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Odd Words December 8, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.

My own musing on Twitter and poetry started with this article By Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate. Booker Prize winner Ben Okri released a poem exclusively on Twitter back in 2009. Poets are not alone, according to the New York times, reporting on one novelists attempt to spin out a story on the short-format social media platform.

These thoughts came to a head while on an on line discussion (more social media, a monthly event hosted by TheRumpus.net’s poetry book club, with poet T.R. Hummer. Parts of his book Emphemeron were composed on Twitter as well, he explained. Okri told Britian’s Guardian “My feeling is that these times are perfect for short, lucid forms.”

This tracks back in some indirect way to my own recent post, The Long Hard Slog of Poetry, the idea of lucid poetry, of a poetry that reaches a larger audience that just poets. At the same time, I mocked Tao Lin’s novella Shoplifting from American Apparel not long ago a “Twitterature,” although I think i suggested it was written on a cellphone.

Still, I am fascinated with the idea of publishing poetry via social media as a means of getting in front of a larger audience, which I think is poetry’s and literary writing in general’s greatest challenge. With a few exceptions the big houses are not interested in literary writing, and while there are hundreds of small presses their reach is also small.

How in the end is Twitter any more limiting than the sonnet, the sestina or the villanelle? Hummer suggested that 140 characters also match about his length of breath, not a new idea in poetry but one you can trace back to Charles Olson.

This is an awfully long introduction to the listings, so I’ll leave it there for you to ponder while I get on with it.

& so to the listings…

& Jumping out of my usual calendar order but this is big news: Maple Street Bookshop is expanding its empire of small, neighborhood shops with the grand opening of its newest location in Faubourg St. John on Ponce de Loen St, between Canseco’s Grocery and the Fair Grinds Coffehouse. On Saturday, December 10, 2011, Swirl is helping the new Maple Street Book Shop celebrate its grand opening. Starting at 10:00 A.M., bring Swirl a receipt from us for $10 or more and receive 50% off your second glass of wine; bring us a receipt from Swirl for $10 or more and receive 10% off your purchase! At 5:00 P.M. Catherine Campanella, author of New Orleans City Parks, will be here to sign and discuss.

Just what I need, a place to buy more books.

& Tonight Dec. 8 Octavia books features a reading and signing with authors Mark Yakich and Chris Schaberg featuring their new two-sided, reversible book, CHECKING IN / CHECKING OUT, that aims to rejuvenate airplane reading. Bringing together the stories of an ex-airline employee and an aerophobe, this adorable little book is a sincere, witty, and irreverent take on the routines and misadventures of modern flight. Personally if I don’t read on a plane, I would go mad from claustrophobia and bordom. 6 pm at Octavia Books.

& Maple Street’s uptown store will host several storytellers from Something in the Water on Thursday, December 8, 2011, 6:00 P.M. This book contains twenty stories about Louisiana, capturing the soul of the state. Meet or reconnect with authors James Nolan, Tim Gautreaux, and John Biguenet.

& Tonight 17 Poets features a double book signing and reading with Martha McFerren reading Archaeology at Midnight and James Nolan reading from Higher Ground. If you haven’t been hooked into buying Nolan’s novel by my past posts, come hear him read from it and I am pretty sure you will buy a copy on your way out the door. MCFERREN received an MFA from Warren Wilson college and is the author of four previous books. Her poems have appeared in the Georgia Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah, and many other journals and anthologies. 8 pm at the historic Goldmine Saloon, a literary venue for over 50 years.

Also this week, 17 Poets! releases the latest edition of its new literary periodical Entrepôt, featuring The sizzling story of legendary New Orleans Jazz & Blues Master “Emile Barns, The Meltdown Force of Poisons of Any Description”; John Sinclair’s extraordinary essay “Make a Joyful Noise” (parts 3 and 4); City Editor Megan Burn’s “STRAPLESS URBAN AVENUE” featuring contributors Kate Smash, Micheal Zell and Geoff Munsterman with in-depth reportage around the New Orleans Poetry Scene

Also inside this issue: a special limited edition broadside “A Creative Review of the EXISTOR SPIRIT” — commemorative poem by New Orleans’ cultural visionary BOB CASS (1924-2005), editor and publisher of CLIMAX (sneak preview below)

& Also this evening Dec. 8, talented writer and comedian Chris Champagne will join Larry Beron for the final performance of Win, Place and Show! Fairgrounds tales, at the Steak Knife restaurant on Harrison Avenue. Champagne, with his perfect yat delivery and razor wit may be the funniest man in New Orleans. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. 8 p.m. at The Steak Knife, 888 Harrison Avenue.

& Robyn Walensky, veteran news reporter, sat at the Casey Anthony trial and not only wrote articles, she decided to write a book, Beautiful Life? The CSI Behind the Casey Anthony Trial. She will be at The Maple Street uptown location Friday, Dec. 9 , 2011, 6:00 P.M. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida. Maple Street Bookshop Uptown, 6 p.m.

& On Friday, Dec. 9 The PhotoNOLA, in partnership with Octavia Books and The Historic New Orleans Collection, invites you to a multiple artist book-signing event during PhotoNOLA 2011, the sixth annual festival of photography in New Orleans. The event takes place from 5pm-7pm at The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Research Center located at 410 Charter St. in the French Quarter. The showing starts at 5 p.m. and the fascinating and talented Joséphine Sacabo’s keynote lecture presentation will immediately follow from 7PM-9PM

& This and every Friday at the Red Star Gallery its Open Mic for home grown poetry fun. No frills…just good people, poetry, and love. Hosted every week by Charlie V-Uptowns Illest MC. $5 with college i.d./$7 without. Red Star Gallery, 513 Bayou Road, doors at 9 p.m.

& On Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market together with Octavia Books hosts a special signing and recipe tasting with New Orleans’ own James Beard award-winning chef John Besh featuring his new book, MY FAMILY TABLE: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking.

& More food this Saturday, Dec. 10 when Peggy Scott Laborde and Tom Fitzmorris will be signing their new book, Lost Restaurants of New Orleans and reminiscing at the Maple Street Bookshop’s Uptown location at 4 p.m. They will also be at Maple Street’s Bywater location on Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Christ in a creche, I’m already gaining weight and I haven’t had a single holiday treat to eat yet. (Hint: I am very fond of handmade fruitcakes. Do not, however, send me your store bought Secret Santa present from 1997.)

& On Sunday Dec. 11 the Maple Leaf Poetry Series will feature GROUP READING by John Gery’s UNO MFA poetry students. Maple Leaf Bar, 3 p.m.

& On Monday, it’s The Writer Block on the steps on Decatur across from Jackson Square where you always see the breakdancers during the day. So come bust a literary move at 9 p.m. and dress warm. You might want to bring a warm drink. Or a warming drink. Or an Irish Coffee from Molly’s to go for the best of both.

& On Tuesday Dec. 13 New Orleans artist Thomas Mann will celebrate the publication of METAL ARTIST’S WORKBENCH: De-Mystifying the Jeweler’s Saw at Octavia Books, 6 p.m.

& Every Tuesday, don’t miss Susan Larson’s The Reading Life on WWNO-FM at 6:30 pm. If you do (shame on you) you can catch the rebroadcast at 12:30 pm on Saturdays, or wait for the podcast.

& On Wednesday Garden District Books presents Mitchell Rosenthal delivering the same warmth, personality, and infectious enthusiasm for sharing food as can be found at his wildly popular San Francisco restaurants, Town Hall, Anchor and Hope, and Salt House. With his trademark exuberance and good humor, Mitchell blends Southern-inspired comfort food with urban sophistication and innovation, for exciting results. Garden District Book Shop, 6 p.m.

& Again, I usually don’t do children’s books but I watched many a Nutcracker with my daughter from the time she was a “pink girl” of four through her years at NOCCA, and it’s got that Louisiana twist and I loved to boy those books for my children when I was living away. At Octavia Books on Wednesdeqy, Dec.l 14 there will be a storytime and a booksigning with children’s book illustrator Jean Cassels featuring her new book, THE CAJUN NUTCRACKER. 4 p.m. at Octavia Books.

One last thought: everyone loves getting a book for the holidays, expecially if you’re taking that week of use it or lose it vacation while the kids are out of school. While they’re off trying to figure out how to build a sulfur stink bomb with the new chemistry set, what better time to settle in with a new book. A better yet, get the child a book, too, and everyone curl up in front of the crackling, um, space heater under bundled up in those lovely purple-and-gold LSU blanket-with-arms things your thoughtful brother-in-law gave everyone.Ever since my son graduated from the abridged YA editions of The Clasics, he always loves getting a book card so he can go pick something out himself. Yes, graphic novels are literature. That’s why novel is in the genre’s title.



1. theliteraryman - December 8, 2011

Ben Okri is a genius, there’s no question. Very cool to hear about different ways people use Twitter to spread their art!


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