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Odd Words April 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, Jazz Fest, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, spoken word, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6:30 pm The Nix Library on Carrollton Avenue will host a poetry reading by the local literary group Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.

& Thursday night at 6 pm Join Room 220 for a Happy Hour Salon with local authors Zachary Lazar and Daniel Castro from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The event will celebrate the release of Lazarar’s s new novel, I Pity the Poor Immigrant. The book is Lazar’s third novel. It uses notorious gangster Meyer Lansky as a pivot point around which mobsters, journalists, and a seedy cast of characters run circles, darting back and forth between past and present, Israel and the United States, fiction and “reality”. Room 220 will feature an interview with Lazar soon about the book, conducted by Engram Wilkinson, but until then you can read profiles in the Times-Picayune and the Los Angeles Times. Publishers Weekly called I Pity the Poor Immigrant “an interesting and challenging novel,” while Kirkus Review said the intricate connections Lazar makes in the book are “complex and artful, though at times bewildering even to discerning readers.” So, bring your thinking caps. Joining Lazar will be Daniel Castro, who was born and raised in New Orleans. Castro is a graduate of NOCCA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald and the Tampa Review. He is the winner of the 2012 Novella Prize from the Faulkner Society, and the 2013 CINTAS fellowship in literature.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop presents Dr. Michael Saag’s Positive: One Doctor’s Personal Encounters With Death, Life, and the US Healthcare System. Positive traces the life of Michael S. Saag, MD, an internationally known expert on the virus that causes AIDS, but the book is more than a memoir: through his story, Dr. Saag also shines a light on the dysfunctional US healthcare system, proposing optimistic yet realistic remedies drawn from his distinguished medical career.

& Thurday the East Jefferson Main Branch Library hosts the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers Group at 7 pm. James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Also on Thursday at 6 p.m., Maple Street Book Shop hosts Sally Asher, who will discuss and sign Hope & New Orleans. New Orleans is a city of beautiful contradictions, evidenced by its street names. New Orleans crosses with Hope, Pleasure and Duels. Religious couples with Nuns, Market and Race. Music, Arts and Painters are parallel. New Orleans enfolds its denizens in the protection of saints, the artistry of Muses and the bravery of military leaders. The city’s street names are inseparable from its diverse history. They serve as guideposts as well as a narrative that braid its pride, wit and seedier history into a complex web that to this day simultaneously joins and shows the cracks within the city.

& Friday at noon Tulane University will host a Book Signing and Presentation by Tulane Professor Carolyn her book New Orleans Memories:One Writer’s City.

& And its Jazz Fest, and the Gulf South Booksellers Association will once again host the festival Book Tent. Here’s the first weekend’s lineup:

Friday, April 25th

  • Denise McConduit, 12-1PM, DJ Books
  • Rebecca Sive, 1-2PM, Every Day is Election Day
  • Nancy Dixon, 3-4PM, N. O. Lit
  • Ann Benoit, 4-5PM, New Orleans Best Ethnic Restaurants
  • James Cobb. 5-6PM, Flood of Lies

Saturday, April 26th

  • Dean Alger, 12-1PM, Original Guitar Hero and the Power of Music: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music and Civil Rights
  • Jay Mazza , 1-2PM, Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge
  • Edward Branley, 2-3PM, New Orleans Jazz
  • Jeremy Labadie and Argyle Wolf-Knapp , 3-4PM, New Orleans Beer
  • Carolyn Kolb, 4-5PM, New Orleans Memories
  • Richard Campanella, 5-6PM, Bourbon Street

Sunďay, April 27th

  • Patrice Kononcheck, 12-1PM, In a While Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes
  • John Wirt, 1-2PM, Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues
  • Rebecca Snedecker, 2-3PM, Unfathomable City
  • Donald Link, 3-4PM, Down South: :Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything
  • Matt Sakakeeny, 4-5PM, Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans

& You can call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel every Thursday from 8-midnight for a live poetry reading. 504-264-1336.

&Friday Garden District Book Shop feature Coffee and Cookies with Cokie Roberts: Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies at 8:45 AM. Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies reveals the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes. Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others. Details are gleaned from their letters, private journals, lists, and ledgers. The bravery of these women’s courageous acts contributed to the founding of America and spurred the founding fathers to make this a country that “remembered the ladies.”

& Saturday at the Maple Leaf Book Shop it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen, who’ll read Gorilla by Anthony Browne. Hannah spends all of her time reading gorilla books, watching gorilla TV shows, and drawing gorilla pictures. She has gorillas on her bedside lamp and even on her box of cereal. Hannah loves gorillas and longs to see a real one, but her father is always too busy – or too tired – to take her to the zoo. Then, on the night before her birthday, something extraordinary happens – and Hannah’s wish comes gloriously true.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The 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 features JAZZ FEST 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.

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

& Tuesday at noon the Tulane Univerity book Store wil host a book signing and presentation by Sally Asher of her work Hope & New Orleans..
& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& 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 pm Bill Hillman and Ben Tanzer will be signing their books. Bill Hillman’s book, The Old Neighborhood, is the story of teenager Joe Walsh, the youngest in a large, mixed-race family living in Chicago. After Joe witnesses his older brother commit a gangland murder, his friends and family drag him down into a pit of violence that reaches a bloody impasse when his elder sister begins dating a rival gang member. The Old Neighborhood is both a brutal tale of growing up tough in a mean city, and a beautiful harkening to the heartbreak of youth. Bill Hillmann is an award-winning writer and storyteller from Chicago. His writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Newcity, Salon.com, and has been broadcast on NPR. He’s told stories around the world with his internationally acclaimed storytelling series the Windy City Story Slam. Hillmann is a Union Construction Laborer and a bull-runner in Spain. In the not so distant past, Hillmann was a feared street brawler, gang affiliate, drug dealer, convict, and Chicago Golden Glove Champion.

The essays in Ben Tanzer’s Lost in Space: A Father’s Journey There and Back Again focus on parenting, delving into topics including sleep (or the lack of), discipline, first haircuts, deceased parents and grandparents, illness, and the inherent challenges and humor that coincide with, and are intrinsically tied-into, these stages of life. The essays also recognize the ongoing presence of Tanzer’s own dead father in his life as he seeks to parent without his guidance or advice.

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jeffersion Regional Library hosts The Fiction Writers’ Group, 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.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. Featured this week is Sara Jacobelli and Whitney Mackman.

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

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55: Manna from a Raven April 20, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I can never quite figure out what to do about Easter now the children are grown, except to stay out of the aisle filled with candy. I am a true apostate in the Church of my baptism, cannot in good conscience recite the Apostles Creed and swear fidelity to a single name among the hundreds for the Spirit that inhabits us all. I’ve kicked the dust of that crabby old bastard of the Old Testament  off my sandals. Apologies to those who live by those books, but the catechism version is all woman is the root of all evil and drowning His mistakes and if there’s love in all that well blame the sisters and brothers who preferred we walk in fear and guilt.

The Easter story still resonates because it speaks of mystery, and mystery is at the heart of the Spirit. You can’t touch it but sometimes you’re pretty sure it has touched you, if only through a sunset you can explain in perfectly secular terms  but which still found you gasping for breath remembering to breath, and in that breath is the Spirit. We have a capacity in us to succumb to the Subime, a word I used hundred times I’m sure after forgetting about Edmund Burke. I took a class in American Nature Writing since going back to school and early on we ploughed through A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and in all this rush to convert our universities into advanced technically and business schools, I don’t think you can call yourself an educated person unless someone makes you sit down and some point and read that.

Taking some basic anthropology to finish up my degree I understand the evolutionary purpose of altruism but the sublime, the combined feeling of wonder and terror in the face of what is larger than us (at its simplest) seems at first to serve no purpose. Mystery and wonder all in one word, and in that word, taty primal logos, is the capacity to recognize that there are forces larger than us at work in the universe, so many of which we struggle to explain in spite of our big-brained, self-important selves. Emerson and Thoreau and all that crowd understood the sublime, found scripture in mountains and river, the same ancient impulse that gave this mountain or that rock its sacred space, a mountain you might climb and in a blinding light find the logos in a handful of words. Better than a set of rules however is simply to be open to the Sublime. To do so is to walk the Tao, to walk in beauty, to cry in horror at those who top mountains and clear cut forests, to realize that desertification is not just a condition of the land but of what we usually call soul.

On your way to church or to gorge on ham in honor of a no-doubt observant Jewish teacher, don’t forget to look round you :at the sky, at the park as you pass, at your beautifully dressed children. Pause a moment in awe of it all. Gasp at it, and in the breath let spirit enter into you. Easter comes but once a year. Let every day be a Pentecost.

Odd Words April 16, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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& Poet John Gery will be reading & signing celebrating National Poetry Month and the release of John Gery’s new book, HAVE AT YOU NOW!: Poems at Octavia Books. “These are the poems of a huge imagination and a huge intellect whose observations are at once as capable of being as fully engaged in the philosophical as in the familial. John Gery is a powerful traveler poet who counters experience with thought, form with idea, technique with delivery.”– Darrell Borque

& Zachary Lazar will be signing I Pity the Poor Immigrant, Thursday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop. In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig. In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.

& Thursday at 7 pm the Great Books Discussion Group of the East Bank Jefferson Parish Library will discuss Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

& At 8 pm New Orleans Literary & Performance Series presents ANCIENT RAIN: A Tribute to Bob Kaufman at Gold Mine, 701 Dauphine Street. Featuring poets Dr. Brenda Marie Osbey, 2014 Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, PLUS A Scribe Called Quess performing with: Loren Pickford – alto sax, Spike Perkins – bass, Katarina Boudreaux – cello, Reverend Goat Carson – buffalo jaw harp, and Ben Aleshire – cornet. PLUS special guest Jonathan Warren and OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross

& You can call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel every Thursday from 8-midnight for a live poetry reading. 504-264-1336.

& All branches of the New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Public Libraries are closed for Good Friday, and the Latter will be closed on Sunday.

& Friday at 7 pm at Cafe Istanbul The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance presents its second “Yeah, You Write!” event: a word rebellion, readings, images, and music. Featuring prize-winning and best-selling authors Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly, Joseph Boyden, John Barry, Benjamin Percy, jewel bush, Emilie Staat, and Cassie Pruyn. Music by D.J. Sep, and images by L. Kasimu Harris. $5 at the door.

& Also at 7 pm In celebration of National Poetry Month, join the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans and Junebug Productions for an evening of poetry as members of the MelaNated Writers Collective and Team SNO ( Slam New Orleans) respond to the 30 Americans exhibition with original works. Featuring Kelly Harris DeBerry, Kysha Brown Robinson, and Gian Francisco Smith of MelaNated Writers and FreeQuency, Akeem Martin and A Scribe Called Quess of Team SNO. Hosted by Frederick Wood “Hollywood” Delahoussaye.

& Friday is New Orleans’ own ex-pat Bob Kaufman’s birthday. Stay tuned for percolating plans.

& Laura Roach Dragon will be doing the New Orleans book launch of her middle-grade book Hurricane Boy at Maple Street Book Shop Saturday from 11:30-1pm. This incisive coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina and its severe devastation to US soil. A compelling tale of growth and independence, this debut novel brings a fresh, evocative voice to the stage: Hollis Williams, whose resilience, strength of character, and personal growth are powerfully portrayed by the author’s authentic narrative. This book will last for generations, giving voice to every young reader struggling to find his or her place in the world. Hollis Williams is a middle-school student in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. His father absent and his mother dead, Hollis and his siblings live with his grandmother. He dreams of reconnecting with his father, but Hurricane Katrina strikes and devastates his home and his plans. The young boy’s family is trapped on the roof of their house, hoping and waiting to be rescued. When help finally arrives, Hollis and his family are separated and sent hundreds of miles apart. Taken to a shelter in a West Virginia church, Hollis must reunite his family against all odds.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The 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 features . . . . . . .
Lenny Emmanuel will read from his Mirrors And Lanterns, Selected Poems, plus his “SQUEAL” — a four-page-one-sentence belated response to Ginsberg’s “HOWL.” Larry Scott on tenor sax will accompany the poet and essayist.

& 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.

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

& Monday the New Orleans Haiku Society meets at the Latter Memorial Library from 6-8 p.m.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Books will feature Michael Murphy with Ian McNulty, Sara Roahen, Poppy Tooker & Liz Williams and their book Eat Dat: A Guide to the Unique Food Culture of the Crescent City. Eat Dat New Orleans is a guidebook that celebrates both New Orleans’s food and its people. It highlights nearly 250 eating spots—sno-ball stands and food carts as well as famous restaurants—and spins tales of the city’s food lore, such as the controversial history of gumbo and the Shakespearean drama of restaurateur Owen Brennan and his heirs. Both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers will be helped by a series of appendixes that list restaurants by cuisine, culinary classes and tours, food festivals, and indispensable “best of” lists chosen by an A-list of the city’s food writers and media personalities, including Tom Fitzmorris, Poppy Tooker, Lolis Eric Elie, Ian McNulty, Sara Roahen, Marcelle Bienvenu, Amy C. Sins, and Liz Williams.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation with author and Inside Higher Ed blogger John Griswold featuing his new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW, AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE: Collected Essays. For nearly ten years, John Griswold has been publishing his essays in Inside Higher Ed, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Brevity, Ninth Letter, and Adjunct Advocate, many under the pen name Oronte Churm. His new book, PIRATES YOU DON’T KNOW AND OTHER ADVENTURES IN THE EXAMINED LIFE is a funny, poignant, bittersweet, and sometimes snarky account of everything ranging from creative writing to babies, and from race issues in a university town to crocodiles.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at 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.

& 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 9 pm the pleasure provocateurs of Esoterotica bring you “”Dr. Who’s Your Daddy?” A Night of Nerd and Geek Erotica”. In addition to writing erotica, it will probably come as no surprise that Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are also a little bit nerdy. Okay, some of us are a lot nerdy. And on Wednesday, April 23rd we are bringing an evening of erotica devoted to the not always so well-known naughty pleasures of all things Nerdalicious! From video games to comic books, Star Wars and Star Trek to Firefly and Dr. Who, anime’ cosplay to having a thing for your calculus tutor, whatever your “freak” fantasy or the kind of dorky debauchery you’re into, we’ll get you hot and bothered with a full night of ‘weirdo’ wanton-ness and techie titillation.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Features for this week are Jenn Nunes & Wendy Carlisle .

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

54: Funny Old World April 13, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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There I am, the difficult first step of my project for school done plus half a dozen other errands, the first good day in a carpet of nails week that reached its nadir when I realized I owe the IRA a pile of money. I am are literally sitting on top of the rainbow sipping a beer and then I call my girlfriend and she is having a terrible no good very bad day and my little bubble goes: pop. Fibromyalgia results in a lot of terrible no good very bad days. I coo comforts, especially for the “terribly lonely part”, promising to stop by after the poetry reading I’m off to.

How terribly lonely can a person be, I find myself thinking moments after hanging up, when I last saw her yesterday? I begin to feel boxed in by the situation, its terrible frequency. How the hell am I going to go to Europe and leave her behind? Her condition gives her both tremendous strength and fragility, and when I am handy fragility is an available out from the pain. There is a reason, I think, there are boxes marked Dependent on the tax forms I finished and not all of it is fiduciary. The molars start to grind, the chest starts to tighten and suddenly the rainbow is a little grey cloud and you, Oh Eeyore, are the butt of the universe’s whimsical sense of humor.

So I go to the bar (all the poetry readings in New Orleans are in bars) and instead of sticking to my unemployed Hi-Life budget I order a nice draw and a shot of tequila good tequila. One of the poets shows up and sits at my table and asks how it’s going. I answer “fair”, then hold up the glass of tequila I shouldn’t have ordered and make a correction. “Changeable” I say, holding the blue agave barometer up to the light. “It needs to get to about there,” pointing toward the bottom,” to be fair.”

I’m about to launch into a totally unwanted Slavic litany of complaints when suddenly the juke box erupts with “In Spite of Ourselves”, a duet by John Prine with Iris DeMent. It’s “our song”, or as close as we have to one. Twenty minutes before the first of the millennial poets steps on stage and speaks a single line the stage lighting switches as if to a stage direction: Dark Irony. I feel my ears and tail growing, the first drooping and the latter swishing away the flies while I think: “earthquake weather.”

The poets are quite good but in my life’s movie director’s viewfinder kit is the Male Gaze 1000+ Deluxe and in the relationship mood I’m in, it’s the first one my hand instinctively plucks out of the case. [Women of all persuasions, you may want to stop reading here, or just note that the comments are open). It’s not so much the biological notion that we are bred to spread our seed as it is the fragility we will not admit of the male ego, as easily bruised as a peach in a shopping cart. Of all the reactions to that, short of the one that involves storming out to the workshop and finishing that new cabinet you want in record time, few are pretty. Altruism in sexual arrangements is as old as the chimpanzee but leave us feeling hurt and we’ll be siting some distance from the fire brooding, bearing our fangs at any who approach, scratching our nuts and wondering what’s for dinner. We look across the fire and wonder what old Gruntle’s partner Melon Breast is like on the animal skins.

I struggle now to remember the lines of poetry, although much of it was good. (My memory is not the best, and I really wanted to buy at least one book but I am no longer the poetry reading Medici who always buys a book. I’m just too broke). All I recall of the first reader is that this young M.F.A. student is so drop-dead out of my league I would need the Barbie Firewoman Rescue Ladder Company truck to get within decent gazing distance of her sandaled toes. The next vents about her ex-girlfriend and I remember the line “fisting your hair” and nope. The third poet, I think, is the best [if you allow for the few poems about selfies but that is what the age demands] but she also writes about her boyfriend, whom I meet when I go over to complement her, give her my card and tell her there will be pictures up on the Odd Words site later tonight.

Then my friend takes the stage and after a few damn fine poems of his own, brings out a translation of Catullus he has published and the second poem is “8. Advice: to himself,” which begins like this is A.S. Kline’s translation:

Sad Catullus, stop playing the fool,
and let what you know leads you to ruin, end.
Once, bright days shone for you,
when you came often drawn to the girl
loved as no other will be loved by you.
Then there were many pleasures with her,
that you wished, and the girl not unwilling,
truly the bright days shone for you.

The rest of the poem is about the girl rejecting him, and Catullus counseling himself not to continue to pursue her, probably as far from my actual situation as could be but the troubled male ego doesn’t approach every challenge with logic and tool in hand, and I think very hard about ordering another tequila. It doesn’t help that the next is “27. Falernian Wine”

Serving-boy fill for me stronger cups
of old Falernian, since Postumia,
the mistress’s, laws demand it,
she who’s juicier then the juicy grape.
But you water, fatal to wine, away with you:
far off, wherever, be off to the strict.
This wine is Bacchus’s own.

This night, I think, is going swimmingly, as in the backstroke in bathtubs of gin. Instead of more unwatered wine I head out the door for the promised visit and hug but there are a dozen competing emotions ratting around in my head like an untuned engine with bad lifters. Some days I feel this is what our relationship is like. My god you love her and want to drive around town and show her off to everybody in the Classy Woman Club but parts are impossible to get and the necessary repairs are impossible. We’re both getting older and the hand-holding to more-exciting-contact ratio is regressing rapidly backwards toward middle school.

I hug her with genuine affection, hold her until she is ready to sit down again. Then I plant myself at the far end of the bed and begin to vent. This really goes no where except to deplete her supply of tissues. We part with another long hug, not really wanting to let go even after agreeing “we’ve had this ‘discussion’ before,” and no one is really satisfied. There is nothing to resolve. You love each other, and love is hard; sometimes so hard a person just wants to walk away from it for a while and kick the rocks in their head down the street. We think the partner we find by our age is the one we’ve been waiting for and that’s mostly true, older and wiser, but it doesn’t mean it’s all smiles and unspoken but knowing exchanges in the rocking chairs. Still, you know for all the usual and unusual trials and tribulations, as Prine and DeMent croon, that you’re never going to let her go.

She tells me to go home, which my lizard brain intercepts before it can reach the frontal lobes and translates: go to the Holy Ground and sulk over a pint. I go and everyone there is relentlessly cheerful with drink but I’ve put on the cape of inviolable male entitlement and resentment and the atmosphere doesn’t help much. The cheerfull and cute redheaded barmaid slips me an extra pint since I had to wait for the first while they change the keg, one from the old and one from the new. I think she is just being sweet but I can taste the difference, the malty savor of the last of the old keg like a bottle of the rare XXX Export instead of the overly gassed typical American pint. I escape into the flavor, taking it in sip-by-sip and insist she compare them herself when she gets a free minute. She lingers, lets me try her new vape (hibiscus flower, not tobacco) and it’s like a whiff of her perfume, She lingers and talks perhaps a little too long, until the other barmaid interrupts and asks if she’s busy.

When she brings me another (my third) there is a little heart drawn in the foam. Flirting with bar maids is great craic but I realize my sulk is probably so palpable it’s hurting business, that it’s probably just another part of the transaction between a great bartender and regular customer. She’s cute and a real sweetheart but also a pro who makes mean martinis when you’re in the mood for them, and knows the trade well. Still, there was that night we talked about writing, one of the nights I go their to scribble in the cheerful, neutral brown noise of Guinness and crowd. She always wanted to write, she said, started and then stopped. She asks where she would find the time and energy. If you can get out of bed and make coffee and you have it in you to write, I tell her, then you are two thirds of the way there. Before the day gets away from you, take that first cup and a pen and curl up and write whatever comes into your head. There’s really no other way to get started. I scribble that advice again on a napkin, along with the Cheryl Strayed quote “write like a motherfucker”, secure it all with the clip of a spare pen with her name written on the outside of the bar nap so the other tender won’t just scoop it up, and put it atop her last tip. I like to think I left something more on the bar that night than the usual wad of dollars and the musk scent of men alone at a bar. Whether that beaming smile is strictly professional old-regular or genuinely meant just for me, it doesn’t matter tonight. That little gesture of a heart on the foam pokes a pinprick hole in the balloon of miasma I’ve blown up around my self-absorbed ass, and I go home after that one. I’ll not get a better pint tonight, not even the last of a barrel.

The radio is off in the car and I catch myself whistling “In Spite of Ourselves.”

He’s got more balls than a big brass monkey
He’s a whacked out weirdo and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he’s howlin’ at the moon
He’s my baby I don’t mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We’ll end up a sittin’ on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we’re the big door prize
We’re gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts
Dancin’ in our eyes.

I may be an ass, but at least I’m not Eeyore anymore.

53: Branded April 11, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Branded

Has this kind inscription from an academic and poet I admire branded me as a “post-post-modernist?” Or am I misreading the ambiguity inherent in short, cryptic messages, especially a poet’s inscription?

Hmmmmm.

I don’t know. Some of the poetry I have read in the last several years is Conceptualist, some drivel and some fantastic. Other books ooze New Sincerity like the confessional of Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to lay out your life, at least dress for the occasion in something not from American Apparel. If you life is boring, give me “Dream Song. No. 14“. Spare me the banality of your latte. The lyrical, however, has not died, thank bog. The last book I read that completely floored me was Keetje Kuipers’s The Keys to the Jail. It is many things: angry, sarcastic, but most of all lyric. And the idea of a democratic poetry (not the PPM idea that everyone has an equal voice; talent and craft must enter somewhere) but rather in poetry that is grounded in an almost modern aesthetic of the concrete (little c), the descendents of William Carlos Williams and Charles Olson, that is accessible (my heroes include Charles Bukowski at his best, Niyi Osundare, Everette Maddox), and yet allow for the play of language upon the page and upon the ear.

Personally, and in spite of the immense Theory baggage that goes with the term, I rather like metamodernist: “Aesthetically, metamodernism is exemplified by the writings of Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolaño, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen, as they are each typified by a continuous oscillation, a constant repositioning between attitudes and mindsets that are evocative of the modern and of the postmodern but are ultimately suggestive of another sensibility that is neither of them; one that negotiates between a yearning for universal truths and relativism, between a desire for sense and a doubt about the sense of it all, between hope and melancholy, sincerity and irony, knowingness and naivety, construction and deconstruction.”

At least, that’s where I’m trying to go. Perhaps I am too “young” a poet at 56, taking up writing and not just reading less than 10 years ago) to have blazed a clear trail of my own. I keep my machete sharp and steer by the distant mountains of past masters, the promise of rivers of clear water free of crocodiles, Theorists and anything resembling The New Sincerity, anything smacking of pseudo-modernism, of Google Poetics or any related nonsense.

For me, “post-postmodern” is not an epitaph, but the sign at the foot of the trail warning of precipitous inclines, precarious stretches of crumbling ledge, and hic sont leones.

Odd Words April 10, 2014

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

& Thursday at 6 pm the Belle Chase Library hosts native son Geoff Munsterman who will will read from and sign his poetry collection Because the Stars Shine Through It (2013 Lavender Ink). Guests are invited to purchase books from the author before or after the reading, which should begin around 6:30. Cookies and refreshments will be available.

& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Zachary Lazar and I Pity the Poor Immigrant. The stunning new novel by the author of Sway is another “brilliant portrayal of life as a legend” (Margot Livesey). In 1972, the American gangster Meyer Lansky petitions the Israeli government for citizenship. His request is denied, and he is returned to the U.S. to stand trial. He leaves behind a mistress in Tel Aviv, a Holocaust survivor named Gila Konig. In 2009, American journalist Hannah Groff travels to Israel to investigate the killing of an Israeli writer. She soon finds herself inside a web of violence that takes in the American and Israeli Mafias, the Biblical figure of King David, and the modern state of Israel. As she connects the dots between the murdered writer, Lansky, Gila, and her own father, Hannah becomes increasingly obsessed with the dark side of her heritage. Part crime story, part spiritual quest, I Pity the Poor Immigrant is also a novelistic consideration of Jewish identity.

& On Friday at 6 p.m. pm Garden District Book Shop features Frances Mayes’s Under Magnolia. A lyrical and evocative memoir from Frances Mayes, the Bard of Tuscany, about coming of age in the Deep South and the region’s powerful influence on her life. Under Magnolia is a searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves. With acute sensory language, Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South, the smells and tastes at her family table, the fragrance of her hometown trees, and writes an unforgettable story of a girl whose perspicacity and dawning self-knowledge lead her out of the South and into the rest of the world, and then to a profound return

& On Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Maple Street Books presents Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Marjorie Flack. The country bunny attains the exalted position of Easter Bunny in spite of her responsibilities as the mother of twenty-one children.

& At 1:30 pm Octavia Books at children’s book author Whitney Stewart presents and signs her new picture book, A CATFISH TALE: A Bayou Story of the Fisherman and His Wife. Deep in the bayou, a Cajun fisherman named Jack catches a magic fish that offers to grant wishes in exchange for being set free. Jack doesn’t have a lot of wishes, but his wife Jolie sure does—for a mansion, a paddleboat, fame and fortune! With each wish, all the fish says is “Ah, tooloulou—if that ain’t the easiest thing to do.” But when Jolie wants to be crowned Mardi Gras queen, have things gone too far?

& Saturday evening at 7 pm the journal T E N D E R L O I N presents it’s reading series The Third Weird Thing at Kajun’s on Sat. Claude. This month our 3rd weird thing is the 4th! Four poets for your pleasure: Jennifer Hanks, M.K Brake, Min Kang and Joseph Bienvenu. About the series: Cold Cuts is a poetry reading interested in performance and a performance interested in reading poetry. Each reading will consist of 3 – often on the theme of 2 poets and a 3rd weird thing: the performative. But we encourage all our poets to perform and all our performances to poet. We like to showcase our TENDER LOIN writers, and we like to showcase local artists

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The 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 features 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 pm the two-time national champion Slam New Orleans hosts The New $#!% Slam at the Shadowbox Theater. “Bring your new hat, your new date, and most importantly your NEW POEMS as we celebrate all things new. Please bring new poems that have not yet hit the The Shadowbox Theatre (and preferably any) stage.”

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

& Monday the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group featuring Greg Alexander, a local author who lives and works in Metairie, will discuss his new book, The Holy Mark. The Holy Mark is a monologue told from the point of view of a psychologically disturbed Catholic priest who continually rationalizes and justifies his relationships with teenaged boys. It combines the elements of a psychological case study and dysfunctional New Orleans Italian family saga. The Holy Mark is the story of one reluctant priest caught between the cynicism of his own Southern upbringing and the political machinations of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregory Alexander was born and raised in New Orleans. After completing degrees in Psychology and American Literature, he taught English at several Catholic schools in the city. His short stories, including the genesis of The Holy Mark, have appeared in literary magazines across the country. Alexander has been a contributing book reviewer for the New Orleans Times Picayune.

& 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Tuesday the Latter Memorial Library at 7 pm presents New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City featuring local author Carolyn Kolb discussing her new book.

& 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.

& Best-selling author and media personality Sarah Vowell will give a presentation of her work at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in the Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenburg Art Center on Tulane University’s campus. Vowell, whose books often present U.S. histories infused with her irreverent comedy, is the author most recently of Unfamiliar Fishes, which the New York Times called “a whiplash study of the Americanization of Hawaii and the events leading to its annexation. Its scintillating cast includes dour missionaries, genital-worshiping heathens, Teddy Roosevelt, incestuous royalty, a nutty Mormon, a much-too-­merry monarch, President Obama, sugar barons, an imprisoned queen and Vowell herself, in a kind of 50th-state variety show.” She is also the author of, among other books, The Wordy Shipmates and Assassination Vacation, she was a contributing editor to This American Life, and she was one of the original contributors to McSweeney’s. (h/t to Room 220, which called this to my attention. It didn’t show up on the Tulane calendar).

& Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops presens Justin Go’s The Steady Running of the Hour. Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors, in London—and news that could change Tristan’s life forever. In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months. In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the East fjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley’s fortune—but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

& Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Features for the 16th are TBA. Check the daily Odd Words posting for an update.

If you don’t see your event listed here, please be sure to send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com no later than the Wednesday before the event. Late entries are accepted and added to the blog and so get into the daily post, but getting the in early is appreciated.

52: THAT BRIGHT MOMENT April 8, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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YOU ARE TRAPPED IN THAT BRIGHT MOMENT
WHERE YOU LEARNED YOUR DOOM
— Samuel R. Delaney in City of a Thousand Suns

[Slight return…]

I’ve just finished my taxes and realized i made a $5,000 mistake last year. Also, the IRS does not do payment plans for the unemployed.

The unemployed who plan to to run up a credit card to go the Europe and lock themselves in a castle in the Tyrolean Alps for a month were I will determine if I am a poet or a poseur, doing an intense side class on Ezra Pound because we all have our mountains to climb.

We all have our mountains to climb and so in spite of all this I will do whatever is necessary to make sure my daughter is settled safely at Columbia University for her graduate degree and Matthew realizes his musical dreams no matter the cost.

No matter the cost even if you are on the black diamond slop to penury. You have been poor before and remember how it is done. Marianne and I lived for years as two, first in college on a fraction of my daughter’s allowance, managed when my newspaper salary was in the high four figures and don’t regret a moment of those days.; I made my choices and I remain convinced they were the right thing to do.

The right thing to do is to find the life you were meant to live and do it regardless of the cost. I pray my children discover their path young and are ready for every ugly bump, blowout and broken axle life throws in their way. I waited until too late in life and now I pay in currency of blood.

In currency of blood I would pay the price demanded of me. My family’s blood is older than the Lakota in the Dakotas, and no less bound to the land I stand upon. My claim to this place, Mr. Jefferson, is more honest than your patrimony as is my honest Creole blood. I am home and here I make my stand. For all my decisions there is a cost and now I have to pay.

Now I have to pay the bankers who unmanned me and the Central Government I foreswore any real allegiance to almost a decade ago, proudly tossing the American flag in the trash when I needed a new pole to fly the ensign of the City of New Orleans every July 4th, Memorial Day and any other inappropriate occasion. I wish I’d kept them so I could fly the charred remnants upside down at half mast when George Bush take his last overlight to hell. No matter: I am a citizen of New Orleans and an accidental resident of any other entity. I know who I am.

I know who I am and not a citizen of Delaney’s dystopia. I’ve known for a long time there was no enemy over the mountain, that pro patria nonsense. I know who I am, a poet not a poseur, and yet rebel against my own cause. “A post-post-modernist” someone kindly inscribed in an autographed book but that is not quite right. I am a broken link in the DNA array of the next step of evolution. Farewell Aquarius and your outworn Piscean god. “We are ready for a new avatar,” Coco sang but I am not it. Perhaps a fraction of John the Baptist, wailing in the wastelnd, fit only to wash her feet but not to baptize.

Trapped in that bright moment in which I learned my doom:, mountains to climb no mattèr the cost, whomever I must pay in currency of blood. I know who I am. I am finished.

Radio Free Toulouse: Hey Man, Slow Down April 5, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“sometimes I get overcharged. that’s when you see sparks.”

Fifty One: Old, Cold Houses April 4, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Standing disrobed (literally, so as not to wet the velour sleeves) to do dishes in the unheated half of the house (the damn striker rarely then just barely manages a spark) lends a certain urgency to the matter. There is a bit of black mold on the baseboards just behind the toaster-over cart I’m going to have to get down and scrub away. My landlord and his man have searched every inch of the house but I’m pretty convinced the cold and damp come up through the floorboards, past whatever cheap underwood lies under the $2.99 a yard brown carpet. I hurried to get this thought down as soon as the dishes were in the dryer, so I’m sitting naked underneath my leaky, single-pane window which very effectively sets up a cross circulation of cooled falling air with the heater across the room. Sadly, I am sitting directly underneath that window’s downdraft.

So it goes with old house in New Orleans, especially the cheaper sort where they can still be found. I am not shure how I came to love old houses so. I raised in the self-designed home of one of New Orleans’ premier modernist architects, a thoroughly mid-century modern box with two sides brick firewall to protect us from the Levee Board-era frame houses just a drifting cinder’s gap away. The front and back first floor were walls of glass, the upstairs windows set in some sort of cement-renforced construction board left it’s natural gray. The roof was a commercial flat top of tar and gravel across which the neighborhood squirrels skittered in little avalanches of noise. It was just the sort of house the right-hand man of Arthur Davis and Nathaniel Curtis would build, a home for the man who oversaw the design and construction of the Brutalist masterpiece The Rivergate, with the world’s largest unsupported concrete span for a roof, every beam and cable exposed to showcase the builders work, soaring across horizontal space like with the grandeur of a secular cathedral, the wave-like undulations of its roof its sole concession to the works of god.

Sometimes I think of the Rivergate when I see the warped weather boards of an old New Orleans house, recall Brutalism as I shimmy among the glass insulation posts and faded cloth wiring of an old attic. The first old house I truly loved was not in New Orleans but in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. The only new wiring was pulled for the stove and refrigerator, and I had to duck the fragile exposed post wiring every trip tp the attic. What remained of the horsehair or other 1910 insulation had mostly crumbled to about knee height, and there were not one but two large oil tanks in the basement that cost a fortune to fill. Because of the poor insulation the for sale paint job began to crack and peel the first winter as the heat bled out of the house,

How do you love a monstrosity like this? The windows were hand poured glass complete with bubbles and wavering irregularities which the entire weatherization budget of the EPA could not convince me to replace. The storm windows were also custom constructions of wood and glass, each numbered in an ornate font by a tiny screw on plate. To hang them the required climbing a 24 foot step-ladder and leaning much to far back to get them on their hooks. Still, I loved those windows, the knowledge that a glass maker and a carpenter had conspired to make each by hand. Nothing in that house came from the home improvement store except the ceiling fans I carefully wired to the old cloth-covered runs. There was a sconce light on my daughter’s room which contained the only conduited wiring, and I like to imagine the electrician fishing wires up old gas lines. It was a money trap homeowners nightmare and a work of craft and love to rival the most extravagant stick-and-Tyvek McMansion.

Old houses have character, are haunted in a loose sense by every craftsman who planed a custom board to fit just-so, by every tenants coat of paint you must scrape from the windows to make them work, and because I could tell me children that Old Man Norby (scion of the local department store, for whom it was built in 1910) was buried in back in the particularly fertile spot I suspect was once the privy. You are living in something which has acquired the patina over time not just of a house but of a home. it is not uniquely, custom-built yours with fashionable marble and special order sink fixtures. It is a part of the history of the community in which you live, in which you participate every time you step over the threshold.

Odd Words April 3, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans. Be sure to check out the National Poetry Month event listing on ToulouseStreet.net or find the link on the Odd Words Page.

& Thursday the Delta Mouth Literary Festival in Baton Rouge kicks off four days of events through the weekend. featuring sixteen readers at various venues. Their website is deltamouthfestival.com and you can keep up with them on their Facebook page.

& Friday at 6 pm Maple Street Books features Michael Grabell (2009), Aran Donovan (2013), and Anne Marie Rooney (2008) reading Friday, April 4th, at 6PM! All have been featured at one point in the Best New Poets annual anthology. Each year, Best New Poets has a guest editor selects 50 poems from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an open internet competition.

& April 5th at 2 pm the U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans brings Resilient Women, a poetic performance of ancestral power:  with Delia Tomino Nkayama, Troi Bechet, Miki Fugii, Jenna Mae, and Mona Lisa Savory.

& Saturday at 10 am Octavia Books hosts friends of the Child Development Program (CDP) for a special reading/performance by members of the Marsalis Family featuring Delfeayo Marsalis’s new picture book, NO CELL PHONE DAY – followed by a jazz concert by local musicians. And, just mention CDP when you check out and we will donate a portion of your purchases to CDP. NO CELL PHONE DAY is a children’s picture book written by world-renowned NEA Jazz Master and Grammy award-winning producer, Delfeayo Marsalis and illustrated by award-winning Harlem artist, Reginald W. Butler. The book playfully addresses the idea of imposing technology and how it affects our relationships with loved ones. In the book, Delfeayo and his daughter decide to put down their cell phones for a day to explore their hometown of New Orleans!

& Saturday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features Jane Scott Hodges’s Linens: For Every Room and Occasion. The book is is the ultimate guide to living and entertaining with fine textiles. Whether your style is classic or modern, casual or formal, crisply pressed or nonchalantly rumpled, linens are uniquely adaptable to the way you live and decorate and the surest way to put a personal stamp on your home.

Saturday at 2 pm bring the National Poetry month instance of the Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library hosted by poet Gina Ferrara will feature an outstanding collection of poets at 2 pm including: Grace Bauer, Dave Brinks, John Gery, and Julie Kane reading from their work.

& Saturday evening at 6 pm Octavia features Michael Patrick Welch’s NEW ORLEANS: The Underground Guide. Red beans and rice, trad jazz, and second lines are the Big Easy’s calling cards, but beyond where the carriage rides take you is a city brimming with genre-defying music, transnational cuisine, and pockets of wild, artistic locals that challenge preconceived notions of what it means to be New Orleans. With a respectful nod to the traditional and a full embrace of the obscure, New Orleans: The Underground Guide is a resource for discovering the city as it really is — as much brass bands and boas as it is bounce and bicycle tours. From a speakeasy in the Bywater neighborhood to the delightfully sketchy vibe of St. Roch Tavern, lead author Michael Patrick Welch uncovers an unexpected tableau of musicians, venues, and novel ways to pass the bon temps.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The 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 kicks off National Poetry Month with Poets Grace Bauer reading from and signing her new book, Everywhere All At Once, and poet Julie Kane reading from and signing her new book Paper Bullets

& 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 pm the two-time national champion Slam New Orleans hosts The New $#!% Slam at the Shadowbox Theater. “Bring your new hat, your new date, and most importantly your NEW POEMS as we celebrate all things new. Please bring new poems that have not yet hit the The Shadowbox Theatre (and preferably any) stage.”

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

& Monday at 5 pm the Creative Writing Workshop returns to the Robert E. Smith Memorial Library on Canal Boulevard.

& Also on Monday the East Bank Regional Library hosts it’s Fiction Writers’ Group – Critique Session. 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. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& The West Bank Fiction Writer’s Group meets Tuesday at 7 pm 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. Held in the meeting Room.

& 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.

& On Wednesday at 3 pm Octavia Books Grammy Award winner, musician/actor, and New York Times bestselling author Rick Springfield makes a special visit to Octavia Books in anticipation of his forthcoming novel, MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION. Rick Springfield will sign original lithographs he created for MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION and bookplates for the book which is being released on May 6, 2014. To meet Rick, you must purchase a ticket. Each ticket admits one person and will be exchanged at the event for a signed lithograph and signed bookplate. And you will receive a copy of MAGNIFICENT VIBRATION after publication. Tickets are $45. Why are we here? What is love? Is there a Loch Ness monster? Does God send text messages?” These are the kinds of questions Horatio Cotton, aka Bobby Cotton, asks as he sets off on an uproarious adventure to find his purpose in life. After stealing a mysterious self-help book called Magnificent Vibration: Discover Your True Purpose from a bookstore, Bobby calls the 1-800 number scrawled inside the front cover, only to discover that he has a direct line to God. This launches Bobby on a whimsical quest, serendipitously accompanied by a breathtakingly sexy and exceed­ingly sharp travel companion named Alice. Together the pair sets out to find some combination of spiritual and carnal salvation—and possibly save the planet.

& At 5:30 pm Octavia then hosts George Packer for the paperback release of THE UNWINDING, which won the National Book Award last year. It’s currently nominated for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award as well! James Carville will give the introduction at the event. A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.

& Finally, Octavia ends a busy day at 7 pm with a presentation, tasting, and book signing with writer Dane Huckelbridge featuring new book, BOURBON: A History of the American Spirit. This is popular history with a whiskey-soaked edge––an artful and imaginative biography of our most well–liked and, at times, controversial spirit that is also a witty and entertaining chronicle of the United States itself.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

Also at 8 p.m.every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJs. Feature this week are Poets Charles Alexander and Daniel Reinhold.

Odd Words: National Poetry Month April 2, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Here is a roundup of events in the greater New Orleans area in observance of Nationl Poetry Month. I expect this list is still incomplete in spite of my best efforts to date, so be sure to subscribe to the blog here and to both Like and Get Notifications on Facebook, and follow @odd_words on Twitter to keep up to date. IF YOUR EVENT LIST NOT LISTED, PLEASE CONTACT ODD.WORDS.NOLA@GMAIL.COM to be included in updates throughout the month.

& NO Creative Writing Workshop will host a reading by guest poet Peter Cooley on Wednesday, April 2, at 8 p.m., at the UNO Campus Art Gallery:  The reading will be followed by a booksigning and wine and cheese reception. This event, which is free and open to the public, was made possible by a grant from Poets & Writers.

& In honor of National Poetry Month, Fleur de Lit’s April reading will feature local poets. The reading will be held Wednesday, April 2nd, at 6:30pm at the American Can Co. (3700 Orleans Ave.). Readers include: Brad Richard (Motion Studies and Butcher’s Sugar); Rodger Kamenetz (To Die Next to You); Melinda Palacio (Ocotillo Dreams and How Fire is a Story, Waiting); Nik Richard (Love and Water and A Dream for Sale), Kelly Harris and Marla Chirdon.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

& The Blood Jet Poetry Series at B.J..’s ADDRESS starts up again April 2 at 8 pm with featured poet Geoff Munsterman. This is a weekly event with a feature reader followed up an open mic.

& On April 3rd, Thursday, New Orleans poet Mona Lisa Savory and Louisiana Poet Laureate will read at the State Capital Library. Savoy will read later that day ta the St. John Parish Library, Reserve Branch, Prime Time Family Reading Time, 5:30 p.m.

& Friday April 5th at 6 pm Maple Street Books features Michael Grabell (2009), Aran Donovan (2013), and Anne Marie Rooney (2008) reading Friday, April 4th, at 6PM! All have been featured at one point in the Best New Poets annual anthology. Each year, Best New Poets has a guest editor selects 50 poems from nominations made by literary magazines and writing programs, as well as an open internet competition.

& April 5th at the U.S. Mint Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans brings Resilient Women, a poetic performance of ancestral power:  with Delia Tomino Nkayama, Troi Bechet, , Miki fugii, Jenna Mae, and Mona Lisa Savory.

& Also on Saturday the 5th the monthly Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library hosted by poet Gina Ferrara wil feture an outstanding collection of poets at 2 pm including: Grace Bauer, Dave Brinks, John Gery, and Julie Kane reading from their work.

& Every Sunday the Maple Leaf Literary Series, the oldest continuous reading in the Deep South, presents featured artists and an open mic at The Maple Leaf on Oak Street. The listings for April include: APRIL 6 – Poet Grace Bauer reads from and signs her new book, Everywhere All At Once, and poet Julie Kane reads from and signs her new book, Paper Bullets.APRIL 13 – Poet Nina Ouedraogo reads from her work, followed by an open mic.APRIL 20 – OPEN MIC READING APRIL 27 – JAZZ FEST OPEN MIC

& On April 8th, Mona Lisa Saloy will host a Reading & Book Signing of her new book Second Line Home at the Will Alexander Library, Dillard University, at 5:30 p.m.

& Two-time national champions Slam New Orleans host a slam “New $#!t Slam Sunday, April 9 9 p.m. at the Allways on St. Claude Avenue.

& Octavia Books is  having a book release celebration/poetry reading/signing with John Gery on 4/17 at 6PM of his new title Have At You.. Gery is the author of numerous books of poetry and a professor of creative writing at UNO.

& John Gery, a New Orleans poet and UNO professor, will discuss his latest book of poetry, Have At You Now! at 7 p.m., on Thursday, April 24 at the Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie.