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Odd Words March 11, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.

A couple of weeks back I posted up a link to a story about the young German novelist Helene Hegemann’s who was lifting pieces from other people’s work and calling it “sampling”. This week I’m deep into Ted Morgan’s biography of William S. Burroughs Literary Outlaw and reading about his “cut ups” which would include, sometimes, the work of other authors.

Burroughs and Samuel Beckett were seated together at dinner at a party and Beckett asked Burroughs, “What can you tell me. Mr. Burroughs, about this cut-up method of yours?”

“Well, Mr. Beckett,” Burroughs said, “what I do is I take a page of my writing and a page of the Herald Tribune, I cut them up and then I put them back together, and I gradually decipher new texts. Them I might take a page of your writing, and line it up with what I already have, and do the same thing all over again.”

Suddenly indignant, Beckett asked, “You’re using other writers’ words?”

“Words don’t have brands on them the way cattle do,” Burroughs said…

“You can’t do that!” Beckett said.

Burroughs would also take ideas from other writers texts and rephrase it as his own.. In the margins of books he owns he would write GETS, which meant Good Enough To Steal.

I guess nothing is new under the sun. Nothing, that is, except this week’s line up of readings and signings in New Orleans. It looks like a busy weekend, and its the weekend of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Some drink may be taken, and by Sunday I fear I may be like Sweeney and any sharp sound may drive me to madness so try to keep it down.

§ Octavia Books will host and evening to benefit WWNO public radio as the cast of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (the oddly informative news quiz) gathers as Octavia Books to celebrate and sign books. Featuring:, Roy Blount, Jr, columnist Amy Dickinson and actor/newsman Mo Rocca. Octavia Books will donate 20% of all book sales from the evening to WWNO to benefit its new literary programs including “The Sound of Books” with Fred Kaste. Roy Blount, Jr. is the author of 20 books, most recently Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South, and including Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans, Robert E. Lee, If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You, Roy Blount’s Book of Southern Humor and Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story. Modesty aside, Blount has done more different things than any other humorist- novelist- journalist- dramatist- lyricist- lecturer- reviewer- screenwriter- anthologist- columnist- philologist of sorts he can think of.

§ Garden District Books will host a signing by Rick Barton for this new collection of essays Rowing to Sweden Thursday, March 18, 2010 5:30 p.m. Rick Barton’s first collection of nonfiction contends with an impressive range of cultural and political issues. These award winning essays display a keen and perceptive critical eye trained always on the zeitgeist, whether it’s the 1960s, the political climate of the new millennium or anywhere between.

§ At the Maple Leaf at 3 pm on Sunday poet Dennis Formento reads from and signs his new collection, Looking for an Out Place. Followed by an open mike. Formento is the publisher of Surregional Press and the author of five chapbooks. A sixth, Ra Blues Are, is forthcoming from Umteen Press in New Orleans. He sometimes performs his work with free-jazz band THE FRANK ZAPPATISTAS “outside jazz with a poet inside”) . With movement artist Nanette Ledet, he is currently working on a “cosmo-drama” featuring the poetry of New Orleans ex-pat and original beat poet, Bob Kaufman.

§ This Thursday 1t 8 pm 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series hosts a poetry reading with two extraordinary poets: visiting guest, New York State-Susquehannaian MICHAEL CZARNECKI and New Orleanian MICHAEL FORD. Cxarnecki is a poet, storyteller and oral memoirist and the publisher of Foothills Publishing. Ford is a long-time resident of New Orleans. Ugly Duckling Presse published his first full-length book, Carbon, in 2006. His book Olympia Street (which includes the poem “These Violets”) was published in 2008 by New Orleans’ own Trembling Pillow Press. Ford’s poems have also appeared in 6×6 and YAWP: A Journal of Poetry and Art, North Carolina Review and Turntable & Blue Light. Ford currently teaches at UGA and is a PhD candidate.


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