, Book and Art Exhibition at the Freeman Auditorium at 6 p.m. Professor Bon Koizumi (Hearn’s great-grandson) will give a special lecture on Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn. Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (Koizui Yakumo) lived in New Orleans for ten years from 1877 to 1887 working as a journalist. For Hearn who was accustomed to buying one way tickets and travelling the world, this was one of his most lengthy stops. ‘The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn in New Orleans’ will display approximately 24 pieces from the 2010 exhibition in Matsue Castle; 2 pieces from the American College of Greece; 3 of his favorite items from the Matsue Hearn Memorial Museum; 26 of first editions of the books mainly from his time in New Orleans (Rare Book Collection, Special Collections, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library,*2 Tulane University).

& Michael Allen Zell will be signing his book Errata at Maple Street Book’s Bayou St. John location on Friday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. “In Zell’s debut novel, 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 using Stern-like disgressions directed by Joycean movements of the mind. This book, with its sultry darkness of city and soul, teaches the reader how to uniquely read it. Zell has an inventive and engaging voice, positioning him as an inheritor of the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Julio Cortazar, Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundra, and Bruno Schulz.”

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series is an open mic. Next week Oct. 28 Michael Allen Zell reads from and signs his novel, Errata.

& Also this Sunday you get another bite at the Lagasse girl’s The Gluten Free Table at Maple Street Book Shop’s Healing Center Location at St. Claude. No time listed. Call for details: (504)304-7115.

& I have no idea what Duck Commander is about, but I pulled the cable plug a while back. For fans on the curious (me) Willie and Korie Robertson, stars of the A&E hit series “Duck Dynasty,” will be at the Maple Street Book Shop Uptown location signing their book, The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty, Sunday, October 21st, 2-4PM. “Part redneck logic, part humorous stories of our family, combined with faith, business tips and a little history- this book is the inside sneak-peek for everything you wanted to know about growing up a Robertson and what it is like to be a part of this family,” says Willie.

& 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 night Press Street’s Room 220 will host Adam Parfrey reading Ritual America and Joseph Scott Morgan will be reading Blood Beneath My Feet at 735 St. Ferdinand Street at 7 p.m. (This is a private residence, not the Antenna Gallery). Pafrey, described by the Seattle Times as “one of the nation’s most provocative publishers”, has published a book that peels back the curtains on America’s secret societies. Ritual America reveals the biggest secret of them all: that the influence of fraternal brotherhoods on this country is vast, fundamental, and hidden in plain view. In the early twentieth century, as many as one-third of America belonged to a secret society. And though fezzes and tiny car parades are almost a thing of the past, the Gnostic beliefs of Masonic orders are now so much a part of the American mind that the surrounding pomp and circumstance has become faintly unnecessary. Have you ever been locked in a cooler with piles of decomposing humans for so long that you had to shave all the hair off your body in order to get rid of the smell? Joseph Scott Morgan did. Have you ever lit a Marlboro from the ignited gas of a bloated dead man’s belly? Joseph Scott Morgan has. Morgan became a death investigator with the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office in suburban New Orleans in 1987. At the time of his hire, he was estimated to have been the youngest medicolegal death investigator in the country working in a major metropolitan area. Over the course of his career he was required to work in the morgue during the day and subsequently work as an investigator for the coroner at night. Maple Street Book Shop (Healing Center) will be on-site to sell books.

& 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, Oct. 23 Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with Tonja Koob Marking & Jennifer Snape celebrating their new book of historical photos LOUISIANA’S OIL HERITAGE from Arcadia Publishing, whose books on K&B, Maison Blanche and other local topics you may have seen checking out of Walgreen’s with their historical plaque title boxes and sepia covers.. This book covers the history of Louisiana’s oil patch from the discovery of oil in 1901 through 2001.

& Thomas Joseph Perez will be signing his novel Katrina Lashes Arabia at Maple Street Book’s Healing Center location at 6:30 p.m. A New Orleans ex-pat working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia looses her temper at a Saudi man in the marketplace shortly after the hurricane of the same name strikes her home and finds herself taking refuge from the authorities in the place of a Saudi Prince which interesting sexual tastes who is working on biological weapons on the side. The picture of a sexually submissive Saudi prince gives new meaning to the word spellbinding, and I think we can chalk this up as the Katrina Novel No One Could Have Predicted.

Next Week: Robert Olin Butler at Octavia Books.

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