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Odd Words January 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

The Kenner Branch library will be closed all this week for renovations.

&Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Brian Boyles’s and New Orleans Boom and Blackout: One Hundred Days in America’s Coolest Hot Spot. As the 2013 Super Bowl approached, New Orleans rushed to present its best face to the world. Politicians, business leaders and tourism officials declared the rise of the “new New Orleans,” a thriving city brimming with hope and energy. But as the spotlight neared, old conflicts and fresh controversies complicated the branding. The preparations revealed the strains of the post-Katrina recovery and the contrasts of the heralded renaissance. The watershed moment culminated in darkness when the lights went out in the Superdome. In a stunning portrait of the breathless hundred days before the game, author Brian W. Boyles unearths the conflicts, ambitions, and secret histories that defined the city as it prepared for Super Bowl XLVII.

& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hoss a reading and signing with New Orleans author Bill Loehfelm featuring his new book, DOING THE DEVIL’S WORK, A gripping third chapter for one of the most unforgettable and compelling heroines in crime fiction. In honor of Bill, Octavia Books will donate a portion of your purchase of DOING THE DEVIL’S WORK to The Roots of Music. (He refers to them in the book!) Also, a group of drummers will play a few cadences at the start of the evening, so get here! Maureen Coughlin is a bona fide New Orleans cop now, and, with her training days behind her, she likes to think she’s getting the lay of the land. Then a mysterious corpse leads to more questions than answers, and a late-night traffic stop goes very wrong. The fallout leaves Maureen contending with troubled friends, fraying loyalties, cop-hating enemies old and new, and an elusive, spectral, and murderous new nemesis—and all the while navigating the twists and turns of a city and a police department infected with dysfunction and corruption.

& This Thursday also brings All People Open Mic Poetry Circle at 6:30 Mingling, Refreshments (BYOBeverage and food to share if you’d like) and Signing In, 7-9 PM Open Mic Alternating Hosts. No featured readers, No book signings. All People, all the time.

& Thursday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Library hosts a Poetry Event: Peter Cooley Introduces . . . Meena Young. Young is the co-editor of Meena, a bilingual Arabic-English literary journal. She teaches Creative Writing at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Her work was recently featured on National Public Radio’s “The World” and published in Best New Poets 2009, Callaloo, Guernica, and Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond. Her work has also appeared in electronic music, buses in Santa Fe, flamenco productions, jewelry designs by Jeanine Payer, and a tattoo parlor in Berlin. Cooley also will read from his work. His eight books of poetry, all with Carnegie Mellon University Press, are The Company of Strangers, The Room Where Summer Ends, Nightseasons, The Van Gogh Notebook, The Astonished Hours, Sacred Conversations, A Place Made of Starlight, and, most recently, Divine Margins. The poems featured here are included in the manuscript of his next book, The Night Bus To The Afterlife. Other poems are forthcoming or have recently appeared in Boulevard, Hotel Amerika, Commonweal, American Literary Review and The Literary Review. His most recent book of poetry is titled Night Bus to the Afterlife.

& Thursday at 7 pm the Mid-City Library hosts Ron Chapman discussing his new book The Battle of New Orleans: “But for a Piece of Wood”. His visit coincides with the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans.

& This Friday the LA/MS Region for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators meets in New Orleans. SCBWI Meeting 1/17 at UNO Bicentennial Educ. Bldg., Founders Road, Room 305Q (across from The Cove). 1:30 Nina Kooij, Editor-in-Chief, Pelican Publishing Co.; 2:30 – 4:30 Critique Meeting. More info at louisianamississippi.scbwi.org

& Every Friday The Rhyme Syndicate presents a spoken word open mic at Dish on Haynes Boulevard hosted by Hollywood. Doors at 8. Admission $7, $5 will college ID. Music by DJ XXL.

& Friday the FREEDOM WRITING for WOMEN OF COLOR (NEW ORLEANS) group meets at Who Dat Coffee Cafe from 7 pm to 10 p.m.

& Every Saturday at 2 pm two-time national champions Slam New Orleans (SNO) multi-part workshop for youth and teens will engage participants with poetry both through hearing it and creating their own.. Team SNO is a community-based organization and home of Team SNO. The team, established in 2008, promotes literacy, creativity and self-expression by urging youth and adults alike to become vocal about what matters to them. This The workshops are supported by Poets & Writers, Inc.

& Saturday at 11:30 am its Storytime with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great, written and illustrated by Bob Shea. Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it’s cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

& Saturday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts fun, literature, nursery rhymes, and cocktails when the fabulous Tim Federle whoops it up (and signs) his two hilarious cocktail books. Tequila Mockingbird is the ultimate cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Featuring 65 delicious drink recipes-paired with wry commentary on history’s most beloved novels-the book also includes bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical illustrations throughout. Even if you don’t have a B.A. in English, tonight you’re gonna drink like you do. Drinks include: The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose, The Last of the Mojitos, Love in the Time of Kahlúa, Romeo and Julep, A Rum of One’s Own, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita, Vermouth the Bell Tolls, and more! Federle will also sign HICKORY DAIQUIRI DOCK: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist. Congratulations, and welcome to parenthood! Babies are a miracle, but even miracles poop. A lot. Thank goodness she’s got your twinkling eyes, he’s got your perfect nose, and we’ve got your aching back. Welcome to “Hickory Daiquiri Dock: Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist”–the ultimate gift for new parents everywhere. Featuring 20 classic nursery rhymes with a decidedly grown-up twist, it’s time to lose the rattle, pick up a shaker, and throw yourself an extremely quiet party. Especially if you’ve finally gotten the baby to sleep, which is always worth toasting to. Drinks include: Eeny, Martini, Miny, Mo, Jack and Coke (and Jill), Ring Around the Rose, Old MacDonald Had a Flask, Baa, Baa, Black Russian and more.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an Open Mic.

& 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 at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation & signing with Lee A. Farrow celebrating the release of ALEXIS in AMERICA: A Russian Grand Duke’s Tour, 1871-1872. In the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail from his homeland for an extended journey through the United States and Canada. A major milestone in U.S.–Russia relations, the tour also served Duke Alexis’s family by helping to extricate him from an unsuitable romantic entanglement with the daughter of a poet. Alexis in America recounts the duke’s progress through the major American cities, detailing his meetings with celebrated figures such as Samuel Morse and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people

& 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.

& Tuesday at 7 pm The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego hosts the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

Wednesday Maple Street Book Shop host a night of poetry and prose with Lavender Ink and Dialogos Books, Wednesday, January 21st, at 6PM! Ralph Adamo, Andy Young, & Jonathan Kline will read.

  • Andy Young’s debut poetry collection, All Night It is Morning ($16) cuts across geography, politics, language, and culture. Raised in Appalachia, rooted in New Orleans, and now part of an Egyptian/American family with whom she spent the last two years in Cairo, hers is an American perspective that is refreshingly outward-looking. The poems reflect on living life with a foot in both Arabic and Western cultures but reach beyond the personal to inhabit other realms: from a saucy Cleopatra to a coal miner emerging from a mine collapse, from the ruins of post-Katrina New Orleans to the tumultuous events of the Egyptian revolution.
  • Ralph Adamo’s Ever ($16) is a collection of poems begun at the turn of the 21st century, composed and revised through the beginning of 2013. In this, his 7th collection, he writes about and through wars, hurricanes, issues as common and profound as work and time, and endurance of every sort. He writes as well as about becoming a father after age 50 and raising two children in a time of transition and conflict. The patterns and forms of these poems vary from tightly controlled couplets through prose poetry and various experimental turns of language. At times painfully lucid, at times opaque, often simultaneously personal and universal, Adamo’s poems seek that most elusive goal: truth as far as language can pursue it, and while truth may remain unfathomable and inexpressible, these poems never waver in their seeking.
  • Jonathan Kline’s The Wisdom of Ashes ($15) is a web of stories connecting two poets, a nun, a black and white dog, and a huge red balloon to a heroin addict, the devil, the dead, and a mousy little man in a woman’s wool overcoat, in New Orleans in the early 1980s. In 44 moments, this novel weaves light and dark, memory and forgetting, madness and war, with the smell of jasmine and the sound of cicadas in a walk along the levee.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops features Andra Watkins’s Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days. After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.
As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event: Southern Ladies and Suffragists, by Miki Pfeffer. Women from all over the country came to New Orleans in 1884 for the Woman’s Department of the Cotton Centennial Exposition, that portion of the World’s Fair exhibition devoted to the celebration of women’s affairs and industry. Their conversations and interactions played out as a drama of personalities and sectionalism at a transitional moment in the history of the nation. These women planted seeds at the Exposition that would have otherwise taken decades to drift southward. This book chronicles the successes and setbacks of a lively cast of post-bellum women in the first Woman’s Department at a world’s fair in the Deep South. From a wide range of primary documents, Miki Pfeffer recreates the sounds and sights of 1884 New Orleans after Civil War and Reconstruction. She focuses on how difficult unity was to achieve, even when diverse women professed a common goal. Such celebrities as Julia Ward Howe and Susan B. Anthony brought national debates on women’s issues to the South for the first time, and journalists and ordinary women reacted. At the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, the Woman’s Department became a petri dish where cultures clashed but where women from across the country exchanged views on propriety, jobs, education, and suffrage. Pfeffer memorializes women’s exhibits of handwork, literary and scientific endeavors, inventions, and professions, but she proposes that the real impact of the six-month long event was a shift in women’s self-conceptions of their public and political lives. For those New Orleans ladies who were ready to seize the opportunity of this uncommon forum, the Woman’s Department offered a future that they had barely imagined.


1. Andra Watkins - January 20, 2015

Thanks for featuring my event on Jan 21 at Garden District Book Shop. I hope you’ll come out and hear me talk about my crazy Natchez Trace walk with my 80-year-old dad. I would enjoy meeting you!


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