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Odd Words October 31, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& This Friday The New Orleans Public Library’s African American Resource Center is hosting the 2013 Tom Dent Literary Festival. This annual festival honors Tom Dent who was a poet, essayist, oral historian, cultural activist, and noted figure in the Black Arts movement. This year’s festival features programs for children, teens, and adults. The adult program will be held at Dillard University in the Professional Building Auditorium, 115 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. This program will feature Trenton Thomas, a hip hop violinist, Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy and her students will discuss the life of Tom Dent, and performances by spoken word artists, Asia Rainey, Clarence “Xero” Skidmore, and Chris “One Eyed” Williams. A children’s story hour will feature African folktales and poetry. A one man show featuring aspects of Tom Dent’s life and work will be performed for teens by Chakula cha Jua, Tom Dent’s mentee. Both the children’s and teen programs will be held at the Main Library (219 Loyola Avenue) from 10:30am-11:30am.

& This Friday at 5 p.m. Octavia Books hosts a children’s book event with William Joyce featuring his new picture book, THE MISCHIEVIANS. Where’s my homework? Who took my other sock? What’s that in my belly button? The creators of the #1 New York Times bestselling and Academy Award–winning The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore have found the answers to these and other life mysteries…and no, it’s not your fault!

& Friday at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shop features Wally Lamb’s new novel We Are Water. We Are Water is a disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family, and human resilience in the face of tragedy. After 27 years of marriage and three children, Anna Oh–wife, mother, outsider artist–has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her success. They plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers in Connecticut. But the wedding provokes some very mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s Box of toxic secrets–dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives. Wally’s opening act will be his son, award-winning slam poet, and New Orleans resident, Justin Lamb. Justin’s group, Team Slam New Orleans, won the 2013 National Poetry Slam for the second year in a row.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday.

& The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans will meet Saturday at 2 p.m. to continue their discussion of this year’s featured book, David Copperfield. The Fellowship meets at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library. Admission is by annual dues to the Fellowship.

& The Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing is pleased to offer a free masterclass fiction workshop by novelist George Bishop, author of Letter to My Daughter and The Night of the Comet. The one-day workshop will be held on Loyola’s campus (room to be announced) on Saturday, November 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. The ten spots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email Kevin Rabalalis (kevinrabalais@hotmail.com) or Jennifer Levasseur (levasseur.jennifer@gmail.com) to sign up.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. Poet Michael Czarnecki will read 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.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Beginning Monday the Jefferson Parish Public Library hosts a NaNoWriMo session in which writers come to the library and sit down to write their novels as part of National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a fun, seat-of-the-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—a raucous celebration. Participants start the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walk away novelists. Free of charge and open to the public.

& On Monday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with sportswriter Marty Mulé featuring his new book, GAME CHANGERS. Louisiana almost defies logic when it comes to sports. Its native sons, daughters, and teams have left stamps on sports all out of proportion for what could be expected of a relatively small southern state. As Marty Mulé, a legend among the state’s sportswriters, shows, Louisiana’s athletic punch far exceeds its weight class. GAME CHANGERS documents the enthralling history of Louisiana’s athletes and more. There’s the memorable match races between Lexington and Lecompe and Black Gold’s Run for the Roses. There’s Heisman Trophy-winner Billy Cannon on his famed punt return; Steve Van Buren rushing for the unheard of total of a thousand yards twice for the Philadelphia Eagles; Tom Dempsey’s jaw-dropping field goal; and the Saints finally marching into the Super Bowl winners’ club. There’s the longest winning streak—218 in a row—for any sport or team outside of the Harlem Globetrotters, set by the Baskin High School girls basketball team

& Monday at 7 p.m. Crescent City Books hosts another Black Widow Salon featuring Guests Rodger Kamenetz & Moira Crone on a life in literature. Kamenetz is an award-winning poet, author and teacher. Just out is his To Die Next To You, a collaboration with artist Michael Hafftka. Of his baker’s dozen of books, the best known is The Jew in the Lotus. The New York Times called it a “revered text.” Walker Percy called Rodger’s memoir Terra Infirma “a haunting memoir, deeply felt, poignant, tragic– funny– powerful, and memorable for the poetic precision of its language.” Crone is a widely published short story writer and novelist. In 2009, she received the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for the body of her work. Her publications include current novel, The Not Yet (short listed for the Philip K. Dick Award), What Gets Into Us, Dream State, A Period of Confinement, and The Winnebago Mysteries and Other Stories.

Also at 7 p.m. the Jefferson Parish Library East Bank Regional Branch Writing Group presents an author event featuring William Conescu,author of Kara Was Here. Kara Was Here tells the story of a failed actress whose life and sudden death are only partially understood; her teenage sister, Gwen, who starts taking dangerous steps into Kara’s secret world; Kara’s college friend, Margot, who went from being the football team’s sexy secret weapon to the solitary proprietress of a baked goods business; and Kara’s one-time lover, Brad, who stands with one foot in the past and one foot in an increasingly uncertain future. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. 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.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books features a signing featuring UNFATHOMABLE CITY: A New Orleans Atlas with co-author Rebecca Snedeker along with other contributors Eve Abrams, Maurice Ruffin, and Billy Sothern. This book is a brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, one that provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of New Orleans, a city replete with contradictions. More than twenty essays assemble a chorus of vibrant voices, including geographers, scholars of sugar and bananas, the city’s remarkable musicians, prison activists, environmentalists, Arab and Native voices, and local experts, as well as the coauthors’ compelling contributions. Featuring 22 full-color two-page-spread maps, Unfathomable City plumbs the depths of this major tourist destination, pivotal scene of American history and culture and, most recently, site of monumental disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. The innovative maps’ precision and specificity shift our notions of the Mississippi, the Caribbean, Mardi Gras, jazz, soils and trees, generational roots, and many other subjects, and expand our ideas of how any city is imagined and experienced.

& At 7 p.m. on Tuesday (second Tuesday of every month) the Jefferson Parish Library Fiction Write Group meets in in the meeting Room. 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.

Tuesday night at 7 p.m. George Bishop will be the 1718 Society’s featured reader in November. His latest novel is The Night of the Comet. The meeting will take place at the Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Ave.), Tuesday, November 5th, at 7PM. He will be preceded by student readers.

& 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 p.m. Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with William Conescu featuring his new novel, KARA WAS HERE. Brad Mitchell’s life is falling apart. His marriage is in limbo. The woman he thought he would marry, Kara, died from an overdose. An old friend keeps trying to convince him that Kara was actually murdered. And he has started to see double. Literally. When Kara-or, rather, her ghost-returns to Brad, his past and present blur into a fog.

& Wednesday at 7 p.m. Fleur de Lit will kick off their new literary series, Reading Between the Wines, Wednesday, November 6 at 6:00 p.m at Pearl Wine Co. in the American Can Company. The series will take place the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. Local authors will be present, reading from and discussing their work. Maple Street Book Shop will be on site selling books. Pearl offers $5 glasses of wine on Wednesdays and a food pop-up! November’s featured authors are: George Bishop (Night of the Comet), David Armand (Harlow), Chuck Hustmyre (The Axman of New Orleans), and Ian McNulty (A Season of Night).

& On Wednesday the first LadyFest Open House Poetry Salon! Wednesday, Nov 6th at 7:30 pm. 1501 Saint Roch Ave. at the corner of N. Robertson. We’ll provide light snacks and wine, or bring your favorite beverage! Hosted by: Megan Burns Featuring: Kaycee Filson, Delia Tomino Nakayama, Amanda Smith, Laura Mattingly, Carrie Chappell, Katarina Boudreaux, and more! A second reading will be held the following Friday at Buffa’s Back Room.

& Press Street Room 220/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

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Unhappy Hour October 29, 2013

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, Counting House, Dancing Bear, Moloch, New Orleans, Rebirth, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist.
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That hour when you realize you have lost the connection with the people you work with and wander off to another bar to drink alone. Some sadness is natural, after seven years together. Some anxiety at what comes next. Beneath it all is the realization that this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. At 56 and on your fourth “career” you remember that somewhere inside you is the spirit of Odysseus. You have lingered too long at the money tit of Circe. It is time to visit Tiresias.

Odd Words October 23, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

&  Meet the state’s new Poet Laureate on Thursday at the Louisiana Humanities Center at 6 p.m. Ava Leavell Haymon gives her inaugural reading as Louisiana’s new state poet laureate at a reception at the Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette Street in New Orleans. The event begins at 6pm and is free and open to the public. Haymon replaces Julie Kane, PhD, of Natchitoches, whose term ended in May 2013. Dr. Kane will join us to introduce Ms. Haymon. She is a nationally recognized poet and teacher from Baton Rouge. She presents poetry readings and writing workshops, in Louisiana and nationwide. She has taught poetry writing at LSU and worked for many years as Artist in the Schools in East Baton Rouge Parish. Currently she teaches private classes in Baton Rouge and directs a writers’ retreat center in New Mexico. Her four full-length collections, The Strict Economy of Fire, Kitchen Heat, Why the House is Made of Gingerbread, and, most recently, Eldest Daughter are published by LSU Press. Her third book won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters prize for poetry in 2010, Women’s Voices for Change selected it as one of the 10 best poetry books of the year, and the Academy of American Poets featured an included poem as Poem of the Day.

&  Xavier University of Louisiana’s Department of English, Read Today, Lead Tomorrow and Poets & Writers invite you to a Poetry Reading by Charles Fort on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the University Center, Room 219. Fort’s books include We Did Not Fear the Father (New and Selected Poems) Red Hen Press 2012, Mrs. Belladonna’s Supper Club Waltz (New and Selected Prose Poems) Backwaters Press, 2013, The Town Clock Burning, Carnegie Mellon University Press, and Frankenstein Was A Negro, Loganhouse Press. Fort’s poems have appeared in journals, periodicals, and anthologies such as The Best American Poetry 2003, The Best American Poetry 2000, Best of Prose Poem International, The Georgia Review, and The American Poetry Review.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

&  Friday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts an author presentation and book signing with Bill Ayers featuring his new book, PUBLIC ENEMY. In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.” Labeled a “domestic terrorist” by the McCain campaign in 2008 and used by the radical right in an attempt to castigate Obama for “pallin’ around with terrorists,” Bill Ayers is in fact a dedicated teacher, father, and social justice advocate with a sharp memory and even sharper wit. Public Enemy tells his story from the moment he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, emerged from years on the run and rebuilt their lives as public figures, often celebrated for their community work and much hated by the radical right. “The legendary Bill Ayers is at his spellbinding best in Public Enemy—a brilliant, spirited document of a revolutionary life in our not-so-revolutionary age. One of the most compelling, insightful memoirs of the year.” —Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

& The New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts In Vino Veritas: a wine tasting, art auction, burlesque show and poetry at 7 p.m. Friday at the Big Top Gallery, 1638 Clio St. The wine tasting class costs $15 and has limited seating, and begins at 7 p.m followed at 8:30-9:30 by the Art Auction and at 9:30-1:00 Performances & Live Music.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday. This week she’ll read Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axl Scheffler!

&&nbspAt Octavia Books at 1 p.m. Saturday New York Times bestselling Skippyjon Jones author/illustrator Judy Schachner when she gives a storytime reading and signing of BITS AND PIECES, her new picture book, highly recommended for ages 3-5

This Sunday at 1 pm. Garden District Book Shops hosts Anne and Christopher Rice and their new books, respectively, The Wolves of Midwinter and The Heavens Rise. This is a by admission ticket event, with a ticket issued with the advance purchase of either author’s book. In The Wolves of Midwinter the tale of THE WOLF GIFT continues. The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the wolf gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this Christmas promises to be like no other . . . as he soon becomes aware that the Morphenkinder, steeped in their own rituals, are also celebrating the Midwinter Yuletide festival deep within Nideck forest. In The Heavens Rise, deep in the swamps outside of New Orleans, Niquette Delongpre and her family uncover a well on their property—a well that has roots all the way down into the soils of the Mississippi River. A well that brings ancient things to the surface—things that should have stayed buried.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This week features poet Danny Kerwick 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.

&Monday at 6:30 p.m. The Tulane University English Department presents a double reading by prize-winning authors Michael Ondaatje and Linda Spalding, Monday, October 28, at 6:30pm in Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium. The authors will sign books after the reading.

& Monday evening at 6 p.m. Octavia Books presents author John Pritchard featuring his new book, SAILING TO ALLUVIUM. When John Pritchard published the sequel to his underground hit Junior Ray, BookPage stated, “We can only hope that our potty-mouthed philosopher will come back for a third hilarious helping of hell-raising.” Now, Junior Ray returns in SAILING TO ALLUVIUM. Following The Yazoo Blues, which saw the anti-hero as a security guard on a floating casino, the new installment follows Ray as he sets about to solve a murder mystery.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. n the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m.

& The Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center presents at 4 p.m. The New Orleans Jazz Institute presents . . . Master Series 2013: Poetry. Edward Petersen’s Jazz Tribute to the Poetry of Kenn Nesbitt, with a Poetry Reading by Kenn Nesbitt and Steve Masakowski’s Jazz Tribute to the Poetry of Ava Leavell Haymon, with a Poetry Reading by Ava Leavell Haymon

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

At the Hubbell Library on Monday at 6:30 p.mm. join author Michael Nolden Henderson for a discussion of his book Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. 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.

& Octavia Books hosts Chef John Besh at 6 p.m. and his new cookbook COOKING FROM THE HEART: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way. And for Lagniappe, Chef Besh will treat you to a special tastes from the book: Porcini and potato soup with duck rillettes, herb garnish and Chef Lisa’s bread. Besh shares the lessons he learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, Cooking from the Heart is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh.

& 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.

&&nbspAt Garden District Books on Wednesday at 6 p.m. meet Monique Moliere Piper presenting her new book Dancing in the Sun: Being the Authentic You, about getting started on the journey to living as we were created to be, our authentic selves. It addresses the ways in which this journey gets constantly interrupted by our habits, beliefs, and conditioning and the struggles in our lives that cloud our views so that we never catch a glimpse of our true selves. This book will show you ways to get on the path to uncovering your heart’s desires, instead of what you have been taught is realistic.

&  Wednesday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with Samuel G. Freedman featuring his new book, BREAKING THE LINE: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights. Freedman brings to life the historic saga of the battle for the 1967 black-college championship between Grambling College and Florida A&M. Breaking the Line reaches its climax in a tense, excruciatingly close game between the two teams, recounted with suspense and drama that stands with David Maraniss’ immortal description of the “Ice Bowl” game. As Maraniss showed in When Pride Still Mattered and Clemente how individuals can transform their sports, Freedman chronicles Jake Gaither of A&M and Eddie Robinson of Grambling, and their quarterbacks, Ken Riley and James Harris, as they bring about two historic firsts: the first game to be played in the South between a black and a white school, and the first starting black quarterback in the NFL.

&  Wednesday at 7 p.m. the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts Author Event! The Night of the Comet, by George Bishop. For his 14th birthday, Alan Broussard Jr. receives a telescope from his father, a science teacher at the local high school, who’s anxiously awaiting what he promises will be the astronomical event of the century: the coming of Comet Kohoutek. For Alan Broussard Sr.–frustrated in his job, remote from his family–the comet is a connection to his past and a bridge to his son, with whom he’s eager to share his love for the stars. Bishop worked as an actor for eight years in Los Angeles before traveling overseas as a volunteer English teacher to Czechoslovakia in 1992. He enjoyed the ex-patriot life so much that he stayed on, living and teaching in Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, India, and Japan. He holds an undergraduate degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, a master of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, and a master of arts from the School for International Training in Vermont. His stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The Oxford American, The Third Coast, Press, American Writing, and Vorm (in Dutch). Letter to My Daughter (Ballantine, Spring 2010) is his first published novel.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8 p.m. This week features New York poets Tracey McTague, Brendan Lorber and Michael Czarnecki.

& Press Street Room 220/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

Mr. Bubble October 23, 2013

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Studying the behavior of soap bubbles in a pan filling with water is not writing or working the day job but neither is it an excuse. When you live in the middle of the hurricane coast anything that creates a visible vortex immediately captures your eye. It is a lopsided storm, with bubble formation off to one side but you can see the soap and grease swirling around the falling water and watch the spawned mass moved toward the center and grow and you think of Solaris, watching the bubble island form in the middle, its center rising up as if volcanic but really a complex of bubble structures to transient to really study.

What is sentience? Why do the crew in Solaris think the planet a living thing? Perhaps they have gone mad from obsession and isolation, a possibility you must maintain until the very last moments of the film. We look in wonder at mystery and some will try to disassemble it like a clock, give names to quarks and postulate an unknowable constant to solve the equation and name the mystery. Others look at the mystery and see the working of an invisible hand, an indecipherable mind, and give it a name; bow down before it lighting josh sticks. The mystery of our own sentience lies somewhere in the middle, the ability to recognize mystery and bow our heads before it if only for a moment in unqualified wonder. Where you go from there is up to you.

You’re Looking in the Wrong Mirror October 22, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Beauty, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Félix Vallotton, Etude de fesses

As we age, a woman’s body becomes rounder and more pliable, a development at once erotic and comforting. The asymmetries younger women seek to hide become more pronounced, each body becomes more itself, more the unique person you love.

Set The Controls for the Heart of the Gone October 22, 2013

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Emptiness as a quality of dharmas, in the early canons, means simply that one cannot identify them as one’s own self or having anything pertaining to one’s own self…Emptiness as a mental state, in the early canons, means a mode of perception in which one neither adds anything to nor takes anything away from what is present, noting simply, “There is this.” This mode is achieved through a process of intense concentration, coupled with the insight that notes more and more subtle levels of the presence and absence of disturbance.
— Thanissaro Bhikku

You can’t get there on this bus October 18, 2013

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“Victims 2010 91 searches”.

That is what it’s come to, really: a catalogue of the dead. And Odd Words, but in life as in literature it’s the dead who get the attention. Odd Words lives on Facebook, mostly. This is just a convenient place to store the column, words buried with a telephone.

Even the peaceful fields of Arles can drive you mad, and it has been rather quiet here, lately: a book of photographs I am less and less inclined to open, because I’m not that person anymore.

I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning. – Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)

I’m not sure who I am just right now but I can’t complain about that. It is all part of a process, a methodical accident prompted by the subconscious, by events larger than myself, by a tiny piece of magic: a string of beads hanging from my rearview mirror that decided, while the car was at rest, to burst one August afternoon. I still keep what are left of those beads, the little black voodoo men who hung from the bottom, but these are a memento, not a fetish. They hold memory but not power. The process continues. The hollowness of not knowing who going where is sometimes an aching cavity, and sometimes the space through which cherry blossoms fall to earth.

I have a blog where I wrote incessantly what I hope are phenomenal personal dispatches from a place of constant wonder, Leopold Bloom crossing Bourbon Street . . . The whimsical distractions that turned into poems don’t come anymore. I walk down the street and instead of that perfect moment of New Orleans for the blog I look for a good place to put out my cigarette.

I wrote that a while back as a description of over-medication, not depression, but I was diagnosed with a melancholic personality. (Looks around office for jars of leaches). I swallow my Jetson’s breakfast like a good fellow. Enough has been said about depression, antidepressants and writing so I won’t go there. I did a good bit of writing after posting Confessions of a Pill Eater, but not much of it here. Then it just stopped again, my life becoming a centrifugal melee of Too Much Everything, and writing tapered off to nothing. The listings. Odd jottings. The quotes I posted on Tumblr that I used to post here.

Toulouse Street is just a memory, and the Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans that were its reason to exist come less and less often. Perhaps Odd Words needs a home of its own.

Sometimes the littlest things can prompt me to write: a fresh notebook aching to be filed, an idle hour in the coffee shop.

Maybe it is time for a new notebook.

Odd Words October 17, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans for Oct. 17-23:

The Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans and WWNO are launching a new collaboration called Storyville, which will bring true stories about New Orleans to listeners of public radio.  The stories will be periodically broadcast  during All Things New Orleans, WWNO’s half-hour radio news magazine which airs Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and are available as podcasts here.

& Thursday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books celebrates the release of former journalist Rebecca Theim’s important new book, HELL AND HIGH WATER: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times-Picayune, essential reading for anyone interested in New Orleans or the future of journalism in America. Internationally lauded for its heroic role chronicling the death, destruction and public ineptitude during and after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune’s unofficial rallying cry became “We publish come hell and high water.” Despite plummeting circulation and ad revenues after the storm and during the Great Recession, the newspaper remained profitable and boasted the country’s highest readership in a city its size. But New Orleans in 2012 faced “Katrina without the water,” as one veteran reporter described it, when the newspaper’s owner, New York media conglomerate Advance Publications, put the then-175-year-old The Times-Picayune at the center of a risky experiment in American newspaper journalism. It would become a three-day-a-week publication and instead shift focus and resources to its much derided website, making New Orleans the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper.

& Also on Thursday at 7 p.m. New Orleans Literary & Performance Series presents its second program of the Fall 2013 season: “WHEN BUTTERFLIES DRINK THE TEARS OF THE TURTLE” with big respect to New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Traditions, Native American Traditions and Poetry & Song! THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 7:00PM @ GOLD MINE SALOON, 701 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, French Quarter. This special one-night-only event will feature: BIG CHIEF MONTANA and EYES-SEE QUEEN CHIEF AUSETTUA AMORAMENKUM of WASHITAW NATION, ALFRED UGANDA ROBERTS and ERIC B on percussion, REVEREND GOAT CARSON on buffalo jaw string, KATARINA BOUDREAUX on vocals & keyboard and NEW YORK / SAN FRANCISCO POET ZACK ROGOW.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Friday at 6 p.m. Garden District Books hosts Carolyn Kolb’s New Orleans Memories: One Writers City.  Kolb provides a delightful and detailed look into the heart of her city, New Orleans. She is a formerTimes-Picayune reporter and current columnist for New Orleans Magazine, where versions of these essays appeared as “Chronicles of Recent History.” Kolb takes her readers, both those who live in New Orleans and those who love it as visitors, on a virtual tour of her favorite people and places. Divided into sections on Food, Mardi Gras, Literature, and Music, these short essays can be read in one gulp or devoured slowly over time. Either way, the reader will find a welcome companion and guide in Kolb.

Friday at 7 p.m.  Local author Dean Paschal reading from his new novel, The Frog Surgeon at McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music, 4737 Tchoupitoulas.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday. This week author Rob Owen will be reading and signing his book Spyboy, Cheyenne, and 96 Crayons. An eight-year-old boy masks for the first time as Spy Boy in his Mardi Gras Indian tribe. He proudly leads his tribe down crowded New Orleans streets, but when he looks back, he discovers that he is lost and separated from his friends. Follow Spy Boy as his spirit guide, Cheyenne, and his box of ninety-six crayons help him return to his family.

Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Zeitgeist Performance Center Voices of Resistance: Poetry at the New Orleans Anarchist Book Fair will present an  all-star lineup of New Orleans poets explore manifestations of resistance in their creative lives. Featuring: FreeQuency, A Scribe Called Quess? (Team SNO), Delia Tomino Nakayama, Geoff Munsterman, Marla Chirdon, Emmanuel Segura, and a special performance by Jose Torres-Tama. Hosted by Jenna Mae.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he 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 Gina Ferrara reads from and signs her new collection of poems Amber Porch Light.

& Sunday at Garden District Books at 1 p.m. Tom Zigal will read from and sign his new novel  Many Rivers to Cross, The story takes place in the first three days after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in late August 2005. The narrative follows several characters stranded in the flooded city as they struggle to surviveMany Rivers to Cross is the second novel in the New Orleans Trilogy. The first being. The White League.

& 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.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& The New Orleans Haiku Society will hold their monthly meeting at the Village Coffee Shop on Ferret at 6 p.m.

Monday Octavia Books hosts the book release celebration of Shane Finkelstein’s debut novel, FINDING GORDON LIPSCHITZ. At his twenty five year high school reunion, Harris Greenberg finds out that his class valedictorian has gone missing. In an attempt to run away from his own problems, Harris embarks on a desperate mission to find him. Enlisting the help of old friends, Gordon Lipschitz is found in the most unlikely place, a shell of his former self. The search becomes a journey of self-discovery for four friends whose lives turned out much differently than any of them expected.

This Monday 6:30 p.m. brings Author’s Night at the Hubbell Branch of the NOPL, featuring Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation with  author Michael Nolden Henderson for a discussion of his book.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. 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

Monday at 8 p.m. , Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are taking a field trip from their regular venue all the way up to the wilds of Riverbend to share some of their most sensual selections at Z’otz on Oak St. You know Z’otz, the finest and funkiest purveyors of rich coffees, savory teas, sumptuous baked goods and so much more to delight your senses. So what better place for our ribald and randy ranks to visit?

& 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.

This Tuesday Join Room 220 as we host the venerable Oxford American for a Happy Hour Salon featuring local contributors to the current issue. The salon will take place from 7 – 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Saturn Bar (3067 St. Claude Ave.) and will feature readings and live music. Copies of the new issue will be on hand. Come hear: Pia Z. Ehrhardt’s existential spiral spurred by the deaths of two great horned owls in her yard near City Park; Nathan C. Martin’s dispatch from the two weeks he spent selling fireworks from the side of a Mississippi highway; Anne Gisleson’s exploration of the crossroads of writing, yoga, and BDSM in an Arabi strip mall; and, Brian Boyles‘ report on the wolves that stalk Angola Prison’s perimeter fence. PLUS: Michael Patrick Welch and his Lil Current Vocal Club will perform a set of live music. Welch’s profile of the painter constantly at work on the exterior of the Mother-In-Law Lounge appears in the current OA.  Moments not occupied by readings and live music will feature New Orleans’ own DJ Maxmillion spinning 45s from his expansive collection.

Tuesday at 7 p.m. McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music will host a Poetry Reading with Thaddeus Conti, Jason Moore, Haley Rundel and Todd Trulock

4737 Tchoupitoulas

& On the second Tuesday of every month the Jefferson Parish West Bank Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 p.m. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions.

& 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 Maple Street Books Kala Ambrose will be signing her book Spirits of New Orleans at Maple Street Book Shop at 6 p.m. Prepare to embark on a unique and enticing journey into the haunted history and magical ceremonies of New Orleans. Prepare to be introduced to supernatural rituals and practices in order to fully understand and embrace the cultural significance of the variety of beliefs, superstitions, legends and lore.

At Octavia Books on Wednesday bestselling author George Pelecanos returns to Octavia Books to give a reading from and sign copies of his new novel, THE DOUBLE. Every man has his dark side…Spero Lucas confronts his own in the most explosive thriller yet from one of America’s best-loved crime writers. Pelecanos is also a core part of David Simon’s writing team. If someone is going to die, look for Pelecanos’ name in the credits. This new Spiro Lucas novel reads like a classic noir thriller, full of action and suspense.

Also on Wednesday the Tennessee Williams Festival Coffee and Conversation series at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts  The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, Susan Larson’s informative response to questions most frequently asked when she served as book editor of the Times-Picayune. Tourists and locals alike want to know what to read, where authors lived, which bookstores to browse, and when literary festivals are scheduled. Now all the answers can be found in this one convenient volume, the only complete directory of New Orleans’s “write life” available.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week features Rodger Kamenetz and poetry/painting collaboration To Die Next To You, and music by Married Women. Kamenetz’s book features two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, who have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More than a collaboration, this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying. If you haven’t seen this amazing collaboration between Kamenetz and painter Michael Hafftka you really need to get yourself down to BJs to hear Rodger read and get a copy.

Water & Brimstone October 11, 2013

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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The yellow brimstones come
to the beach by ones and threes,
fluttering against the stiff sea breeze
& at the tide line descend
toward the water &
vanish
.

Odd Words October 10, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans for Oct. 10-16.

& Thursday at 6 p.m. Octavia Books features a double book release featuring writer Tim Parrish (RED STICK MEN) celebrating the launch his two new books, FEAR AND WHAT FOLLOWS: The Violent Education of a Christian Racist, a memoir, and THE JUMPER, winner of Texas Review Press’s George Garrett Prize for Fiction. Both books are being released within a few weeks of each other by separate publishers — so there will be much to celebrate with this homecoming of an accomplished native Louisiana writer. Fear and What Follows is an unparalleled story of the complex roots of southern, urban, working-class racism and white flight, as well as a story of family, love, and the possibility of redemption.

& Over a Tipitina’s Garden District Books hosts “Adult Bedtime Stories” With Chuck Palahniuk & Special Guests Chelsea Cain and Monica Drake. From cult icon author Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) comes Doomed – the sequel to 2012’s Damned. And to celebrate the release of his book and his first appearance in New Orleans, we will be having an adult pajama party where Chuck and two of his friends who are fellow writers of their own dark-humored esteem, will be joining in! There will be prizes, trivia, toys, and much irreverent humor. So don your favorites PJs (seriously: wear pajamas), grab your teddy bear (yes, seriously, bring a stuffed animal). In addition to getting a chance at winning a special (possibly disturbing) prize, each ticket includes a pre-signed copy of DOOMED. This follow-up to DAMNED continues the adventures of Madison Spencer, a very overweight, very snarky, and very dead, thirteen-year-old girl. This time, instead of being trapped in Hell, she’s trapped on Earth, or as it’s known in the afterlife: Purgatory.

& Meanwhile, in calmer circumstances, Garden District Books and the Jewish Community Center host a reading by Garrison Keilor of O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound, the first poetry collection written by Garrison Keillor, the celebrated radio host of A Prairie Home Companion. Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, this volume forges a new path for him, as a poet of light verse. He writes—with his characteristic combination of humor and insight—on love, modernity, nostalgia, politics, religion, and other facets of daily life. Keillor’s verses are charming and playful, locating sublime song within the humdrum of being human. Tickets are $5.00, and are available for purchase at Garden District Book Shop and the Jewish Community Center (JCC). Tickets include a coupon good for $5 off the purchase of O, What Luxury.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& Inspired by Walker Percy’s best-known nonfiction book “Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book,” the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing at Loyola University New Orleans will host its second biennial conference, “Still Lost in the Cosmos: Walker Percy and the 21st Century,” Oct. 11-12. Open to the public, the conference offers a variety of panels and performances focused on Percy’s lively and satirical analysis of the modern condition. The conference features well-known Percy scholar and author Paul Elie as the keynote speaker on Friday evening. Actor Tom Key will perform a one-person show inspired by the book on Saturday evening. The 15 daytime panels of Friday and Saturday cover topics such as alienation, language, authenticity, and the failure of “self-help”. For information or to pre-register: http://www.loyno.edu/wpc/conference. Tickets also available at the door! Each registered attendee will receive a complimentary copy of Walker Percy: A Comprehensive Descriptive Bibliography by Linda Whitney Hobson, published by Faust Publishing.

Friday at 8 p.m. there will be a Poetry Pot Luck at 2127 Milan Street hosted by Sam Gordeon  featuring three visiting poets: Ashley Catherine of Los Angeles, plus Eirean Bradley and Leah Noble Davidson. Tortillas will be provided, and guests are asked to bring taco/burrito ingredients.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday. This week Denise McConduit will be reading and signing her book, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read. Robbie doesn’t like to read so he wishes that he never has to. When a sorcerer grants his wish, all the words in the world disappear. Will Robbie be happier now that his dream has come true? OR IS ROBBIE GOING TO LEARN A VALUABLE LESSON? Miss Maureen is banking on a lesson. Come find out what happens. There will be cookies and juice.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and 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 p.m. the Mudlark Public Theater will feature Pieces of Us:  Queer Writers Reading Original Works. Featured readers will include Nic Alea, Deb Jannerson, Dara Drawdy and more to be announced.

& This month’s Black Widow Salon at Crescent City Books features Guest Susan Larson on books, NOLA, and more. Larson, the book editor of The Times-Picayune from 1988–2009, now hosts WWNO’s public radio program The Reading Life. As a founder of the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, and a board member of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the New Orleans Public Library, she continues to support and share New Orleans’s literary heritage. Susan’s The Booklover’s Guide To New Orleans is back in print at long last. 7-9 p.m.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. 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.

&  Tuesday Garden District Books hosts Catharine Savage Brosman’s Louisiana Creole Literature: A Historical Study at 6 p.m. Louisiana Creole Literature is a critical reading of belles lettres–in both French and English–produced by Louisiana Creole people, chiefly in the southeastern part of the state. The book covers primarily the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the flourishing period during which the term Creole had broad and contested cultural reference in Louisiana.
The book consists of literary history and biography. When available, each discussion provides personal information on authors, as well as publishing facts. Brosman illuminates the biographies and works of Kate Chopin, Lafcadio Hearn, George Washington Cable, Grace King, and Adolphe Duhart, among others.

& Tuesday evening Octavia Books hosts legendary author Allan Gurganus (OLDEST LIVING CONFEDERATE WIDOW TELLS ALL) when he gives a reading and signs his new novel, LOCAL SOULS. Through memorable language and bawdy humor, Gurganus returns to his mythological Falls, North Carolina, home of Widow. This first work in a decade offers three novellas mirroring today’s face-lifted South, a zone revolutionized around freer sexuality, looser family ties, and superior telecommunications, yet it celebrates those locals who have chosen to stay local. In doing so, Local Souls uncovers certain old habits—adultery, incest, obsession—still very much alive in our New South, a “Winesburg, Ohio” with high-speed Internet.

& On the second Tuesday of every month the Jefferson Parish West Banbk Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 p.m. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions.

& 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 brings back Don Paul’s Poetry Ball, a reading at the Cafe Istanbul in the Healing Center, featuring Rodger Kamentz, Moira Cronin, Melinda Palacio, and Shedrick white followed by an open mic. Don Paul’s Poetry Ball is the best single reading of literary and spoken word artists together in one place in New Orleans.

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week’s featured artist is musician Rachel Z. Leigh.

& Join the Tipplers— three long time friends and writers (Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce, and Richard Read) — 6 p.m.at Maple Street Bookshop p for cocktails and a book signing. They sip their way through the best drinking neighborhood in America, New Orleans’ French Quarter in their informative guide, French Quarter Drinking Companion. Hot spots and cool cocktails fill the pages of this essential guide to 100 Vieux Carre bars. From sophisticated saloons to dilapidated dives, The French Quarter Drinking Companion is your accomplice to swizzling and strolling through the country’s most eclectic neighborhood.

& Come on out to Newcomb Center for Research on Women Wednesday night at 7 to hear Pamela Binnings Ewen, Jean Redmann and Erica Spindler talk with Antoinette de Alteriis about the craft of mystery writing in an event sponsored by the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. There will be books and CDs for sale from Diana Pinckley’s library, as well as a Kobo to raffle off. That’s how the WNBA-NOLA celebrates National Reading Group Month.

More truly and more strange. October 8, 2013

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
by Wallace Stevens

Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.

What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

In the Shadow of the Beach October 7, 2013

Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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image The Rosemarie Dunes trailhead is right on the shore highway of Orange Beach, Alabama.. The most striking view isn’t the loblolly pines or yucca and grass undergrowth but a towering condominium. You have to ride until tree-bearing high land behind the dunes can hide the monstrosities that have become for  most tourists their vision of the beach, a slice of high-rise life rising a dozen or more stories built on foundations of sand and lifted into the air by balloons of boosterism.

On both sides of the trail are visions of tall dead things, the gray tree  trunks Orleanians will recognize from drives in and out I-10 across the spillway. Everywhere in sight of the beach towers are trees that did not survive the flooding or salt spray, and resilient more resilient pines shorn of all their lower branches as if by the clippers of a bonsai artist. On the day I arrived at the Romar Guest House, a carefully preserved specimen of the pre-high-rise shore, Tropical Storm Karen formed at the mouth of the Gulf of Campeche and took more or less direct aim at Orange Beach. On my first ride into  Gulf Shores Park I was reminded how far storm surge or salt spray can reach, far past my ground-level room less than 200 feet from the high tide line.
image
Orange Beach is thankfully a gap-toothed work in progress, with private cottages both weathered and ancient and extravagantly new, a declaration of the wealth to be made shuttling tourists to their breath-taking room views by elevator.  The Romar Guest House’s deck is nestled in the afternoon shadow of that high-rise but has a clear view of the beach, and a stretch of several hundred yards to the east with one nouveau beach mansion next door and a line of older beach houses. That land is owned by an association of ten people, and my gracious hosts Greg and Deb assure me the chances of getting ten people to agree on anything are slim. They think that land safe from development but I’ve seen Destin’s endless parade of highrises as I crept through Saturday night traffic. It’s not efficient to recycle glass–which is basically melted sand–but there are hordes of people who have figured out how to transmute sand into concrete and then into gold, so I’m not so  sure.

I take solace in October and what amounts for me to a private beach, and in my daily rides down the Rosemaire Dunes trail. Once past the views of condos  and hotels it’s easy to get lost in the loblolly and slash pine and wiregrass, to catalog with my camera unfamiliar flowering plants and a peculiar thing which looks like it belongs underwater and grows in great profusion in certain spots along the trail.20131005_112157 With my limited knowledge I think some sort of wort, but I can`t seem to find a matching pictures of the dozens of varieties native to Alabama. I peer out into the bogs looking for alligators. At the stretch signed “alligator habitat” and fenced in wire there is a bridge with a Do Not Feed the Alligators sign and there it is, a good-sized specimen basking exactly where most convenient. I’m tempted to toss a coin at him to see if he is real but I can see his eyes follow me as I maneuver for a good picture. Further on there are isolated patches of cactus and I wonder if these are native or perhaps storm-planted refugees from someone’s home garden.

The trail is busier than the beach but on a beautiful weekday not much more so. Intent cyclists pass me on narrow-rimmed alloy racers and recumbent bikes but they are counting miles not flowers. The one inescapable reminder of where I am are the regularly spaced benches with the donors names burned into them: the Michigan Snow Birds Club sticks in my mind among the memorials and Rotary clubs, but I am here in the peculiar season between the sun worshipers and the snow birds, breezy days of low eighties and scattered cumulus with the children all in school and the parents busy working to save up for next year’s condo week

At trails’ end I am deposited back onto a busy highway. The bike path ends to my left, leaving me to huddle on the shoulder until I reach a shopping center accessible by a wooden bridge over a pond filled with lilies. As I make my way past CVS and Holiday Inn Express, before I reach the imposing row of relentlessly identical Phoenix condo towers in their endless Roman numeral variations, I pass a few reminders of the pink and aqua stucco motel beach of childhood memories. Souvenir City 2 Souvenir City raises its high pink roof promising endless shelves of conch and dried starfish and ships in a bottle. I hesitate for a moment but resist the temptation to redo my apartment in retro beach chic. I don’t have enough room for the things I already have. A Flora-Bama t-shirt complete with hangover and sunburn more pink than any shell I might buy will be my souvenirs. Just before I reach the condo cliffs I pass an older cottage with a yard filled with tropically colored aging single-wides nestled on crushed shell. Trailers The past is not completely erased here as it is in Florida. The conquistadores came to Florida seeking gold and eternal youth. They arrived a few centuries too early for the gold and after sizing up the glittery examples of eternal youth in the Flora-Bama as dance partners, I settled for leaning on a railing sipping a Red Stripe, making chit-chat with my neighbors. Eternal youth, with the best potions and surgeons available, is not all that attractive a proposition in acid washed jeans and sequined tops.

I leave early with my shirt and head back down Perdido Beach Boulevard, stopping at the Waffle House for breakfast and flirting with the bored waitresses who for once seem genuinely interested in the attention. I am the only customer they have seen for hours. Back at the Romar House I am no longer the only guest but at 56 still the youngest and the rest retreated to their rooms hours ago. I pour out a glass of Meyers and step out onto the deck to listen to the surf in the idle solitude I have enjoyed for days, glad to know I have found one outpost of the old beach just down the road from the faded tropical trailers and Souvenir City. There is hope for Orange Beach yet.

Beach Fence (2)

The ragged hem of Ocean October 4, 2013

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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A reprint while I am at the beach quite intentionally without the laptop.

February 26. Covered 172 miles. Cloudy sky, grey sea. Nothingness.

February 27, Covered 94 miles. Blue sky, blue sea. Nothingness.

— Two log entries from Bernard Moitessier’s The Long Way.

This is not the ocean, these mild ripples washing the crowded shore. It is merely the edge of the thing, a ragged hem. The loud, brown devotees of sun and surf who assemble each morning at the water’s edge do not really understand the depth and breadth of what lies past the dim gray line that is the horizon.

I have never voyaged out onto the true ocean, the place where land is mostly memory, but one of my compulsions is reading the literature of adventure, particularly that involving long, solo voyages into the rolling blueness. Here on the shore we are barely acolytes of the sea, mere poseurs compared to men and women like Moitessier, the ones who sail out far and alone into the very depths of the Southern Ocean.

There is no Poseidon lurking off the shores of the Redneck Riviera. The young women basking in the sun substitute weakly for sea nymphs, sandy-diapered children chasing the sea birds and the rolling breakers are our only water sprites. The ocean of the water gods, the ocean of Moitessier lies far beyond anything the beer sipping sunbathers can even begin to conceive.

I think my neighbors in the sand would find the epigram above confusing. To me it is one of the best descriptions of Oceanness, of the true nature of the great rolling thing at my feet that I have ever found. I know that Ocean is out there, and I am as humbled as a Haji standing in the sand just gazing out towards it.

Odd Words October 3, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Roger Kamentz’ new collaborative book of poetry and art To Die Next to You and a delegation from the University of Iowa International Writing Program highlight this week in literary New Orleans.

& On Thursday Oct. 3 Room 220 invites you to Please join in the first installment of our Fall 2013 series of Happy Hour Salons as we host a delegation of esteemed authors and poets from around the world, courtesy of the University of Iowa International Writing Program. The salon takes place from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The readers include:

  • Dmitry Golynko’s poetry has appeared in just a few—but always impressive—places in English, such as Graywolf Press’ anthology New European Poets. His book As It Turns Out was published in English by Brooklyn-based Ugly Duckling Presse. He is the author of four other books of poems, published in his native Russia, where he is a researcher at the Russian Institute of Art History, faculty at the St. Petersburg University of Cinema and TV, and a contributing editor at Moscow Art Magazine. He’ll tell you how to whip it out with a child paraplegic and a Chechen terrorist.
  • Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor for Esquire in Singapore and several other publications. She co-edited an anthology of revisited Asian folktales titled Eastern Heathens, co-directed a documentary about older people’s sexuality titled Post-Love, and is co-founder and communications director for the curatorial operation studioKALEIDO. Her first book, Ministry of Moral Panic, will appear later this year.
  • Sridala Swami is a fiction writer, poet, photographer, film editor, teacher, radio producer … you name it. She’s been published all over the world, particularly in her native India, and is the author of the poetry collection A Reluctant Survivor. She is at work on what seems like an innumerable number and variety of projects, including a collection of interviews with contemporary Indian poets. She blogs, occasionally, at The Spaniard in the Works.
  • Dénes Krusovszky is an accomplished poet and translator—the English-language poets he’s rendered into his native Hungarian include John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and Simon Armitage—as well as editor of the literary quarterly Ex Symposion and of the JAK World Literature Series, which features contemporary foreign fiction and poetry in Hungarian. He has published three volumes of poetry, the last of which won the József Attila Prize, which is apparently a very big deal.

& Join Deborah Burst, author of HALLOWED HALLS OF NEW ORLEANS: Historic Churches, Cathedrals and Sanctuaries in a toast to the history of New Orleans Churches, featuring Redemption Restaurant. She will share her journey in discovering the mystery of New Orleans Historic Churches followed by a book signing and discussion at Redemption Restaurant–a converted church–at 5:30 p.m.

& On Thursday Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing at 6 p.m. with Kathleen Kent featuring her new novel, THE OUTCASTS set in Reconstruction-era Texas and New Orleans. In her first two bestselling, critically acclaimed novels—The Heretic’s Daughter and The Traitor’s Wife—set in Puritan New England, Kent imagined characters and stories based on her Salem ancestors and established herself as a master of historical fiction. As she did in her first two novels, Kent has drawn on history to tell a captivating tale of a woman fighting to make a life for herself against seemingly insurmountable odds, and an honorable man struggling to do the right thing, no matter what. As guns are drawn and debts are settled, some—both good and evil—will die in pursuit of their dreams, and their vengeance.

& Also Thusrday at 6 p.m. Maple Street Book Shops features a reading at 6 p.m. with authors James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello who will be discussing their book, The Oil Road: Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London, now in paperback. From Caspian drilling rigs and Caucasus mountain villages to Mediterranean fishing communities and European capitals, this is a journey through the heart of our oil-obsessed society. Blending travel writing and investigative journalism, it charts a history of violent confrontation between geopolitics, profit and humanity.

& Garden District Book Shop features Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce & Richard Read’s The French Quarter Drinking Companion at 6 p.m. Thursday. Part travelogue, part guidebook, and part exposé, this hip and informative guide will introduce every watering hole of note in the French Quarter. From the seersucker-friendly Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone to the sordid hangouts along the back streets of the Quarter to the iconic and down-to-earth Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the authors visit them all, providing a bar-side review of the music, drinks, patrons, and décor.

& Press Street/Antenna Gallery is offering an OPEN STUDIO of after school academic tutoring & creative writing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 3pm-5:30pm. The Gallery is located at 3718 St Claude Ave.

& Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. the Juju Bag Cafe, 5363 Franklin Ave., . presents a Spoken Word Showcase, with happy hour from 5-7 and open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. Check whodatpoets.com for featured performers.

& On Friday David Rich—whose acclaimed debut, Caravan of Thieves, drew comparisons to Elmore Leonard, Robert Ludlum, and John LeCarre—returns with a new crime thriller featuring Lieutenant Rollie Waters, Middle Man. He will be Maple Street Books at at 6PM.

& Story Time with Miss Maureen is a weekly feature at Maple Street Books at 11:30 am Saturday.

& This month’s Poetry Buffet at the Alvar Library features Moose Jackson, Jimmy Ross, and Andrea Young read from their work Saturday at 2 p.m.

& AT 2:30 p.m. the Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans meets at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library. They will discuss David Copperfield, Chapter VIII “My Holidays, Especially One Happy Afternoon” and Chapter XIV, “My Aunt Makes Up Her Mind About Me.” The New Orleans Branch of the Dickens Fellowship holds meeting September through May, reading one of the works of Charles Dickens each year. The meetings include book discussions, movie versions of the novel, and lectures by Dickens scholars. This year’s book is DAVID COPPERFIELD. Dues are $20/person (couples $30) payable in September.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. he Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights:

  • The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.
  • The Black Star Cafe, 800 Belleville St. in Algiers at 7 p.m.;
  • The Shadowbox Theater at 2400 St.Claude Ave. at 7 p.m.;
  • Espe’s Kitchen, 1743 N Broad St. at 7 p.m.; and,
  • the T******* Wine Lounge, 3001 Tulane Ave., doors at 7 p.m., Admission $5.

For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m

& On Monday Octavia Books hosts author John Miliken Thompson’s return to Octavia Books at 6 p.m. when he reads and signs his new Southern gothic novel, LOVE AND LAMENT, based on a figure in the author’s life based on a family diary. A dauntless heroine coming of age at the turn of the twentieth century confronts the hazards of patriarchy and prejudice, and discovers the unexpected opportunities of World War I

& 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.

& Tuesday Octavia Books features a reading and signing at 6 p.m. with writer Rodger Kamenetz celebrating the release of his new book of poetry. Each poem in this beautiful book is illustrated by painter Michael Hafftka. TO DIE NEXT TO YOU is a unique event in the literary and artistic world. Two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More than a collaboration, this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shop presents Errol Laborde and his new book Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. Even within its loyalty to tradition, Carnival in New Orleans has changed dramatically since the 1980s. Terms such as Lundi Gras, Muses, Krewe d’Etat, and Orpheus are now part of the lexicon, while krewe names such as Venus, Mecca, and Freret survive just in trivia conversations. This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, Twelfth Night, women’s groups, the foods of Carnival, and more.

& On Tuesdays the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

& 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.

& Carroll Beauvais and Vincent Cellucci will read their poetry on Wednesday, October 9, at 8 p.m., at the University of New Orleans in Liberal Arts 197. The reading will be followed by a booksigning and reception. This event is free and open to the public. Carroll Beauvais’ poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Collagist, Bateau, and elsewhere. She has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Syracuse University’s MFA program, where she was a Creative Writing Fellow and awarded the Hayden Carruth Poetry Prize. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and animals. Vincent A. Cellucci wrote An Easy Place / To Die(City Lit Press, 2011) and edited a recent anthology (Lavender Ink, 2013).

& Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Books Deldon McNeely will be signing Becoming: An Introduction To Jung’s Concept of Individuation, published by Fisher King Press, at our Uptown shop, Wednesday, October 9th at 6PM. In Becoming, she unpacks the essential concept of individuation, helping to demystify what that process entails. Both placing it in historical, philosophical context and discussing its contemporary relevance, she helps us appreciate the why and wherefore of doing deep psychological work. McNeely has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. She studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich and graduated in the U.S. from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts

& On Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series is at BJs in the Bywater (4301 Burgundy) at 8PM. This week’s featured readers are local fiction writer Sara Jacobelli and NY poet Daniel Schoonebeck.

& Don’t forget to stop by and visit The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition exploring the work of 1960s counterculture artists Jon and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. The display, “Alternative Imprints: Jon Webb, Gypsy Lou, and the Hand-Sewn World of the Loujon Press,” will be on view in the Williams Research Center, located at 410 Chartres St., through Saturday, Nov. 16. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and admission is free.