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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.


1. mukul chand - April 11, 2016

nice post


2. garyalipio - April 11, 2016

Thanks. We made Odd Words: octavia book signing for Bayou Bogeyman this Sat at 11:30 am

We’re Somebody!!!!!


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