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Odd Words November 29, 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:

Skip ahead with me one week to the Faulkner Society’s Words and Music Festival, which kicks off for the public on Wednesday Dec. 4. Odd Words will have a full listing next Thursday, but here is a taster to whet your appetite.

& This coming Wednesday, Dec. 4 features the 2013 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WORDS & MUSIC WRITERS ALLIANCE, featuring readings of new work, fiction, poetry, non-fiction, led by bestselling poet and non-fiction author, Rodger Kamenetz, who will start the program with a reading from his new collection of poetry, To Die Next to You. The new book is beautifully illustrated with abstract expressionist paintings by artist Michael Hafftka and slides of the illustrations will be shown during Rodger’s reading. Other authors scheduled to read are members of the Peauxdunque chapter of the Writers Alliance, including Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann, will be reading from his new Collection of Poetry, just published by Lavendar Ink. Subject matter of readings will be related to the theme of Words & Music, 2013: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public. 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets. Following an intermission for refreshments, there will be a 6:15 pm screening of Walker Percy, a new documentary film by Win Riley of New Orleans, who will introduce the film and explain the perils and pleasures writing and producing a literary documentary. Win will take questions after the film. The Faulkner Society will have copies of the documentary for sale at the event and at the Words & Music Book Mart during the remainder of the festival. Next Thursday features almost a dozen events (see below for some details on Thursday). For more information and to start planning the W&MF weekend early, visit the website: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/wordsandmusic.html.

& Also please note that all New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Library locations remain closed Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, reopening Saturday.

& so back to the chronological weekly listings.

& Octavia Books is hosting eight great local authors as guest booksellers on Small Business Saturday, November 30. Each author will be chatting with customers and recommending favorite books and will be happy to talk about and sign their own books as well. Carolyn Kolb begins the first shift at 10:30 a.m., and will be signing her new book, NEW ORLEANS MEMORIES: One Writer’s City. Rebecca Snedeker, whose book UNFATHOMABLE CITY was just released this month, will begin her shift at Noon. George Bishop, author of the novel THE NIGHT OF THE COMET, will arrive at 1:00 p.m., followed by Tom Sancton, SONG FOR MY FATHERS, and Sylvaine Sancton, SOME BIRDS at 2:00 p.m. Lawrence Powell, author of THE ACCIDENTAL CITY, a history of the city from its founding through statehood, will arrive for his shift at 3:00 p.m. Ryan Murphy and Grace Millsaps, author of the new children’s picture book, WHAT THE SLEEPY ANIMALS DO AT THE AUDUBON ZOO, will come at 4:00 p.m.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops features Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett. Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.

& Later at 2 pm Ryan Murphy & Grace Millsaps, the authors of What the Sleepy Animals Do At the Audubon Zoo, will be reading and signing their delightful book at Maple Street as well.

& In between, Maple Street hosts M.A. Kirkwood at 11:30 am signing her second and latest book, Claire Ange, which is a young adult novel set in New Orleans. “On the face of it Claire Ange is about an abused girl who rises above her circumstances. Underlying this basic premise is so much more: spiritual insight, the interconnectedness of history past, present and future, and the lives of strangers who intersect, become changed by their encounters, and through these connections move forward to new levels of being. A humorous tone permeates throughout, as Claire and her spirit-observer encounter an array of colorful characters as they make their respective journeys. This, and the rich tapestry for self-discovery for both, makes for an engrossing and memorable read and a top recommendation for a vast readership: basically, anyone looking for a spiritually complex story of evolution and change.” — Midwest Book Review

& 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. Novelist Deborah Reed Downing will read from and sign her new book, Friends of Chickens, 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.

& It’s the last qualifier slam of the year for Team SNO! Sunday, December 1st marks our final show before we finalize the 2014 Team SNO selection process in January with our semi-finals and finals. We'll kick off our December show with a raucous open mic. After, a group of poets will battle it out to secure the last spots in 2014 SNO semi-finals. $5 admission. Free to slam.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ 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.

& 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 Crescent City Books, 230 Chartres St. hosts the Black Widow Salon at 7 pm, featuring Guests Ratty Scurvics and John Porter talk songwriting. Ratty Scurvics is an artist in several disciplines. As a painter he has exhibited in solo and group shows in New Orleans, Chicago, Austin and Dallas. As a writer he has published works of short fiction and poetry as well as three produced musicals. In the area of theater he has enjoyed an award winning career as a composer and musical director. In the field of music he’s produced forty-two solo records including the scores for eight plays and five musicals. Englishman John Porter is an acclaimed musician and producer. Early on he was part of Bryan Ferry’s fledgling band The Gas Board. John has produced many records, several of them Grammy Nominees and Winners, including by The Smiths, The Go-Go’s, B.B. King, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, R.L. Burnside, Elvis Costello, Jon Cleary, Carlos Santana, and Ratty Scurvics.

& 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.

& At 5:45 pm Tuesday Maple Street Book Shop’sat the First Tuesday Book Club‘s December meeting they’ll be discussing The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Newcomers are always welcome!

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with Matt Sakakeeny featuring his new book, ROLL WITH IT: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. ROLL WITH IT is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.

& Robert Stone, who won the National Book Award for his 1974 novel Dog Soldiers, will be reading from Death of the Black-Haired Girl at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s campus. You can catch an interview with Stone at Room 220.

& At 7 pm Tuesday McKeown’s Books & Difficult Music hosts FIVE Writers: Readings from their latest works.

Geoff Munsterman hails from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and attended Belle Chasse High School, The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts | Riverfront, & Kenyon College. His poems have been featured in story|south, YAWP, Margie, among others. His debut collection, Because the Stars Shine Through It came out last month from Lavender Ink in New Orleans. Of it, poet John Kinsella said: “At once wry and matter-of-fact, Munsterman can register pathos and deadly insight into the contradictions of his social environment, his friends, neighbours, family and self.”

Benjamin Morris is a writer and researcher whose work appears in such places as the Oxford American, the Edinburgh Review, and the New Orleans Review. A member of the Mississippi Artist Roster, he is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission and a residency from A Studio in the Woods. His next book, a history of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is forthcoming from the History Press next year.

Cassie Pruyn has been living and writing in New Orleans since 2010. She is currently studying poetry at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, working on a project that explores what happens when we travel 3,640 miles across the ocean and land in a vast, “unexplored” wilderness––among other things. She was finalist in the 2013 Indiana Review 1/2K Prize, and third runner-up in the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, with work forthcoming in The Double Dealer.

Matt Roberts’ work has been published in Isotope, Ninth Letter, Sweet, Ecotone, on NPR’s Morning Edition and elsewhere. His essay, “The Myopia of Scale,” was a Notable selection in Best American Essays 2009, and he is a founding editor of The Normal School literary magazine. He is working on a novel about imaginary birds and the people who drive hundreds of miles to stare at their Crayola-colored plumage through binoculars.

Katy Simpson Smith received her Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MFA in creative writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, will be published next fall by HarperCollins.

& 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 Poppy Tooker (Louisiana Eats), Elsa Hahne (The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians), and Elizabeth Pearce (The French Quarter Drinking Companion with Allison Alsup & Richard Read) will be signing their books and participating in a Question and Answer session Wednesday, December 4th, at 6PM at Pearl Wine Co., located inside of the American Can Company (3700 Orleans Ave). After the signing, sponsored by Fleur de Lit and Pearl Wine, there will be a Top Chef viewing party. Maple street Book Shop will be on-site selling books! Pearl will offer a selection of wines for $5 a glass, and Indochow will provide a food pop-up with Thai, Vietnamese, and BBQ!

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Margaret Talbot and The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father’s Twentieth Century. Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens. The arc of Lyle Talbot’s career is in fact the story of American entertainment. Born in 1902, Lyle left his home in small-town Nebraska in 1918 to join a traveling carnival. From there he became a magician’s assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, then an actor in major Warner Bros. pictures with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard. After that, he worked as an actor in cult B movies, and finally as a part of the advent of television, with regular roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Ultimately, his career spanned the entire trajectory of the industry.

& Also at 6 pm Christy Jordan, the new doyenne of Southern cooking, visits Octavia Books and presents, signs, and gives sample tastes from her new cookbook, COME HOME TO SUPPER, a heartfelt celebration of family dinners–with an emphasis on easy-to-prepare comfort foods. To Christy, the dinner table is where everyone can talk about what happened that day and share their struggles and triumphs. Conceived and written to reflect the reality of today’s hectic schedules, COME HOME TO SUPPER includes more than 200 deeply satisfying dishes that are budget-minded, kid-friendly, and quick

& Wednesday the Jefferson Parish Library and the Tennessee Williams Festival present Coffee and Conversation featuring Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival at 7 pm. Errol Laborde discusses his latest book. From Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday, New Orleans is transformed. Queens and fools, demons and dragons reigh over the Crescent City. This vividly photographed book is a lively, comprehensive history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

& Don’t forget Thursday’s opening event of the Words & Music Festival at 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, featuring author Rodger Kamenetz along with Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann. A Screening of Walker Percy, the documentary film, follows at 6:15 pm.

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