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Odd Words March 4, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.

Is traditional literature dying, or merely transforming itself to fit new media and new ways of reading? Here’s an interesting piece on subjects like twitlit (attempts to write in 140 characters), the evolution toward flash fiction and other very short forms to fit the attention span of the multi-tabbed multi-tasker, and similar thoughts. Yes, some things deserve more time and space that 1,000 words or 140 characters, and always will, but I don’t think that devalues attempts to create for new media outlets. We write for ourselves (or why are we here?) but we are lying to ourselves if we don’t admit that we also write to be read. As traditional print diminishes and new channels open, it would be ridiculous to disregard them.

On a related note, this.


§ Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, the country’s first African-American poet laureate, will read at Tulane University’s McAlister Auditorium on Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. After the reading, Dove will sign copies of her book. Dove won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for her poetry collection Thomas and Beulah, which places the lives of her grandparents in a richly vivid historical context.

§ Poets Michael Czarnecki, Daniel Kerwick and Thaddeus Conti read from their work at the Maple Leaf Bar Poetry Series, Sunday at 3 p.m. followed by an open mike

§ Barbara Johnson’s striking debut short-story collection More of This World or Maybe Another (HarperPerennial) took second place honors in Barnes and Nobles 2009 “Discover Great New Writers Awards.”

§ No email from Dave Brinks and I forgot what he announced last week as a feature because I was too busy chatting up that night’s featured reader, but you can usually find me at The Goldmine Saloon on Thursday nights around eight for the 17 Poets Reading Series. The feature last week was Sandra Beasley, and I strongly recommend you check out her work.

Update: This just in from D.B.– This week 17 Poets! features the contributions of two extraordinary, early twentieth century poets: Romanian TRISTAN TZARA and French author SABINE SICAUD (1913-1928). Poet Dave Brinks will present selected English translations by Lee Harwood from CHANSON DADA: Selected Poems, TRISTAN TZARA (Black Widow Press 2005); as well as selected English translations by Norman R. Shapiro from To Speak, to Tell You?: Poems, SABINE SICAUD (Black Widow Press 2009), http://www.blackwidowpress.com.

§ Poet and artist Thaddeus Conti will open a showing of his drawings at the Kevin Gillentine Gallery, 3917 Magazine St., on Saturday at 6 p.m. If you can’t make the opening, gallery hours are Monday to Saturday 10-5. Or you can stop by Conti’s Dinky Tao poetry reading Tuesday nights in the back bar of the Maple Leaf on Decatur St., where you will often find him with sketch book under his arm.

§ A closing thought from today’s Daily Rumpus email by Stephen Elliott of TheRumpus.net: “Something that keeps you occupied with no expectation of recognition is not necessarily art, it might just be television.” So don’t just slap it on the blog or stick it in a drawer. Go out and read or submit something.


1. Kevin - March 4, 2010

Barb Johnson’s continued success should be inspirational for any New Orleans writer. After years of persevering, she got published, and the accolades just keep coming.


2. Charlotte - March 5, 2010

Finally, late the other night, I picked up my Southern Lit issue of OA and found Barb’s “The Invitation” inside. Needless to say I am hooked.


3. mf - March 5, 2010

Charlotte, she had a long piece in Guernica magazine online as well you should check out (until you can get to the bookstore, that is).


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