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Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 25, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday at 4 pm at the Keller Library the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) is excited to host monthly writing workshops. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.

& At 7 pm at Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with award-winning photojournalist Leon Morris featuring and his new book, HOMAGE: New Orleans. The book serves as a tribute to the vitality of the city’s people and culture. HOMAGE is a photographic journey through New Orleans’ influence on contemporary music. This elegantly designed book includes over 300 images capturing the personalities and performances of some of the most influential and impactful jazz, soul, world, roots and blues legends of our times. Featured artists include New Orleans greats like Dr John, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas and Wynton Marsalis, and jazz and blues legends like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, and Cab Calloway. The aforementioned images are accompanied by essays and personal anecdotes on the musicians, the music industry, the central role of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta in the development of contemporary music, and explains the evolving role of music photography from the point of view of an artist.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop presents Darlyn Finch Kuhn and Sewing Holes. A little girl grows up in the 1960s and 70s in a family with a volatile mother, a loving but very ill father, a brother who flees the country to evade the draft, a foster sister whose life is consumed by waiting for her real parents to return, and a best friend who likes to beat her up. She survives on stories told to her by her father, particularly the one about “sewing holes”—creating beauty out of what seems to be nothing.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Esoterotica Investigates the XXX-Files, A Night of Fandom Fetish for All Kinds at the Allways Lounge.

& The Jazz Fest Book Tent signings for the coming week include: Thursday: Michael Murphy, 12-1PM,
Hear Dat; Leif Pedersen, 1-2PM, Swamp Kids: A Dog Named Cat; Richard Campenella, 2-3PM, Photojournalism of Del Hall Cheryl Gerber, 3-4PM, New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy; John Pope, 4-5PM, Getting Off At Elysian Fields; Alexis Braud, 5-6PM, Parade. Friday: Johnny Goldstein & Michael Lydon, 12-1PM, Elegy of the Lost City; Elvis Costello, 1-2PM, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink; Laura Cayouette, 2-3PM, Secret of the Other Mother; Roger Hahn, 3-4PM, Sounds of Louisiana. Saturday: Todd Mouton, 12-1PM, Way Down in Louisiana; Mary Millan (Bloody Mary), 1-2PM, Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing With the Dead : True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans; Peter Finney, 2-3 PM, The Best of Peter Finney; Tom Piazza, 3-4PM, Free State; Poppy Tooker, 4-5PM, Tujague’s Cookbook: Creole Recipes and Lore in the New Orleans Grand Tradition; Sunday: Alex Cook, 1-2 PM, Seat Yourself: The Best of South Louisiana’s Local Diners, Lunch Houses, and Roadside Stops; Big Freedia, 2-3PM, Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!; Rien Fertel, 3-4PM, One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog; Johnette Downing, 4-5PM, Louisiana, the Jewel of the Deep South.

& Thursday at 5 pm the Smith Library hosts a Teen Creative Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.)

& Peter Cooley, Ph.D., Poet Laureate for the State of Louisiana, will discuss the importance of poetry at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library. This presentation is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. Dr. Cooley is Director of Creative Writing, Professor of English, and Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities, at Tulane University.

& Also at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Saturday at 1:30 the Alvar Library continues New Orleans poet and performer Valentine Pierce five-part poetry workshop for adults. Novice writers, as well as poets with some experience, are encouraged to attend. Get inspired and write some dynamic poetry for 2016! Participation at all 5 workshops is suggested, but not required. Participants will be invited to read their poetry at a public reading when the program is completed. Sign up in advance at the Alvar Library circulation desk.

& Next Sunday at 3 pm. The Maple Leaf Poetry Series, founded by beloved poet Everett Maddox and curated by poet Nancy Harris, is the longest running poetry reading series in the South. This week features an open mic.

At 6 pm Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO) hosts May Open Mic and Slam Featuring WORDZ the Poet EMCEE at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.  $5 admission.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& Meet Amber Tamblyn, actress, writer, film director, and poet, when she reads from and signs DARK SPARKLER at Octavia Books on Monday at 6 pm. Here is the American starlet: discovered, disrobed, displaced, disused, disgorged. In more than thirty haunting, visceral poetic portraits, acclaimed poet and actress Amber Tamblyn contemplates the interior lives of women who glimmered on-screen and crashed in life figures as diverse as Frances Farmer and Brittany Murphy, Jayne Mansfield and Dana Plato, Jean Harlow and Sharon Tate, Heather O’Rourke and Dominique Dunne and Marilyn Monroe. Their stories invite us behind the eyes of a century’s worth of women, the adored and the disappeared.

& Also at 6 pm Monday The East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& At 6:30 pm Monday the New Orleans Public Library hosts Poetry on Tap. Come celebrate National Poetry month with us at the Old Point Bar. Have a drink, and share some words. . . . Read your original work or some pieces by your favorite poets (or songwriters, because it’s Jazz Appreciation Month too!). Funny, sad, long, short . . . we want them all!

& Tuesday Garden District Book Shops features William Barnwell’s Called to Heal the Brokenhearted: Stories from Kairos Prison Ministry International. In this stirring book, William H. Barnwell tells the stories of prison inmates and the Kairos Prison Ministry volunteers who work with them. Set mostly at the huge Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Barnwell’s narrative illustrates how offenders who have done the worst can and do change, becoming model inmates and, if released, productive citizens. The stories also reveal how Kairos volunteers have found healing for broken hearts. Now serving 300 state and federal prisons, 30,000 Kairos volunteers work with 20,000 inmates each year. They take part in long weekend retreats with the inmates and follow up with regular prison visits. Since its beginning in 1976, Kairos has served over 250,000 inmates. Broad-based, nondenominational, and nonjudgmental Christian, Kairos seeks to carry out its slogan–“listen, listen, love, love”–among inmates who have had few to listen to them, and fewer still to love them.

& At 8 pm Tuesday the New Orleans Public Library and Esoterotica “Get Between the Covers.” Join NOPL and Esoterotica upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny to bring you an evening of lascivious language and sensual stanzas pulled both from the stacks and personal experience.

& Thursday at 5 pm the Smith Library hosts a Teen Creative Writing Workshop. Patrons 12 – 17 are invited to create short works of fiction and participate in writing games and exercises. Open to all types of writers interested in all types of stories. Reservations required; contact Luke at 596-2638.

& At 5:30 pm Thursday The Booked for Murder Book Club meets at the Norman Mayer Library.

& Thursday at 7 pm Celebrate Poetry Month with Loyola Professor Mark Yakich at the East Jefferson Regional Library. He will discuss the importance of poetry. This presentation is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. This event is held in honor of National Poetry Month, held each April to celebrate, increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Dr. Yakich is editor of New Orleans Review. He is the author of Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross (National Poetry Series, Penguin 2004), The Making of Collateral Beauty (Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo 2006), Green Zone New Orleans (Press Street 2008), The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine (Penguin 2008), Checking In/Checking Out (NO Books), and A Meaning for Wife (Ig Publishing 2011). With Christopher Schaberg, he is also co-founder and co-editor of airplanereading.org, a new media project that aims to rejunvenate airplane reading. In spring 2012, Dr. Yakich was a Fulbright Fellow in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon

& Join Please Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm, on the eve of Jazz Fest 2016, for a presentation and signing with Michael Murphy celebrating the release of HEAR DAT NEW ORLEANS, a charmingly irreverent guide to the thriving, world-famous music scene in New Orleans. One of the first questions visitors to New Orleans often ask is, “Where can I go to hear music?” A better question might be, “Where can I go and not hear music?” Music is everywhere in this city, but to experience the best of it, you need the right guide. In Hear Dat New Orleans, local expert Michael Murphy brings his signature offbeat sensibility to the Big Easy’s largest tourist draw. With in-depth recommendations for the greatest venues, the best musicians, and the must-see festivals, Hear Dat New Orleans is an indispensable companion for anyone who wants to really experience the sounds of New Orleans live and uncensored.

& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Melissa Ginsburg’s Sunset City. Before the drugs, Danielle Reeves was Charlotte Ford’s most loyal and vibrant friend. She helped Charlotte through her mother’s illness and death, and opened up about her own troubled family. The two friends were inseparable, reveling in Houston’s shadowy corners. But then Danielle’s addiction got the best of her and she went to prison for four years. When she gets out, she and Charlotte reconnect. Charlotte hopes this is a new start for their friendship. But then, a detective shows up at Charlotte’s apartment. Danielle has been murdered, bludgeoned to death. Overwhelmed by grief, Charlotte is determined to understand how the most alive person she has ever known could end up dead. But the deeper Charlotte descends into Danielle’s dark world, the less she understands. Was Danielle a hapless victim or master manipulator? Was she really intent on starting over or was it all an act? To find out the truth, Charlotte must keep her head clear and her guard up. Houston has a way of feeding on bad habits and Charlotte doesn’t want to get swallowed whole, a victim of her own anguished desires.

& At Maple Street Book Shop on Thursday at 6 PM celebrate the release of Adrian Van Young’ new book, Shadows in Summerland. Boston, 1859. A nation on the brink of war. Confidence men prowl the streets for fresh marks. Mediums swindle the newly bereaved. Into this world of illusion and intrigue comes William Mumler, a manipulating mastermind and criminal jeweler. Mumler hopes to make his fortune by photographing spirits for Boston’s elite. The key to his venture: a shy girl named Hannah who sees and manifests the dead and washes up on Boston’s harbor along with her strange, intense mother, Claudette. As Mumler and Hannah’s fame grows throughout Boston, everybody wants a piece: Bill Christian, a brothel tough; Algernon Child, a drunken rival; Fanny A. Conant, a sly suffragette; and William Guay, a religious fanatic. These rogues among a host of others, including the great spirit rapper Kate Fox, form powerful bonds with the spirit photographers, one of which will end in murder. Mumler’s first and last mistake: the dead cannot be made to heel. Roughly based on the real-life story of William H. Mumler, spirit photographer and his clairvoyant wife, Hannah Mumler, Shadows in Summerland immerses the reader in a shifting world of light and shade where nothing is quite what it seems at first glance. A soaring and resplendently Gothic novel spanning three decades, it is as much an homage to the Golden Age ghost stories of Edith Wharton and Henry James as it is a companion to the revisionist historical epics of Peter Carey and Sarah Waters, with a little steampunk all its own.

& New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association once again operates the Jazz Fest Book Tent. Book signings for week one of the festival include:

  • Friday
    • Michael Murphy, 12-1PM, Hear Dat
    • Keith Polk, 1-2PM, Mardi Grasfish
  • Saturday
    • Michael Zell, 12-1PM, Run Baby Run
    • Todd Mouton, 1-2PM, Way Down in Lousiana
    • Tom Piazza, 3-4PM, Free State
    • Sally Asher & Meagan Baccinelli, 4-5PM, Stories from St. Louis Cemeteries & New Orleans Neighborhoods
    • Peggy Scott Laborde, 5-6PM, New Orleans Mardi Gras Moments
  • Sunday
    • Ann Benoit, 12-1PM, New Orleans’ Best Seafood Cookbook
    • Cheryl Gerber, 1-2PM, New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy
    • Julie Smith, 3-4PM, New Orleans Noir: The Classics
    • Leon Morris, 4-5PM, Homage: New Orleans
    • Laura Dragon, 5-6PM, Bayou Bogeyman Presents Hoodoo and Voodoo

& Saturday at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts The Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft

& Beginning this Saturday at 1:30 pm New Orleans poet and performer Valentine Pierce will lead a five-part poetry workhop for adults. Novice writers, as well as poets with some experience, are enclouraged to attend. Get inspired and write some dynamic poetry for 2016! Participation at all 5 workshops is suggested, but not required. Participants will be invited to read their poetry at a public reading when the program is completed. Sign up in advance at the Alvar Library circulation desk.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Reading Series hosts its annual Jazz Fest open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar. This is the oldest continuous reading series in the south, and also presents featured readers.

I Have A Theory April 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
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At this point they throw open the discussion. Events, characters, settings, impressions are thrust aside, to make room for the general concepts.
“The polymorphic-perverse sexuality…”
“The laws of a market economy…”
“The homologies of the signifying structures…”
“Deviation and institutions…”
Only you have remained suspended there, you and Ludmilla, while nobody else thinks of continuing the reading.
You move closer to Lotaria, reach out one hand toward the loose sheets in front of her, and ask, “May I?”; you try to gain possession of the novel. But it is not a book: it is one signature that has been torn out. Where is the rest?
“Excuse me, I was looking for the other pages, the rest,” you say.
“The rest?…Oh, there’s enough material here to discuss for a month. Aren’t you satisfied?”
“I didn’t mean to discuss; I wanted to read…” you say.

— Italo Calvino If on winter’s night a traveler

One poet talks about science & poetry as if a poem were not a careful set of observations of phenomena measured against the control set of the reader’s experience from which is derived the only theory with any meaning, and that the theory of meaning.

Another announces her feminist and post-colonial perspective in a poem about Sir Isaac Newton, and I wonder what intricacies of intellectual spelunking are required to reveal these hidden facets of a man whose known life is mathematics. I am reminded of my own youthful, Trotskyist indiscretions and realize that Theory has answered the problem of endlessly energetic disputation that fractured that world closer and closer to an anarchic all entropy of individuals. The dialectic is broken (perhaps excepting the Marxians), and one can concievably compose something significant (not a well-structued term paper but certainly a poem) that embraces all the theories of Theory!

The third speaker miraculously rescues me, revealing a common interest in something so concrete in both your lives that she is writing a narrative history alongside her poems, and the same subject is the setting of your own childhood: the bayou with its old fortification, the disused locks and rotary bridge which have vanished into memory but which she is anxious to meet with me and hear about. There is, in her history and the long poem about the bayou I am writing, a story sufficient to itself without a theoretical construct. It is a place with its unique features. It has a story. There are characters.

The next several hours are coloured by this encounter between theory and life, and I find it difficult to concentrate. I skip the workshop I paid for, and after a few hours of poetry readings, leave early. That evening I finish one book and start Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler and find in its clever confusion precisely the idea that must be written about, an explanation to myself for yesterday, for skipping the workshop and leaving early.

For some reason I thought of Italy this morning, of cigarettes smoked at breakfast on the little deck outside the kuchë before a morning of graduate classes on Ezra Pound, a figure fit to be chiseled into gravel by Theory, by those who cannot see the shape in the stone. The memories of my studies in the castle are sentimental and nostalgic but after I come inside and read the quote above and the rest of the chapter I am reminded why I am tempermentally unsuited to pursue an M.F.A..

Coming Out Crazy April 14, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I have never shied away in this space from discussing my personal situation. It makes for a strange mix, the literary stuff–Odd Words the occasional poem, the quotes–and a personal journal I chose to share publicly, mixed with quotes and brief essays of a highly personal nature.

Today I took the 2013-2014 piece “Confessions of a Pill Eater” and published here as a page. posted it to Medium. Yes, writer ego played a part but I did it for the same reason I went through the process of reporting what I consider an accidental overdose when I went through a change of generic medications for spectrum disorder. I have a story to tell about mental health and Big Pharma and what that means to a creative person, and I am not afraid to tell it.

Fear is death to an essayist. No topic should be taboo, particularly if one tends toward the personal essay. Now I need to follow-up the 2013-2014 installment with the 2016 installment: the new diagnosis, the new pills, the accidental overdose, the constant struggle for a balance between suffering and the creative impulse. Big Pharma and Conventional DSM Psychiatry seek to kill the ups and downs, the necessary mania of the creative impulse as mentally unhealthy.

That is not an acceptable choice to make. It is no more a reasonable choice than suicidal ideation represents a reasonable choice. It is really no choice at all. I don’t believe in the myth of the suffering artist but I suffer and I create, and if I must suffer in some way to create then I need my doctor to understand that, to work with me to ameliorate the symptoms to the extent possible without killing my creative voice.

Trees April 11, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Once Upon A Bayou, quotes, Shield of Beauty, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Sacred Grove, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

~ Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 11, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.

This week in literary New Orleans:

& This coming weekend brings New Orleans first Poetry Festival, sponsored by local publishers Trembling Pillow Press and Lavender Ink Press. The event will host more than 60 poets from New Orleans and around the nation for a day of readings, panels and workshops, with a Small Press Fair featuring books by participants along with book-making demonstrations, tarot readings,
workshops and more. New Orleans poet and author Rodger Kamenetz will lead a workshop on dreams and poetry . Saturday brings a full day of panels and workshops, with the details available on the website. Highlight events include:

  • Poets with Bands, Friday night at SIBERIA, 2227 St. Claude Ave., featuring: Skin Verb, Bruce Andrews with Rob Cambre & Donald Miller, The Call Girls and Shock Patina.
  • Saturday night’s reading at 7 pm at MAGS, 940 Elysian Fields, including poets Laura Mullen, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyraffite, Niyi Osundare and Adeena Karasick.
  • The weekend closes with open mic at the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading at the Maple Leaf Bar at 3 pm. This is the oldest continuous reading series in the south hosted by Nancy Harris.

Information on the featured readers and panelists can be found here.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Raif Shwayri’s family history BEIRUT ON THE BAYOU: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana, and the Making of Modern Lebanon. Shwayri begins his family’s story with his grandfather Habib Shwayri’s arrival at Ellis Island in 1902 and making his way to relatives in New Orleans. There, he began peddling down the Bayou Lafourche, befriending the communities living alongside the water and earning the nickname Sweet Papa for his kindness and generosity. When he returned home to Lebanon in 1920, he invested the money he had made, from years of peddling, in real estate and died a wealthy man in 1956. Nicola’s story, like the story of Lebanon itself, begins farther back in history. In its account of centuries of Ottoman rule, decades of colonial occupation, and years of internal political strife and civil war, Beirut on the Bayou intertwines a family narrative with the story of a people, of Lebanon in the making.

& Also at 6 pm Monday Garden District Book Shop presents William Joyce’s Ollie’s Odyssey. Can a beloved but lost stuffed rabbit save himself and other Losts from becoming the most feared designation of all: The Forgotten? Find out in this epic quest from the author of The Guardians series and the creative force behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Oswald is a favorite. Of all the toys in Billy’s home, the stuffed rabbit takes top rank: everywhere Billy goes, so goes Oz. But being a favorite is more than a privilege—it’s also fraught with danger. Because of Zozo. Zozo has never been a favorite. An amusement park prize who was never chosen, Zozo has grown so bitter that, when the amusement park closes, he seeks revenge on every toy lucky enough to be a favorite. He wants them all to become The Lost, and even better, Forgotten. When Billy accidentally leaves Oz under the table at a wedding, Oz finds himself on an unplanned adventure, kidnapped by the nefarious Zozo and his gang of creeps and faced with the momentous task of saving not only himself, but all the other stuffies who are “lost” as well…

& Also at 6 pm the NOLALIT Book Club meets at the Columns Hotel to discuss Susan Larson’s The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans.

& Tuesday at 7 pm Antenna’s Room 220 is pleased to present the New Orleans book launch for Carolyn Hembree’s Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague, a collection of her poetry published by Trio House Press. The book won the 2015 Trio Award, selected by Neil Shepard, and the 2015 Marsh Hawk Press Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award, selected by Stephanie Strickland. The event will take place at 2231 St. Claude Ave, the former Tete Auto Body Shop and soon to be new home of Frenchmen Art Market. Sara Slaughter will also read, and Maple Street Books will be on hand to sell copies of Hembree’s books. Hembree is a poet and beloved teacher of English and creative writing at the University of New Orleans. Her first poetry collection, Skinny, was published by Kore Press in 2012 and her chapbook by Nous-zot Press in 2015. Her work has appeared in a variety of respected publications, including DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Poetry Daily. Slaughter is a poet and teacher of writing at Lusher Charter School. Her first chapbook, Upriver, was published by Press Street Press in 2014. Her work has recently appeared in New World Writing, The Cortland Review, and PANK.

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Edith Lawson Library in Westwego. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.

& Please join Octavia Books for a special evening with #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction Erik Larson when he presents DEAD WAKE: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. The event will take place at the JCC (5342 St. Charles Ave.) on Tuesday at 7 pm. To attend, you must purchase a ticket from Octavia Books. ABOUT THE BOOK: On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

& Wednesday at 6 pm at Octavia Books meet Vivian Swift, author of Men>GARDENS OF AWE AND FOLLY…An engaging guide to gardens in locales ranging from Key West and post-Katrina New Orleans to Paris (‘gardening capital of the world’) and Marrakech . . . whimsical.” </em?– Kirkus Reviews. Nine masterpiece gardens. Nine stories of grandeur, sorrow, disaster, triumph, discovery, and joy. From Scotland to Key West, from Brazil to Paris–even right next door–there is always something to learn about being human from a great garden.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Maple Street Book Shop hosts an evening with Courtney B Lance and Nikki D. Pope, the authors of Pruno, Ramen, and a side of Hope, a book of uplifting stories of innocent people who survived the ordeal of incarceration and were eventually set free. The event will be co-sponsored by the Innocence Project New Orleans. Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a nonprofit law office that represents innocent prisoners serving life sentences in Louisiana and Mississippi at no cost to them or their loved ones, and assists them with their transition into the free world upon their release. IPNO uses its cases to explain how wrongful convictions happen and what we can all do to prevent them. IPNO works with legislators, judges, lawyers, law enforcement and policymakers to protect the innocent within the criminal justice system.

& At the Alvar Library at 6 pm Wednesday there is a Poetry Reading with Louisiana Poet Laureat Peter Cooley. To celebrate Poetry Month, Dr. Cooley will headline a poetry reading, performing along with the participants of the workshop (held earlier on April 6). Local poet Lee Grue will MC the reading and introduce the poets.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Esoterotica presents “Our Fantasy Love Letters” at the Always Lounge. Esoterotica’s local provocateurs invite you to a singualrly sexy and evocative night of original erotic fantasy all in the form of love letters. These are letters to those we have not yet met but hope to, to those we had not yet had the courage to write, for lovers from a past when we had not yet found our words, or lovers present about a future with them we hope to see.

& At 6 pm Thursday the Maple Street Book Shop Book Club features Eula Biss’ On Immunity. Local author Anya Groner is guest facilitator. The book club choice will be available at 10% off at the store. Refreshments will be served.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Katie Parla’s Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City is featured at the Garden District Book Shop. ven 150 years after unification, Italy is still a divided nation where individual regions are defined by their local cuisine. Each is a mirror of its city’s culture, history, and geography. Butcucina romana is the country’s greatest standout. Tasting Rome provides a complete picture of a place that many love, but few know completely. In sharing Rome’s celebrated dishes, street food innovations, and forgotten recipes, journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill capture its unique character and reveal its truly evolved food culture—a culmination of 2000 years of history. Their recipes acknowledge the foundations of Roman cuisine and demonstrate how it has transitioned to the variations found today. Studded with narrative features that capture the city’s history and gorgeous photography that highlights both the food and its hidden city, you’ll feel immediately inspired to start tasting Rome in your own kitchen.

& Renowned litigator Roberta Kaplan presents the gripping story of her defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court at a major community event at Temple Sinai on Thursday, hosted by Temple Sinai, Forum for Equality, and Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter. Doors open at 5:45 pm. Octavia Books will have copies of THEN COMES MARRIAGE: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA for sale at the event. Roberta Kaplan will sign books beginning at 6:00 pm before her presentation which begins at 7pm, and immediately following the presentation.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the Nix Library Book Club meets to discuss A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor.

& The East Jefferson Regional Library continues its celebration of National Poetry Month Thursday at 7 pm. Bill Lavender, a poet, novelist, editor and teacher living in New Orleans, will speak at 7 p.m., on Thursday, April 14. He founded Lavender Ink, a small press devoted mainly to poetry, in 1995, and he founded Diálogos, an imprint devoted to cross-cultural literatures (mostly in translation) in 2011. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in dozens of print and web journals and anthologies, with theoretical writings appearing in Contemporary Literature and Poetics Today, among others.

& Also at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& On Friday in Honor of Big Class’s Pizza Poetry Project, Maple Street Book Shop will be serving pizza for lunch. The store will donate 10% of the day’s sales to Big Class. The Pizza Poetry Project celebrates National Poetry Month and the power of youth voices by publishing poems by New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18. Working together with Reginelli’s, Pizza Delicious, Dolce Vita, Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Theo’s and G’s Pizza (who generously donate 10% of their proceeds to Big Class’s free youth writing programs). Big Class publishes poems of all kinds on pizza boxes, order from the previously mentioned locations for delivery and pick up on April 15 to receive a pizza box with a poem! Pizza eaters/poetry readers post their poems on Twitter and Instagram using #pizzapoetry16. learn more by visiting Big Class at: http://bigclass.org/pizzapoetry/ or follow our blog on Tumblr at http://pizza-poetry-blog.tumblr.com/.

& Saturday at 10 am at the East Jefferson Regional Library brings the Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft.

& Saturday at 10:30 am The Octavia Books Book Club meets the third Saturday of each month. This month they are reading HALF OF A YELLOW SUN. All are welcome, and members receive 10% off book club selections.

& At 11:30 at Saturday Maple Street Book Shop will feature George Sanchez, author of the new mystery, A Place Unchanged. He will be reading from and signing copies of the new book, the third in the Jeff Chaussier series. “The third Jeff Chaussier mystery finds Jeff returning to New Orleans. This time he has marriage on his mind. New Orleans, though, is far too seductive a lady and too wrapped in secrecy for a straightforward narrative to unfold. Things seem hopeful at the start. Bryna no longer has her brother’s child to care for. Jeff is tired of the life of an itinerant actor and is also unusually flush with money from a London engagement. Things are on track, even though the flight home (his least favorite form of transportation) has left him woozy from self-medication. He wakes to an uncertain morning, unclear whose bed it is he finds himself in. Luckily, it’s Bryna who is obeying his mother instructions on what to do with him on arrival. Memory happily restored, Jeff lolls in bed as Bryna goes downstairs to prepare breakfast. Jeff expects a meal, not muffled screams and a slamming door. Dashing downstairs, he chases the intruders out the door, handicapped by his lack of clothing and irked that Bryna was taken in the same state. “

& Saturday at 11:30 pm Join the editor of and contributors to THE BAYOU BOGEYMAN PRESENTS HOODOO AND VODOO for a signing at Octavia Books. The night might have started as a normal camping trip, but it soon becomes a nightmare from the swamp when a group of students are joined by the Bayou Bogeyman! With their teacher missing and no way home, the children have no choice but to play the Bogeyman’s twisted game: tell a campfire story spooky enough to satisfy the monster’s appetite or get eaten alive! This supernatural collection features spine-tingling tales from nine different Louisiana writers, each with their own share of screams to add to the trove of Southern lore. Be warned: you may need to sleep with one eye open.

& Sunday at 2 pm Rheta Grimsley Johnson shares and signs THE DOGS BURIED OVER THE BRIDGE: A Memoir in Dog Years at Octavia Books. Nationally syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson uses a parade of beloved dogs to take readers on a colorful journey. It’s not really a dog book in the Old Yeller sense; it’s a personal story that uses dogs as metaphors for love, loss, and life. Meet Rheta’s eccentric neighbors, her friends, her three husbands, and-best of all-her dogs. She introduces Monster, “a big galoot of a mutt, the variegated color of a hand-knitted sweater a dour aunt might give you for Christmas”; Humphrey, who spent much of one night in an apartment complex “patiently lining stolen shoes up at our back door like a clearance rack at Payless”; Mabel (pronounced May-Belle), the first of the dogs to be buried “over the bridge” in Rheta’s sad little dog cemetery, who was “so beautiful that it never really mattered how much toilet paper she shredded, whose hairbrush she destroyed, where she sat or slept. . . . Scolding Mabel would have been stomping a rose”; and Pogo and Albert, who taught Rheta that “grief can kill you, whatever your species. It isn’t pretty, and it’s a walk you must take alone.” There are other dogs as well, for hers has been a life that measures its quality in canines.

The Wild Wood April 6, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Bayou Diaries, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In a row of canted half-drowned oblong stones
the park ends & the wild begins again.
Stand back in awe of the anhinga’s wings
drying in the sun on the horizontal branches
of a half-drowned fallen oak root-bound
to a spot of shore hard as planted rock.

The plans of scheming shovel men are toppled
but the oak is propped up on ship stuff
insists on its green camouflage
in which the anhinga unfurls itself
& mocks the thought of park, the bread begging
white ducks & quarrelsome geese

which draw the crowds up to the edge
of the collapsed rocky landing & no farther.
The anhinga asks who is master
& the oak’s broad-fingered reflection answers.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 4, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library the East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& Tuesday at 7 pm at the Columns Hotel Kiese Laymon, author of the novel Long Division and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, is 1718’s featured reader in April. Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. It was also short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books. Long Division won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award on November 10th. Three essays in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic’s Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015.

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the Old Metairie Library Great Books Discussion Group meets to talk about The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy.

& Wednesday at 6 pm at the New Orleans Main Branch Library celebrate the 10th anniversary of New Orleans Noir and the release of New Orleans Noir: The Classics with editor Julie Smith and contributors from both volumes. Short readings will be followed by a discussion and audience Q&A. Octavia Books will have copies of both volumes available for sale at the program. Refreshments will be served.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Louisiana’s Poet Laureate Dr. Peter Cooley will be leading a poetry writing workshop at Alvar Library for 15 participants. There will be a reading the following week by the workshop participants at Alvar Library, MC’d by local poet Lee Grue. If someone wants to be in Dr. Peter Cooley’s workshop they need to email Emilie Staat: estaat@neworleanspubliclibrary.org They need to send Emilie a poem that they would like to be “workshopped.” Dr. Peter Cooley’s workshop is limited to 15 participants.

& Meet Richard B. Crowell, author of Chenier Plain at Octavia Books at 6 pm Wednesday. Crowell chronicles the history and economic development of a region in southwest Louisiana defined by unique geologic formations and distinguished by its position beneath the Mississippi flyway. Crowell traces the evolution of this region’s well-known sport hunting legacy, creating the first comprehensive narrative history of the area, from 1800 to today. In Chenier Plain, the author takes a fresh look at the decline of French and Spanish influence in coastal Louisiana and investigates an isolated region struggling to find its place against inhospitable conditions following the Civil War. In chronicling the Chenier Plain’s transition from a center of market hunting to one of sport hunting. Crowell draws together over 140 illustrations. He highlights the opportunistic land purchases by a US president, British and American businessmen, a university president, and an illiterate French-speaking Acadian whose property became the nexus of The Coastal Club, the oldest hunting lodge in the geographic region. These events, combined with the background of six hunting clubs established before 1929 and modern methods of waterfowl habitat conservation, illustrate how inextricably linked sport hunting is to the life and preservation of this remote Louisiana world of ridges and marsh.

& AT 7 pm Wednesday Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop hosts Reading Between the Wines at the Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company. This month’s featured authors are; Stephanie Garrison was born and raised in the idyllic Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. Always a dabbler, it wasn’t until college where she tried her hand at playwriting. She fell in love with the form shortly after and has been writing plays since, even earning her MFA in dramatic writing from Adelphi University. She’s had a few productions in New York City, including a one act that made it to the semi-finals of the Harvest Theatre Festival. Shortly after, she moved down to New Orleans, her second home, with her husband, Bradley Warshauer. She still writes, and has had her pieces performed for Southern Rep’s 3×3, Elm Theatre, and her current piece, Solitary, was featured in the Two for Tennessee Festival. Kate Bailey is a playwright originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Louisiana State University and her MFA in Playwriting from the University of New Orleans. Kate began playwriting in Chicago at Chicago Dramatists. She took classes there and participated in a few small short play festivals. In New Orleans, Kate is a part of Southern Rep’s 6×6 play slam/new play development series and a founding member of Generate INK, New Orleans’ first and only playwright-driven nonprofit. Her full-length play Strays debuted in New Orleans in June 2015 and her full-length play Pleading 894 will be performed in April 2016 as the Spring main stage show for the University of New Orleans.

& At 8 pm Wednesday at the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater Chanel Clarke, Gian Smith, and Whit “The Whitness” Wddington read. Clarke is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Texas-Austin, where she received a fellowship from the Michener Center for Writers. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals, including smoking glue gun, EveryDay Genius, Flag and Void, Bayou Magazine, WomenArts Quarterly, and Hayden Ferry’s Review. She now works as a social worker in the New Orleans area. Smith is a New Orleans based artist. His craft spans over several media including writing, acting, and video production, but he is most notably recognized as a spoken word poet. Smith is also well known locally for his community organization including NOYOpresents: Pass It On open mic. Gian is a proud member of the Melanated Writers Collective. A group of writers of color in New Orleans which boasts a strong cast of talented individuals. Gian’s current focus is film making. After completing a first season for his web series “open mike” he went on to produce a short film “The Adulterer” which has been accepted into several film festivals.

& Thursday at 5 pm the Robert E. Smith Branch Library presents a Teen Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.

& Thursday at 6 pm Maple Street Book Shop will be hosting the book launch for Geoffrey Parker’s Platform Revolutions. Uber. Airbnb. Amazon. Apple. PayPal. All of these companies disrupted their markets when they launched. Today they are industry leaders. What’s the secret to their success? These cutting-edge businesses are built on platforms: two-sided markets that are revolutionizing the way we do business. Written by three of the most sought-after experts on platform businesses, Platform Revolution is the first authoritative, fact-based book on platform models. Platform Revolution teaches newcomers how to start and run a successful platform business, explaining ways to identify prime markets and monetize networks. Addressing current business leaders, the authors reveal strategies behind some of today’s up-and-coming platforms, such as Tinder and SkillShare, and explain how traditional companies can adapt in a changing marketplace. The authors also cover essential issues concerning security, regulation, and consumer trust, while examining markets that may be ripe for a platform revolution, including healthcare, education, and energy.

& Meet Lydia Pyne and editor Christopher Schaberg when they discuss BOOKSHELF at Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm. Every shelf is different and every bookshelf tells a different story. One bookshelf can creak with character in a bohemian coffee shop and another can groan with gravitas in the Library of Congress. “Writer and historian Lydia Pyne finds bookshelves to be holders not just of books but of so many other things: values, vibes, and verbs that can be contained and displayed in the buildings and rooms of contemporary human existence. With a shrewd eye toward this particular moment in the history of books, Pyne takes the reader on a tour of the bookshelf that leads critically to this juncture: amid rumors of the death of book culture, why is the life of the bookshelf in full bloom? Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. It is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic.

& The Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club meets the second Saturday of every month at 10:30 A.M. Members receive 10% off book club selections. This month the club is discussing THE SORCERER OF THE WILDEEPS. Everyone is welcome!

& At 11 am Saturday the New Orleans East Regional Library will hosts The Bibby Gumbo Book Club is New Orleans East’s first parent-baby book club. A series of interactive games along with an innovative craft session will infuse literacy and laughter

& Octavia Books hosts paperback book launch party & signing with author M.O. Walsh, Director of the creative writing program at UNO, featuring his Louisiana-based novel, MY SUNSHINE AWAY at 5:30pm Saturday at The Little Gem Saloon on S. Rampart St. My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

& Saturday at 9 pm Antenna Gallery presents ANTENNA::SIGNALS at Castillo Blanco, 4321 St. Claude Ave. Conceived as a “live arts magazine,” ANTENNA::SIGNALS is a new sort of variety show by the artists and writers of Antenna. Each “issue” of Antenna::Signals will feature a spread of 8 local artists, writers, performers, or scholars whose practices relate thematically. The live event will be accompanied by the release of a two-dimensional print version, with each magazine dropping on a Second Saturday of the Month.

& On Sunday, April 10 at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop features John Hanson’s Farewell to an Angel: It All Began in Old New Orleans. The book gives the reader a personal view of the lives of a man and woman who were born, raised, worked, and found each other in the Crescent City. The man, John Hanson, was from the Carrollton neighborhood. The woman, Patty Callegan, was from the French Quarter. Their parents had only grammar school educations. They were poor, but not destitute. They always managed to shelter, clothe, and feed their families by dint of hard work. After starting on their memoirs, John had more time to work on his as Patty was simultaneously fighting cancer. Much of his memoirs are Patty’s, however, since they were inseparable from their meeting in 1966 until Patty’s death in 2014. A registered nurse and ever a patient advocate, Patty wrote only briefly of her life before nursing and marriage and only as an introduction to an exhaustive guide for cancer patients. Their story will at times evoke both tears and laughter. Overall, it will edify.

& Also at 3 pm Sunday the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading, the oldest, continuous reading series in the south, presents featured readers in all genres followed by an open mic. The April calendar of features is still TBA at this time.

Fragments April 2, 2016

Posted by The Typist in poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is the fragment of a song
the  symptomatic single verse
which best represents
mania stuck in its groove,
free from the ADD-inspired
pinball wizardry
of random light & bells
the silver balls of thought
ricocheting from bumper
to target & I bet you thought
it was all about needing
a chess timer for conversation.

in such a quiet moment,
alone with the tumbling
[what-the-fuck?] tumbleweed
one might enumerate
the reasons for staying,
not unplugging the machine
run amok:
                      first the children
(who frankly could use
the insurance for school)
and your lover, who says
she lives through
her fibromyalgia pain
only for you; & then
you are left wondering
if counting up why not
constitutes suicidal ideation?

This latter is the part
Jimi Hendrix’s mad guitar
doesn’t slow down to capture
in “Manic Depression,”
although “1983
(A merman I should turn to be)”
gets the morbid rumination part
rather nicely and the sea,
the sea is straight ahead, straight up ahead

the beautiful moonlight highway
into the motherly shushing of the waves
but remember the children and &tc.,
so many bright, shining worries
left to worry as the manic burning sun
breaks the spell in a palette of beauty
& leaves you with a moment
of poetic clarity & a pencil
and the suddenly welcome
frenzy of energy &
the day begins again,
just you, your thoughts
& the tumbling tumbleweed.