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Odd Words October 25, 2012

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

This Saturday is the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge on the Capitol grounds, kicking off at 10 a.m. with the presentation of the Louisiana Writer Award for 2012 to John Bieguenet at 10 a.m. Currently the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University, he is the author of several novels and numerous plays, including a Katrina cycle Rising Water, and is best known around New Orleans for his reports on post-Federal Flood New Orleans for the New York Times.

You can read the full festival schedule here, but this is a quick rundown of events on Odd Words’ radar:

  • Louisiana Writer Award ceremony, 10 a.m., House Chamber in the Capitol
  • Oxford American panel on New South Journalism with James Pogue, Nathaniel Rich and Chris Rose, moderated by Bob Mann, 11:15 a.m. in House Committee Room 4.
  • The Big Read: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. 12:15 p.m., House Committee Three.
  • Conversations with Tim Gautreaux with panelists (not the author) including Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane and Susan Larson.
  • In Conversation with Lousiana Writer Award Winner John Biguenet with Darryl Borque, 4 p.m., Senate Chamber.

There will be vendors aplenty up and down the mall, and a Barnes and Noble Tent, music in the food court and a generally delightful day for bookaholics.

We now return you to chronological order, already in progress:

& Thursday night at 17 Poets! the mad Minotaur of New Orleans poetry Thaddeus Conti launches his new book b-sides that from Lavender Ink, combining his startling poetry and drawings. Sign-up for open mic begins at 7:30 and the show at 8 pm. Open mic is hosted by the dreadlocked dreadnought of New Orleans letters, Jimmy Ross. From David Rowe’s introduction to Conti’s first book, apoetics: “Like Dionysus himself, Thaddeus is twice-born. Seems the first time, in the a.m., he managed to bring the womb along with him. So they stuffed him back in, separated him from the uterine lining, &, in the p.m., re-delivered him. All on a Halloween day in New Orleans. And since the good padre couldn’t very well name our protagonist after the dithyrambic god of tantric intoxication, he went with (Jude) Thaddeus, the flame-headed patron of desperate cases & lost causes. In lieu of/en route to being thrice-born, he aspires to leave behind–in tubs of Tupperware–ten thousand x-fine pen-&-ink line drawings. As for a price tag, well, he’d rather give you a drawing gratis, for, were he to charge what it cost him, you couldn’t begin to afford it.”

If you have not yet had the Thaddeus Conti Experience, it’s time you checked out the most dynamic and startling poet in New Orleans, sez me.

& Tonight at Octavia Books at 6 pm New Orleans’ own Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olin Butler reads from and signs his just released very first crime novel, THE HOT COUNTRY, an epic saga full of intrigue, romance and espionage set during the early stages of World War I. “No writer in America today can be said to surpass Butler in the eating-his-cake-and-having-it-too category: He’s literary, entertaining, serious and funny.” –The Sun-Sentinel.

& Tonight at Garden District Books Arthe Anthony’s Picturing Black New Orleans: A Creole Photographer’s View of the Early Twentieth Century is featured at 5:30 pm. Florestine Perrault Collins (1895–1988) lived a fascinating and singular life. She came from a Creole family that had known privileges before the Civil War, privileges that largely disappeared in the Jim Crow South. She learned photographic techniques while passing for white. She opened her first studio in her home, and later moved her business to New Orleans’s black business district. Fiercely independent, she ignored convention by moving out of her parents’ house before marriage and, later, by divorcing her first husband. Between 1920 and 1949, Collins documented African-American life, capturing images of graduations, communions, and recitals, and allowing her subjects to help craft their images.

& Another Thursday event: Ogden Museum of Southern Art is pleased to announce the New Orleans launch of “Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art” (LSU Press). This book is the first comprehensive biography of this self-taught artist. Authors Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead explore her life and reveal this Louisiana painter’s impact on the modern art world. Hunter, using objects available around her—such as glass snuff bottles, ironing boards, window shades—as well as canvas, producing between 5,000 to 10,000 paintings, including the African House mural, located on the grounds of Melrose Plantation, where she lived and worked. Hunter’s paintings reflected the life around her on the plantation—cotton planting and harvesting, washdays, weddings, baptisms. The book signing is free; admission to Ogden After Hours for music, cocktails and art (not necessarily in that order) is free to museum members; $10 general admission.

This is an impossibly rich Thursday. I’m going to have to catch Thaddeus but there is something on tonight for every interest so there’s no reason to stay home.

& Friday, Oct. 26 Octavia George Singleton returns to Octavia Books to read from and sign STRAY DECORUM, his new collection of stories at 6 p.m. The book features eleven of his stories, all previously published in journals like “The Atlantic,” “Oxford American,” and “The Georgia Review,” in which George Singleton brings small-town South Carolina alive. Using everyday situations like a dog needing its annual vaccination and buckets of humorous observations, Singleton pokes and prods his readers into realizing we’re all simply restless for a pat on the head “Singleton may have invented a new genre. Call it The Hoot.” —Kirkus Reviews

& Friday night at 6 p.m. the Maple Street Book Store at Bayou St. John hosts is continuing The Diane Tapes reading series, featuring notable local authors Carolyn Hembree, Brad Richard and Adam Atkinson. Atkinson is an MFA candidate at LSU, where he’s also the Co-Editor of OH NO, the Literary Director of Open Thread, and the coordinator of various festivals and reading series. Richard’s poetry collection Motion Studies won the 2010 Washington Prize from The Word Works, and will be forthcoming in 2011. He is also the author of the collection Habitations (Portals Press, New Orleans, 2000) and the limited edition chapbook The Men in the Dark (Lowlands Press, Stuttgart, Germany, 2004). Hembree’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Witness, among other journals and anthologies. Kore Press published her debut collection, Skinny (paperback, $14.00), in 2012 . Her poetry has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, a PEN Writers Grant, a Southern Arts Federation Grant, and a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship Award in Literature.

& Friday at 7 pm a book discussion of poet and publisher Bill Lavender’s book-length, autobiographical poem Memory Wing will meet in the back patio of Pravda Bar, 1113 Decatur St. Organizer Laura Mattingly decided to take her love of the book, expressed in talking to everyone about it and urging them to read it, to the next level. Odd Words agrees and hopes to be there, and this is certainly way more organized than me doing through a countless copies of Gravity’s Rainbow pressing it on people, or circulating my paperback copy of Mystic Pig all through the city.

& Saturday at 6 p.m. Faubourg Marigny Art & Books, the city’s premier GLBT bookshop, hosts JM Redmann and Greg Herren, editors of “Night Shadows: Queer Horror” and Mary Griggs, author of “Crash Stop” FAB is at 600 Frenchmen Street. Email owner Otis Fennell at fabotis@yahoo.com for more details. FAB also carries a good selection of local interest books, and an eclectic selection of books, records and clothes on the tables outside. If you’ve stumbled past it a hundred times at the corner of Bourbon and Frenchman without stopping in thinking “gay book store, meh” you have been missing out on one of the Marigny’s signature experiences.

& Crescent City Books concludes its 20th Anniversary reading/reception series this Saturday at 2 p.m.with David Lummis, author of the newly published follow-up, “The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans, Part 2: The Last Beaucoeur.”

& Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 pm you have a second chance to catch historian Arthé A. Anthony’s PICTURING BLACK NEW ORLEANS: A Creole Photographer’s View of the Early Twentieth Century at Octavia Books. I really ought to invest in a coffee table, but then I couldn’t afford glorious New Orleans picture books.

& Sunday Oct. 29 All you pale midnight rambler’s and fans of True Blood will have to venture into the sun for Marcelle Bienvenu’s True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temp at Garden District Books at 2 p.m. True Blood, HBO’s blockbuster paranormal drama, enthralls a diverse audience of 13 million viewers (and counting). Menus at the now-famous Fangtasia and Merlotte’s Bar and Grill play a key role in the series, providing sustenance for its human characters, evoking memories of a bygone life for its vampires, and serving as a powerful symbol for the desires and carnal needs the characters harbor. Plenty of underground parking in the building for the sunlight averse.

& Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. Karen Marie Moning returns to New Orleans for a spectacular pre-Halloween book launch party for ICED at Le Pavillon Hotel. The signing, hosted by Octavia Books will continue into the evening. To attend the signing, you must purchase ICED though Octavia Books. The first book in her hotly anticipated new urban fantasy trilogy, set in the world of her blockbuster Fever series, ICED is the addictive first book in this new trilogy, catapults us into the frenetic world of the Fever series, picking up immediately where Moning’s Shadowfever—an instant #1 New York Times, #1 Publishers Weekly, #2 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller—ended. At its center is Dani O’Malley, the powerful, tough-talking teen sidhe seer who has stolen readers’ hearts.

& Also on Monday at Maple Street Book Shop at 6 pm Beau Boudreaux will be reading from, and signing, his collection of poetry, Running Red, Running Redder. Joining Boudreaux is Theodore Ross, author of Am I a Jew?: Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews, and One Man’s Search for Himself. Am I a Jew? is a story about the universal struggle to define a relationship with religion. Ross was nine years old when he moved with his mother from New York City to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once there, his mother decided, for both personal and spiritual reasons, to have her family pretend not to be Jewish. He went to an Episcopal school, where he studied the New Testament, sang in the choir, and even took Communion. Later, as an adult, he wondered: Am I still Jewish? Seeking an answer, Ross traveled around the country and to Israel, visiting a wide variety of Jewish communities in an effort to experience the diversity of Judaism. Maple Street’s web site calls Boudreaux’s slyly humorous poems exquisitely lyrical, and quietly elegant.

& Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m New Orleans foodie Poppy Tooker comes to Octavia Books for a talk and booksigning for the lauch of Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery originally published in 1900 from the handwritten notes of Mme. Bégué herself. Elizabeth Kettenring came to New Orleans from Germany in 1853. She married Louis Dutreuil and opened a restaurant in the French Quarter in 1863. After Dutreuil’s death, she married Hippolyte Begue and changed the restaurant’s name from Dutrey’s to Begue’s.

& Also on Tuesday at 6 p.m. on the north side of the Big Lake in City Park, join Megan Burns n claiming the space for poetry with an inaugural reading with poets Nik De Dominic, Tracey McTague and Ben Kopel. Seating provided in the outdoor mini-theater. Feel free to bring food & drink. Costuming encouraged. De Dominic is a poet and essayist. Recent work appears in Guernica, Michigan Quarterly Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. He is a poetry editor of New Orleans Review and a founding editor of The Offending Adam. He teaches creative writing and literature inside Orleans Parish Prison. McTague has officially gone AWOL, & may never be heard from again. In her former life, she organized the Battle Hill Poetry Marathon, the New Zinc Bar Reading Series, and served as both editor & consigliore for Lungfull! Magazine from 2001 to the present. Her forthcoming book, Super Natural, from Trembling Pillow Press, is due out this winter. Kopel was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1983. He holds degrees from Louisiana State University, The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and The University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers. His latest book is Victory from H_NGM_N press

Wednesday, Oct. 31 (Boo!) the Algiers Regional Branch of the New Orleans Public library hosts Poetry Night at 5:30 pm.
If you love to write and/or read poetry now is your time to shine! This program will allow adults to perform original or borrowed poetry, lyrics, monologues, speeches, etc.

&Looking ahead to November: the annual Ladyfest music, art and literature event will feature two dates for the literary performance series of LadyFest New Orleans- Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 7-10 pm at 1501 St. Roch Ave, and Friday, Nov. 9th from 8-11 pm at Buffa’s Lounge. Each event will be free of charge and feature musical accompaniment.

& It’s your last chance to catch an exhibition featuring first editions of books by Lafcadio Hearn, whose writings promoted the mystique of New Orleans to the nation, as well as prized works from his art collection will be on view Oct. 18-28 in Tulane University’s Special Collections Gallery, located in Jones Hall, Room 205. The exhibit is free and open to the public, 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday and noon – 6 pm Sunday. “The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn in New Orleans” will celebrate Hearn’s tolerance and cooperative mindset with art from Greece, Japan and the Hearn Collection at Tulane. The exhibition, which is financed and co-organized by Matsue City, Japan with support from Tulane’s Asian Studies Program and Tulane’s Louisiana Research Collection, will also include “La Cuisine Creole, A Collection of Culinary Recipes” and numerous other Hearn works, as well as pieces by artists such as Ynez Johnston and Masaaki Noda. I’m somewhat sorry I missed the opening lecture by Bon Koisume, Hearn’s great-grandson and advisor to the Matsue,Japan Lafcadio Hearn museum but if I had not, I would have missed the magic of the moment of meeting him in the Yakumo Japanese Garden.

Organizers Jena Mae and Laura Mattingly are currently scheduling female poets and performers for both nights, and we want you to participate! Please email Laura Mattingly at lmattinglynola@live.com, or Jenna Mae at grokthegrass@yahoo.com, if you are interested in participating in either event. Please specify in the email which date works better for you! A note for the Wednesday reading: The St. Roch Ave. location is a private, but spacious residence. It will be a poetry salon and art exposition. We are also looking for female visual artists interested in displaying their works at this event. Please contact Jenna Mae for more details.


1. candice - October 28, 2012

I can lend you my copy of John Biguenet’s Oyster if Clay doesn’t swipe it to send to his dad first… it’s fun.


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