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Odd Words June 25, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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This week in literary New Orleans coming to you from Dorf Tirol:

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& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.

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

& Friday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Book Webb Hubbell and When MenBetrar. Why would Woody Cole, a peaceful, caring man, shoot a US Senator in cold blood on live television? That’s the mystery facing attorney Jack Patterson as he returns to Little Rock, Arkansas, a town he swore he would never step foot in again. Set in a fictionalized version of Webb Hubbell’s home town of Little Rock, Arkansas, readers will be immersed into the steamy world behind the southern BBQ and antebellum facade-a seedy underbelly of secrets and betrayals. Clever readers may recognize the colorful personalities and locales of the Arkansas political scene. Jack is supported by a motley but able crew; loyal assistant Maggie, college-aged daughter Beth, feisty lawyer Micki, and his bodyguard Clovis. Together, Jack and his rag-tag team are in a race against time to discover Woody’s hidden motive. All he has is a series of strange clues, hired thugs gunning for him, and the one man who knows everything isn’t talking. Alliances are tested, buried tensions surface, and painful memories are relived as he tries to clear the name of his old college friend. Jack Patterson will find that even the oldest friendships can be quickly destroyed when men betray.

& Storytime with Miss Maureen Saturday at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop feturres Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Poor Queen Victoria She loves to swim, but can’t quite figure out how to get to the water without her devoted subjects glimpsing her swimming suit. (Because, of course, such a sight would compromise her regal dignity.) Fortunately for the water-loving monarch, it’s Prince Albert to the rescue with an invention fit for a queen! This quirky tale about the longest reigning monarch in British history is as fun as it is authentic.

& Saturday at 5 pm Octavia Books host a reading and signing with author Alexandra Duncan featuring her newly released YA novel, Salvage.. The book focuses on a girl who has been explicitly raised on a space merchant ship until she is banished from their ranks, and forced to survive on her own on Earth that is now encompassed by an unstable climate. SALVAGE is a sweeping and harrowing literary science fiction novel. Surprising and thought-provoking, with a feminist twist, its exploration of choice and consequences, rebellion, family, and finding a place for oneself in the world will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

& 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 a Poet Lenore Weiss reads from and signs her new book, Two Places.

& Monday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features Lisa Howorth’s Flying Shoes. Mary Byrd Thornton could understand how a reporter couldn’t resist the story: a nine-year-old boy sexually molested and killed on Mother’s Day, 1966. A suspect to whom nothing would stick. A neighborhood riddled with secrets. No one, especially the bungling or complicit authorities, had been able to solve the crime. Now, thirty years later, the reporter’s call will reel a reluctant Mary Byrd from Mississippi back to Virginia where she must confront her family—and, once again, the murder’s irremovable stain, Flying Shoes is a work of fiction, but the murder is based on the still-unsolved case of her stepbrother, a front page story in the Washington Post.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& 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.

& 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!) 

N.B. The Blood Jet and Tender Loin reading series are adjourned until the Fall.

I am in Europe in a literary workshop for a month. For events at your local library please visit Nutrias.org for the New Orleans Public Library and http://www.jefferson.lib.la.us for Jefferson Parih. Please get me your events as early as possible through the end of July so I can keep up Odd Words catch as catch can.

Planeta sin Soledad: 2 June 20, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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1. The guys in the ETA booth (T as in transito, not terrorists) are complete fucking idiots. If you want to find your stop, ask a bus driver in your best high school Spanish.

2. The Pop Art exhibit at the Thyssen-Bornemisza was a comlete waste of 7 Euro. The only worth while thing was a small collage of James Dean and Rimbaud in grey-scale and pink by Ray Johnson. And of course the special exhibit was the only part of the museum that didn’t allow photography.

3. OK, I haven’t been to the Prado but it is going to have to be exceptional to match the breadth and taste of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.

4. I pass the Plaza de Toros on my homeward bus, and tomorrow I’ getting off to take pictures. It is a Moorish wonder.

5. As I am off to the Gezuversity to study Ezra Pound, I was amazed to walk into the first room at the Thyssen-Bornemisza and find a small selection of Vorticist paintings. I think the universe was correcting me for suggesting I toss off several thousand and tuition and just stay in Madrid. Still a tempting thought.

Odd Words June 17, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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& This Thursday Maple Street Book Shop hosts Bonnie Warren and her book New Orleans Historic Homes. New Orleans is world famous for its unique residents and stunning architecture. Those who live in the Crescent City have crafted homes to suit their tastes and needs, creating some of the most beautiful, fascinating structures in the nation. Explore the private homes of renowned neighborhoods, including the Garden District, the French Quarter, Bayou St. John, the Bywater, and the Faubourg Marigny. Warren profiles the residents, their relationships to their homes, and well-known former occupants. Homeowners discuss the histories of their houses, detailing renovations and repairs and expounding upon striking the balance between preserving history and infusing the home with personal style.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Alan Furst’s book MIDNIGHT IN EUROPE. The New York Times bestselling author Alan Furst, the “most talented espionage novelist of our generation” (Vince Flynn), now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic and richly rendered novel of spies and espionage, in Paris, New York and Madrid, on the eve of World War II.

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

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.

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

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Karen White’s book A LONG TIME GONE. When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back, as generations of the women in her family had. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s exactly what happens—Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children. What she hopes to find is solace with “Bootsie,” her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. But instead she finds that her grandmother has died and that her estranged mother is drifting further away from her memories. Now Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she herself once was

& 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 a Summer Solstice Open Mike.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia books hosts a presentation and signing with presidential biorgrapher Nigel Hamilton featuring his new book, THE MANTLE OF COMMAND: FDR at War, 1941-1942. In time for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a close, in-the-room look at how President Roosevelt took masterful command and control of the Second World War, from wresting key decisions away from Churchill and his own generals, to launching the first successful trial landing in North Africa, and beginning to turn the tide away from the Axis.

& 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.

& 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 8 pm at the Allways, Esoterotica presents “Tantalizing Travels in Desirous Destination!”, an evening of erotic writings.

N.B. The Blood Jet and Tender Loin reading series are adjourned until the Fall.

I am in Europe in a literary workshop for a month. Please get me your events as early as possible through the end of July so I can keep up Odd Words catch as catch can.

Why does Facebook hate books? June 11, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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Facebook advertising (without which a post on a page with almost 700 likes reaches < 10 of its fans, found thismpost offensive.

Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Andre Dubus III’s DIRTY LOVE. In this heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning, beloved and celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love. In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is “dirty”-tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. Slivered by happiness and discontent, aging and death, but also persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.

If you think this is silly drop a line to info@facebook.com and tell them to stop disapproving posts for silly reasons.

Odd Words June 11, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Andre Dubus III’s DIRTY LOVE. In this heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning, beloved and celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love. In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is “dirty”-tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. Slivered by happiness and discontent, aging and death, but also persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.

& Thursday 5:30 pm the Nix Library features Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names. Author and photographer Sally Asher reads from her new book, a tour of the city’s most colorfully named streets and intersections

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

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& 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 Fiction writer Louie Crowder reads from and signs his new book, In Irons from Gallatin & Toulouse Press.

& This Monday New Orleans celebrates Bloomsday upstairs at The Irish House, 1432 St. Charles Ave. for Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, sponsored by Crescent City Books. Come read or just join us and enjoy good food and drink (for purchase) from acclaimed Chef Matt Murphy. All are welcome to read, time permitting, up to 10 minutes max.
Featuring guest readers: Brian Boyles, Pandora Gastelum, Susan Larson, Stephen Rea, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and members of the New Orleans Poetry Brothel

& On Monday at 6 pm Garden District Books hosts Scott Cowen’s The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and The Future of Urban America, co-written with Betsy Seifer. This is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities. Ordinary citizens, empowered to actively rescue their own city after politicians and government officials failed them, have succeeded in rebuilding their world. Cowen was at the leading edge of those who articulated, shaped, and implemented a vision of transformative change that has yielded surprising social progress and economic growth: a drowned city identified with the shocking images of devastation and breakdown has transformed itself into a mecca of growth, opportunity, and hope.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& 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.

& 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!)

Next Wednesday I will be in transit to Europe. Please get me your events as early as possible starting next week through the end of July.

Odd Words June 4, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Edward J. Branley presents and signs his new book, NEW ORLEANS JAZZ, including more than 200 vintage images documenting the birth and development of jazz in New Orleans. Branley is the author of several historical books on New Orleans, including New Orleans: The Canal Street Car Line, Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, and Maison Blanche Department Stores.

& Thursday at 7 pm the New Orleans Public Library and Prospect New Orleans feature the first P.3 Reads, a conversation between Zarouhie Abdalian and Jerry Ward exploring Brenda Marie Osbey’s All Saints: New and Selected Poems. P.3 Reads, a Prospect New Orleans Public Program, is inspired by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans’ vision for the at Alvar Branch, 913 Alvar Street. Prospect.3 (P.3). The program takes place monthly in different NOPL branches. Artists who will be featured in the upcoming P.3 Biennial will discuss with members of the New Orleans community the books that have been important in their lives and work.

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

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Thursday the Jefferson Parish Library SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writers’ Circle meets at 7 pm at the Lakeshore Library. James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Starting Friday catch Pressure Cooker for the Soul new play by Moose Jackson. Jackson also authored Loup Garoup and is a notable local poet. Doors and Pre-show 6:00PM. Show @ 6:45PM Shows 6/6, 7, 8, 2014

& Starting Friday St. Francisville, La. will host the Walker Percy Festival, A Literary Festival Celebrating the Writer and His Works June 6—8. Good food and drink, live music, and a great time talking about books and Southern culture under the live oaks: That’s what the inaugural Walker Percy Weekend has to offer when it celebrates the acclaimed novelist’s life and work in St. Francisville, June 6—8. * Tickets are limited and selling fast. You can get tickets here

& Saturday starting at 4 p.m. author and award-winning playwright Louie Crowder will sign his new novella In Irons from Gallatin & Toulouse Press at Faubourgh Marigny Art & Books, 600 Frenchman Street.

& At 3 pm Saturday in Aclee Fortier Park (Esplanade Avenue at Mystery Street) 100,000 Poets for Change hosts World Word Against Police Brutality. “Poetry vigil for Peace against police brutality stop the killing stop the WAR… Poets are invited to read, recite, sing or spit poems to raise consciousness about police brutality and to change hearts, the only way to achieve justice.”

& Saturday the Latter Memorial Library features the monthly Poetry Buffet hosted by Gina Ferrara. Reading this month are poets Peter Cooley, J Bruce Fuller, and Lee Grue.

& 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 poet Delia Nakayama reads from her work followed by an open mic

& Sunday is a special evening with Khaled Hosseini – #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE KITE RUNNER – celebrating the paperback release of AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. The author will be interviewed before a live audience by Louisiana Cultural Vistas editor David Johnson. Octavia Books is holding the event at Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue (at Calhoun), New Orleans, LA. Doors open at 4:300PM and the program will start promptly at 5:30. Tickets are required! The cost per ticket is the same as the price of the book. You will get to meet Khaled Hosseini in person while he signs your copy. Call or visit Octavia Books (or their website) to order tickets in advance.

& 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.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator

& On Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Jeanette Walls’ The Silver Star. It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations. An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books and the Jewish Community Center invite you to a presentation and signing with outgoing Tulane University President Scott Cowen celebrating the launch of his new book, THE INEVITABLE CITY: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America. This is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities. Ordinary citizens, empowered to actively rescue their own city after politicians and government officials failed them, have succeeded in rebuilding their world.

& Tuesday at 6:30 bring Author Night at the Hubbell Branch of the New Orleans Public Library, featuring Vietnamese Cuisine in New Orleans by Susan Pfefferle. The East meets the Westbank and more! With recipes by local Vietnamese cooks and world-renowned chefs, this cookbook provides the reader with a detailed offering of Vietnamese cuisine in the New Orleans area. Join us for a discussion and book signing.

& 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.

& Room 220 and The N.O. Loving Festival host NATIVE. HOMELAND. EXILE. featuring five New Orleans writers will explore the theme native, homeland, exile through readings and a Q&A from 6 – 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Press Street HQ, 3718 St. Claude Ave. Readers include: ADDIE CITCHENS, a Mississippi native and New Orleans-based writer of literary fiction. She has been featured in the Oxford American‘s “Best of the South” edition, in Calloloo journal, and others; JERI HILT is a Louisiana native with roots in New Orleans, Avoyelles Parish, and Shreveport. She writes fiction and teaches literacy in the Lower Ninth Ward; AMBATA KAZI-NANCE is a writer and teacher living in her hometown New Orleans with her husband and son. She writes for Azizah magazine and Grow Mama Grow, a blog for Muslim mothers; and, J.R. RAMAKRISHNAN whose journalism has appeared in Style.com, Harper’s Bazaar, Chicago Tribune, and Grazia, amongst other publications. Her fiction has appeared in [PANK]. She arrived in New Orleans by way of Brooklyn, London, and Kuala Lumpur, her original hometown. She is director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. They will provide attendees a concert of voices from women writers of color that unflinchingly captures the coming of age in America’s New South. This event is part of the New Orleans Loving Festival, a multiracial community celebration and film festival that challenges racial discrimination through outreach and education.

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Maple Street Book Shop features the Plume Anthology of Poetry Reading. lume (http://plumepoetry.com/) has become one of the most respected and influential on-line poetry journals. Its contributors are a veritable Who’s Who of contemporary American Poetry. Readers will include Carrie Causey, Peter Cooley, Benjamin Lowenkron, Brad Richard and Christopher Shipman.

& 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!)

Odd Words May 28, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in art, books, Creative Non-Fiction, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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&Thursday at 5:30 pm Author Deborah Burst will discuss, Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Churches, Cathedrals & Sanctuaries, herhistory and architecture of churches in the New Orleans area, and their place in the local community at the Nix Library .

&Garden District Book Shop hosts Amy Conner’s The Right Thing Thursday at 6 pm. In her compassionate and lyrical debut novel, Amy Conner explores female friendship, loyalty, and the realities of class and race in a small Southern town. Through chapters alternating between 1963 and 1990, The Right Thing follows two little girls whose lifetime commitment to each other bonds them into adulthood despite their differences: money and the lack of it, the hard realities of class and race in a small Southern town, and how those factors worked to shape their lives. The Right Thing is also a midnight road trip to the New Orleans’ Fairgrounds Race Track, a dog-napping, a one-night stand and an evening spent in the trailer of a transsexual. It’s a southern country lane with potholes, twists and turns on the way to an inevitable yet satisfying ending. It’s a story about one woman’s coming of age at 35, what we owe the people we love and how to navigate compromise and principle.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& The New Orleans Public Library Summer Reading Program Fizz Boom Read kicks off Friday and Satuday with events at branches all across the city. You can get all the details here. Here’s the list: ALGIERS REGIONAL LIBRARY – Noon-2pm – 3014 Holiday Dr. – 596-2641 Science experiments, crafts, and cool snacks. ALVAR LIBRARY – 2pm-3:30p – 913 Alvar St. – 596-2667 Crafts, make-your-own ice cream sundaes, and a Mentos fountain. CHILDREN’S RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARY – 11am-3pm – 913 Napoleon Ave. – 596-2628 Storytimes, crafts, cake and snacks, and a super special science experiment. Children and teens can draw their version of the Summer Reading Program themes, Children’s “Fizz, Boom, Read!” or Teen “Spark a Reaction.” EAST NEW ORLEANS REGIONAL LIBRARY – 10am-4pm – 5641 Read Blvd. – 596-0200 10:am – Noon Sign Up for Summer Reading Program online in the Tech Lab – All ages welcome Noon – 1:30pm Zumba for Teens in the Teen Room – Healthy Snacks 1pm – 2pm Futter-by Butterflies Story Time & Footprint Painting of Butterflies Craft on the Front Lawn—Ages 2-8 2pm – 4pm Serving Cake – All ages welcome HUBBELL LIBRARY – 2pm-4pm – 725 Pelican Ave. – 596-3113 Snacks, crafts, and a Summer Reading Robot building project. ROSA F. KELLER LIBRARY & COMMUNITY CENTER – 10am-2pm – 4300 S. Broad – 596-2660 Crafts, stories, and treats. LATTER LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 5120 St. Charles Ave. – 596-2625 Summer reading program sign-up and book giveaways, face painting, yard games, crafts and storytime on demand. MAIN LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 219 Loyola Ave. – 596-2588 Loud entertainment by the Noisician Coalition. Crafts, fun snacks, Summer Reading Program Sign-ups, giveaways, and a science experiment. MID-CITY LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 3700 Orleans Ave. – 596-2654 Refreshments, experiments, and giveaways. NORMAN MAYER LIBRARY – Noon-2pm – 3001 Gentilly Blvd. – 596-3100 Crafts, treats, and giveaways. Philip Melancon will be singing silly songs and telling silly stories at 1 pm. NIX LIBRARY – 11am-3pm – 1401 S. Carrollton Ave. – 596-2630 Local storyteller Mama Saba. Science experiments, crafts, face painting, chalk art, and the Roman Candy cart. SMITH LIBRARY – 10am-4pm – 6301 Canal Blvd. – 596-263

&Friday at 8 pm author, poet and satirist Chris Champagne presents a stage show about his father, Ed Champagne’s football career. At LSU with Y A Tittle and Steve Van Buren and in the NFL’s LA Rams where he played alongside Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Bob Waterfield, Tank Younger and others. Multi media-video, photos, audio and a human. At the Mid City Theater. By admission.

& Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm Librarypalooza, two kick-off events for the Jefferson Parish Library’s Summer Reading Program, will occur on Saturday, May 31, at the Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Blvd, Metairie, and the Jane O’Brien Chatelain Westbank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan, Harvey. Librarypalooza is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. Teens have their own event at the East Jefferson Regional Library at 1 pm titled “We Are Sparking a Reaction – Ice Cream Sundae Experiment.” Teens are invited to “experiment” with a variety of toppings at the sundae bar and they will be encouraged to sign up for summer reading. Anyone who signs up during the party will win a free book. The teen center also will have crafts, gaming, a photo booth and more. For full details on all the activities, visit the Jefferson Parish Regional Library calendar of events.

& Garden District Books hosts Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning Saturday at 1 pm . Natchez Burning, the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage. Penn’s quest for the truth sends him deep into his father’s past, where a sexually charged secret lies waiting to tear their family apart. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only a single thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the state. Aided by a dedicated reporter privy to Natchez’s oldest secrets and by his fiancée, Caitlin Masters, Penn uncovers a trail of corruption and brutality that places his family squarely in the Double Eagles’ cross-hairs. With every step costing blood and faith, Penn is forced to confront the most wrenching dilemma of his life: Does a man of honor choose his father or the truth?

& Saturday join Press Street at 6 pm for the FEAST yer eyes Comix/ Illustration Anthology release party and Cirkus Optikus Live Comix Reading! See some of your favorite local comic artists reading live on stage.

& Kenny Harrison will be signing his books Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach and Hide and Seek Harry Around the House Sunday at 11 am at Maple Street Book Shop. Harry likes to play hide-and-seek, but it’s hard to hide a hippo! Little readers will love being in on the joke as they spot the formidable Harry. Kenny Harrison worked for thirty-two years as an award-winning artist for his local newspaper before pursuing his passion: writing and illustrating children’s books. He now works in both traditional and digital techniques. Raised in New York City, he now lives in New Orleans with his wife, two children, and a menagerie of rescue pets.

& Sunday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features Nathan Deuel’s Friday Was the Bomb. In 2008, Nathan Deuel, the former editor at Rolling Stone and The Village Voice, and his wife, a National Public Radio foreign correspondent, moved to the deeply Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to see for themselves what was happening in the Middle East. There they had a daughter, and later, while his wife filed reports from Baghdad and Syria, car bombs erupted and one night a firefight raged outside the family’s apartment in Beirut. Their marriage strained, and they struggled with the decision to stay or go home. At once a meditation on fatherhood, an unusual memoir of a war correspondent’s spouse, and a first-hand account from the front lines of the most historic events of recent days—the Arab Spring, the end of the Iraq war, and the unrest in Syria—Friday Was The Bomb is a searing collection of timely and absorbing essays.

& 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 poet Danny Kerwick.

& 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 at 7 pm join Slam New Orleans for their second monthly open mic and slam of the new season at the The Shadowbox Theatre. Admission $5

& 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 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts one of a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator. Free of charge and open to the public.

&Tuesday at 2 pm Making the Nix Library features Comics with Happy Presented by Harriet Burbeck Children will explore visual narrative by making small comic books and creating their own visual stories

& On Tuesday at 6 pm, just in time for the opening of the new hurricane season, Nicholas Meis comes to Octavia Books to present and sign the new book he has co-authored, NEW ORLEANS HURRICANES FROM THE START. While hurricanes of various sizes and strengths have impacted the Crescent City since its earliest settlement in 1718, there is little record of the magnitude and regularity of these storms. In this work, authors David F. Bastian and Nicholas J. Meis delve into a wealth of historical documents, journals, newspaper articles, and expert analyses in order to characterize and analyze the storms that have affected our region since the first colonizers set foot on the Mississippi delta in the late seventeenth century. Using letters, personal diaries, official records, newspaper articles, and expert analyses, Bastian and Meis delve into the effects of the monstrous storms that have irreparably impacted south Louisiana, including what went awry during Katrina in 2005. Also examined is the evolution of New Orleans’s protection systems as well as what the city can do to avoid another catastrophe.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego: Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& 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 6:30 pm Fleur de Lit’s June Reading Between the Wines will feature Greg Herren (Lake Thirteen is his newest), Bill Loehfelm (The Devil in Her Way is his newest), Chris Wiltz (Shoot the Money & The Last Madam are her most recent), Jean Redmann (Ill Will is her newest), N.S. Patrick (Murder of Wednesday’s Children & Jack the Ripper), and Erica Spindler (Justice for Sara). At the American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave.

& 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 Brett Evans & Christopher Shipman.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Esoterotica: Original Erotic Readings by Local Writers presents Esoterotica is Unthemed, So Anything Goes-Summer Edition! at the Allways.

& 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!)

& Enrollment is now open for The Loyola Writing Institute summer classes. Register now to get into the class you want. To receive email notification and complete schedules of upcoming classes, email chambers@loyno.edu. The Loyola Writing Institute has been offering writing courses to the New Orleans community since 1993. These eight-week evening non-credit classes are open to all (adults 21 and up), to aspiring writers and writers of all levels. Classes meet uptown on the Loyola University campus. All classes, taught by experienced published writers, are small and supportive. Classes capped at twelve participants. $250.* Deadline for enrollment June 14. Details on the courses on their website: http://www.loyno.edu/wpc/loyola-writing-institute.

& The New Orleans Museum of Art Book Club’s June Selections are Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino and/or Stealing Athena: A Novel by Karen Essex. Join the NOMA Book Club! Each month we read art-related fiction and non-fiction, and engage in discussion groups and programs. Book Club members may buy their reading selections at the NOMA Museum Shop at a 20% discount. Call the Shop at (504) 658-4133 for more information.
Looking ahead to a busy next week:

& Peeking ahead, on Sunday, June 8 is a special evening with Khaled Hosseini – #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE KITE RUNNER – celebrating the paperback release of AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. The author will be interviewed before a live audience by Louisiana Cultural Vistas editor David Johnson. Octavia Books is holding the event at Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue (at Calhoun), New Orleans, LA. Doors open at 4:300PM and the program will start promptly at 5:30. Tickets are required! The cost per ticket is the same as the price of the book. You will get to meet Khaled Hosseini in person while he signs your copy. Call or visit Octavia Books (or their website) to order tickets in advance.

& Also looking ahead to the following week there will be a Walker Percy Festival, A Literary Festival Celebrating the Writer and His Works June 6—8 in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Good food and drink, live music, and a great time talking about books and Southern culture under the live oaks: That’s what the inaugural Walker Percy Weekend has to offer when it celebrates the acclaimed novelist’s life and work in St. Francisville, June 6—8. * Tickets are limited and selling fast. You can get tickets here.

& Also in the near future: Ignatius’ Escape from Baton Rouge Tour!Lovers of A Confederacy of Dunces can feast on two exceptional events both guaranteed to deepen their love of the novel and increase their understanding of the author’s life and death. On Saturday, June 7, Ignatius’ Escape from Baton Rouge Bus Tour will retrace the steps of Confederacy protagonist, Igtnatius Reilly’s bus trip back to New Orleans after a disastrous job interview in Baton Rouge. Butterfly Toole biographer Cory MacLauchlin, author of Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces will guide participants through John K Toole’s New Orleans from the Toole Collection at Tulane University Library, to several of Toole’s favorite watering holes in the French Quarter, Toole’s gravesite and finally for a private tour of The Lucky Dog Warehouse and a chance to feast on the iconic Lucky Dog, a Confederacy “character” itself. Along the way, MacLauchlin will regale you with little know facts and tales about Toole, his life and his literary masterpiece. The cost of the Tour is $100 (plus processing fees) per person and includes all transportation, meals, tours and presentations at the JKT Collection and Lucky Dog Warehouse. Seating is limited. Tickets may be purchase from The Manship Theatre Ticket Office. The Ignatius Escape Tour on Saturday will be followed on Sunday, June 8 with a 3 PM Matinee screening of The Omega Point documentary which will include a presentation by filmmaker, Joe Sanford and by Butterfly author, Cory MacLauchlin. There will also be the opportunity to purchase Butterfly in the Typewriter and have it signed by the author. Tickets for The Omega Point are$10 per person and also available at the Manship Theatre Ticket Office.

Odd Words May 21, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm is the one year anniversary of #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe, featuring heRO 44 featuring for the first time at #wordconnections. heRO 44 is Roosevelt Wright, III the author of two books, Tenacity, and The Power of Possibility. His third book, Rise Beyond Tolerance, is scheduled for release Summer 2014. He has starred in over 30 stage plays and has written and directed 4 of his own

& Thursday at 6:30 Bayou Magazine hosts a launch party for Issue No. 61 at the Mid-City Yacht Club featuring readings by Bayou Magazine Contributors, including this year’s James Knudsen Prize in Fiction Winner, Michael Gerhard Martin, Issue 60 essayist Juyanne James, Issue 60 poet Thomas Schwank, and Issue 59 James Knudsen Prize in Fiction Winner, Ari Braverman backed up by the musical stylings of The Shiz.

& Thursday at 7 pm James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop at the East Jefferson Regional Library to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

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

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with writer and Tulane University professor Thomas Beller featuring his new biography, J.D SALINGER: The Escape Artist, a spirited, deeply personal inquiry into the near-mythic life and canonical work of Salinger. Three years after his death at ninety-one, J.D. Salinger remains our most mythic writer. The Catcher in the Rye (1951) became an American classic, and he was for a long time the writer for The New Yorker. Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters introduced, by way of the Glass family, a new type in contemporary literature: the introspective, voluble cast of characters whose stage is the Upper East Side of New York. But fame proved a burden, and in 1963 Salinger fled to New Hampshire, spending the next half century in isolation.Beller has followed his subject’s trail, from his Park Avenue childhood to his final refuge, barnstorming across New England to visit various Salinger shrines, interviewing just about everyone alive who ever knew Salinger. The result is a quest biography in the tradition of Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage, a book as much about the biographer as about the subject-two vivid, entertaining stories in one.

& Saturday at 1 pm the Garden District Book Shop features Regina Charboneau’s Mississippi Current Cookbook: A Culinary Journey Down America’s Greatest River. Discover the diverse food and culinary traditions from the ten states that border America’s most important river–and the heart of American cuisine–with 200 contemporary recipes for 30 meals and celebrations, and more than 150 stunning photographs.

& 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.

& 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.

& All area libraries will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

& Tuesday at 6 pm the Garden District Book Shop features Barbara Herman’s Scent & Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume. Perfume has been — and continues to be — subversive. By playing with gender conventions, highlighting the ripe smells of the human body, or celebrating queer and louche identities, 20th-century perfume broke free from the assumptions of the prior century, and became a largely unrecognized part of the social and style revolutions of the modern era. In Scent and Subversion, Barbara Herman continues her irreverent, poetic, and often humorous analysis of vintage perfumes and perfume ads that she began on her popular blog YesterdaysPerfume.com. The book features descriptions of over 300 perfumes, starting with Fougère Royale (1882) and ending with Demeter’s Laundromat (2000).

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego 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.

& 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 Garden District Book Shop features Ronlyn Domingue’s The Chronicle of Secret Riven. One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold mother. Yet gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend, and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods. When Secret is twelve, her mother receives an arcane manuscript to translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet suffers from nightmares and withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak an ancient language, one her mother knows as well. Suddenly, Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to find. Years later, Secret becomes a translator’s apprentice for Fewmany, an influential magnate, who has taken an interest in her for reasons she cannot discern. Before Secret learns why, Old Woman confronts Secret with the truth of her destiny—a choice she must make that is tied to an ancient past.

& 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 Abelkop, Anne Marie Rooney, & Magdalena Zurawski.

& 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!)

57: Done & done May 17, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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It only took 37 years but here I am.

image

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.

56: Heaven on 11 May 14, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Jimi is fixed on Channel 13. Davis paces behind him muttering, “if they only had a horn. ” “Quiet, Miles. Have a taste of this. Listen. This is what we could have done if we’d only had Time.”

“Time, gentleman. Choir and harp practice in fifteen minutes,” an angel reminds them.

“Fuck you and your white-ass cracker choir,” Miles said. “Tell the Big Man the Spheres are in here.” Miles plugs the Pyle and Polks into the TV and cranks it until the clouds dissolve  and ranks of angels are left fluttring, wondering what exactly is happening.

The Big Man man walks in and plops on the couch next to Jimi. “Pass that shit over here.” Miles and Gabriel play their muted horns, trading licks with the Joel Harrison.

The Big Man takes a hellacious hit, expanding to galatic diameters and lets it out slowly, a celestial tempest. “You know that’s why I brought you here” the Big Man says.”I want them all to tempt the Devil and aim for heaven.”

“Shut up,” Miles says, “and listen.”  

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.

Odd Words May 8, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Jumping out of order for an event Tuesday evening: Octavia Books, Le Petit Theatre, and WWNO host a special evening with New York Times-bestselling author and American radio personality Garrison Keillor featuring THE KEILLOR READER. For the first time, Keillor’s stories, essays, poems, and personal reminiscences have been brought together in a single volume that celebrates and demonstrates the incredible range of his far-reaching talent. The event will take place live at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre (616 St Peter Street) on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 PM). To attend, you must purchase a ticket. Tickets are required. Each ticket admits one person and will be exchanged at the event for a signed edition of THE KEILLOR READER. (You get to meet Garrison Keillor on stage in person while he signs your book following his reading/performance.)

& Thursday afternoon at 4 pm at the Norman Mayer Library check out Youth Speaks: An Interactive Experience with Monica McKayhan This interactive “talk” will be you asking bestselling teen & tween author Monica McKayhan the questions, about herself, her characters, how she became a writer, what happens in her next book, whatever you want to know.

& 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 6 m Garden District Book Shop features Corban Addison’s The Garden of Burning Sand. An accomplished young human rights lawyer, Zoe Fleming has made a life for herself in Zambia, far from her estranged father—a business mogul with presidential aspirations—and the devastating betrayals of her past. When a girl with Down syndrome is sexually assaulted in a Lusaka slum, Zoe demands justice. Determined to see the case through, she joins Zambian police officer, Joseph Zabuta, in investigating the rape. Piecing together clues from the victim’s past, they discover a violent connection between the girl— Kuyeya—and a powerful Zambian family that will stop at nothing to bury the truth.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts An Evening with children’s book authors Jeff Kinney (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID) Dav Pilkey (CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS); Jon Scieszka (FRANK EINSTEIN); and Dan Santat (RICKY ROCOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT). Each will give a talk about their latest books followed by a booksigning. The event will take place live at Metairie Park Country Day School (300 Park Rd., Metairie, LA 70005) on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM (Doors open 5:30PM). To attend, you must purchase a ticket. Each $10 ticket admits one person and counts toward the purchase of books at the event or toward the pre-purchase of signed Jon Scieszka’s forthcoming FRANK EINSTEIN (Aug. 2014) or Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9 (Nov. 2014). Only books purchased at the event will be signed.

& Saturday morning at 10 am Octavia Books invites you to come by and meet author Megan McDonald, creator of the popular and award-winning Judy Moody and Stink series when she drops in to sign copies of favorite titles.

& For Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop features she’ll read Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann. A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times… for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places… the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly! Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning illustrations will capture the imagination of readers young and old with the death-defying feats of this courageous and persistent young mouse.

& Then at 11:30 am Octavia features New York Times bestselling middle-grades children’s book author T. A. Barron (THE MERLIN SAGA) when he drops by Octavia Books to sign ATLANTIS RISING, a new fantasy world about the origins of Atlantis, perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings, Eragon, The Beyonders and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. T. A. Barron will also be signing some other favorite titles including books from the Merlin series, The Hero’s Trail, and others.

& Then at 2 pm Octavia hosts two more children’s authors – Marissa Moss (well-known for her Amelia’s Notebook series) and Marcia Goldman – when they drop by together to sign copies of their latest work. Marissa Moss’ BLOOD DIARIES: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire continues her tradition of journal-style writing in this funny, yet relatable, story told from the perspective of a middle schooler who just happens to be a vampire. Her books are popular with teachers and children alike. Marissa is a California Book Award winner who has received multiple starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly. Marcia Goldman’s LOLA GOES TO WORK: A 9-5 Therapy Dog is an adorable children’s book that follows Lola, a little terrier with a big job. Children will identify with the feisty Lola as she struggles going to school, passing tests, and finally achieving her Big Dog dream. If Lola can make it in a world of Great Danes and Labradors, so can anybody who’s feeling like a runt! The book even includes a teacher guide for empathy curriculum in back of the book – so it’s a great buy for teachers.

& The burlesque poetry troupe The New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a unique scavanger hunt Saturday night. Track down the denizens of the Poetry Brothel across various haunts & dens of iniquity throughout the Marigny! Each poet will offer a riddle or challenge, and the first team to complete the SCAVENGER HUNT will receive a prize (rest assured – there’s punishment for stragglers). Afterwards, all teams are invited to the AllWays. Guest Reader BRETT EVANS (Poet & Founder of ‘Tit Rex) will throttle us with verse, and we’ll thrash to the music of THE CALL GIRLS! Our poetry whores will sell you a private reading in the dank corners of the mosh pit, and, as always, expect anarchic performances from our coterie of acrobats, buskers, and burlesque dancers. Come wearing your finest burlesque, Victorian, or steampunk ensemble and receive a token for a free reading. For full details visit their website.

& Sunday at 11 am Octavia continues its run of children’s authors with children’s picture book illustrator/author Brian Floca drops by Octavia Books to sign copies of his fabulous book LOCOMOTIVE, which recently was awarded the Caldecott Medal.

&Then at 1:30 Octavia finishes its weekend with bestselling and award-winning YA author RUTA SEPETYS featuring her novel, Out of the Easy.vIt’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

& 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 California poet Hugh Behm-Steinberg reads from his work, 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.

& 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 5:30 pm at Octavia Paula Freedman presents and signs her debut middle grade children’s novel, MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH. During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O-who might also be her boyfriend-and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. With the cross-cultural charm of Bend It Like Beckham, this delightful debut novel is a classic coming-of-age

& Monday at 5:30 pm: Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop.

& Tuesday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features four New Adult Authors: Cora Carmack , Jay Crownover, Sophie Jordan, Nichole Chase , J. Lynn, and Lisa Desrochers sign their books, All Lined Up, Nash, Foreplay, Recklessly Royal, Be With Me, A Little Too Hot, respectively. New Adult fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18-25 age bracket. For detail on the four author’s and their books, visit the Garden District Book Shop website.

& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop hosts Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda. Christophe has been in the New World only a year when his native guides abandon him to flee their Iroquois pursuers. A Huron warrior and elder named Bird soon takes him prisoner, along with a young Iroquois girl, Snow Falls, whose family he has just killed, and holds them captive in his massive village. Champlain’s Iron People have only recently begun trading with the Huron, who mistrust them as well as this Crow who has now trespassed onto their land; and her people, of course, have become the Huron’s greatest enemy. Putting both to death would resolve the issue, but Bird sees Christophe as a potential envoy to those in New France, and Snow Falls as a replacement for his two daughters who were murdered by the Iroquois. The relationships between these three are reshaped again and again as life comes at them relentlessly: a dangerous trading mission, friendly exchanges with allied tribes, shocking victories and defeats in battle, and sicknesses the likes of which no one has ever witnessed.
The Orenda traces a story of blood and hope, suspicion and trust, hatred and love, that comes to a head when Jesuit and Huron join together against the stupendous wrath of the Iroquois, when everything that any of them has ever known or believed faces nothing less than annihilation. A saga nearly four hundred years old, it is also timeless and eternal.

& 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.

& Wednesdy at 3:30 pm the Smith Librry hots A Talk by Young Adult Author Erin Bowman. Author of the new Young Adult series Taken joins us to talk about her books, her writing process and her journey from graphic designer to published author. She will also read from her new book Frozen, with a Q&A to follow. Snacks provided.

& 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!)

&  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: Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as two Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery and Good Morning! He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven. Chris Champagne is the author of The New Yat DIctionary from Lavender Ink. James Nolan says of Chris Champagne: “What Dylan Thomas did for Welsh, Chris Champagne does for YAT.” As noted scholar and linguist Dr. Nancy Dixon says, “If you ain’t got this book, how you gonna talk right, Dawlin?” He is also the author of Roach Opera from Portals Press. Kelly McQuain grew up surrounded by the mountains of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. His poetry has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, The Pinch, Assaracus, Kin, Mead, Bloom, Chelsea Station, American Writing and the anthologies Poems for the Writing and Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. His fiction has appeared in such journals as Icarus, The James White Review, Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review, The Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly and in numerous anthologies, including Best American Erotica, Skin & Ink and Men on Men 2000. His book reviews and columns on city life appear in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Recently his poem, “Camping as Boys in the Cow Field”, was selected by Reginald Dwayne Betts as the winner of Redivider’s AWP poetry contest. McQuain works as a professor in Philadelphia.

Odd Words May 1, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Here are the second weekend lineup of book signings in the Southern Bookseller’s Association Book Tent at Jazz Fest:

Thursday

  • Susan Larson, 12-1PM, Booklovers Guide to New Orleans
  • Bill Loehfelm, 2-3PM, The Devil in Her Way
  • Bonnie Warren, 3-4PM, New Orleans Historic Homes
  • Michael Murphy, 4-5PM, Eat Dat New Orleans: A Guide to the Unique Food Culture of the Crescent City

Friday

  • Richard Sexton, 12-1PM, Creole World: : Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere
  • Cornell Landry, 1-2PM, Happy Jazz Fest
  • Diane de las Casas & Kid Chef Eliana, 3-4PM, Cinderellephant & Cool Kids Cook: Fresh and Fit
  • Edward Branley, 4-5PM, New Orleans Jazz

Saturday

  • Rob Owen, 12-1PM, Spy Boy, Cheyenne and Ninety Six Crayons
  • Poppy Tooker, 1-2PM, Louisiana Eats
  • Rebecca Snedeker, 3-4PM, Unfathomable City

Sunday

  • Sally Asher, 12-1PM, Hope & New Orleans
  • Johnette Downing, 2-3PM, How to Dress A Po’Boy

& Saturday at Maple Street Book Shop it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen, who’ll read A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna. A Lion in Paris is widely regarded as the most accomplished book by multi-award-winning children’s author/illustrator Beatrice Alemagna. It tells the story of a lion who, bored by his rural life in the savanna, seeks excitement and opportunity in the City of Light. Upon arriving in Paris, the lion is disappointed to find that despite his size, people barely pay attention to him, not even when he lets out a ferocious roar on the busy underground Metro.
Revealing the sights and sounds of Paris from Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower, this beautifully illustrated book successfully conveys the experience of being a stranger in a new city and the process of understanding one’s own identity.

& 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 JAZZ FEST OPEN MIC.

& Sunday at 7 pm Slam New Orleans hosts a special event for our May monthly show: “Diasporic Diction: Voices of Color,” a showcase featuring some of New Orleans finest on the mic. The night includes a featured performance by noted poet Kalamu Salaam and a showcase with performances by: Chuck Perkins, Delia Tomino Nakayama, Gian Francisco Smith, Ro Wright (heRO44), Honey Sanaa, Sha’Condria iCon Sibley, Joao J O Amos, Jose Torres-Tama, Kelly Harris DeBerry and SOL Galeano. We will kick off the show with the Voices of Color open mic. $5 admission.

& Sunday at 9pm will be tThe last book party celebrating the release of “New Orleans: the Underground Guide” (LSU Press) and “Famous People I Have Met (Collected Works 1999-2014) is a LIVE HIP-HOP show at Vaughan’s featuring a live interview with Katey Red (who will also “read poetry”), plus live music by MC Know One, Lucky Lou, Missing Persons, MC Intel, and live band MadFro feat. Slangston Huges!

& 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.

& 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.

& On Monday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop will feature Ryan Holiday’a The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph. The great Athenian orator Demosthenes was born with a crippling speech impediment and was robbed of his inheritance by cruel guardians. Samuel Zemurray was a poor roadside fruit peddler pitted against the behemoth United Fruit Company. Ulysses S. Grant found himself stuck across the Mississippi river, desperately trying to break into the impenetrable fortress of Vicksburg. These icons and many others throughout history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Richard Wright to Steve Jobs—were often placed in nearly impossible situations that turned out to be the platforms for astounding triumphs. They were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success in overcoming extreme obstacles was the result of a timeless set of philosophical principles that great men and women have always followed. Now Ryan Holiday unpacks those lessons and re-frames them for today’s world, building on the wisdom of the ancient Stoics and a rich trove of examples. He shows us how to turn obstacles into advantages, through controlling our perceptions, swift and energetic action, and true force of will.

& Monday at 5:30 pm: Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop.

& On Monday Charles Robert Marsh will be reading from and signing Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Maple Street Book Shop at 6PM. In the decades since his execution by the Nazis in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian, and anti-Hitler conspirator, has become one of the most widely read and inspiring Christian thinkers of our time. Now, drawing on extensive new research, Strange Glory offers a definitive account, by turns majestic and intimate, of this modern icon.

& At 7 pm the Jefferson Parish Library East Bank Fiction Writers Group will host speaker Chris Smith, who will discuss book promotion. The Jefferson Parish Library hosts roughly 80 authors per year who present their novels to library patrons. Though they have created and managed to publish a work of literature, many authors are unprepared for all of the activities to market their books, and many do not know how to conduct a basic book signing. Other authors may have created a short story, but do not know where to submit. And some authors are so wrapped up in the craft of writing that they never become connected to the local writing community. This event will start with a basic discussion of how to conduct a book signing but the overall goal is to begin the process of compiling a list of resources for local writers. The final product will include festivals, book signing venues, classes, etc.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts author Cara Hoffman and her unflinching new novel, BE SAFE I LOVE YOU. Lauren Clay has returned from a tour of duty in Iraq just in time to spend the holidays with her family. Before she enlisted, Lauren, a classically trained singer, and her brother Danny, a bright young boy obsessed with Arctic exploration, made the most of their modest circumstances, escaping into their imaginations and forming an indestructible bond. Joining the army allowed Lauren to continue to provide for her family, but it came at a great cost.

& On Tuesday Afton Wilky is the 1718 Society’s featured reader for May at 7 pm at The Columns Hotel. Afton Wilky is a multi-disciplinary artist—painter, poet, she works with digital media, and is a book artist. She is the author of Clarity Speaks of a Crystal Sea (Flim Forum Press, Feb 2014) and her work is in or forthcoming from journals such as Black Warrior Review, LITMag, Ink Node, EOAGH, textsound, Word for/Word, and Jacket2. She is the Managing Editor of The Volta. The 1718 Society is a literary organization comprised of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students. Their monthly reading series at the Columns Hotel is free and open to the public. It showcases the work of student readers, as well as that of prominent local and national writers.

On Tuesday Garden District Book Shop will host Bill Loehfelm and his new novel The Devil in Her Way. Maureen Coughlin’s life has changed in more ways than one. She is starting over in New Orleans as a newly minted member of the police force, but her transition from cocktail waitress to cop hasn’t gone as smoothly as she’d hoped. To her commanding officer’s amusement, Maureen kicks off her final week of field training by taking a punch to the face as a panicked suspect flees an apartment building, leaving behind several guns and a stash of pot. But out on the street, on the fringes of the action, Maureen sees something transpire that leaves her shaken, and she’s sure there’s more to this story than meets the eye. As Maureen embarks on a dangerous hunt for answers, Bill Loehfelm guides us around the Crescent City’s hidden corners and into its darkest outposts. The result is The Devil in Her Way: a propulsive thriller as electrifying as the city itself.

& 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.

& Fleur de Lit’s monthly reading series focuses on music on Wednesday, May 7th, at 6:30pm at he American Can Co. Matt Sakakeeny, author of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans, Sally Newhart, author of The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, and Joel Dinerstein, author of American Cool, will read.

& Wednesday at 8 pm feeatures Esoterotica’s 2nd Annual “Debaucherous Duets”. This was so incredible last year, and we had so much fun, that the local provocateurs of Esoterotica are doing it again, together, on stage, Wednesday, May 7th. Yes, that’s right, it’s an evening showcasing entirely collaborative and group erotica.

& 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!)

& 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 Vincent Cellucci & Benjamin Lowekron.

Also at 8 pm the UNO MFA Poetry Program will host a reading at the Banks Street Bar. Poets from Carolyn Hembree’s poetry class of Spring 2014 who will be reading include: Poets to read:, Kia Groom, Roxy Seay, Christian Coleman, Benjamin Sines, Liz Hogan, Lauren Walter, Jessie Strauss, Maya Lowy, Nordette Adams, M.e. Riley. and Phyllis Dunham.

Odd Words April 24, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, Jazz Fest, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, spoken word, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6:30 pm The Nix Library on Carrollton Avenue will host a poetry reading by the local literary group Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.

& Thursday night at 6 pm Join Room 220 for a Happy Hour Salon with local authors Zachary Lazar and Daniel Castro from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The event will celebrate the release of Lazarar’s s new novel, I Pity the Poor Immigrant. The book is Lazar’s third novel. It uses notorious gangster Meyer Lansky as a pivot point around which mobsters, journalists, and a seedy cast of characters run circles, darting back and forth between past and present, Israel and the United States, fiction and “reality”. Room 220 will feature an interview with Lazar soon about the book, conducted by Engram Wilkinson, but until then you can read profiles in the Times-Picayune and the Los Angeles Times. Publishers Weekly called I Pity the Poor Immigrant “an interesting and challenging novel,” while Kirkus Review said the intricate connections Lazar makes in the book are “complex and artful, though at times bewildering even to discerning readers.” So, bring your thinking caps. Joining Lazar will be Daniel Castro, who was born and raised in New Orleans. Castro is a graduate of NOCCA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald and the Tampa Review. He is the winner of the 2012 Novella Prize from the Faulkner Society, and the 2013 CINTAS fellowship in literature.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop presents Dr. Michael Saag’s Positive: One Doctor’s Personal Encounters With Death, Life, and the US Healthcare System. Positive traces the life of Michael S. Saag, MD, an internationally known expert on the virus that causes AIDS, but the book is more than a memoir: through his story, Dr. Saag also shines a light on the dysfunctional US healthcare system, proposing optimistic yet realistic remedies drawn from his distinguished medical career.

& Thurday the East Jefferson Main Branch Library hosts the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers Group at 7 pm. James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Also on Thursday at 6 p.m., Maple Street Book Shop hosts Sally Asher, who will discuss and sign Hope & New Orleans. New Orleans is a city of beautiful contradictions, evidenced by its street names. New Orleans crosses with Hope, Pleasure and Duels. Religious couples with Nuns, Market and Race. Music, Arts and Painters are parallel. New Orleans enfolds its denizens in the protection of saints, the artistry of Muses and the bravery of military leaders. The city’s street names are inseparable from its diverse history. They serve as guideposts as well as a narrative that braid its pride, wit and seedier history into a complex web that to this day simultaneously joins and shows the cracks within the city.

& Friday at noon Tulane University will host a Book Signing and Presentation by Tulane Professor Carolyn her book New Orleans Memories:One Writer’s City.

& And its Jazz Fest, and the Gulf South Booksellers Association will once again host the festival Book Tent. Here’s the first weekend’s lineup:

Friday, April 25th

  • Denise McConduit, 12-1PM, DJ Books
  • Rebecca Sive, 1-2PM, Every Day is Election Day
  • Nancy Dixon, 3-4PM, N. O. Lit
  • Ann Benoit, 4-5PM, New Orleans Best Ethnic Restaurants
  • James Cobb. 5-6PM, Flood of Lies

Saturday, April 26th

  • Dean Alger, 12-1PM, Original Guitar Hero and the Power of Music: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music and Civil Rights
  • Jay Mazza , 1-2PM, Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge
  • Edward Branley, 2-3PM, New Orleans Jazz
  • Jeremy Labadie and Argyle Wolf-Knapp , 3-4PM, New Orleans Beer
  • Carolyn Kolb, 4-5PM, New Orleans Memories
  • Richard Campanella, 5-6PM, Bourbon Street

Sunďay, April 27th

  • Patrice Kononcheck, 12-1PM, In a While Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes
  • John Wirt, 1-2PM, Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues
  • Rebecca Snedecker, 2-3PM, Unfathomable City
  • Donald Link, 3-4PM, Down South: :Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything
  • Matt Sakakeeny, 4-5PM, Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans

& You can call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel every Thursday from 8-midnight for a live poetry reading. 504-264-1336.

&Friday Garden District Book Shop feature Coffee and Cookies with Cokie Roberts: Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies at 8:45 AM. Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies reveals the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes. Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others. Details are gleaned from their letters, private journals, lists, and ledgers. The bravery of these women’s courageous acts contributed to the founding of America and spurred the founding fathers to make this a country that “remembered the ladies.”

& Saturday at the Maple Leaf Book Shop it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen, who’ll read Gorilla by Anthony Browne. Hannah spends all of her time reading gorilla books, watching gorilla TV shows, and drawing gorilla pictures. She has gorillas on her bedside lamp and even on her box of cereal. Hannah loves gorillas and longs to see a real one, but her father is always too busy – or too tired – to take her to the zoo. Then, on the night before her birthday, something extraordinary happens – and Hannah’s wish comes gloriously true.

& 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 JAZZ FEST 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.

& 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.

& Tuesday at noon the Tulane Univerity book Store wil host a book signing and presentation by Sally Asher of her work Hope & New Orleans..
& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& 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 Bill Hillman and Ben Tanzer will be signing their books. Bill Hillman’s book, The Old Neighborhood, is the story of teenager Joe Walsh, the youngest in a large, mixed-race family living in Chicago. After Joe witnesses his older brother commit a gangland murder, his friends and family drag him down into a pit of violence that reaches a bloody impasse when his elder sister begins dating a rival gang member. The Old Neighborhood is both a brutal tale of growing up tough in a mean city, and a beautiful harkening to the heartbreak of youth. Bill Hillmann is an award-winning writer and storyteller from Chicago. His writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, Salon.com, and has been broadcast on NPR. He’s told stories around the world with his internationally acclaimed storytelling series the Windy City Story Slam. Hillmann is a Union Construction Laborer and a bull-runner in Spain. In the not so distant past, Hillmann was a feared street brawler, gang affiliate, drug dealer, convict, and Chicago Golden Glove Champion.

The essays in Ben Tanzer’s Lost in Space: A Father’s Journey There and Back Again focus on parenting, delving into topics including sleep (or the lack of), discipline, first haircuts, deceased parents and grandparents, illness, and the inherent challenges and humor that coincide with, and are intrinsically tied-into, these stages of life. The essays also recognize the ongoing presence of Tanzer’s own dead father in his life as he seeks to parent without his guidance or advice.

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jeffersion 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.

& 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!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. Featured this week is Sara Jacobelli and Whitney Mackman.

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

55: Manna from a Raven April 20, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I can never quite figure out what to do about Easter now the children are grown, except to stay out of the aisle filled with candy. I am a true apostate in the Church of my baptism, cannot in good conscience recite the Apostles Creed and swear fidelity to a single name among the hundreds for the Spirit that inhabits us all. I’ve kicked the dust of that crabby old bastard of the Old Testament  off my sandals. Apologies to those who live by those books, but the catechism version is all woman is the root of all evil and drowning His mistakes and if there’s love in all that well blame the sisters and brothers who preferred we walk in fear and guilt.

The Easter story still resonates because it speaks of mystery, and mystery is at the heart of the Spirit. You can’t touch it but sometimes you’re pretty sure it has touched you, if only through a sunset you can explain in perfectly secular terms  but which still found you gasping for breath remembering to breath, and in that breath is the Spirit. We have a capacity in us to succumb to the Subime, a word I used hundred times I’m sure after forgetting about Edmund Burke. I took a class in American Nature Writing since going back to school and early on we ploughed through A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and in all this rush to convert our universities into advanced technically and business schools, I don’t think you can call yourself an educated person unless someone makes you sit down and some point and read that.

Taking some basic anthropology to finish up my degree I understand the evolutionary purpose of altruism but the sublime, the combined feeling of wonder and terror in the face of what is larger than us (at its simplest) seems at first to serve no purpose. Mystery and wonder all in one word, and in that word, taty primal logos, is the capacity to recognize that there are forces larger than us at work in the universe, so many of which we struggle to explain in spite of our big-brained, self-important selves. Emerson and Thoreau and all that crowd understood the sublime, found scripture in mountains and river, the same ancient impulse that gave this mountain or that rock its sacred space, a mountain you might climb and in a blinding light find the logos in a handful of words. Better than a set of rules however is simply to be open to the Sublime. To do so is to walk the Tao, to walk in beauty, to cry in horror at those who top mountains and clear cut forests, to realize that desertification is not just a condition of the land but of what we usually call soul.

On your way to church or to gorge on ham in honor of a no-doubt observant Jewish teacher, don’t forget to look round you :at the sky, at the park as you pass, at your beautifully dressed children. Pause a moment in awe of it all. Gasp at it, and in the breath let spirit enter into you. Easter comes but once a year. Let every day be a Pentecost.

Odd Words April 16, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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& Poet John Gery will be reading & signing celebrating National Poetry Month and the release of John Gery’s new book, HAVE AT YOU NOW!: Poems at Octavia Books. “These are the poems of a huge imagination and a huge intellect whose observations are at once as capable of being as fully engaged in the philosophical as in the familial. John Gery is a powerful traveler poet who counters experience with thought, form with idea, technique with delivery.”– Darrell Borque

& Zachary Lazar will be signing I Pity the Poor Immigrant, Thursday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop. In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig. In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.

& Thursday at 7 pm the Great Books Discussion Group of the East Bank Jefferson Parish Library will discuss Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

& At 8 pm New Orleans Literary & Performance Series presents ANCIENT RAIN: A Tribute to Bob Kaufman at Gold Mine, 701 Dauphine Street. Featuring poets Dr. Brenda Marie Osbey, 2014 Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, PLUS A Scribe Called Quess performing with: Loren Pickford – alto sax, Spike Perkins – bass, Katarina Boudreaux – cello, Reverend Goat Carson – buffalo jaw harp, and Ben Aleshire – cornet. PLUS special guest Jonathan Warren and OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross

& You can call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel every Thursday from 8-midnight for a live poetry reading. 504-264-1336.

& All branches of the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Libraries are closed for Good Friday, and the Latter will be closed on Sunday.

& Friday at 7 pm at Cafe Istanbul The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance presents its second “Yeah, You Write!” event: a word rebellion, readings, images, and music. Featuring prize-winning and best-selling authors Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly, Joseph Boyden, John Barry, Benjamin Percy, jewel bush, Emilie Staat, and Cassie Pruyn. Music by D.J. Sep, and images by L. Kasimu Harris. $5 at the door.

& Also at 7 pm In celebration of National Poetry Month, join the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans and Junebug Productions for an evening of poetry as members of the MelaNated Writers Collective and Team SNO ( Slam New Orleans) respond to the 30 Americans exhibition with original works. Featuring Kelly Harris DeBerry, Kysha Brown Robinson, and Gian Francisco Smith of MelaNated Writers and FreeQuency, Akeem Martin and A Scribe Called Quess of Team SNO. Hosted by Frederick Wood “Hollywood” Delahoussaye.

& Friday is New Orleans’ own ex-pat Bob Kaufman’s birthday. Stay tuned for percolating plans.

& Laura Roach Dragon will be doing the New Orleans book launch of her middle-grade book Hurricane Boy at Maple Street Book Shop Saturday from 11:30-1pm. This incisive coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina and its severe devastation to US soil. A compelling tale of growth and independence, this debut novel brings a fresh, evocative voice to the stage: Hollis Williams, whose resilience, strength of character, and personal growth are powerfully portrayed by the author’s authentic narrative. This book will last for generations, giving voice to every young reader struggling to find his or her place in the world. Hollis Williams is a middle-school student in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. His father absent and his mother dead, Hollis and his siblings live with his grandmother. He dreams of reconnecting with his father, but Hurricane Katrina strikes and devastates his home and his plans. The young boy’s family is trapped on the roof of their house, hoping and waiting to be rescued. When help finally arrives, Hollis and his family are separated and sent hundreds of miles apart. Taken to a shelter in a West Virginia church, Hollis must reunite his family against all odds.

& 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 . . . . . . .
Lenny Emmanuel will read from his Mirrors And Lanterns, Selected Poems, plus his “SQUEAL” — a four-page-one-sentence belated response to Ginsberg’s “HOWL.” Larry Scott on tenor sax will accompany the poet and essayist.

& 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.

& 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 the New Orleans Haiku Society meets at the Latter Memorial Library from 6-8 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Books will feature Michael Murphy with Ian McNulty, Sara Roahen, Poppy Tooker & Liz Williams and their book Eat Dat: A Guide to the Unique Food Culture of the Crescent City. Eat Dat New Orleans is a guidebook that celebrates both New Orleans’s food and its people. It highlights nearly 250 eating spots—sno-ball stands and food carts as well as famous restaurants—and spins tales of the city’s food lore, such as the controversial history of gumbo and the Shakespearean drama of restaurateur Owen Brennan and his heirs. Both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers will be helped by a series of appendixes that list restaurants by cuisine, culinary classes and tours, food festivals, and indispensable “best of” lists chosen by an A-list of the city’s food writers and media personalities, including Tom Fitzmorris, Poppy Tooker, Lolis Eric Elie, Ian McNulty, Sara Roahen, Marcelle Bienvenu, Amy C. Sins, and Liz Williams.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation with author and Inside Higher Ed blogger John Griswold featuing his new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW, AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE: Collected Essays. For nearly ten years, John Griswold has been publishing his essays in Inside Higher Ed, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Brevity, Ninth Letter, and Adjunct Advocate, many under the pen name Oronte Churm. His new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE is a funny, poignant, bittersweet, and sometimes snarky account of everything ranging from creative writing to babies, and from race issues in a university town to crocodiles.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second Tuesday of every month.

& 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 9 pm the pleasure provocateurs of Esoterotica bring you “”Dr. Who’s Your Daddy?” A Night of Nerd and Geek Erotica”. In addition to writing erotica, it will probably come as no surprise that Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are also a little bit nerdy. Okay, some of us are a lot nerdy. And on Wednesday, April 23rd we are bringing an evening of erotica devoted to the not always so well-known naughty pleasures of all things Nerdalicious! From video games to comic books, Star Wars and Star Trek to Firefly and Dr. Who, anime’ cosplay to having a thing for your calculus tutor, whatever your “freak” fantasy or the kind of dorky debauchery you’re into, we’ll get you hot and bothered with a full night of ‘weirdo’ wanton-ness and techie titillation.

& 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!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Features for this week are Jenn Nunes & Wendy Carlisle .

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

54: Funny Old World April 13, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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There I am, the difficult first step of my project for school done plus half a dozen other errands, the first good day in a carpet of nails week that reached its nadir when I realized I owe the IRA a pile of money. I am are literally sitting on top of the rainbow sipping a beer and then I call my girlfriend and she is having a terrible no good very bad day and my little bubble goes: pop. Fibromyalgia results in a lot of terrible no good very bad days. I coo comforts, especially for the “terribly lonely part”, promising to stop by after the poetry reading I’m off to.

How terribly lonely can a person be, I find myself thinking moments after hanging up, when I last saw her yesterday? I begin to feel boxed in by the situation, its terrible frequency. How the hell am I going to go to Europe and leave her behind? Her condition gives her both tremendous strength and fragility, and when I am handy fragility is an available out from the pain. There is a reason, I think, there are boxes marked Dependent on the tax forms I finished and not all of it is fiduciary. The molars start to grind, the chest starts to tighten and suddenly the rainbow is a little grey cloud and you, Oh Eeyore, are the butt of the universe’s whimsical sense of humor.

So I go to the bar (all the poetry readings in New Orleans are in bars) and instead of sticking to my unemployed Hi-Life budget I order a nice draw and a shot of tequila good tequila. One of the poets shows up and sits at my table and asks how it’s going. I answer “fair”, then hold up the glass of tequila I shouldn’t have ordered and make a correction. “Changeable” I say, holding the blue agave barometer up to the light. “It needs to get to about there,” pointing toward the bottom,” to be fair.”

I’m about to launch into a totally unwanted Slavic litany of complaints when suddenly the juke box erupts with “In Spite of Ourselves”, a duet by John Prine with Iris DeMent. It’s “our song”, or as close as we have to one. Twenty minutes before the first of the millennial poets steps on stage and speaks a single line the stage lighting switches as if to a stage direction: Dark Irony. I feel my ears and tail growing, the first drooping and the latter swishing away the flies while I think: “earthquake weather.”

The poets are quite good but in my life’s movie director’s viewfinder kit is the Male Gaze 1000+ Deluxe and in the relationship mood I’m in, it’s the first one my hand instinctively plucks out of the case. [Women of all persuasions, you may want to stop reading here, or just note that the comments are open). It's not so much the biological notion that we are bred to spread our seed as it is the fragility we will not admit of the male ego, as easily bruised as a peach in a shopping cart. Of all the reactions to that, short of the one that involves storming out to the workshop and finishing that new cabinet you want in record time, few are pretty. Altruism in sexual arrangements is as old as the chimpanzee but leave us feeling hurt and we'll be siting some distance from the fire brooding, bearing our fangs at any who approach, scratching our nuts and wondering what's for dinner. We look across the fire and wonder what old Gruntle's partner Melon Breast is like on the animal skins.

I struggle now to remember the lines of poetry, although much of it was good. (My memory is not the best, and I really wanted to buy at least one book but I am no longer the poetry reading Medici who always buys a book. I'm just too broke). All I recall of the first reader is that this young M.F.A. student is so drop-dead out of my league I would need the Barbie Firewoman Rescue Ladder Company truck to get within decent gazing distance of her sandaled toes. The next vents about her ex-girlfriend and I remember the line "fisting your hair" and nope. The third poet, I think, is the best [if you allow for the few poems about selfies but that is what the age demands] but she also writes about her boyfriend, whom I meet when I go over to complement her, give her my card and tell her there will be pictures up on the Odd Words site later tonight.

Then my friend takes the stage and after a few damn fine poems of his own, brings out a translation of Catullus he has published and the second poem is “8. Advice: to himself,” which begins like this is A.S. Kline’s translation:

Sad Catullus, stop playing the fool,
and let what you know leads you to ruin, end.
Once, bright days shone for you,
when you came often drawn to the girl
loved as no other will be loved by you.
Then there were many pleasures with her,
that you wished, and the girl not unwilling,
truly the bright days shone for you.

The rest of the poem is about the girl rejecting him, and Catullus counseling himself not to continue to pursue her, probably as far from my actual situation as could be but the troubled male ego doesn’t approach every challenge with logic and tool in hand, and I think very hard about ordering another tequila. It doesn’t help that the next is “27. Falernian Wine”

Serving-boy fill for me stronger cups
of old Falernian, since Postumia,
the mistress’s, laws demand it,
she who’s juicier then the juicy grape.
But you water, fatal to wine, away with you:
far off, wherever, be off to the strict.
This wine is Bacchus’s own.

This night, I think, is going swimmingly, as in the backstroke in bathtubs of gin. Instead of more unwatered wine I head out the door for the promised visit and hug but there are a dozen competing emotions ratting around in my head like an untuned engine with bad lifters. Some days I feel this is what our relationship is like. My god you love her and want to drive around town and show her off to everybody in the Classy Woman Club but parts are impossible to get and the necessary repairs are impossible. We’re both getting older and the hand-holding to more-exciting-contact ratio is regressing rapidly backwards toward middle school.

I hug her with genuine affection, hold her until she is ready to sit down again. Then I plant myself at the far end of the bed and begin to vent. This really goes no where except to deplete her supply of tissues. We part with another long hug, not really wanting to let go even after agreeing “we’ve had this ‘discussion’ before,” and no one is really satisfied. There is nothing to resolve. You love each other, and love is hard; sometimes so hard a person just wants to walk away from it for a while and kick the rocks in their head down the street. We think the partner we find by our age is the one we’ve been waiting for and that’s mostly true, older and wiser, but it doesn’t mean it’s all smiles and unspoken but knowing exchanges in the rocking chairs. Still, you know for all the usual and unusual trials and tribulations, as Prine and DeMent croon, that you’re never going to let her go.

She tells me to go home, which my lizard brain intercepts before it can reach the frontal lobes and translates: go to the Holy Ground and sulk over a pint. I go and everyone there is relentlessly cheerful with drink but I’ve put on the cape of inviolable male entitlement and resentment and the atmosphere doesn’t help much. The cheerfull and cute redheaded barmaid slips me an extra pint since I had to wait for the first while they change the keg, one from the old and one from the new. I think she is just being sweet but I can taste the difference, the malty savor of the last of the old keg like a bottle of the rare XXX Export instead of the overly gassed typical American pint. I escape into the flavor, taking it in sip-by-sip and insist she compare them herself when she gets a free minute. She lingers, lets me try her new vape (hibiscus flower, not tobacco) and it’s like a whiff of her perfume, She lingers and talks perhaps a little too long, until the other barmaid interrupts and asks if she’s busy.

When she brings me another (my third) there is a little heart drawn in the foam. Flirting with bar maids is great craic but I realize my sulk is probably so palpable it’s hurting business, that it’s probably just another part of the transaction between a great bartender and regular customer. She’s cute and a real sweetheart but also a pro who makes mean martinis when you’re in the mood for them, and knows the trade well. Still, there was that night we talked about writing, one of the nights I go their to scribble in the cheerful, neutral brown noise of Guinness and crowd. She always wanted to write, she said, started and then stopped. She asks where she would find the time and energy. If you can get out of bed and make coffee and you have it in you to write, I tell her, then you are two thirds of the way there. Before the day gets away from you, take that first cup and a pen and curl up and write whatever comes into your head. There’s really no other way to get started. I scribble that advice again on a napkin, along with the Cheryl Strayed quote “write like a motherfucker”, secure it all with the clip of a spare pen with her name written on the outside of the bar nap so the other tender won’t just scoop it up, and put it atop her last tip. I like to think I left something more on the bar that night than the usual wad of dollars and the musk scent of men alone at a bar. Whether that beaming smile is strictly professional old-regular or genuinely meant just for me, it doesn’t matter tonight. That little gesture of a heart on the foam pokes a pinprick hole in the balloon of miasma I’ve blown up around my self-absorbed ass, and I go home after that one. I’ll not get a better pint tonight, not even the last of a barrel.

The radio is off in the car and I catch myself whistling “In Spite of Ourselves.”

He’s got more balls than a big brass monkey
He’s a whacked out weirdo and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he’s howlin’ at the moon
He’s my baby I don’t mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.

I may be an ass, but at least I’m not Eeyore anymore.

53: Branded April 11, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Branded

Has this kind inscription from an academic and poet I admire branded me as a “post-post-modernist?” Or am I misreading the ambiguity inherent in short, cryptic messages, especially a poet’s inscription?

Hmmmmm.

I don’t know. Some of the poetry I have read in the last several years is Conceptualist, some drivel and some fantastic. Other books ooze New Sincerity like the confessional of Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to lay out your life, at least dress for the occasion in something not from American Apparel. If you life is boring, give me “Dream Song. No. 14“. Spare me the banality of your latte. The lyrical, however, has not died, thank bog. The last book I read that completely floored me was Keetje Kuipers’s The Keys to the Jail. It is many things: angry, sarcastic, but most of all lyric. And the idea of a democratic poetry (not the PPM idea that everyone has an equal voice; talent and craft must enter somewhere) but rather in poetry that is grounded in an almost modern aesthetic of the concrete (little c), the descendents of William Carlos Williams and Charles Olson, that is accessible (my heroes include Charles Bukowski at his best, Niyi Osundare, Everette Maddox), and yet allow for the play of language upon the page and upon the ear.

Personally, and in spite of the immense Theory baggage that goes with the term, I rather like metamodernist: “Aesthetically, metamodernism is exemplified by the writings of Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolaño, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen, as they are each typified by a continuous oscillation, a constant repositioning between attitudes and mindsets that are evocative of the modern and of the postmodern but are ultimately suggestive of another sensibility that is neither of them; one that negotiates between a yearning for universal truths and relativism, between a desire for sense and a doubt about the sense of it all, between hope and melancholy, sincerity and irony, knowingness and naivety, construction and deconstruction.”

At least, that’s where I’m trying to go. Perhaps I am too “young” a poet at 56, taking up writing and not just reading less than 10 years ago) to have blazed a clear trail of my own. I keep my machete sharp and steer by the distant mountains of past masters, the promise of rivers of clear water free of crocodiles, Theorists and anything resembling The New Sincerity, anything smacking of pseudo-modernism, of Google Poetics or any related nonsense.

For me, “post-postmodern” is not an epitaph, but the sign at the foot of the trail warning of precipitous inclines, precarious stretches of crumbling ledge, and hic sont leones.

Odd Words April 10, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans.

& Thursday at 6 pm the Belle Chase Library hosts native son Geoff Munsterman who will will read from and sign his poetry collection Because the Stars Shine Through It (2013 Lavender Ink). Guests are invited to purchase books from the author before or after the reading, which should begin around 6:30. Cookies and refreshments will be available.

& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Zachary Lazar and I Pity the Poor Immigrant. The stunning new novel by the author of Sway is another “brilliant portrayal of life as a legend” (Margot Livesey). In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig. In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.

& On Friday at 6 p.m. pm Garden District Book Shop features Frances Mayes’s Under Magnolia. A lyrical and evocative memoir from Frances Mayes, the Bard of Tuscany, about coming of age in the Deep South and the region’s powerful influence on her life. Under Magnolia is a searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves. With acute sensory language, Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South, the smells and tastes at her family table, the fragrance of her hometown trees, and writes an unforgettable story of a girl whose perspicacity and dawning self-knowledge lead her out of the South and into the rest of the world, and then to a profound return

& On Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Maple Street Books presents Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Marjorie Flack. The country bunny attains the exalted position of Easter Bunny in spite of her responsibilities as the mother of twenty-one children.

& At 1:30 pm Octavia Books at children’s book author Whitney Stewart presents and signs her new picture book, A CATFISH TALE: A Bayou Story of the Fisherman and His Wife. Deep in the bayou, a Cajun fisherman named Jack catches a magic fish that offers to grant wishes in exchange for being set free. Jack doesn’t have a lot of wishes, but his wife Jolie sure does—for a mansion, a paddleboat, fame and fortune! With each wish, all the fish says is “Ah, tooloulou—if that ain’t the easiest thing to do.” But when Jolie wants to be crowned Mardi Gras queen, have things gone too far?

& Saturday evening at 7 pm the journal T E N D E R L O I N presents it’s reading series The Third Weird Thing at Kajun’s on Sat. Claude. This month our 3rd weird thing is the 4th! Four poets for your pleasure: Jennifer Hanks, M.K Brake, Min Kang and Joseph Bienvenu. About the series: 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

& 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 at 7 pm the two-time national champion Slam New Orleans hosts The New $#!% Slam at the Shadowbox Theater. “Bring your new hat, your new date, and most importantly your NEW POEMS as we celebrate all things new. Please bring new poems that have not yet hit the The Shadowbox Theatre (and preferably any) stage.”

& 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 the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group featuring Greg Alexander, a local author who lives and works in Metairie, will discuss his new book, The Holy Mark. The Holy Mark is a monologue told from the point of view of a psychologically disturbed Catholic priest who continually rationalizes and justifies his relationships with teenaged boys. It combines the elements of a psychological case study and dysfunctional New Orleans Italian family saga. The Holy Mark is the story of one reluctant priest caught between the cynicism of his own Southern upbringing and the political machinations of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregory Alexander was born and raised in New Orleans. After completing degrees in Psychology and American Literature, he taught English at several Catholic schools in the city. His short stories, including the genesis of The Holy Mark, have appeared in literary magazines across the country. Alexander has been a contributing book reviewer for the New Orleans Times Picayune.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Tuesday the Latter Memorial Library at 7 pm presents New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City featuring local author Carolyn Kolb discussing her new book.

& 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.

& Best-selling author and media personality Sarah Vowell will give a presentation of her work at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in the Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenburg Art Center on Tulane University’s campus. Vowell, whose books often present U.S. histories infused with her irreverent comedy, is the author most recently of Unfamiliar Fishes, which the New York Times called “a whiplash study of the Americanization of Hawaii and the events leading to its annexation. Its scintillating cast includes dour missionaries, genital-worshiping heathens, Teddy Roosevelt, incestuous royalty, a nutty Mormon, a much-too-­merry monarch, President Obama, sugar barons, an imprisoned queen and Vowell herself, in a kind of 50th-state variety show.” She is also the author of, among other books, The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation, she was a contributing editor to This American Life, and she was one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s. (h/t to Room 220, which called this to my attention. It didn’t show up on the Tulane calendar).

& Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops presens Justin Go’s The Steady Running of the Hour. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors, in London—and news that could change Tristan’s life forever. In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months. In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the East fjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley’s fortune—but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes.

& 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!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Features for the 16th are TBA. Check the daily Odd Words posting for an update.

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

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.

Radio Free Toulouse: Hey Man, Slow Down April 5, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“sometimes I get overcharged. that’s when you see sparks.”

Fifty One: Old, Cold Houses April 4, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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Standing disrobed (literally, so as not to wet the velour sleeves) to do dishes in the unheated half of the house (the damn striker rarely then just barely manages a spark) lends a certain urgency to the matter. There is a bit of black mold on the baseboards just behind the toaster-over cart I’m going to have to get down and scrub away. My landlord and his man have searched every inch of the house but I’m pretty convinced the cold and damp come up through the floorboards, past whatever cheap underwood lies under the $2.99 a yard brown carpet. I hurried to get this thought down as soon as the dishes were in the dryer, so I’m sitting naked underneath my leaky, single-pane window which very effectively sets up a cross circulation of cooled falling air with the heater across the room. Sadly, I am sitting directly underneath that window’s downdraft.

So it goes with old house in New Orleans, especially the cheaper sort where they can still be found. I am not shure how I came to love old houses so. I raised in the self-designed home of one of New Orleans’ premier modernist architects, a thoroughly mid-century modern box with two sides brick firewall to protect us from the Levee Board-era frame houses just a drifting cinder’s gap away. The front and back first floor were walls of glass, the upstairs windows set in some sort of cement-renforced construction board left it’s natural gray. The roof was a commercial flat top of tar and gravel across which the neighborhood squirrels skittered in little avalanches of noise. It was just the sort of house the right-hand man of Arthur Davis and Nathaniel Curtis would build, a home for the man who oversaw the design and construction of the Brutalist masterpiece The Rivergate, with the world’s largest unsupported concrete span for a roof, every beam and cable exposed to showcase the builders work, soaring across horizontal space like with the grandeur of a secular cathedral, the wave-like undulations of its roof its sole concession to the works of god.

Sometimes I think of the Rivergate when I see the warped weather boards of an old New Orleans house, recall Brutalism as I shimmy among the glass insulation posts and faded cloth wiring of an old attic. The first old house I truly loved was not in New Orleans but in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The only new wiring was pulled for the stove and refrigerator, and I had to duck the fragile exposed post wiring every trip tp the attic. What remained of the horsehair or other 1910 insulation had mostly crumbled to about knee height, and there were not one but two large oil tanks in the basement that cost a fortune to fill. Because of the poor insulation the for sale paint job began to crack and peel the first winter as the heat bled out of the house,

How do you love a monstrosity like this? The windows were hand poured glass complete with bubbles and wavering irregularities which the entire weatherization budget of the EPA could not convince me to replace. The storm windows were also custom constructions of wood and glass, each numbered in an ornate font by a tiny screw on plate. To hang them the required climbing a 24 foot step-ladder and leaning much to far back to get them on their hooks. Still, I loved those windows, the knowledge that a glass maker and a carpenter had conspired to make each by hand. Nothing in that house came from the home improvement store except the ceiling fans I carefully wired to the old cloth-covered runs. There was a sconce light on my daughter’s room which contained the only conduited wiring, and I like to imagine the electrician fishing wires up old gas lines. It was a money trap homeowners nightmare and a work of craft and love to rival the most extravagant stick-and-Tyvek McMansion.

Old houses have character, are haunted in a loose sense by every craftsman who planed a custom board to fit just-so, by every tenants coat of paint you must scrape from the windows to make them work, and because I could tell me children that Old Man Norby (scion of the local department store, for whom it was built in 1910) was buried in back in the particularly fertile spot I suspect was once the privy. You are living in something which has acquired the patina over time not just of a house but of a home. it is not uniquely, custom-built yours with fashionable marble and special order sink fixtures. It is a part of the history of the community in which you live, in which you participate every time you step over the threshold.

Odd Words April 3, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans. Be sure to check out the National Poetry Month event listing on ToulouseStreet.net or find the link on the Odd Words Page.

& Thursday the Delta Mouth Literary Festival in Baton Rouge kicks off four days of events through the weekend. featuring sixteen readers at various venues. Their website is deltamouthfestival.com and you can keep up with them on their Facebook page.

& Friday at 6 pm Maple Street Books features Michael Grabell (2009), Aran Donovan (2013), and Anne Marie Rooney (2008) reading Friday, April 4th, at 6PM! All have been featured at one point in the Best New Poets annual anthology. Each year, Best New Poets has a guest editor selects 50 poems from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an open internet competition.

& April 5th at 2 pm the U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans brings Resilient Women, a poetic performance of ancestral power:  with Delia Tomino Nkayama, Troi Bechet, Miki Fugii, Jenna Mae, and Mona Lisa Savory.

& Saturday at 10 am Octavia Books hosts friends of the Child Development Program (CDP) for a special reading/performance by members of the Marsalis Family featuring Delfeayo Marsalis’s new picture book, NO CELL PHONE DAY – followed by a jazz concert by local musicians. And, just mention CDP when you check out and we will donate a portion of your purchases to CDP. NO CELL PHONE DAY is a children’s picture book written by world-renowned NEA Jazz Master and Grammy award-winning producer, Delfeayo Marsalis and illustrated by award-winning Harlem artist, Reginald W. Butler. The book playfully addresses the idea of imposing technology and how it affects our relationships with loved ones. In the book, Delfeayo and his daughter decide to put down their cell phones for a day to explore their hometown of New Orleans!

& Saturday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features Jane Scott Hodges’s Linens: For Every Room and Occasion. The book is is the ultimate guide to living and entertaining with fine textiles. Whether your style is classic or modern, casual or formal, crisply pressed or nonchalantly rumpled, linens are uniquely adaptable to the way you live and decorate and the surest way to put a personal stamp on your home.

Saturday at 2 pm bring the National Poetry month instance of the Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library hosted by poet Gina Ferrara will feature an outstanding collection of poets at 2 pm including: Grace Bauer, Dave Brinks, John Gery, and Julie Kane reading from their work.

& Saturday evening at 6 pm Octavia features Michael Patrick Welch’s NEW ORLEANS: The Underground Guide. Red beans and rice, trad jazz, and second lines are the Big Easy’s calling cards, but beyond where the carriage rides take you is a city brimming with genre-defying music, transnational cuisine, and pockets of wild, artistic locals that challenge preconceived notions of what it means to be New Orleans. With a respectful nod to the traditional and a full embrace of the obscure, New Orleans: The Underground Guide is a resource for discovering the city as it really is — as much brass bands and boas as it is bounce and bicycle tours. From a speakeasy in the Bywater neighborhood to the delightfully sketchy vibe of St. Roch Tavern, lead author Michael Patrick Welch uncovers an unexpected tableau of musicians, venues, and novel ways to pass the bon temps.

& 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 kicks off National Poetry Month with Poets Grace Bauer reading from and signing her new book, Everywhere All At Once, and poet Julie Kane reading from and signing her new book Paper Bullets

& 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 at 7 pm the two-time national champion Slam New Orleans hosts The New $#!% Slam at the Shadowbox Theater. “Bring your new hat, your new date, and most importantly your NEW POEMS as we celebrate all things new. Please bring new poems that have not yet hit the The Shadowbox Theatre (and preferably any) stage.”

& 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 5 pm the Creative Writing Workshop returns to the Robert E. Smith Memorial Library on Canal Boulevard.

& Also on Monday the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group – Critique Session. 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& The West Bank Fiction Writer’s Group meets Tuesday at 7 pm at the The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego/ Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& 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 3 pm Octavia Books Grammy Award winner, musician/actor, and New York Times bestselling author Rick Springfield makes a special visit to Octavia Books in anticipation of his forthcoming novel, MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION. Rick Springfield will sign original lithographs he created for MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION and bookplates for the book which is being released on May 6, 2014. To meet Rick, you must purchase a ticket. Each ticket admits one person and will be exchanged at the event for a signed lithograph and signed bookplate. And you will receive a copy of MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION after publication. Tickets are $45. Why are we here? What is love? Is there a Loch Ness monster? Does God send text messages?” These are the kinds of questions Horatio Cotton, aka Bobby Cotton, asks as he sets off on an uproarious adventure to find his purpose in life. After stealing a mysterious self-help book called Magnificent Vibration: Discover Your True Purpose from a bookstore, Bobby calls the 1-800 number scrawled inside the front cover, only to discover that he has a direct line to God. This launches Bobby on a whimsical quest, serendipitously accompanied by a breathtakingly sexy and exceed­ingly sharp travel companion named Alice. Together the pair sets out to find some combination of spiritual and carnal salvation—and possibly save the planet.

& At 5:30 pm Octavia then hosts George Packer for the paperback release of THE UNWINDING, which won the National Book Award last year. It’s currently nominated for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award as well! James Carville will give the introduction at the event. A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.

& Finally, Octavia ends a busy day at 7 pm with a presentation, tasting, and book signing with writer Dane Huckelbridge featuring new book, BOURBON: A History of the American Spirit. This is popular history with a whiskey-soaked edge––an artful and imaginative biography of our most well–liked and, at times, controversial spirit that is also a witty and entertaining chronicle of the United States itself.

& 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!)

Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Feature this week are Poets Charles Alexander and Daniel Reinhold.

Odd Words: National Poetry Month April 2, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Here is a roundup of events in the greater New Orleans area in observance of Nationl Poetry Month. I expect this list is still incomplete in spite of my best efforts to date, so be sure to subscribe to the blog here and to both Like and Get Notifications on Facebook, and follow @odd_words on Twitter to keep up to date. IF YOUR EVENT LIST NOT LISTED, PLEASE CONTACT ODD.WORDS.NOLA@GMAIL.COM to be included in updates throughout the month.

& NO Creative Writing Workshop will host a reading by guest poet Peter Cooley on Wednesday, April 2, at 8 p.m., at the UNO Campus Art Gallery:  The reading will be followed by a booksigning and wine and cheese reception. This event, which is free and open to the public, was made possible by a grant from Poets & Writers.

& In honor of National Poetry Month, Fleur de Lit’s April reading will feature local poets. The reading will be held Wednesday, April 2nd, at 6:30pm at the American Can Co. (3700 Orleans Ave.). Readers include: Brad Richard (Motion Studies and Butcher’s Sugar); Rodger Kamenetz (To Die Next to You); Melinda Palacio (Ocotillo Dreams and How Fire is a Story, Waiting); Nik Richard (Love and Water and A Dream for Sale), Kelly Harris and Marla Chirdon.

& 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!)

& The Blood Jet Poetry Series at B.J..’s ADDRESS starts up again April 2 at 8 pm with featured poet Geoff Munsterman. This is a weekly event with a feature reader followed up an open mic.

& On April 3rd, Thursday, New Orleans poet Mona Lisa Savory and Louisiana Poet Laureate will read at the State Capital Library. Savoy will read later that day ta the St. John Parish Library, Reserve Branch, Prime Time Family Reading Time, 5:30 p.m.

& Friday April 5th at 6 pm Maple Street Books features Michael Grabell (2009), Aran Donovan (2013), and Anne Marie Rooney (2008) reading Friday, April 4th, at 6PM! All have been featured at one point in the Best New Poets annual anthology. Each year, Best New Poets has a guest editor selects 50 poems from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an open internet competition.

& April 5th at the U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans brings Resilient Women, a poetic performance of ancestral power:  with Delia Tomino Nkayama, Troi Bechet, , Miki fugii, Jenna Mae, and Mona Lisa Savory.

& Also on Saturday the 5th the monthly Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library hosted by poet Gina Ferrara wil feture an outstanding collection of poets at 2 pm including: Grace Bauer, Dave Brinks, John Gery, and Julie Kane reading from their work.

& Every Sunday the Maple Leaf Literary Series, the oldest continuous reading in the Deep South, presents featured artists and an open mic at The Maple Leaf on Oak Street. The listings for April include: APRIL 6 – Poet Grace Bauer reads from and signs her new book, Everywhere All At Once, and poet Julie Kane reads from and signs her new book, Paper Bullets.APRIL 13 – Poet Nina Ouedraogo reads from her work, followed by an open mic.APRIL 20 – OPEN MIC READING APRIL 27 – JAZZ FEST OPEN MIC

& On April 8th, Mona Lisa Saloy will host a Reading & Book Signing of her new book Second Line Home at the Will Alexander Library, Dillard University, at 5:30 p.m.

& Two-time national champions Slam New Orleans host a slam “New $#!t Slam Sunday, April 9 9 p.m. at the Allways on St. Claude Avenue.

& Octavia Books is  having a book release celebration/poetry reading/signing with John Gery on 4/17 at 6PM of his new title Have At You.. Gery is the author of numerous books of poetry and a professor of creative writing at UNO.

& John Gery, a New Orleans poet and UNO professor, will discuss his latest book of poetry, Have At You Now! at 7 p.m., on Thursday, April 24 at the Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie.

Fifty: Traces of Angels March 29, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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feathergirlThis is my entry in Harriet “Happy” Burbeck’s call for stories for her art show “Illustrations Stories That Haven’t Been Written Yet” (which closed last night).

She goes out in the morning looking for traces of angels. Her momma’s house is chock-a-block with cherubs and delicate porcelain nymphs with gilded wings. Even the fractured worm of ash of the cigarette her mother passed out smoking sits in a bowl cradled by the hands of a pieta-headed angel. These are not the creatures she hears in the night, the woosh of muscular wings, the cries that frighten the hoot owls. The curio cabinets rattle at their passing. When she can no longer fight off sleep she dreams of their hot breath on her neck, dark forms standing guard against darkness. She goes out in the morning, gathers their tremendous feathers and takes them into the woods behind the house. She plants their spines like saplings. With each new plume the forest grows more fiercely green, the trunks and branches more muscular and rough. She sits in her feather garden listening to the crows talk, listening for the familiar voices from her dreams.

Forty Nine: This Fresh Hell March 28, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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You can’t imagine a city like this. The archetypes are all wrong. You’ve drunk so much you’re sure you going straight to Baptist hell the minute you cross the Mississippi line but don’t realize it’s right outside your curtained hotel window, the vomit brimstone steam from hoses rinsing off the blistering streets, the smell of gluttonous garbage decomposing in the brutal, golden sun of August, the flash of gold from the teeth of the last tranny hooker stumbling home. Cathedral Jesus knows what you’ve been up to but he’s been hanging in this city so long all he really wants is to bum a cigarette, something toward bus fare to somewhere less molten, more regular in its habits, some place evil orders the breakfast biscuit and eats it methodically before it pulls out the gun, the horror and the glory of the certainty of Satan’s works on a placid landscape.

Odd Words March 27, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday kicks off with a reading with poet Richard Siken. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. at NOCCA, 2800 Chartres Street, New Orleans 70117. Siken’s poetry collection Crush is the winner of the 2004 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, judged by poet Louise Glück. Glück says in the forward: “The poems’ power derives from obsession but Richard Siken’s manner is sheer manic improv, with the poet in all the roles: he is the animal trapped in the headlights, paralyzed; he is also the speeding vehicle, the car that doesn’t stop, the mechanism of flight. The book is all high beams: reeling, savage, headlong, insatiable.” A resident of Tucson, AZ, Siken is cofounder and editor of the literary magazine spork, and the recipient of a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. The reading will open with UNO Creative Writing Professor and poet Carolyn Hembree.

The Siken reading is the opening event of the seventh annual Lusher Charter High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Art LitFest, a collaboration between the two New Orleans’s schhols for the arts. The Festival, coordinated by Lusher faculty member Brad Richard and NOCCA faculty member Lara Naughton, draws nearly 150 young writers from the New Orleans area who come together to learn new skills, share ideas and celebrate the writing life. Day Two Saturday March 29: offers high school students a day-long festival of master classes with nationally renowned writers and artists, seminars, food, and sharing their work and ideas. Saturday events will be held from 9:30 AM-4:30 PM at Lusher Charter High School, 5624 Freret Street, New Orleans 70115. Tickets for the program are $20 and can be purchased here.

Headlining the Saturday festival will be poet Richard Siken who will offer a master class to all festival participants. After the master class, Siken will also meet with a small group of students to discuss poetry and the writing life. Other session offerings include Screenwriting with Henry Griffin; Spoken Word with Slam Team NOLA; Story Games with Mischa Krilov; Fiction with Maurice Ruffin; Poetry with Carolyn Hembree; Creative Non-Fiction with Adrian Van Young; Comic Art with Kurt Amacker; and Storyslam: Live Storytelling with Laine Kaplan-Levenson. In addition, there will be an open reading by members of the local high school literary scene.

& Thursday at 7 p.m. the East Jefferson Regional Library features James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration. This will kick off a bi-weekly event starting on Sunday, April 13.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday The Creative Writing Fund of the Tulane English Department presents a reading by Christopher Tilghman of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, author of Mason’s Retreat and The Right-Hand Shore, Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Freeman Auditorium of Woldenberg Art Center. Free and open to the public.

& The UNO Creative Writing Workshop will also host a reading by poet Richard Siken on Friday at 3 p.m., in the Liberal Arts building, Room 197. The reading will be followed by a doughnut hole and black coffee reception. This event is free and open to the public.

& Friday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts photographer Andrew Knapp and his adorable border collier Momo who has become an Instagram sensation. Andrew will give a presentation and sign his new book, FIND MOMO: My Dog is Hiding in this Book. Can You Find Him? In the fall of 2012, photographer Andrew Knapp took his border collie, Momo, into the woods to play catch. Knapp grabbed a stick and gave it a throw, but Momo was not interested in retrieving it—he wanted to play a game of hide-and-seek. After a bit of searching, Knapp found Momo hidden behind some trees. The beauty of the scene inspired Knapp to pick up his camera and snap a few shots of Momo, which he began posting to Instagram with the #findmomo hashtag. Momo soon became an Internet sensation: his Instagram feed quickly gained more than 100,000 followers, and Knapp’s project garnered interest from the media (Huffington Post, Mashable, and ABCNews.com). FIND MOMO is Knapp’s collection of charming photography that invites readers to play hide-and-seek with this ever-cute, ever-patient, ever-eager border collie who is skilled at hiding in a variety of settings.

& Saturday morning at 11:30 am Storytime with Miss Maureen returns to Maple Street Book Shop with Superworm by Julia Donaldson. Toad in trouble? Beetle in a jam? Never fear — Superworm is here! And he’s wiggling to the rescue! But when Superworm is captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard, will his friends find a way to help their favorite superhero escape? From the creators of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom a super new adventure with a wriggly, squiggly hero you’ll never forget.

& Also on Saturday Garden District Book Shop features C. S. Harris’ Why Kings Confess. Regency England, January 1813: When a badly injured Frenchwoman is found beside the mutilated body of Dr. Damion Pelletan in one of London’s worst slums, Sebastian finds himself caught in a high-stakes tangle of murder and revenge. Although the woman, Alexi Sauvage, has no memory of the attack, Sebastian knows her all too well from an incident in his past—an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him.

& Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. join the denizens of the Poetry Brothel for an intimate evening at Byrdie’s featuring unlimited free readings, burlesque and more.

& Sunday at 1 p.m. Octavia Books presents #1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale (PENDRAGON), comes to present and sign STORM, Book 2 of his action-fueled, tantalizingly plotted SYLO CHRONICLES sci-fi conspiracy trilogy. A thrilling trilogy that begins on a peaceful island community that is rocked by a series of mysterious deaths, and quickly becomes a massive conflict that will determine the future of mankind. A group of young people uncover clues they hope will lead to the truth behind the madness for nothing is what it first appears to be. The quest to defend their home is made all the more difficult because they can’t be sure of whom to trust…and who to fear. Everyone is a suspect. Nowhere is safe.

& 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 poet John Gery reads from and signs his seventh collection of poems, Have at You Now! (2014), followed by an open mic.

& Sunday brings SIRENS, SUFFRAGETTES & SUPER-HEROINES: A Celebration of Women’s Power and Progress at the Dryades Theatre, 1232 O.C. Haley Blvd. at 6 p.m. An evening of dance, poetry, performance & live music celebrating Women’s Month at the Dryades Theater. Hosted by Claudia Baumgarten & Diana Shortes. Fresh new work from performers such as Felice Guimont, Max Bernardi, Reese Johanson, Jennifer Pagan, Ruby Rendrag, Kathy Randalls, and more. $10 donation.

& 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.

& 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.

& Also on Monday the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group – Critique Session. 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Garden District Book Shop presents Nevada Barr’s Destroyer Angel. Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation—an autumn canoe trip in the to the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is thirteen. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River. When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teen-aged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country.

& Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. the 1718 Society hosts a reading by Tulane professor/author Thomas Beller. He is the author of three books–How to Be a Man, The Sleep Over Artist and Seduction Theory, and is a contributor to The New Yorker, Guernica, The Parish Review and N+1. He teaches creative writing at Tulane University. The 1718 Society is a literary organization comprised of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students. Their monthly reading series at the Columns Hotel is free and open to the public. It showcases the work of student readers, as well as that of prominent local and national writers.

& 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 UNO Creative Writing Workshop will host a reading by guest poet Peter Cooley on Wednesday, April 2, at 8 p.m., at the UNO Campus Art Gallery. The reading will be followed by a booksigning and wine and cheese reception. This event, which is free and open to the public, was made possible by a grant from Poets & Writers.

& In honor of National Poetry Month, Fleur de Lit’s April reading will feature local poets. The reading will be held Wednesday, April 2nd, at 6:30pm at Pearl Wine Co. in the American Can Co. (3700 Orleans Ave.). Readers include: Brad Richard (Motion Studies and Butcher’s Sugar); Rodger Kamenetz (To Die Next to You); Melinda Palacio (Ocotillo Dreams and How Fire is a Story, Waiting); Nik Richard (Love and Water and A Dream for Sale), Kelly Harris and Marla Chirdon. You must be 21 to attend this event.

& 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!)

Also at 8 p.m. Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns resumes at BJs. Poets Geoff Munsterman and fiction writer Tom Andes will feature. Share some work as well.

Forty Eight: INSERT TITLE March 25, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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If I don’t shave, would I be starting a new, full beard? It seems an inauspicious day to start something and equally so to do anything as ambitious as shaving. If I were any less ambitious today I might be mistaken, should someone discover me on the couch, for a catatonic. I have a house full of unread books, one clean plate, a rinsed out coffee up and a fractious garbage can that refused to move itself to the curb unaided. I’m not sure what time it is because my upended bicycle, waiting these two weeks for me to repair the front tire, has become a fixture in front of the bookcase and obscures the clock.

I am, for the moment, perfectly happy with this situation. I am wearing my Hefner burgundy velour robe, managed to make a pot of coffee and when the last cigarette in the pack runs out, I have a pouch of loose tobacco and can resume my project to save money and smoke less by rolling one. Except: rolling cigarettes is such a bother, but it is still more in keeping with my current state of affairs than actually putting on pants and walking four blocks to the grocery..

This is New Orleans, and should I choose to appear at Canseco’s wearing nothing but my robe, my thin hair a charged nimbus about my head and my cheeks suitable for removing paint, I might be worth two sentences between the check out girls before the next neighborhood character. This, however, smacks of intentionally eccentric performance, and intentionality (Christ, I hope that’s not a neologism) is not on the agenda.

Which is all to say that I started this (yet another) project 365–to write something on the blog every day–with entry Zero on January 14. It is March 25th, and I am only up to 48. No, I am not going to launch Excel and do the date math necessary to quantify my failure to meet that goal. I carefully explained to my children while helping them with math that estimation is an important skill in addition to precise arithmetic, that I used it almost daily in my job as a project manager, and I leave calculating precisely how far behind I am to the earnest and eager reader to figure that out.

I think, with another cup of coffee, I might manage to stand in the shower long enough to feel clean, put on yesterday’s jeans, and pick out a book from the clutter and walk toward the park. Walking is an almost automatic act once you set out, requiring no particular ambition. If I had a loaf of bread, I might even make a sandwich, but I don’t so I won’t. Grabbing a couple of apples that have never made it off the kitchen table and out of their plastic bag into the refrigerator may have to do. They are Pink Ladies and delicious, and should provide just enough sugar energy to put off walking back from the park to the coffee shop later.

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 March 22, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, Indie Book Shops, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The rest of this week in literary New Orleans now that the Tennessee Williams Festival is {almost} behind us:

Sunday still offers some choice Tennessee Williams Festival events, both at 11:30 am: first is The Return of the Essay, featuring panelists Kiese Laymon, Roxanne Gay and Dani Shapiro in the Royal Ball Room at the Monteleone Hotel. The second is Sing Me A Story, Tell Me A Song: When Writing Demands Melody featuring David Simon, Tom Piazza and Luke Winslow King, at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe. And at 1 pm there is Cultural Vistas’ 25th Anniversary Panel.. Join executive editor David
Johnson in a discussion about documenting Louisiana for the past quarter century, along with contributor and author Sally Asher, longtime music reviewer Ben Sandmel and history columnist Richard Campanella. At the Monteleone Royal Ballroom.

And don’t forget the Stella and Stanley shouting contest at 4:15 pm at Jackson Square.

& This Sunday at Octavia Books hosts renowned cartoonist Michael Fry (co-creator and writer of OVER THE HEDGE) comes to read and sign his two recent ODD SQUAD books: ZERO TOLERANCE and BULLY BAIT — middle-grade illustrated novels for all ages. Michael Fry has been a cartoonist/writer/entrepreneur for over 30 years. In addition to THE ODD SQUAD novels, Fry has created or co/created four international syndicated comic strips, including Over the Hedge, which runs in 150 newspapers worldwide – and it was adapted into the hit animated movie of the same name. Over the Hedge was nominated for Best Comic Strip in 2006 by the National Cartoonist Society Rueben Awards.

& 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 Thaddaeus Conti and Joseph Bienvenu 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.

& 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 the Robert E. Smith Library at Harrison Avenue and Canal Boulevard hosts a writing workshop starting at 5:30 p.m. “Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop.”

& Also on Monday the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group – Critique Session. 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

Tuesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, featuring their new book, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton’s surprising defeat in the 2008 Democratic primary brought her to the nadir of her political career, vanquished by a much younger opponent whose message of change and cutting-edge tech team ran circles around her stodgy campaign. And yet, six years later, she has reemerged as an even more powerful and influential figure, a formidable stateswoman and the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, marking one of the great political comebacks in history. The story of Hillary’s phoenixlike rise is at the heart of HRC, a riveting political biography that journeys into the heart of “Hillaryland” to discover a brilliant strategist at work.

& 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 6:00 at TEN gallery, 4432 Magazine Street artist Harriet Burbeck will discuss her work on view. Michael Allen Zell will read from his book The Oblivion Atlas and discuss collaborating with photographers Louviere and Vanessa. Burbeck is also soliciting submissions from writers from the show Illustrations From Stories That Haven’t Been Written. Writers are invited to view the work and submit stories inspired by her fabric art to tinylittlehappy@gmail.com. She will post all submissions on her blog, and one story will be selected for publication in the forthcoming new journal Ark of New Orleans.

& Wednesday at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shop hosts Sally Asher and Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names. New Orleans is a city of beautiful contradictions, evidenced by its street names. New Orleans crosses with Hope, Pleasure and Duels. Religious couples with Nuns, Market and Race. Music, Arts and Painters are parallel. New Orleans enfolds its denizens in the protection of saints, the artistry of Muses and the bravery of military leaders. The city’s street names are inseparable from its diverse history. They serve as guideposts as well as a narrative that braid its pride, wit and seedier history into a complex web that to this day simultaneously joins and shows the cracks within the city. Learn about Bourbon’s royal lineage, the magnitude of Napoleon’s influence, how Tchoupitoulas’s history is just as long and vexing as its spelling and why mispronouncing such streets as Burgundy, Calliope and Socrates doesn’t mean you are incorrect–it just means you are local!

& Wednesday the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts an Author Event featuring Game Changers: The Legacy of Louisiana Sports, by Marty Mule. Mule, a local author who has written numerous books about Louisiana sports, talks about and signs his latest book.

& Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Borque will be reading at 8 pm Wednesday at the University of New Orleans in room in LA 197 (the Liberal Arts Lounge). Open to the public.

& 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!)

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TWF14: What The Professor Said March 22, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Tennessee Williams Festival, Toulouse Street.
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Dr. Kenneth Holditch’s opening remarks at A Little Piece of Eternity Dropped Into Your Hands: “New Orleans was created by writers and visual artists, and that’s kept a lot of New Orleans alive…it was a totally different city from anything I had ever imagined. I don’t want to be the voice of doom but you better look quick because there are forces that want to change it into Columbus, Ohio…Sherwood Anderson said New Orleans was the city of imagination. Other cities may be cities of the intellect but this is the city of the imagination. I think that had a tremendous effect on Tennessee Williams.”

A friend of Williams (name unintelligible on my recording) recounted how “[Tennesseee] recalled when he came to New Oreans, when he was headed south on the bus,  he did not expect too much from the destination other than ‘salvation from the furies that had been unleashed by fate on [his] mortal self’.”

Tennessee wrote in his journal a few days after he arrived here in 1938 “here surely is the place that I was made for of any place on this funny old world.”

TWF14: Untangling the skein of memory March 22, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in books, memoir, New Orleans, Odd Words, Tennessee Williams Festival, Toulouse Street.
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A book on authors who knit was not what I expected when I walked into the panel An Examined Life: The Mysteries of Memoir but as Ann Hood pointed out “knitting is a metaphor for life.” Both her personal obsession with knitting and her novel The Knitting Circle grew out of trying to cope with her own tragic loss of a child. She also authored a memoir about the loss of her daughter Grace, COMFORT: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF but knitting proved to be her best coping mechanism “After my first knitting lesson I realize I got through two-and-a-half hours without crying.” She soon discovered other authors who knit, and decided to pitch her new book Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. She took her editors grunt when she pitched the idea as a yes, and ended up with 27 essays by authors who knit and how it changed their life. When she read her own audio book, she imagined the “fedora-wearing Brooklyn hipster” who was her audio engineer must have thought he had drawn the worst assignment ever, but she said he confessed to crying by the end of the four days by the stories he heard.

An Examined Life covered a lot of ground, some of it at the edge of memoir, but the four authors on the panel–Hood, Blake Bailey, Lila Quintero Weaver and Emily Raboteau–all authored recent books that attempt to reclaim a part of their lives. Bailey’s story of his brother, who fell into drugs and died by suicide, is the closest to true memoir. “Scott was the better brother, the more promising of [us] two before he started to go off the rails. We should have landed in the same place and we didn’t and I decided to write [the book] to figure out why.”

Quintero Weaver’s Dark Room: A Memoir in Black and White, a graphic-novel approach to a tale of growing up a Latin American immigrant in rural Alabama during the civil rights movement is, by her description, as much a book about place: what Odd Words likes to call a geo-memoir. Her father was the town’s only photographer, but the illustrations in the book are all Quintero Weaver’s. Raboteau’s exploration of African-Americans who moved to Israel and Africa looking for a place that felt like home was driven by her own desire to find her identity as a bi-racial child of the 1960s who grew up in New Jersey constantly answering the question “where are you from?” and ends with a return to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, the town her parents fled after her grandfather was lynched.

Solace and closure, the discovery of one’s real place in life and the world, are the meat of memoir. Only Bailey’s and perhaps Quintero Weaver’s books would be easy to file in the bookstore under memoir, but all drew deep on the author’s desire to understand critical events of their own lives.

Asked by moderator Nancy Dixon how their families’ reacted to their books, Bailey replied, “it was brutal. If you’re the sort of person who frets about what your family will think you’re in the wrong genre.” Quintero Weaver responded about the reaction of the people of the small Alabama town she writes about. No one would tell her exactly why they didn’t like the book but suspects “they want to move on.” Marion was at the center of the Civil Rights movement and the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson while the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was in town led to the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. She heard second-hand that the president of the Chamber of Commerce said, “we don’t want her book in our town.”

Hood summed up what is required of the memoir author: “You have to write like you’re an orphan.”

Earlier in the day, novelist Justin Torres spoke of his own approach to putting a life’s experiences down into words in his bildungsroman We The Animals,the story of his own gradual “orphaning” from his family. “When I started, I was writing back to my family…I’d been ejected [for coming out queer] and the original motivation was anger.” Torres brief, 125-page tale of three brothers is fictionalized, although after reading it one brother told him of an episode, “I remember that.” “You can’t,” Torres replied. “I made it up.” Later he added, “I did not write my memoir. This is not my life. This is the emotional texture of my life.”

Asked toward the end how his family initially reacted to the book, Torres said “I hurt them. You don’t tell family secrets. I don’t know that I did the right thing but I believe in art.”

Torres’ interview with Festival Programming Director J.R. Ramakrishnan was titled “The Super Sleek Novel” and a great deal of the discussion was about the brevity of the novel and how it achieves its goals in such a short space. When he went to New York, every publisher he met with told him they loved the book, but he needed to write another 100 pages. Novels are supposed to be 250 pages long, he was told over and over again. The last editor he met with also responded positively to the book, and Torres told her, “but you want me to write another hundred pages, right?” but she said no.

The book unfolds as a series of very short chapters, each unveiling one small aspect of the character’s life growing up with his two brothers. “Super compressed, super distilled chapters: that’s what works for me. I could be very poetic and still get to the point…little movements that were so complete and yet captured the world. What I really like about the short form is you are always creating tension and then there is a little climax.” Most of the chapters begin in the first person plural before moving to the first person. “The idea of we is we feel a collective personality as children, [my brothers and I] had this non-verbal way of understanding each other” and as the book progresses the characters gradually lose that, subtly depicting the gradual unraveling of childhood and Torres’ own place in his family.

Asked if he could write with the same passion if he were not writing from his personal experience, Torress said, “I think that what is true is the kind meaning you make out of your experience. We’re all thrown here on this earth and there’s no meaning, it’s chaos. A lot of writers are communicating the way they found meaning in this world. That’s inherently personal You have to find a way to create meaning. I choose to write from personal experience. I choose to keep it close. Also, because I feel [as] a mixed-race, queer, working-class dude, it’s political in a lot of ways. I’m really interested in intersectionality, I’m very interested in the ways i which my various identities are constructed socially…its absolutely possible to due to that in fiction” as well as writing from personal experience.

Torres never names the parents in his book. “They really are archetypes of our ideas of masculinity and femininity. I made a myth out of them to essentialize them….[t]here is a lot of opportunity for projection” in the book, and he says he frequently is told by readers that’s exactly what my experience was like. “There’s such a universal element in the book” a lot of people see their own families and experiences in it. “I hope the book breaks people’s hearts because we need to keep breaking people’s hearts.”

Forty Seven: Love in a Word March 21, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, Odd Words, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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What I wrote during Justin Torres’ master class at the Tennessee Williams Festival. The prompt was to write about sex using only monosyllabic words.

Touch, her teen skin, bare arm, long thigh, breasts brushed through blouse, the way a man boy’s hands move but ah! the kiss, all else is less than that: lips press, faces brush, shared breath, as close as we will get to that soft bliss.

Odd Words: Best of the the Tennessee Williams Fest:Part Two March 21, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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The Tennessee Williams Festival continues in high gear this weekend, culminating in the annual “Stella” shouting contest. Here are Odd Word’s picks for the Best of the Fest. For the full schedule visit the Festival web site for the full program [INSERT LINK].

Saturday morning at 10 a is a toss-up for your humble editor:

  • “Whose Life Is It Anyway” is a panel exploring when and how people are entitled to telling their own stories. To family members and friends biographers can seem like psychic vampires bent on destroying their reputations. Panelists Blake Baily, Thomas Beller, Rich Cohen and Nigel Hamilton discuss their years of historical detective work, hostile and friendly encounters and the literary decisions that made their works as compelling as any novel.
  • New Southern Poetry features panelists Lilah Hegnauer, Douglas Ray and L. Lamar Wilson reading from their work and discussing how Southern poetry (and literature in general) has moved from its agrarian and gothic roots toward new paradigms.

At 11:30 the scholars at the Williams Research Center (a venue many casual fest goers often miss) discuss “A Little Piece of Eternity Dropped Into Your Hands”–New Orleans as a Theatrical Setting. Discovering New Orleans was crutical to the development of Tennesee Williams as an artist and an individual. Panelists Foster Hirsch, Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan and Annette Seddik. The panelists will discuss New Orleans not only as a bohemian backdrop for lyric realism or as a metaphor for nonconformity and the unorthodox but as a visual and musical component is some of his more expressionist works.

The festival’s program of plays continues with afternoon matinees of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Le Petit Theatre and The Hotel Plays by Tennessee Williams at the Herman-Grima House, both at 2 p.m.

At 4 p.m. the Fest continues its traditions of bringing directors, actors and family of Williams for a conversation. This year features Diane Ladd, a cousin of Tennessee Williams, actress, director and author. Ladd has drawn three each Oscar and Emmy nomination, won a Golden Globe and three awards for Best Director for her film Mr. Munck. She will discuss her own career and her cousin Tennessee.

Also at 4 pm Odd Words will be at The Great American Literary Journal to see the amazing Roxane Gay with John Freeman, Jonathan Lee and Michelle Wildgen to discuss the hellish circles of submission and rejection, and the trials of publishing from both sides of the process. Freeman is the former editor of Guernica where Jonathan Lee is  a senior editor. Wildgren is an executive editor at Tin House.

At 5 pm the Pinckley Prize will be awarded for Crime Fiction Debut. Diana Pinckley was the long time mystery columnist of the Times Picayune. The presentation will be moderated by Susan Larson, former book editor of the former newspaper.. (Odd Words was started almost five years ago whe the T-P folded its book page to pick up the local literary listings).

At 8 pm the Festival offers a Literary Late Night “Elmore Leonard was From Here:A Tribute” in the Queen Anne Ballroom of the Hotel Monteleone. The cost is $20 at the door. The master of crime writing, weterns and dark humor was born in New Orleans and spent the early part of his life here

Sunday offers another full program, with Odd Word’s top pick:The Return of the Essay”. Panelists Hilton Als, Kiese Laymon, Roxane Gay and Dani Shapiro discuss how the Internet has spawned a million Montaignes. The literary essay is enjoying a renaissance and the panelists will discuss how humor plays a role in all of their work despite having written books on topics ranging from “drinking and other Southern pursuits”  to a paranoid schizophrenic whose condition is complicated by religions mania. 11:30 am in the Queen Anne Ballroom.

An irresistable panel for dedicated locals will be “New Orleans’ Enduring Traditions” at 10 am in the Queen Anne Ballroom.Panelists include notable locals Rick Barton, Carolyn Kolb, Errol Laborde and Micheal Patick Welch.

At 11 am the Fest hosts staged readings of the 2014 Festival One Act Play contest in La Nouvelle Balroom.  Also at 11 am Tennessee Williams short story Gift of an Apple is presented as a play Gift of an Orange by award-winning playwright Charlene A. Donaghy. At the Herman-Grimma House.

At 1 pm the Louisiana Humanities Council celebrates the 25th anniversary of their magazine Louisiana Cultural Vistas. Executive editor David Johnson leads a panel including contributors  Sally Asher, Richard Campanella and Ben Sandmel.

As I am writing this on my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard at The Kerry Irish Pub, and for all of the festival attendee who show up early for the morning panels in desperate need of coffee, I should throw in Sprited Tipplers in New Orleans, Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce and Richard Read–authors of The French Quarter Drinking Companion–recount their journey through one of America’s most notable drinking neighborhood.

The Festival’s public events conclude of course with the Stella and Shanley Shouting Contest at 4:15 pm in Jackson Square. Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for STELAAAAAA!!!! in the unforgettable scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Women are invited to reverse the role and yell for Stanley.

TWF14: Our Steampunk Copyright Law March 20, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Tennessee Williams Festival, Toulouse Street.
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Current copyright “is something of a steampunk law…full of Rube Goldberg contraptions,” New Orleans intellectual property attorney Marie Breaux told the Tennessee Williams Festival Master Class on copyright. “The copyright is not of our time…was drafted to address analog issues.” It does not fit any longer because publication is defind in very physical terms. “What happen to a journal that is only published online? We have some guidance from the Registrar [of Copyrights] but we just don’t know.”

“It may be OK for a library to scn a work and email it to a patron but not to post it on the website,” she gave as one example. And shoe-horning software into the literary copyright box is equally problematic, expecially the idea of work-for-hire when we “live in a freelance world.”  Most distrubing of all, she suggests that copyright is killing books. “You’re more able to find a book from 1880 than 1980.” As books fall out of print getting rights clearances discourges other publishers from reissuing a title.

“It’s time for a new law. This is not Marie Breaux, coyright attorney from New Orleans ,” but she says the Registar has said it is time for a new law. Breaux gave an excellent summary of the history of copyright, from the earliest recorded pronouncement of an Irish king who asserted that St. Columba had no right to copy a psalter written and illuminated by St. Finian. He ruled, “to every cow, it’s calf. To every book its copy.”  England produced the first copyright law, protecting the exclusive rights of printers who reproduced ancient works. In the United States the basis of copyright was written into the Constitution, the authors anxious to encourage innovation in writing and inventions by providing the protections of copyright and patent.

Nation-based copyright law ran into problems with internationalization in the 19th century. Herman Melville first published Moby Dick in Britian to secure copyright there before the American edition was issued, Breaux explained. However the British publisher accidentally omitted the Epilogue, and British reviewers uniformally panned the book as nonsensible. American newsapers picked up with British reviews (as there were no international copyright agreements), and the book flopped into obscurty based on the British reviews. Charles Dickens also had problems with the United States. He had an official U.S. publisher but no protection from others who reprinted his works without permission or compensation.

Today’s problems with antiquainted law is “we are all infringers,” whether we are forwarding an email (violating the implied copyright of the original author), or coying content from the web and sending it to a friend or reposting it, and even by singing “Happy Birthday”  without permission of the publisher. The last illustrates one problem with current copyright law. Over the last century the length of copyright has been continally extended. Breaux used the example of the first Mickey Mouse cartoon “Steamboat Willy.” Everytime that work approaches falling into the public domain, there are amendments to extend the life of copyrights.

The landsape is already changing in response to the Internet and other technologies. She cited the Creative Commons License, which does not alter the copyright but establishes various grants of rights for works put into easiy reproducable forms such as on the Internet. She also cited a growing movement among scholars for Open Source Publication. Many scholarly articles produced by goverment-education scientists doing goverment-subisidized work wind up in scholarly journals that are only available on the Internet behind paywalls. Getty Images, the long-time enforcer of copyright protection for professional photographers, has created an application that allows embedding non-water marked images inside an embedable application that allows Getty to retain control.

“Can we put the toothpaste back in the tube?” one of her cloing PowerPoint (c) slides asked. “Nope” was her answer. “The [current] copyright [law] is not for our time.”

Odd Words: Best of the Tennessee Williams Fest Part One March 18, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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The annual Tennessee Williams literary festival runs this weekend from a gala opening Wednesday night through Sunday’s famous “Stella!” Souting contest. Headquartered at the Hotel Montelone, the festival offers four days of panel dicussions popular and scholarly, masters classes for aspiring writers and a host of other events including Literary Late Nights, walking literary tours and more.

twlogoOnce again Odd Words will be there live blogging selected events across all four days. In addition to the Odd Word’s pick for Best of the Fest, we will post daily event highlights and write-ups of selected panels, appearing here, on the Odd Words Facebook and Google+ pages, and on NOLAVie on NOLA.COM. Also be sure to follow @oddwords on Twitter for real time updates whie taking notes and balancing a cup of coffee on my knee. There is no extra admission charge to watch me do this. Just find the old fart in the young man’s hate.

This is a list of our own picks, but you can find the full schedule at the Festival web site.

THURSDAY:

Thursday is the annual Master Class mash-up, and Odd Word’s pick for the day is the first of the day. Copyright is a sticky wicket with the emergence of the Internet and changes to the copyright laws. Every aspiring writer who has waded into Social Media or just wants to understand modern copyright law better shouldn’t miss the Master Class at 9 a.m. MARIE BREAUX: COPYRIGHT FOR WRITERS With the growing consensus that the U.S. copyright law needs major revision and the emergence of alternatives to traditional copyrights. Copyright for Writers will sort out the history of authors’ rights (Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo play significant parts) and will try to make sense of a future where open source publishing and the Creative Commons will compete with the traditional copyrights asserted ed by authors and their publishers. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration.

Other Master Classes on Thurday include:

  • ZACHARY LAZAR: DIALOGUE— A BRIEF HISTORY at 11 a.m. This class will start with a discussion of how Ernest Hemingway invented the template for how dialogue in fiction has been written for most of the last century, and cover elements such as the sound of spoken language, the use of indi- rection, subtext, and rhythm. We’ll also look at how other very different writers, from Lorrie Moore to Elmore Leonard, have adapted or tweaked Hemingway’s example; and,
  • Odd Word’s second personal pick at 3 pm ALICIA ANSTEAD: GOING MICRO WITH NARRATIVE. When we write stories and poems, we’re careful to craft each word for a powerful impact. That skill should continue to kick in when we jump onto social media, which is simply another form of creative expres- sion. In this hands-on workshop, editor-in- chief of The Writer magazine Alicia Anstead, will explore narrative technique as it applies to Twitter and Facebook. Show up ready to write. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration. Sponsored by The Writer.
  • </ul?

    Thurday is also a big day for theater with a busy list of shows culminatingn in Thursday evening's Southern Rep production of Night of the Iguana. Others include A Gift of an Orange by award-winning playwright Charlene A. Donaghy, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ short story, “Gift of an Apple” (written in 1936). You can also catch another presentation of HOTEL PLAYS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS without the price tag and ironing required for Wednesday night’s gala opeing. The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival brings three short plays by Williams set in such rooms. Gather at the historic Hermann-Grima House and proceed from room to room to experience Williams up-close and person- al. See the Festival Web Site for a full description. Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street, $30. Co-produced with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.

    You can also check out VIVIEN BY RICK FOSTER. Judith Chapman’s portrayal of two-time Oscar-winning film star Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire and Gone With the Wind) is, according to Backstage Magazine, “a bravura performance.”

    Thursday’s theater feature with a bullet is Southern Rep’s presentation of THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. On stage together for the first time since the award-winning A Streetcar Named Desire, Mike Harkins and Aimée Hayes star with Idella Johnson and Bob Edes, Jr. in the famous confession drama considered to be Tennessee Williams’ last great play. Directed by Phil Karnell. Get tickets at http://www.SouthernRep.com or (504) 522.6545. Produced by Southern Rep Theatre. The Art Klub, 527 Elysian Fields Ave.

    FRIDAY

    Friday brings another line up of Master Classes, including Odd Word’s personal pick (because We the Animals is a fantstic novel)
    JUSTIN TORRES: THE SUPER SLEEK NOVEL. Torres’ debut We the Animals arrived on the literary scene at a slender 144 pages. Seductive and heart-crushing with its incantory style and first person plural gaze, the novel was embraced by critics, such as Michael Cunningham who called it a “dark jewel of a book.” In this master class, Torres will discuss word choice, minimalist crafting methods, and how to live while distilling blood of personal experience on to the page, with writer and Festival programming director, J.R. Ramakrishnan. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration.

    Other Master Classes include ANN HOOD: THE ART OF REVISION,
    DOROTHY ALLISON: A VOICE LIKE THUNDER, A TEXT A WHISPER discussing the performance aspect of reading off the page, and DANI SHAPIRO: SURVIVAL OF THE STORYTELLER.

    Friday presents an almost impossible to pick-and-choose line up of Festival panels, including:

    • READING WITH THE FICTION CONTEST AND POETRY CONTEST WINNERS Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. 10:00 am
    • THE UNFATHOMABLE CITY SALON Pairing acts of rescue and of sabotage during Hurricane Katrina, migrations of the Houma tribe and erosion of the coast, antebellum plantations and present-day dialysis centers—and much more—Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker, is a reinvention of the traditional atlas that will forever change the way you think about place. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. Sponsored in part by University of California Press, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 11:30 am
    • THE DEVIL YOU DON’T KNOW: OTHERWORLDLY FORCES IN FICTION This panel will focus on how different writers repre- sent ideas of evil or horror and how the supernatural may be used and blend with realistic events in order to create a force which speaks to the power of evil in the world. Panelists: David Armand, Victor LaValle, and Valerie Martin. Moderator: Mary McCay. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, 1 pm
    • And, Odd Word’s pick for the day AN EXAMINED LIFE:
      THE MYSTERIES OF MEMOIR. Memoir writing requires the writer to stare into the abyss of a very personal past. Our panelists have addressed death, illness, familial quirks, and cultural identity within their works, and will discuss how they dealt with the challenges of delving back. Panelists: Blake Bailey, Ann Hood, Lila Quintero Weaver, and Emily Raboteau. Moderator: Nancy Dixon. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. Sponsored by the Collins C. Diboll Foundation. 2:30 pm
      • The highlight of Friday’s theater performances, which include A Gift of an Orange and The Night of the Iguana, for the first time in over a decade, the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is brought back to thrilling life on the New Orleans stage by The NOLA Project theatre company. Beau Bratcher (A Truckload of Ink, Night of the Iguana) directs a starry New Orleans cast headed up by James Yeargain, Cecile Monteyne, Randy Cheramie, and Yvette Hargis. This special collaboration between NOLA Project and The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival at Le Petit Theatre is an event no theatre lover will want to miss! The TW/NOLF presents a NOLA Project production. Le Petit Theatre, 616 St. Peter Street, $30.

        You can also choose to finish off Friday with this intriguing Literary Late Night at 8 pm: LITERARY DANCE PARTY featuring SURPRISE INTERROGATION READING Spend Friday evening in the club with our literary dance party featuring a live DJ set and a brand new event of a speculative nature, the Surprise Interrogation Reading. Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver will read a short piece, and take his place in the hot seat for a Q&A like no other. His interrogator will be a mystery (even to Victor himself) until the grilling begins. It could be his high school English teacher, his worst critic, or best literary bro— and the questioner can ask him anything at all. Expect revelations and literary dirt. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $15. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market. Ticket sales support high school outreach programs.

        I think that’s enough to digest at one sitting. Check Thursday’s regular Odd Words post which will lead off with Saturday and Sunday’s Best of the Fest. Be sure to follow @odd_words on Twitter for instant update, pictures, and the latest reports from the festival, or check the Odd Words pages on Facebook and Google+

Forty Six: One More Drop of Poison March 17, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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There’s devils on each side of you with bottles in their hands
You need one more drop of poison and you’ll dream of foreign lands
— Shane MacGowan of The Pogues

Someday I will learn to act my age, but at a particular friend’s St. Patrick’s Parade party there’s not a lot of positive encouragement or enough in the way of positive role models. It’s still only the 16th and I somehow have to recover from my Shane MacGowan imitation to get through an online test and quiz and be fresh enough to venture out tomorrow for the Downtown Irish Parade on the Big Day.

A fellow blogger lamented the leprechaun carnival that is St. Patrick’s Day in America, but by Christ’s nails this is New Orleans. Give us the opportunity of a party in nominal honor of a Catholic saint in mid-Lent and the outcome is predictable. I didn’t catch any beads yesterday but I managed a cabbage or two for the boil that followed the parade. And what is more suitable to a saint’s feast day than drunken float riders hurling large, heavy vegetables at the equally intoxicated parade watchers? They can dye the river green in Chicago and cover Fifth Avenue in a carpet of green vomit but I don’t think anyone quite takes is to the extreme of playing drunken cabbage dodge ball.

Honestly, I think New Orleans is more entitled to its St. Patrick’s Day and i’s St. Joseph festivals than most of the rest of America. Here where everyone is essentially Creolized into Orleanians, observing one’s roots takes on a special meaning. New Orleans is full of the Irish, who were brought to dig the New Basin Canal and whose bones litter the spoil banks that are now West End Boulevard. There were the waves of Sicilians who were lynched when convenient by practiced hands. There are all the Germans of course, whose culture was mostly eradicated by the quasi-fascist hysteria of WWI, but their descendants still bake all of our French bread. And Deutsches Haus manages its own festival of too much beer and food, Oktoberfest, every year. I think I brought my best German to yesterday’s celebration. I was once having dinner with an old colleague’s daughter and her Austrian husband in DC. He remarked after I downed a glass of beer (and not my first) with my first bowl of gumbo that I “drank like a German”, and I’ve always taken that as a compliment.

Things got a bit out of hand by mid-afternoon Saturday. Biscuits for breakfast were no match for whiskey and strong ale for lunch and I’m not as young as I used to be. There was a stumble-and-tumble and the Shirtless Nipple Sticker Incident but mostly we’ve learned how to role with it down here. The root-heaved and muck-cracked sidewalks have sent us all ass-over-Evil-Kenievel on our bicycles more than once and we’ve learned to roll and post like a small boat breasting an Irish wake. At St. Patrick’s Day Lent is the penance of an early riser who ought to be sleeping it off rising up groggy and foggy to make breakfast and coffee. There were the listings to post, a manuscript promised to read and a test to be taken later. Somewhere on Sunday was a brilliant Irish stew with the last can of Irish Channel Stout to give strength because really Saturday’s parade is just a rehearsal for the 17th.

Forty Five: The Lost Tribe of the Celtic Race March 15, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in 365, Acadian, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I am 1/32 Irish as best I can tell. Having an LDS sibling with the obsessive geneoligizing helps one to know these things). I have, however, always been an Hibernophile. I fell in love in Yeats at an early age, helped restart Bloomsday in New Orleans, and actually started Finnegan’s Wake before this semester, then laid it aside. Too much for class work. My delayed honeymoon with No. 2, an incorrigible Irish-American of the went-to-Notre-Dame sort, was to Ireland. And I love the music perhaps most of all. There are two main threads that inform American popular music: the Celtic and the African/Caribbean.

So shall I wear green and head out in the rain (again) to the parade today? The Uptown Irish parade drives me mad in a way. I am in Krewe du Vieux, and I would love to see all those drunks frogged march through the Quarter the way the NOPD drives us like cattle through the streets. Then again there is always the chance that I will manage to catch an old friend who is legally blind but still goes out on his own on Carnival Day, and marches in the parade today. (That, my friends, is a dedication to celebration few of us can match).

I imagine I will dig out one of my rugby shirts, either the wool County Offaly one I bought in a sports shop because I like the look of it, or the cheap green one with the shamrocks. I prefer the more authentic one, which I only learned were the colors of County Offaly when a guard at Shannon Airport greeted me with an Up Offaly! and explained it to me.

I may not be Irish, but I am in good part Acadian along with German and French via Haiti. My paternal German ancestors were long ago creolized into the Acadian way of life. As a fan of the music, I was listening to Fiona Richie’s Thistle and Shamrock national broadcast the day she was interviewing Micheal Doucet of Beausoleil. Somewhere toward the end of the conversation, they were discussing the similarities of Celtic and Acadian music, and Richie pronounced the Acadians “the lost tribe of the Celtic race.” I know what she meant. My trip to Ireland often felt like a trip to a hilly version of South Louisiana: the ease of the people, the music I heard in pubs, the craic.

That’s always been a good enough reason for me to join the drunken throngs in their tacky t-shirts and other things green. See you at Magazine and Louisiana.

In the spirit of “everyone is Irish” here are the Chieftains with the Rolling Stones and Ry Cooder.

THE SENSE OF DECORUM IN POVERTY March 13, 2014

Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
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Originally posted on 13 Possums:

I put on a shirt
with a couple of
gone buttons and a
pair of pants my wife
hates and walk into
the living room and
sit down in a dull
chair. In this way I
acknowledge nothing’s
going on. If I
wanted to really
suffer I could go
lie down in some shit,
but that transgresses
the fine line between
propriety and
masochism. If
I were any kind
of poet I’d go
stick up a Jiffy
Mart or, Say, the First
Bank of the Cosmic
Imagination.
Then I could buy a
red plaid jacket with
a rooster tie and
stumble out into
the clear autumn air
crowing “Guilty! Life,
I’m your beautiful
man.”

View original

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