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Odd Words May 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Biography, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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This coming, quiet week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 7 pm the Nix Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts An Evening with Performance Artist & Poet José Torres-Tama. Immigrant Dreams and Alien Nightmares is a debut collection that documents twenty-five years of José Torrest-Tama’s poetry in his unique bilingual voice.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336

& Saturday at Maple Street Book Shop from 11:30 AM to 1PM features Berthe Amoss, author of the new book Mischief and Malice. Set in New Orleans on the eve of World War II, Mischief and Malice is a brand new work from an iconic figure in young adult literature. Following the death of her Aunt Eveline, fourteen-year old Addie-who we first met in Berthe Amoss’s classic Secret Lives-is now living with her Aunt Toosie, Uncle Henry, and her longtime rival cousin, Sandra Lee. A new family has just moved into Addie’s former house, including a young girl who is just Addie’s age. Meanwhile, Louis, the father of Tom, Addie’s lifelong neighbor and best friend, suddenly returns after having disappeared when Tom was a baby. Between school dances, organizing a Christmas play, fretting about her hair, and a blossoming romance with Tom, Addie stumbles upon a mystery buried in the Great Catch All, an ancient giant armoire filled with heirlooms of her family’s past, which holds a devastating secret that could destroy Louis and Tom’s lives. Once again, Berthe Amoss has created an indelible portrait of a young girl coming of age in prewar New Orleans.

& Saturday at Tubby and Coo’s Book Shop frojm 2:30 – 4:30 PM local poets and writers from the MelaNated Writers Collective, the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, and UNO perform.

& At 1 pm Sunday Garden District Book Shops hosts Dr. Leong Ying and his book From Newton, Einstein, to GOD., Dr. Ying’s family memoir written uniquely in rhyming poetic verses following his history in six chronological parts from his birth in 1961 up to 2012. The book will have readers laughing at his antics when childhood pranks were his specialty in his birthplace of Singapore, and feeling compassion toward his challenges as the only non-white student in Liverpool (UK) where his family emigrated and his struggles with dyslexia and the language-barriers but excelling in numbers and evolving into his groundbreaking scientific research. But it is his writing and scientific research that takes center stage in Dr. Ying’s life, mostly focusing on his exploration of the Twin Universe theory, which combines science and religion to prove the existence of God and answer many of the formerly unknown answers about the world such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He developed the Universal Laws of Thermodynamics to prove God’s existence in 2002.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an Open Mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Monday is Memorial Day. All regional libraries will be closed.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop Amy Conner discusses and signs her book, Million Dollar Road Eighteen-year-old Lireinne Hooten has always been on the lowest rung of the ladder. Abandoned by her mother, Lireinne lives with her stepfather in an old trailer on Million Dollar Road. Every day she walks the long mile, through a canopy of live oaks, to her job at the world’s largest alligator farm. Shy and overweight in high school, Lireinne has become lean and resilient from months of hosing out the huge cement barns. And just like Snowball—the enormous, all-white alligator she feeds illicit treats every day—she’s hungry to be free. Lireinne’s boss, Con Costello, is powerful, attractive, and used to getting exactly what he desires. Now that he’s noticed Lireinne’s haunting beauty, he wants her too. But unlike Con’s needy second wife, Lizzie, or Emma, his still heartbroken ex, Lireinne isn’t interested. Undeterred, Con’s growing obsession will upend all their lives—compelling Lizzie to confront the hard truth about her marriage, pushing Emma past her self-imposed isolation and back into the world. And for Lireinne, it will lead to an unexpected chance to redefine herself, far away from her past and from Million Dollar Road.
Amy Conner discusses and signs her book, Million Dollar Road.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Westbank 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 and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Science Fiction and Fantasy Club meets at the Old Metairie Library. This month’s discussion will be on the book, Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber.

& At 8 pm Wednesday Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater welcomes poets Clare Harmon and Charles Garrett followed by an open mic in the poetry living room. Harmon trained and worked as a classical musician. In the fall of 2012 she wrote her first poem and it’s been a delighting hell ever since. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and her poems have appeared in Quaint and PANK Magazines. Her first book, The Thingbody: A Hybrid Verse Memoir, Sounding & Illuminated, is available from Instar Books. Garrett, has published no books; has no published collections for you to buy or pretend to care about. He has no stake in making you like him or his words, but you will undoubtedly love his voice. He loves cooking for his son, and learning the extremes of his own tolerance. He is not a “teaching artist” nor a professional one, but will gladly talk and share with anyone, willing to listen. He believes poetry is in the way we bleed, not how much we do so.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& ! Coming Up… June 16 in Bloomsday in NOLA, from 6-8 pm at The Irish House Pub and Restaurant. Mark your calender for this annual public reading from James Joyce monumental work Ulysses, which takes place over the course of a single day-June 16–in Dublin . Time to start your annual, biennial (our choice), quinquennial or maybe your first time tackling this amazing work. If you are this far down the list, you know it is on your To Do list. Follow the link under the title above, and let Indie Bound find you a copy now!

‽ A confession… Toulouse Street, and the blog Wet Bank Guide before it, became an affiliate of The Evil A long before Odd Words started. In coming up on ten years of blogging with Evil A Affiliate Links I have referred many readers, but not earned a penny. So goes the The Evile A. The link above to Ulysses will take you to Indie Bound. All book links in the future will take you to the Indie Bound site for the book, which features a helpful search box for your closest Indie Book Store.

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Odd Words’ Tennessee Williams Festival Preview Part 2 March 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, Louisiana, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, The Typist, Theater, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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Here are some highlights of the weekend activities for the Tennessee Williams Festival. For the complete list, visit the TWF website for the electronic program.

& First, to get your full on fill of Tennessee:

  • TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ EUROPEAN INFLUENCES Williams was both a product of and a muse for Europe over the last half century, and their mutual exchange of themes, ideas and images altered the artistic landscapes of several post-war nations. This panel of Williams specialists discusses the early Williams and the uses he made of various European sources in his theatre; the late Williams and the promise European theater afforded him with his
    experimental plays; and the posthumous Williams and his influence on late 20th and early 21st century European theater and cinema. Panelists: John Bak, Michael Hooper, and Barton Palmer. Moderator: Robert Bray. Williams Research Center Saturday at 10 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11:30 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11 am.
  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray. Sunday, 10 am.
  • And of course: Shouting Contest Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for STELLAAAAA!!!!” in the unforgettable scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Women are welcome to try a little
    role reversal and yell for Stanley. Free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded. Jackson Square, 4:30 pm.

& Also, in addition to the numerous stage productions around town, don’t forget about LITERARY LATE NIGHT: MIXED COMPANY “There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.” ― Tennessee Williams The 21st century moment is an exciting and uncharted time in literature and publishing with new and traditional media forms both co-existing and duking it out to create new avenues for artists to get their work to the public. Mixed Company is an independent publication featuring the writing, art, and photography of women of color currently based in New Orleans. This late night offering will highlight the interplay between tradition and innovation and the syncretic results of a culture of diaspora. “Mixed Company” will be a multi-media presentation of literature, art by artists of color based in New Orleans, film, and music that will expand our notions of reading and seeing into the present, past and future. Location, TBD, 8 pm.

& Saturday and Sunday means panels, panels, and more panels featuring exciting writers and topics. Odd Word’s picks with a focus on panels for writers. All events are by admission, and in the Hotel Montleone unless otherwise noted.

SATURDAY:

  • CRAFTING MEMOIR: OURSELVES AND OTHERS Memoir–You writing about you. But you are not a deserted island. How do memoirists portray themselves in the context of significant and non-significant others? Outside the personal sphere, a writer’s own perspective is set against larger realities—race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. How important is the recognition of the writer’s point of view—and position in the world—in memoir? Can a reconciliation between the You and the many Others happen on the pages of a memoir? Or are memoirs just fine as single and singular stories? Writers on this panel have taken on love, race, and activism in their works. They’ll be considering these questions and more in this panel. Bring your own for the Q&A. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Jim Grimsley, and Mac McClelland. Moderator: Lauren Cerand.
  • MIGRATING WORDS: HOW POETS INFLUENCE AND ADAPT TO LANGUAGE The rules of the English language are always in flux— from assimilated words to idioms born from social media. Poets are the shepherds, more than the arbiters, of language. Panelists Vijay Seshadri and Saeed Jones write poems that manage to acknowledge the traditional form while simultaneously innovating its use. They will discuss how language came to them and read from their pioneering works. Panelists: Saeed Jones and Vijay Seshadri Moderator: Ava Leavell Haymon. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant,
  • THE TRANSNATIONALISTS: AMERICAN WRITERS ON BORDER CROSSINGS The U.S. literary landscape has always been a transnational space—America goes on excursion into the world and the world comes in—as seen in works of authors from Faulkner on to the many multiply-hyphenated, diasporic writers. In this panel of consummate border crossers, authors will discuss what it means to be an American writer in the world today, at home and abroad. Phil Klay, an Iraq veteran and author, Molly Crabapple, an activist, writer, and artist, and Laila Lalami, a Moroccan-American novelist and linguist, will discuss point of view, writing from within (and about) the U.S. borders and looking inward from abroad. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Phil Klay, and Laila Lalami. Moderator: Pamela Paul.
  • STORM AND STORYTELLER, TEN YEARS ON: TWO WRITERS AND A PHOTOGRAPHER REVISIT KATRINA In recognition of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this panel brings together three of the storm’s most eloquent narrators: Dan Baum, Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans, Cheryl Wagner, Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around: A Memoir of Floods, Fires, Parades, and Plywood, and photographer Ted Jackson, Hurricane Katrina Then and Now. The panelists will reflect on their Katrina work, consider the responsibilities of journalists and writers in such crises—both as reporters and as storytellers—and share their perspectives on the city of New Orleans ten years after the storm. Reporter, writer, and New Orleans native Lolis Eric Elie, most recently of HBO’s “Treme,” will
    moderate the discussion. Panelists: Dan Baum, Ted Jackson, and Cheryl Wagner. Moderator: Lolis Eric Elie
  • CONVERSATION WITH RICK BRAGG In his biography of aging music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg has dared readers to “find one boring page in this book.” Indeed, the life story of the Louisianaborn music sensation known as “The Killer” is one that keeps eyes bulged and mouths agape. The son of Delta sharecroppers, raised as a “holy roller” Pentecostal, Lewis would go on to earn a reputation as a hell-raising rock ‘n’ roller who would shake the music world with his outlandish piano-banging theatrics and offstage scandals. David Johnson, editor of Louisiana Cultural Vistas and KnowLA, The Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana, will interview Bragg and discuss Lewis’ life and times. Williams Research Center.
  • LADIES WITH AN ATTITUDE Women have come a long way in the crime world from the days when they were either femme fatales, damsels in distress, or simply the murder victim. Where do things stand in the modern day world of crime writing? Join three successful women crime writers as they discuss the state of the art for women in the world of crime fiction. Panelists: Laura Lippman, Annamaria Alfieri, and Rebecca Chance. Moderator: Greg Herren. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant

SUNDAY:

  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray.
  • A BYLINE OF ONE’S OWN: WOMEN IN LITERARY LIFE Where are the women on the page? Apparently not very many places as counts of magazines bylines by VIDA Women in Literary Arts have revealed. What does this mean for writers, readers, and the intellectual landscape of our time? Join us for a conversation about women as authors, critics, and readers in contemporary literary life with author Pamela Paul, who edits the New York Times Book Review, Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Space who was formerly at the helm of The Paris Review, and independent publicist Lauren Cerand. Panelists: Lauren Cerand, Brigid Hughes, and Pamela Paul. Moderator: J.R. Ramakrishnan
  • BUILDING STORIES: A PANEL WITH A PUBLIC SPACE In a piece for the Brooklyn-based literary journal A Public Space, now collected in Best American Essays 2014, Yiyun Li wrote that “there are many ways to carry the past with us: to romantize it, to invalidate it, to furnish it with revised or entirely fictional memories.” But how can writers begin to shape experiences into engaging sentences, and what role can editors and mentors play in bringing
    stories to life on the page? Li will be joined on stage by A Public Space founding editor Brigid Hughes and APS Emerging Writer Fellow Vanessa Hutchinson for a candid discussion of fatalism in fiction, the importance of revision, and how writers – like their stories – can emerge in unexpected ways. Panelists: Yiyun Li and Vanessa Hutchinson.
  • NEW ORLEANS: CRAFTING A MYTHICAL CITY New Orleans looms large in the popular imagination, a city envisioned as a peculiar bohemian outpost, loosely attached to the United States in locality and mentality. Tourists seeking a foreign experience within America are drawn to this exotic metropolis, and many arrive with a perception shaped by a long literary tradition of writers who have played off the city’s reputation for eccentricity, debauchery, mystery, and corruption. From Mark Twain and Anne Rice to Tennessee Williams, Frances Parkinson Keyes, and journalists covering the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, this panel will examine how such writers have molded the image of the Crescent City and inadvertently commoditized it as a tourist destination. Panelists: Brian Boyles, Rien Fertel, and others TBA. Moderator: David Johnson

If you hear a cry of Stellaaaaa!!!! in the distance before Sunday, that will be me taking a break from a weekend long special project for the day job that pays the bills that lets me pay Mr. Zuckerman to make sure you see this post on Facebook.

Odd Words February 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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This CRAZY BUSY coming week in literary New Orleans:

& At 6 pm Thursday the Alvar Library hosts To the Blighthouse! Readings by Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Carin Chapman, and Tad Bartlett. Ruffin won the 2014 Iowa Review Award for his short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You”; and the 2014 gold medal in the novel-in-progress category of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition; among others. His work has been published or is upcoming in The Iowa Review, Callaloo, Cicada, Massachusetts Review, New Delta Review, So To Speak, Redivider, Apalachee Review, and others; and in the New Orleans atlas-and-essay collection, Unfathomable City. Chapman’s work has been named a finalist for the Svenson Award and was shortlisted for the William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She is currently an Instructor of Composition and the Coordinator Associate of Freshman and Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans. Bartlett’s essays are found on the online Oxford American, his poetry in the Double Dealer, and his fiction in Bird’s Thumb and The Rappahannock Review. He is currently an MFA student at the Creative Writing Workshop at the University of New Orleans.

& Thursday at 6 pm Room 220 hosts a Happy Hour Salon to celebrate the launch of New Orleans Boom and Blackout: One Hundred Days in America’s Coolest Hotspot by Brian Boyles from 6-9PM on Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The event will also feature best-selling novelist Jami Attenberg. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site selling books. New Orleans Boom and Blackout is a nonfiction account of the 100 days preceding the 2013 Super Bowl hosted in the New Orleans Superdome. Many will recall the (partial) blackout referenced in the title. Through original research and interviews, conveyed from a casual yet erudite first-person perspective, Boyles unpacks the complex tangle of events that took place as the local government, tourism apparatus, and city at large prepared to showcase the New New Orleans for millions of Americans who had their eyes trained on the game. From the Streetcar Line To Nowhere to VIP celebrity events to cab drivers, bartenders, and street performers hustling like mad to capitalize on the influx of visitors, New Orleans was rife with happenings those 100 days before the game. Through Boyles’ interpretation, they speak volumes about the present state of our city. Jami Attenberg is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestselling novel The Middlesteins, which has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Her forthcoming book, Saint Mazie, is a novel inspired by a movie theater ticket taker-turned-caregiver on Manhattan’s Lower East Side profiled in Joseph Mitchell’s classic Up in the Old Hotel. Attenberg writes frequently for the New York Times, The Rumpus, Salon, and other distinguished places.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop features M. O. Walsh’s My Sunshine Away. It was the summer everything changed…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.

& At 6:30 pm Thursday Carolyn Kolb will be reading from and discussing her book, New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City at the Nix branch of the New Orleans Public Library. Carolyn Kolb provides a delightful and detailed look into the heart of her New Orleans. She is a former Times-Picayune reporter and current columnist for New Orleans Magazine, where versions of these essays appeared as “Chronicles of Recent History”.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm The East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This group 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 alternate 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.

& Friday at 5 pm Octavia Books hosts A Children’s Picture Book Event: Good Night, Sleep Tight Storytime with Miss Holly. Miss Holly will regale readers with a range of picture book tales. What happens when a bunny family finds a wolf on their front stoop and adopts him? Why do bears need underwear?

& 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 a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& This Saturday brings Story Time with Miss Maureen 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. She’ll read Last Stop on Market Street by by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

& 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.

& Also at 2 pm Saturday The Poetry Buffet returns to the Latter Memorial Library from his carnival break. Poets Stacey Balkun. Elizabeth Gross, Geoff Munsterman, and Daniel Reinhold read from their work.

& At 7 pm Saturday Tubby and Coo’s Book Shop hosts UNO graduate Tawni Waters reading from her new novel Beauty of the Broken. And she will likely sneak in some poems from her recently released Siren Song as well. She is an award winning writer and poet, and she currently teaches creative writing in Phoenix, AZ. In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats. Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos. Mara knows she can’t live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?

& Monday at 5:00 pm the Alvar Library hosts New Orleans Spoken Word Artists monthly workshop that include poetry writing and performance, with the goal of building community through writing and strengthening students’ written and verbal communication skills.

& Meet author Suzanne Lewis on Sunday at 11 am and help Octavia Books launch her first picture book, A PENGUIN NAMED PATIENCE: A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story. Patience is a South African penguin. She is small at roughly 6 pounds and approximately 20 inches tall; but at 24 years old, she is the “penguin in charge” of the penguin exhibit at New Orleans’s Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hits, devastating the city and surrounding areas with its catastrophic winds and flooding. The aquarium is severely damaged. With no electricity or relief in sight, the temperature in the aquarium reaches dangerously high degrees, putting the penguins in peril. Patience, and the 18 other penguins, along with some of the other zoo animals, must leave their home and their favorite human, Tom, the penguin keeper. Tom drives his penguins to Baton Rouge where an airplane transfers them to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Here the penguins will recuperate and live until they can return home to New Orleans. After nine long months away from Tom and their home, the aquarium is finally restored. And Patience, who has been patient, and her penguins return to New Orleans to a cheering homecoming.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features Poet Danny Kerwick followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Monday at 7 pm Newcomb College Institute hosts A Reading and Interview with Lorrie Moore, thes 2015 Zale-Kimmerling Writer-in-Residence at Tulane Univeristy, in the Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC), Kendall Cram Lecture Hall. Moore is the author of five collections of short stories and two novels. Her most recent collection, Bark, was published in 2014. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Moore has received numerous honors for her work, among them the Irish Times International Prize for Literature, a Lannan Foundation fellowship, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story. She teaches creative writing at Vanderbilt University

& 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 hosts Rachel Breunlin & Bruce Sunpie Barnes and their collaboration TALK THAT MUSIC TALK. In the early 1900s, jazz was created in New Orleans. Soon afterwards the fear began…it’s moving away, it’s going to die out, it needs to be preserved. Yet each generation has put time and energy into making sure the roots of the music stay strong in the city. This book is about the history of that kind of organizing work, and what happened when the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park brought together a new group of young people to learn traditional brass band music from older musicians and the Black Men of Labor Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts C. S. Harris’s Who Buries The Dead the 10th Book in the Sebastion St. Cyr series. London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends. Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

& Also on Tuesday at 7 pm the 1718 Society features reader Jesmyn Ward. National Book Award winner Ward will read and discuss her work at the Columns Hotel. The 1718 Society is a literary organization run by students of Tulane and Loyola. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site to sell books. Ward received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, the latter of which won the 2011 National Book Award and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi, and lives there now.

& AT 8 pm Tuesday Clare Harmon launches her book Thingbody. “There will be an “OFFICIAL” event with book sales and readings and so on TBA but after that we’re going to party drink artisanal cocktails and be merry at Sarsaparilla (Tuesday night pop-up in Dante’s Kitchen). Please join me, none of this would have been possible without the support and inspiration from such amazingly talented colleagues and friends!”

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts One Book One New Orleans’s title Unfathomable City, by Rebecca Snedeker. Like the bestselling Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, this book is a brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, one that provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of New Orleans, a city replete with contradictions. More than twenty essays assemble a chorus of vibrant voices, including geographers, scholars of sugar and bananas, the city’s remarkable musicians, prison activists, environmentalists, Arab and Native voices, and local experts, as well as the coauthors’ compelling contributions. Featuring 22 full-color two-page-spread maps, Unfathomable City plumbs the depths of this major tourist destination, pivotal scene of American history and culture and, most recently, site of monumental disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory.

& The UNO Creative Writing Workshop hosts poets Ralph Angel and Andy Young in the liberal arts building, Room 140 at 8PM Wednesday. The reading will be followed by a q&a, book signing and brief reception. Young grew up in southern West Virginia and has spent most of her adult life in New Orleans working at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. For the last two years she has lived in Egypt, where she worked at the American University in Cairo and documented the revolution in essays, poems and photographs. A graduate of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, her writing has been published in three chapbooks, publications in Lebanon, Egypt,
Ireland, Mexico and throughout the United States. Her first full-length collection, All Night It Is Morning, was published in 2014. Angel’s latest collection, Your Moon, was awarded the 2013 Green Rose Poetry Prize. In addition to five books of poetry, he also has published an award-winning translation of the Federico García Lorca collection, Poema del cante jondo / Poem of the Deep Song. He lives in Los Angeles, and is Edith R. White Distinguished Professor at the University of Redlands, and a member of the MFA in Writing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

& On Wednesday at 7 pm Fleur de Lit and the Pearl Wine Co. host Reading Between the Wines. This month’s featured authors include Dawn Chartier, author of new paranormal romance Bewitching the Enemy; Erica Spinder, author of The First Wife; Deborah Burst, Author of Louisiana’s Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries and Voodoo and Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans. Louisiana’s Sacred Places; and Alys Arden, author of The Casquette Girls. More details on each author can be found on the Tubby and Coos website.
HI Mr. Folse–

Just reaching out to request that you re-post the Neutral Ground Coffee House Poetry Night for Wednesdays!

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Odd Words January 21, 2015

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

& This Thurday at 7 pm Antenna Gallery: THE WAVES presents the New Orleans launch of the anthology The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014). The dream-child of editor Douglas Ray, The Queer South includes poetry and prose by LGBTQ writers who live in or have strong ties to the South. Our stellar lineup of readers includes Sibling Rivalry Press publishers Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington; Louisiana native and nationally celebrated poet Jericho Brown; and many others, including Ken Pobo, Laurence Ross, Foster Noone, Eddie Outlaw, Ellen Goldstein, D. Gilson, Lydia Roux, and Hannah Riddle. THE WAVES founders, Elizabeth Gross and Brad Richard, will host this multifarious extravaganza of queer talent. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site as the bookseller for the event. For more information visit: http://thewavesreadingseries.wordpress.com/

& AT 6 pm at the Maple Leaf Book Shop features Arthur Hardy will discuss Mardi Gras in New Orleans: An Illustrated History. Written for the casual Carnival observer as well as the veteran Mardi Gras fan, Mardi Gras in New Orleans: An Illustrated History is a concise and comprehensive pictorial account of the celebration. With 325 vintage and contemporary illustrations and 60,000 words of text, the hardbound volume is the ultimate resource on the celebration, past and present. This updated fourth edition features an expanded reference section that provides details on nearly 600 Carnival organizations, including the identities of 5,000 kings and queens.

& Thursday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group. 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.

& 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 a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& Most Saturdays at 11:30 am it is Storytime with Miss Maureen at the Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Mr. Rabbit helps a little girl find a lovely present for her mother, who is especially fond of red, yellow, green, and blue.

& 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.

& Sunday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts From Newton, Einstein, to GOD, Dr.Leong Ying’s family memoir written uniquely in rhyming poetic verses following his history in six chronological parts from his birth in 1961 up to 2012. The book will have readers laughing at his antics when childhood pranks were his specialty in his birthplace of Singapore, and feeling compassion toward his challenges as the only non-white student in Liverpool (UK) where his family emigrated and his struggles with dyslexia and the language-barriers but excelling in numbers and evolving into his groundbreaking scientific research. But it is his writing and scientific research that takes center stage in Dr. Ying’s life, mostly focusing on his exploration of the Twin Universe theory, which combines science and religion to prove the existence of God and answer many of the formerly unknown answers about the world such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He developed the Universal Laws of Thermodynamics to prove God’s existence in 2002. A poetic memoir of amazing skill and proportion, From Newton, Einstein, to GOD explores Dr. Ying’s life and journey to utilize science –which he’d formerly applied to deny God’s existence–to reveal the “ultimate godly secrets.” In doing so, he discovers the Twin Universe, a grand cosmic cycle that will have dramatic influence for evolution and humanity to come.

& Monday at 5 pm the Robert E. Smith Library presents a Writing Workshop. “Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop. ”

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

& Andy Young will read from All Night It is Morning Monday at 7:30 PM at Tulane’s Freeman auditorium. Reception to follow. Free and open to public. Andy Young’s debut poetry collection 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. Using the aubade, the traditional form of lovers parting at dawn, to anchor the book, Young examines destruction in the wake of storms, wars and revolution, but also at the ways in which we connect within these disasters. These poems exhibit what Daniel Tobin calls “astonishing formal variety,” embracing the lyric, narrative, fragmentary, as well as traditional forms such as the sonnet.

& 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 4:30 pm Octavia Books hosts a Middle Grade Children’s Book event: Dan Gutman’s GENIUS FILES. The wackiest road trip in history comes to an action-packed conclusion in book five of the New York Times bestselling Genius Files series. When we last left our heroes, twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald were in Roswell, New Mexico, and they had just seen a strange beam of light. Now their cross-country road trip is about to take a detour that’s out of this world–literally Once the twins get their feet back on the ground, they embark on the final leg of their trip, which will take them from the Hoover Dam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. Chased by nefarious villains, the twins will be trapped with a venomous snake, pushed through a deadly turbine, and thrown into a volcano. And craziest of all, their parents might finally believe them.

& Tuesday at 6 pm the People Say Project launch a new book about New Orleans, Brian Boyles New Orleans Boom & Blackout: One Hundred Days in America’s Coolest Hotspot, published 1/12 by The History Press. The book examines a raucous period in the city’s recent history. From consent decrees to cabbie protests, Carville to Carnival, the run up to Super Bowl XLVII saw New Orleans hustle to meet the approaching national spotlight. The event is at Handsome Willy’s. Things kick off at 6pm. Boyles will read from the book, sign copies and maybe even play some music.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Barry Gifford and The Up-Down, a novel of violence, of love, and introspection, The Up-Down follows a man who leaves home and all that’s familiar, finds true love, loses it, and finds it again. Pace’s voyage is outward, among strangers, and inward into the fifth direction that is the up-down, in a sweeping, voracious human tale that takes no prisoners, witnesses extreme brutalities and expresses a childlike amazement. Here the route goes from New Orleans, to Chicago to Wyoming to Bay St. Clement, North Carolina, but the geography he is charting is always first and foremost unchartable.

& 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 Maple Street Book Shop will host both Morgan McCall Molthrop & Ronald Drezto read from and sign their respective books, Andrew Jackson’s Playbook: 15 Strategies for Success and The War of 1812.

  • In Andrew Jackson’s Playbook: 15 Strategies for Success, author Morgan McCall Molthrop examines surprising tactics and innovations that have contributed to the city’s rapid recovery, suggesting that contemporary civic leaders have much in common with U.S. Gen. Andrew Jackson who soundly defeated the “invincible” British Army at the Battle of New Orleans 200 years ago.
  • According to author Ronald J. Drez, the British strategy and the successful defense of New Orleans through the leadership of General Andrew Jackson affirm the serious implications of the battle of New Orleans. Far from being simply an unnecessary epilogue to the War of 1812, this climactic-battle firmly secured for the United States the territory acquired through the Louisiana Purchase.

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event: New Orleans Historic Hotels by Paul Oswell. The hotels of New Orleans have welcomed countless visitors in a history stretching back to the eighteenth century. From humble boardinghouse beginnings to the grand hotels of the nineteenth century and through to the modern properties that stand today, hotel life in New Orleans has reflected the city’s own story. From political scandal and celebrity intrigue to events that shaped the landscape of the entire country, the story of New Orleans’s hotels is an endlessly engaging one. Travel writer Paul Oswell checks into the great hotels of the past and the present, telling the story of the properties that stood the test of time, as well as those that didn’t. Using city records, newspaper archives, vintage travel guides and anecdotal stories in the best New Orleans tradition, he brings each one to life and in the process fleshes out the story of the city’s hospitality industry and, by extension, its lively, fascinating history.

Odd Words December 3, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, reading, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

& Moira Crone will be at Maple Street Book Shop December 4th at 6PM to read from and sign her new book, The Ice Garden. Ten-year-old Claire adores her brand-new baby sister, but her mother doesn’t feel the same. Trapped in the suffocating culture of the small-town South in the early 1960s, Claire’s mother tries to cope with her own mental illness and all the expectations placed upon a woman of her class. While Claire’s father remains too dazzled by his beautiful wife to recognize the impending dangers, Claire is left largely on her own to save herself and her baby sister—with mesmerizing and shocking consequences. Moira Crone is the author of five books of fiction, including stories, and novels. She lives in New Orleans. Her works have appeared in dozens of anthologies and over forty magazines and journals

& Thursday at 6 pm Room 220 is pleased to present a Happy Hour Salon with poets Andy Young and Sara Slaughter at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The event will celebrate new publications by both poets, and they will be reading from these works. Andy Young’s debut poetry collection, All Night It Is Morning, 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, her poetry presents an outward-looking American perspective that reflects a life with one foot each in Western and Arab cultures. Using the aubade, the traditional form of lovers parting at dawn, to anchor the book, Young employs a wide variety of forms to poetically navigate post-Katrina destruction, the tumult of the Arab Spring, and myriad points—personal and political—in between and beyond. The book’s cover, a graffiti mural by Alaa Awad (now destroyed) that led the way to Tahrir Square, is a work both ancient and modern, urban and agrarian, beautiful and horrible. This captures the spirit of the book, steeped in mourning and hope and a belief in the voice of the people. Sara Slaughter will read from her first chapbook, Upriver, published by Press Street and featuring woodcuts by Layla Ardalan. Slaughter lives in New Orleans where she teaches Creative Writing at Lusher Charter School. Her work has recently appeared in New World Writing, The Cortland Review, and PANK.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features Christopher Buehlman and The Lesser Dead. New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks. The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy. Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

& Octavia Books hosts Dr. Laura Kelley joins us to discuss and sign THE IRISH in NEW ORLEANS at 6 pm. In this well-researched volume, historian Dr. Laura D. Kelley tells the colorful, amusing and often adventurous history of the Irish in New Orleans. From “Bloody” O’Reilly in the 18th century to the great churches and charitable organizations built by the Irish Famine immigrants in the 19th century to the Irish-dominated politics of the 20th century, as well as Irish dance, music and sports, the author introduces the reader to a hitherto untold story of one of America’s most historical cities. The book also includes essays by Betsy McGovern recalling her involvement in the city’s Irish music scene and Terrence Fitzmorris who discusses wakes and funerary practices of the Irish. The lively and readable text is beautifully illustrated with photographs by Carrie Lee Pierson Schwartz that convey the continuing vibrancy of the Irish community of the Crescent City.

& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Award-winning local author, journalist, and lecturer, George Gurtner, will discuss his most recent book, Cast of Characters, colorful true stories of life in and around the Big Easy, at the Nix Library. The book is titled after Gurtner’s column that he wrote for New Orleans magazine for 35 years. His first book was Historic Churches of Old New Orleans

& Tuesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group. 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.

& Friday night at 5:00 pm Octavia Books hosts a children’s book event. Miss Holly will present the Good Night, Sleep Tight (Safe from Snow) Story Hour featuring The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.

& 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.

& Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, a holiday started by author Jenny Milchman in order to instill a love of bookstores in children. We’ll have snacks and a special story time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am. She’ll read Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson & The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages for over fifty years. A #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book With No Pictures is an innovative and wildly funny read-aloud by award-winning humorist/actor B.J. Novak. You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except… here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say… BLORK. Or BLUURF. Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY. Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffett returns to the Latter Memorial Library. Poets Ralph Adamo, Laura Mullen, and Andrea Young read from their work.

& Sunday at 3 pm Room 220 presents José Torres-Tama Performance Reading / Book Signing for Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares, a debut collection of performance poems & other verse by Torres-Tama.

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

& Sunday at 7 pm at the Shadowbox Theater SLAM New Orleans hosts its last open mic and poetry slam of 2014! This will be our final qualifying show before the 2015 semi-finals and finals in January. Poets, there are two qualifications for competing in January’s semi-finals: A. You must compete in at least TWO slams during the 2014 season. B. You must place in the top two (out of poets who have not previously placed in the top two earlier in the year) in at least ONE slam during the 2014 season.

& Monday at 5 pm at the East New Orleans Regional Library New Orleans Spoken Word Artists will present monthly workshops that include poetry writing and performance, with the goal of building community through writing and strengthening students’ written and verbal communication skills.

& 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.

& Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo have created a very important resource, THIS IS a BOOK for PARENTS of GAY KIDS. Join the discussion on Tuesday, 7-8 P.M., at the Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ. Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced to answer parents’ many questions and share insight and guidance on both emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents, this is the book gay kids want their parents to read. Canadian author Vivek Shraya will join the authors AND will give a reading from from his book, GOD LOVES HAIR, a compilation of short stories following a tender, intellectual, and curious child as he navigates complex realms of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion, and belonging. Octavia Books will be on site with copies of the 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.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event! Magic in a Shaker, with Marvin Allen. Marvin J. Allen will discuss his new book, but he’ll also talk about two other subjects: the history of Prohibition; and Christmas cocktails. Allen is the bar manager and bartender at the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar. Voted New Orleans Magazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2005, Allen has been behind the counter for more than 20 years. A member of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, he is a USBG certified spirits professional. Allen’s emphasis on classic ingredients and fresh tastes have earned him several honors: his Southern Comfortini won second place in the Tales of the Cocktail contest in 2003, and in 2004 his Blushing Southern Belle earned honorable mention in the same competition. Allen also placed in the 2010 42 Below Vodka competition with his Peanut Butter and Jelly Martini. A recipient of the 2010 City Business Culinary Connoisseur award, Allen has been an “adopted native” of New Orleans for more than 25 years.

& Wednesday at the Latter Memorial Library A Book Club Named Desire meets. Adults meet to discuss a local classic every fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm. For more information, contact Toni at tlmccourt@hotmail.com.

& At 8 pm Wednesday it is Poetry & Music at BJs’ Blood Jet Series at BJ’s at 8 pm. This Wednesday’s featured readers are Tim Earley and Jessica Comola.

& 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!).

Odd Words October 29, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, Indie Book Shops, Internet Publishing, literature, memoir, New Orleans, New Orleans Cookbooks, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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wpc-logo-fbThis week in literary New Orleans, sponsored by the Loyola Writing Institute at the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out the weekly Spoken Word event #WordConnections at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Thursday at 6pm Mamie Sterkx Gasperecz, the Executive Director of the Hermann-Grima & Gallier Historic Houses, will speak at Maple Street Book Shop about Kerri McCaffety’s new book, Luxury, Inequity, & Yellow Fever (Herman-Grima & Gallier Historic Houses, $45). Luxury, Inequity & Yellow Fever pairs majestic photographs of the Hermann-Grima and Gallier Historic Houses with captivating historic accounts, offering us a direct connection to the turbulent times of New Orleans’ Golden Age. The new book by acclaimed photographer and New Orleans native, Kerri McCaffety, features 152 pages of beautiful photographs and intriguing history that reveal intricate details about 19th century New Orleans—a time of wealth, romance, slavery, hurricanes and disease. In addition to the Hermann, Grima and Gallier families, McCaffety explores the lives of many who passed through these noteworthy homes, including slaves, Free People of Color, the ladies of The Woman’s Exchange and those currently keeping the legacy of the houses alive.

& Thursday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Public Library hosts its bi-weeky The Fiction Writers’ Group, a support group for serious writers of fiction. The group does 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.

& Thursday at 8:30pm, at the Gold Mine 701 Dauphine Street NEW ORLEANS LITERARY & PERFORMANCE SERIES presents Sioux Nation Chief Arvol Looking Horse, wife Paula Horne and daughter Poet Cheyenne Hope w/ Loren Pickford on alto sax & flutes, Earle Brown on tenor sax, Nobu Ozaki on bass, Eric B on percussions, Alexey Marti on percussions, Reverend Goat Carson on buffalo jaw harp, Liz Kimbrough on washboard, Katarina Boudreaux (vocals), Nanci Zhang (vocals). followed by OPEN MIC hosted by JIMMY ROSS .(sign-up begins at 7:30pm)

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& This weekend the city’s newest book shop Tubby & Coo’s celebrates its grand opening Friday, Oct. 31 – Sunday, Nov. 2. Combining books with geeky tchotchkes, Tubby and Coo’s is a one-of-a-kind shop. Come out and meet your favorite Star Wars & Doctor Who characters, build your own airship with Steampunk New Orleans, get books signed by amazing local authors, and more! You can even meet Tubby himself on Sunday, Nov. 2, when he celebrates his 94th birthday at the shop.

& 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. This week it’s THROW BACK 90’s Poetry Party!!!! Comes dressed in your best 90’s gear and be ready to have good time. DJ XXL will be spinning 90’s jams all night and we will have prize for the best costume!!!!

& Saturday from 9-10:30 am Anne Byrn, aka “The Cake Mix Doctor,” celebrates the release of her new book, ANNE BRYN SAVES THE DAY! – 125 Guranteed-to-Please, Go-to Recipes to Rescue Any Occasion, at the Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market. Byrn will sign books and do a Halloween-themed demo (we hear pumpkin and chocolate are involved)!

& Saturday brings the 2014 Louisiana Book Festival. The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is proud to present the 11th edition of this free, world-class literary celebration. Come join the fun from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown at the State Library of Louisiana, the State Capitol, the Capitol Park Museum and nearby locations. Whether you’re young or old, just can’t get enough of poetry or love to cook up some great Louisiana dishes, our national award winning event has something for every book lover.The Louisiana Book Festival is your chance to meet exceptional writers while enjoying book-related activities and presentations. Visit http://www.louisianabookfestival.org/ for all the details.

& Saturdays at 11:30 am its Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop.

& Saturday starting at 1 pm The New Orleans Institute for the Imagination (NOII) celebrates its grand opening with a celebration of National Bison Day with a “Gathering of the Nations” welcoming the Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs along with Chief Avrol Looking Horse of the Sioux Nation and Chief Dardar of the United Houma Nations, with music, poetry and more. CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE, 19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle of the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Tribes, CYRILLE NEVILLE, GRAYHAWK PERKINS, DR. JOHN, CHIEF THOMAS DARDAR of United Houma Nation, as well as other distinguished cultural emissaries and educators of the region. There will be an official Greeting and Thanksgiving Ceremony welcoming All Chiefs and members of their respective Nations. This gathering is a family event honoring All Indigenous Peoples with a shared message of Peace, Unity and One Love. This event also marks the first annual National Bison Day to be honored and nationally observed throughout the United States of America on November 1st by a resolution passed recently in the U. S. Congress. Complimentary refreshments & food will be provided for all children. No alcohol allowed on park grounds.

& At Garden District Books Saturday at 1 pm author Kit Wohl features her new book New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes. Fifty straightforward recipes with lush photography provide an authentic taste of Creole cuisine. These are the benchmarks of New Orleans’ city-style dining as opposed to country-style Cajun cooking. Creole cuisine is the delectable, freewheeling legacy of a celebrated, storied city. It is the most refined of America’s regional cooking styles and proves that flavor is our universal language. Recipes have evolved through three centuries of New Orleans cooking, drawn from Spanish and French settlers, settlers from Africa, the Caribbean, Italy, Ireland and Germany. Each cook contributed techniques, seasonings and recipes, modified to make use of New Orleans’ bounty, creating Creole cuisine. The chefs of Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Mr. B’s Bistro, Café Reconcile, Commander’s Palace, and Upperline have provided iconic recipes such as Shrimp Creole, Sausage and Chicken Gumbo, and Pot au Feu, and sides such as Cheese Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade, and Crabmeat Ravigote. Sweet endings include classics such as Bananas Foster, Beignets, and Pralines.

& Saturday at 5 pm Octavia Books hosts the final book in Leigh Bardugo’s “Grisha” trilogy, RUIN AND RISING. If you purchase one of the books from her Grisha trilogy, you will receive custom dice and a game Bardugo designed (first come, first served)! Also, Miss Leigh will be reading from her forthcoming book, SIX of CROWS. Sneak peek, fans! Bardugo is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

& There is no Poetry Buffet this Saturday at the Latter Library. It will return next month on the first Saturdday

& Sunday at 1 pm Anne and Christopher Rice present their new books Prince Lestat and The Vines at Garden District Books., Tickets are provided with purchase of Anne and/or Christopher’s new book, Prince Lestat (Book Release date: October 28, 2014) and The Vines (Book Release date: October 21, 2014), respectively, purchased at Garden District Book Shop. You CAN purchase the books and receive a ticket the day of the booksigning.

  • Prince Lestat:The novel opens with the vampire world in crisis…vampires have been proliferating out of control; burnings have commenced all over the world, huge massacres similar to those carried out by Akasha in The Queen of the Damned…Old vampires, roused from slumber in the earth are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn vampire-mavericks in cities from Paris and Mumbai to Hong Kong, Kyoto, and San Francisco. As the novel moves from present-day New York and the West Coast to ancient Egypt, fourth century Carthage, 14th-century Rome, the Venice of the Renaissance, the worlds and beings of all the Vampire Chronicles-Louis de Pointe du Lac; the eternally young Armand, whose face is that of a Botticelli angel; Mekare and Maharet, Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true Child of the Millennia; along with all the other new seductive, supernatural creatures-come together in this large, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious novel to ultimately rise up and seek out who-or what-the Voice is, and to discover the secret of what it desires and why…
  • The Vines: The dark history of Spring House, a beautifully restored plantation mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, has long been forgotten. But something sinister lurks beneath the soil of the old estate. After heiress and current owner Caitlin Chaisson is witness to her husband’s stunning betrayal at her birthday party, she tries to take her own life in the mansion’s cherished gazebo. Instead, the blood she spills awakens dark forces in the ground below. Chaos ensues and by morning her husband has vanished without a trace and his mistress has gone mad. Nova, daughter to Spring House’s groundskeeper, has always suspected that something malevolent haunts the old place, and in the aftermath of the birthday party she enlists Caitlin’s estranged best friend, Blake, to help her get to the bottom of it. The pair soon realizes that the vengeance enacted by this sinister and otherworldly force comes at a terrible price.

& Sunday at 2 pm Octavia Books features Edward E. Baptist and THE HALF HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD: Slavery and the Making of American Captalism. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, THE HALF HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery’s end-and created a culture that sustains America’s deepest dreams of freedom

& This Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series features features poet Damon Marbut reads from and signs his new book, Human Crutches.

& At 4 pm Sunday Octavia Books hosts Cari Lynn, co-author of MADAM: A Novel of New Orleans. A captivating novel, based on true events, that follows the rise to power of New Orleans’s most infamous whore-turned-madam. New Orleans, 1897. Mary Deubler makes her living as a so-called Alley Whore— until bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story creates a red-light district, mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Through gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madam Josie Arlington. Filled with fascinating historical details and characters like Jelly Roll Morton, Louie Armstrong, and photographer E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fabulous romp through the Big Easy that will delight readers of novels like THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and nonfiction books such as The Duchess and American Rose.

& Monday at 5:30 Octavia books boasts a A triple-header – three authors on a YA Roadside Tour – is headed our way! Natalie C. Parker, debut author of BEWARE the Wild, and Jule Murphy, debut author of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY, along with veteran author Tessa Gratton (THE BLOOD JOURNALS and THE ASGARD SERIES).

  • PARKER grew up in a navy family in which having adventures was as common as reading fairy tales. Though the roots of her family are buried deep in southern Mississippi, she currently lives in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Beware the Wild is her first novel. You can visit her online at http://www.nataliecparker.com.
  • GRATTON has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. She was too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, and then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog.

  • MURPHY lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray animals, Julie can be found in a library smelling old books and manning the reference desk. You can visit Julie at http://www.juliemurphywrites.com.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop at 5:30 pm.

& 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 hosts bestselling author Gary Krist when he presents and signs EMPIRE OF SIN: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, a vibrant and immersive account of New Orleans’s other civil war, at a time when commercialized vice, jazz culture, and endemic crime defined the battlegrounds of the Crescent City. EMPIRE OF SIN re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man – Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city’s Storyville vice district – who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.

& Tuesday at 6:30 pm its Author Night at Hubbell Library featuring New Orleans Homes at Christmas. Join author Bonnie Warren for a discussion of her new book.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Jefferson Parish Library hosts the West Bank Fiction Writers Group 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 and fourth 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.

& Wednesday at the Latter Memorial Library A Book Club Named Desire meets. Adults meet to discuss a local classic every fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm. For more information, contact Toni at tlmccourt@hotmail.com.

& At Octavia Books at 6 pm Wednesday meet photographer Tina Freeman and author Morgan Molthrop on Tuesday, November 5, 2014, 6:00 P.M. when they present and sign ARTIST SPACES, New Orleans. Few artists have the luxury of separate work and living spaces, thus work and life often end up compressed into a singular personal environment. Artist Spaces, New Orleans provides a comprehensive portrait of the city’s artists and their relationship to space. In 99 extraordinary photos taken by Tina Freeman and 21 artist interviews by Morgan Molthrop, ARTIST SPACES, New Orleans highlights the spaces of New Orleans art luminaries George Dureau, Ron Bechet, Ma-Po, Dawn Dedeaux, Elizabeth Shannon, Willie Birch, Ersy, David Halliday, Robert Tannen, Elenora “Rukiya” Brown, Nicole Charbonnet, Kevin Kline, Amy Weiskopf, Keith Duncan, Josephine Sacabo, Lin Emery, and graffiti artist “Fat Boy.”

& November’s Reading Between the Wines will take place Wednesday at 6:30PM at The Pearl in the American Can Company (3700 Orleans Ave). It is the one year anniversary of the reading series and a selection of previously featured authors will be present to celebrate. Past readers include: George Bishop, David Armand, Chuck Hustmyre, Poppy Tooker, Elsa Hahne, Allison Alsup, Elizabeth Pearce, Richard Read, Lawrence Powell, Emily Clark, Rebecca Snedeker, Randy Fertel, Lisa Marie Brown, Carolyn Kolb, Farrah Rochon, Alice Kemp, Viola Russell (Susan Weaver), Rodger Kamenetz, Gina Ferrara, Errol Laborde, Peggy Scott Laborde, Kim Marie Vaz, Stephen Rea, Kit Wohl, Brad Richard, Melinda Palacio, Nik Richard, Marla Chirdon, Matt Sakakeeny, Joel Dinerstein, Sally Newhart, David Spielman, Bill Loehfelm, Chris Wiltz, Erica Spindler, J.M. (Jean) Redmann, Greg Herren, N.S. Patrick, Sally Asher, Sherry Lee Alexander, Stephanie Grace, Phil Sandusky, Laura Roach Dragon, Mike Schaefer, Lewis Aleman, and Robert Cerio.

& Poet and UNO MFA Alumna GINA FERRARA will be reading from her new collection, Carville: Amid Moss and Resurrection Fern at 8 pm on Wednesday in the Liberal Arts Building Lounge (LA 197) on the UNO Lakefront campus.

& At 8 pm Wednesday it is Poetry & Music at BJs’ Blood Jet Series at BJ’s at 8 pm. This Wednesday features Jenny Sadre Orafai, Vincent Cellucci and Chris Shipman.

Wednesday brings you another oh Oh OH! so sensual installment of Estorotica at the Allways. Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are again going without themes and that means, Anything Goes, So Anything Can Happen! Original Erotica from Your Favorite Local Provocateurs, a Few Sexy Surprises and a Sneak Peek of “Beyond Desire” our show as part of The New Orleans Fringe Festival this year, prepared especially for our regular audiences. *wink* Door at 7, show at 8 as always at the Allways.

& 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!).

Next Week: Ladyfest! Stay tuned for details on check out the Friday and Saturday night events on their Facebook pages.

Odd Words October 22, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, Creative Non-Fiction, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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wpc-logo-fbThis week in literary New Orleans, sponsored by the Loyola Writing Institute at the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out the weekly Spoken Word event #WordConnections at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Mary Monsted will sign her CD Miss Mary’s Musical Gumbo Chants, Stories, and Musical Movement Activities for Young Children at Maple Street Book Shop from 6-8 pm. Miss Mary brings children’s music to your ears with her album, Miss Mary’s Musical Gumbo. This CD provides a resource for Pre-School and Elementary teachers, carpool parents, children, and grandparents. Children are able to listen, play, sing, move, and pretend with the songs, chants, stories, and musical movement activities on the “Musical Gumbo” CD. Lyrics are included for 26 songs lasting 43 minutes. Subject matter contained on the CD covers a broad spectrum of ideas.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts an evening with New Orleans writer James Nolan when he reads and signs his new interrelated collection of short stories, YOU DON’T KNOW ME. In this collection, James Nolan swings wide open the courtyard gates of a city fabled both for its good times and bad. With ten new stories plus ten from his acclaimed previous volume, Perpetual Care, he introduces us to a quirky village of universal characters at crisis moments. We meet fatherless boys, Creole spinsters, and lying hustlers, a pregnant teenager, a concert pianist searching for his roots, a crooked homicide detective, a Carnival-parade king hiding in a Dunkin’ Donuts, a pistol-packing babysitter, and a codger who plots to blow up an overpass. Bookended by two post-Katrina stories, this collection takes us from the secretive hive of the French Quarter to decaying cemeteries, from Gentilly to Uptown to family dramas in the suburbs. With mordant dark humor, James Nolan paints a wry, disturbing but affectionately human portrait of his hometown for those who think they already know New Orleans, and what it means. But until you turn the addictive pages of these stories, you don’t—not really.

& Thursday at 7 pm the bi-weekly meetings of the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. 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.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Dylan Landis’s Rainey Royal. Greenwich Village, 1970s: Rainey Royal, fourteen years old, talented, and troubled, lives in a once-elegant, now decaying brownstone with her father, a jazz musician with a cultish personality. Her mother has abandoned the family, and Rainey fends off advances from her father’s best friend while trying desperately to nurture her own creative drives and build a substitute family. She’s a rebel, even a criminal, but she’s also deeply vulnerable, fighting to figure out how to put back in place the boundaries her life has knocked down, and more than that, struggling to learn how to be an artist and a person in a broken world. Rainey Royal is told in 14 narratives of scarred and aching beauty that build into a fiercely powerful novel: the harrowing and ultimately affirming story of a young artist.

& At 7 pm Thursday NEW ORLEANS LITERARY & PERFORMANCE SERIES presents Spoken word artist & singer GAYNIELLE NEVILLE w/ Eric B on percussions and Keenan Shaw on bass at the Goldmine, followed by an open mic. NEVILLE is a longtime singer / songwriter partner of her husband Cyril Neville, Gaynielle Neville’s solo album WOMAN POWER debuted in 2014. As a spoken word aritist, Gaynielle’s powerful voice has served as a central force in the New Orleans community for more than three decades.

& Friday from 5-6 pm wear your Halloween pajamas or a costume and join Octavia Books for its first ever Good Night, Sleep Tight Story Hour. Dr. Jeffrey Sigler, regular winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Reading Contest during his time at UVA, will be our special guest reader. He’ll recite “The Raven,” read from I AM a WITCH’S CAT by Harriet Muncaster, LITTLE BOO by Stephen Wunderli, and EDGAR GETS READY FOR BED by Jennifer Adams.

& Friday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Marcus Samuelsson and his book Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home @ The New SoFAB Museum. In a full-color cookbook with 150 photos, a five-time James Beard Award winner and best-selling author shows how he cooks at home for family and friends via an array of more than 120 recipes, which incorporate flavors from Ethiopian, Swedish, Mexican, Caribbean, Italian and Southern soulfood cuisines. His eclectic, casual food includes dill-spiced salmon; coconut-lime curried chicken; mac, cheese, and greens; chocolate pie spiced with Indian garam masala; and for kids, peanut noodles with slaw. This is an inside glimpse into how one of the world’s top chefs cooks in his home kitchen for those nearest and dearest to him. As the Southern Food and Beverage Museum settles into the new location, we are re-acknowledging the great Mrs. Leah Chase for her contributions to the culinary landscape of New Orleans. Join SoFAB, Dillard University Ray Charles Program, and Garden District Book Shop as we re-dedicate the Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery to honor a New Orleans culinary legend. As part of the ceremony Marcus Samuelsson, renowned chef and author, will speak to the importance of food in his life. Marcus Samuelsson signs his book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home at the NEW Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB), 1504 Oretha C. Haley Boulevard.

& 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.he

& Saturdays at 11:30 am its Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop.

& Saturday Garden District Book Shop features Bonnie Warren and Cheryl Gerber discuss and sign their book, New Orleans Homes at Christmas from 1-.From reveillon dinners to purple, green, and gold ornaments, the holidays in New Orleans are a savory dish of diverse traditions and local spice that’s all its own. Look inside and enjoy what’s behind the doors of the homes of Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Tom and Gayle Benson, and others. Tour the residences of noted interior designers, including the renowned home of Sue Ellen and Joseph Canizaro. Historic traditions and modern memories live side by side in these lovingly dressed homes. Depicted in these elegant pages are private and public historic dwellings, overflowing with stunning decorations and personal touches. From English Turn to the Garden District, friends and family joyfully gather in homes embellished with garlands and family mementos. In this intimate exploration, hosts discuss their decorative styles, and professional interior designers show off their own personal masterpieces. Historic sites such as the Hermann-Grima House feature the Christmases of yesteryear. Along with beautiful photography, this work presents locals’ favorite holiday recipes and internationally lauded restaurants’ sumptuous offerings, which serve up a taste of a truly New Orleans Christmas.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Louisiana Music Factory, 421 Frenchman Street, hosts Thomas W. Jacobsen book signing:The New Orleans Jazz Scene 1970-2000. In 1966, journalist Charles Suhor wrote that New Orleans jazz was “ready for its new Golden Age.” Thomas W. Jacobsen’s The New Orleans Jazz Scene, 1970–2000 chronicles the resurgence of jazz music in the Crescent City in the years following Suhor’s prophetic claim. Jacobsen, a New Orleans resident and longtime jazz aficionado, offers a wide-ranging history of the New Orleans jazz renaissance in the last three decades of the twentieth century, weaving local musical developments into the larger context of the national jazz scene, Jacobsen vividly evokes the changing face of the New Orleans jazz world at the close of the twentieth century. Drawing from an array of personal experiences and his own exhaustive research, he discusses leading musicians and bands, both traditionalists and modernists, as well as major performance venues and festivals. The city’s musical infrastructure does not go overlooked, as Jacobsen delves into New Orleans’s music business, its jazz media, and the evolution of jazz edu-cation at public schools and universities. With a trove of more than seventy photographs of key players and performances, The New Orleans Jazz Scene, 1970–2000 offers a vibrant and fascinating portrait of the musical genre that defines New Orleans.

& Sunday from 1-3 pm Garden District Book Shop features Sidney Pulitzer’s Repair Washington: Practical Legislation for a Constitutional Convention. Recent polls prove that most Americans are frustrated with our Federal Government. Professional Career Politicians are in gridlock except for spending us into ever deeper debt. Higher taxes, complex regulation, and ever larger government have slowed national growth, and young people cannot find jobs. Constructive change is urgently needed. This book offers perfectly legal legislation consistent with Article V of our Constitution to call of a Constitutional Convention. When 34 states pass the law, the convention will offer amendments to improve how our government functions. Examples are two-term limits, shorter elections, control on political donations, ethics for public servants, budget discipline, tort reform, a press responsible for truth and respect for privacy, tougher law and order, greater freedom of religion, and more. Amendments cannot be ratified unless 38 states, three-quarters of the states, ratify each amendment. Unsound amendments will never be ratified. These changes will return citizen patriots to service in government and restore our freedoms. We will keep a balance between government and free enterprise, and preserve our freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

& Sunday brings In Search of the Living Dream: A Symposium on Harnessing Our Dreams for Healing, Creativity, and Community, from 2-7 pm at The Old Fire House, 720 Mandeville Street. In Search of the Living Dream is an all-day dream symposium focusing on how to harness our dreams to cultivate healing, creativity, and community. The low-cost community focused event will provide direct, practical information and tools on how to use your dreams to heal yourself as well as your relationships. Later in the afternoon, the talented and dynamic writers Rodger Kamenetz and Moira Crone will lead participants in writing workshops aimed at digging into deep wells of creativity housed in dreams. We’ll end the evening with a dream poetry throwdown featuring New Orleans poets Bill Lavender Laura Mullen, The Poetry Brothel, and more.

Join a dynamic group of dreamwork practitioners working with over 100 dreamers from around North America in a unique method of
Archetypal Dreamwork pioneered in Vermont over the last decade. Rodger Kamenetz, Sue Scavo, Bill St. Cyr, and Kezia Kamenetz have traveled and taught about dreams around the country and the world — to places like Johannesburg, South Africa, Esalen, Kripalu, and Sivananda Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas. This dynamic event will bring you dream teachings in unique and participatory ways. Participants can register for the individual workshops for $10/ea below or pay one price for the entire day. There is an early bird price of $20 all-day if you register below before October 15th, after the 15th and at door, $25. To register go to http://www.dreamitout.com/events-workshops.

& This Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf is the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. Poet Dennis Formento reads from and signs his new book, Cineplex. Poet Lola Haskins reads from her work (lolahaskins.com).

& 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 hosts two authors: Anny Bloch-Raymond, author of FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI: The History of Jewish Immigrants and Their Individual Stories, and Carol Mills-Nichol, author of LOUISIANA’S JEWISH IMMIGRANTS FROM THE BAS-RHIN, ALSACE, FRANCE.

  • With the large-scale immigration of Jews from diaspora communities, the Jewish population of the United States is the second largest in the world. You’ve most definitely heard about the Jewish communities in and near major cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. But did you know that one-fifth of the Jews who reached the US shores in the 19th and early 20th centuries settled in Louisiana? From France and Germany, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become peddlers, small shop-owners or sugar and tobacco traders in small towns along the Mississippi River. Jews they were, but Jews who invented a new and liberal Judaism that interacted with the Christian world which dominates the South. Whites they were, but Whites who had to fight for their civil rights (and their new country) and did not abide by segregation laws. Migrants they were, but migrants who let the good time roll and invented an authentic Creole kosher cuisine.Their history is written all over the South, here on street corners and on gravestones, there on synagogues and museums. But their legacy lives on: Anny Bloch-Raymond explored countless archival boxes and talked to dozens of families before beginning to write FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI — a story and a history of Jewish life in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
  • In this her latest book, Carol Mills-Nichol has written about the French Jewish immigrants from the Bas-Rhin who settled in forty-nine of the sixty-four Louisiana parishes over the course of the last two centuries. She begins by explaining the special pitfalls of Jewish genealogical research, then goes on to show how to use both French and English on-line records in order to unlock the secrets of long-departed ancestors. Mills-Nichol includes four case studies as examples of how to tackle certain genealogical brick walls. While the novice researcher can expect to unlock many secrets from the past, there will also be many frustrations in store for him, many unanswered questions, and some details which may take years to uncover. Patience is the watchword for the competent genealogist. The remainder of the book is devoted to the study of over six hundred Jewish immigrants who left from places in the Bas-Rhin, Alsace, such as Strasbourg, Haguenau, Hoenheim, Harskirchen, Rothbach, Ingwiller, Schirrhoffen, Schliethal, and Oberlauterbach, to name just a few. Some unlucky souls never even completed the journey. They may have died of disease in European ports while awaiting passage, or perished at sea during the arduous voyage. Those lucky enough to arrive did not always settle in New Orleans. Many journeyed still farther inland to big towns such as Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Opelousas, Donaldsonville or smaller villages like Chackbay, Waterloo, Livonia, Mansura, Hohen Solms, Bunkie, Berwick, Big Cane, Bayou Goula, or Pointe-à-la-Hâche. Still others were employed as store keepers on plantations such as Azima, Belmont, Cinclare, Cora, Cote Blanche, Cypress Hall, Live Oak, and Tezcuco. While many of them prospered in Louisiana, others suffered unspeakable tragedies in their adopted homeland. Some were murdered. Others ended their own lives. A frightening number of them succumbed to cholera, typhoid, or yellow fever, many within a few years of their arrival. Whatever their story, the reader cannot help but be caught up in the drama of the existence of these immigrants who risked everything to start anew in Louisiana.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Kevin Fortuna and The Dunning Man: Stories. The six stories in The Dunning Man feature anti-heroes who reject society’s rules. Characters from all walks of life—a rogue hip-hop star, a blackjack dealing mom, a middle-aged drunk plowing through his inheritance, and an empty-nester housewife trying to make peace with the past. They each exist in the here and now, living for what’s possible and what’s left—not what they’ve left behind. Redemption awaits all, but only along the rutted, gut-churning path of honest self-examination. Set in Atlantic City, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., the Hudson Valley and Manhattan, Fortuna’s stories depict the violent clash between society’s expectations and the chaotic arc of individual destiny. These are powerful tales of truth seekers imbued with larger-than-life personalities and the all-consuming need to find something worth seeking.

& Tuesday at 7 pm a Children’s Author Panel – Ryan, Downing and Dartez will be featured at the East Jefferson Regional Library. Three children’s authors with new books will discuss and sign them. The authors are Ryan Adam, New Orleans Mother Goose; Johnette Downing, Macarooned on a Dessert Island; and Cecilia Casrill Dartez, L Is for Louisiana.

& 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 the Latter Memorial Library A Book Club Named Desire meets. Adults meet to discuss a local classic every fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm. For more information, contact Toni at tlmccourt@hotmail.com.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features Anne Byrn’s Saves the Day! Cookbook. A problem-solver extraordinaire, Anne Byrn knows what every too-busy cook knows. There are a gazillion recipes in the world, but the right recipe, the recipe that always works, the lifesaving recipe for when times are crazy—that’s priceless. Saves the Day! Cookbook presents 125 of these guaranteed tried-and-true recipes for every occasion. Whether they are Anne Byrn’s own family favorites or collected from her network of fans across the country, these go-to recipes include easy appetizers for a party or potluck—Bacon and Cheddar Torte, Stuffed Jalapen~o Peppers Witowski; mains to feed a family or a crowd, from fast-to-fix Shrimp and Cheese Grits to do-ahead, no-fuss Ina’s Sweet- and-Sour Brisket; salads perfect for entertaining the book club, including Grilled Tuna Salade Nicoise and Libby’s Avocado and Pink Grapefruit Salad; sides that please everyone; and desserts that don’t take a week to assemble, like Veronica’s Mocha Cake, Lemon Snow Pudding, Ella’s Easy Peach Pie.

& Room 220 presents Eli Horowitz Wednesday at 7 pm at the Press St. HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). He’ll be reading from his latest work, The Silent History. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site to sell books. It begins as a statistical oddity: a spike in children born with acute speech delays. Physically normal in every way, these children never speak and do not respond to speech; they don’t learn to read, don’t learn to write. As the number of cases grows to an epidemic level, theories spread. Maybe it’s related to a popular antidepressant; maybe it’s environmental. Or maybe these children have special skills all their own. The Silent History unfolds in a series of brief testimonials from parents, teachers, friends, doctors, cult leaders, profiteers, and impostors (everyone except, of course, the children themselves), documenting the growth of the so-called silent community into an elusive, enigmatic force in itself—alluring to some, threatening to others. Both a bold storytelling experiment and a propulsive reading experience, Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, and Kevin Moffett’s The Silent History is at once thrilling, timely, and timeless. Eli Horowitz was the managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s. He is the co-author of The Clock Without a Face, a treasure-hunt mystery; Everything You Know Is Pong, an illustrated cultural history of Ping-Pong; and The New World, a collaboration with Chris Adrian, forthcoming from FSG.

& At 8 pm Wednesday it is Poetry & Music at BJs’ Blood Jet Series at BJ’s at 8 pm. This Wednesday features for our biggest night of poetry this season. Four visiting poets will take the stage to stir up the haunts: Frank Sherlock, Paige Taggart, Tracey McTague & Dara Wier.

  • Tracey McTague lives up on Battle Hill in Brooklyn, down the street from where she was born and across the room from where her daughter was born. She is the ornithologist consigliere for Lungfull! Magazine by day. By night, she is a root doctor, alchemist and hunter-gatherer.
  • Frank Sherlock is an American poet, and poet laureate of Philadelphia. He was a 2013 Pew Fellow in the Arts. He is the author of OVER HERE (Factory School) and a collaboration with CA Conrad entitled The City Real & Imagined (Factory School). His New Orleans collaboration with Brett Evans is entitled Ready-to-Eat Individual (Lavender Ink). He is a co-founder of PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension and a native Philadelphian.
  • Paige Taggart is a Northern Californian and currently resides in Brooklyn. Want For Lion is her first full-length collection. Her second book Or Replica will be published by Brooklyn Arts Press. She is the author of 5 chapbooks: Last Difficult Gardens (Horse Less Press), DIGITAL MACRAMÉ (Poor Claudia) Polaroid Parade (Greying Ghost) and The Ice Poems (DoubleCross Press), and forthcoming I am Writing To You From Another Country; Translations of Henri Michaux (Greying Ghost Press). She earned her MFA from the New School and was a 2009 NYFA fellow. She works as a full-time jewelry production manager & additionally makes her own jewelry.
  • Dara Wier is the author of nine collections of poetry. She teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Harvard Review describes Wier’s poems this way, “many of Weir’s.stanzas draw a reader away from a recognizable world into one in which women waltz with bears, houseflies chat with colonels, and the absence of sound makes a material presence.” Her most recent book is Reverse Rapture (2005), published by Verse Press.
  • & 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!).

Odd Words October 15, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, Toulouse Street.
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wpc-logo-fbThis week in literary New Orleans, sponsored by the Loyola Writing Institute at the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out the weekly Spoken Word event #WordConnections at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Maple Street Book Shop hosts Tim Duffy with Little Freddie King and Alabama Slim and Duffy’s book We are the Music Makers. The book is the result of twenty years working with roots musicians of the American South. After founding Music Maker in 1994, Tim and wife Denise traveled throughout the South photographing and recording musicians hidden by poverty and geography. The Foundation works to assist these musicians in earning an income from their work, while booking them gigs, sharing their music with the world and also helping to alleviate their poverty by providing artist grants through their sustenance program. After releasing their first book, Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America, in 2002, the Duffys wrote this follow-up to both coincide with the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary and to tell stories that were not featured in the first book. We Are the Music Makers features over 65 photographs taken by Tim Duffy over the past 20 years of artists he has worked with, along with the stories and songs from these musicians. Accompanying the book is a two-disc CD of the same name.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Michael Ross, author of THE GREAT NEW ORLEANS KIDNAPPING CASE: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era, discusses and signs his book at Octavia Books. In June 1870, the residents of the city of New Orleans were already on edgewhen two African American women kidnapped seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby from in front of her New Orleans home. It was the height of Radical Reconstruction, and the old racial order had been turned upside down: black men now voted, held office, sat on juries, and served as policemen. Nervous white residents, certain that the end of slavery and resulting “Africanization” of the city would bring chaos, pointed to the Digby abduction as proof that no white child was safe. Louisiana’s twenty-eight-year old Reconstruction governor, Henry Clay Warmoth, hoping to use the investigation of the kidnapping to validate his newly integrated police force to the highly suspicious white population of New Orleans, saw to it that the city’s best Afro-Creole detective, John Baptiste Jourdain, was put on the case, and offered a huge reward for the return of Mollie Digby and the capture of her kidnappers. When the Associated Press sent the story out on the wire, newspaper readers around the country began to follow the New Orleans mystery. Eventually, police and prosecutors put two strikingly beautiful Afro-Creole women on trial for the crime, and interest in the case exploded as a tense courtroom drama unfolded.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm the Nix Branch of the New Orleans Public Library features Author Michael Patrick Welch & Friends: An Evening of Words, Music & Video. Michael Patrick Welch is the author of five books, including The Donkey Show and New Orleans: The Underground Guide. Also included are journalist Jules Bently and authors Brian Boyles and Gwendolyn Knapp.

& Thursday at 7 pm the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hosts its bi-weekly Fiction Writers Group, a support group for serious writers of fiction. The group does 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 Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Also at 6 Thursday Garden District Books features Literature of Belief with R. B. O’Gorman, Kaye Park Hinkley, and David Beckett.

  • Fatal Rhythm: In the pre-dawn hours of the graveyard shift, the ICU at the Houston Heart Institute is quiet, and quietly patients are dying. Surgery resident Joe Morales dreams of becoming a rich heart doctor. First, he must survive his assignment to an ICU rife with land mines–unexplained patient deaths, rival faculty, fellow resident saboteurs, a cost-slashing administrator, a ruthless insurance executive, a seductive head nurse, a jealous wife, a critically ill son, an overprotective mother, and an orderly distraught over his daughter’s death. To salvage the career he thought he wanted, Joe must determine the cause of the suspicious deaths. In the process, he’s forced to re-examine the ethnic and religious heritage that he had rejected.
  • Birds of a Feather: “The short stories in Birds of a Feather are richly imagined tales full of finely drawn characters who demonstrate how people estranged from faith can bumble through life so distracted by worldly horrors and delights, so full of themselves, that they don’t even notice faint nudges of grace that stir in their souls or recognize subtle emanations of the holy that abound in the world around them.” –The Catholic World Report</liL
  • The Cana Mystery: Ava, an MIT graduate student and expert in ancient languages, is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from an old friend, Paul, with a baffling request: Could she fly to Yemen immediately? Hes found something important and needs her help. Pauls subsequent coded e-mail alludes to what he and his boss, Simon Demaj, have found: the lost jars of Cana the very jars that Jesus used at the wedding at Canaand a puzzle to be solved. Are the jars authentic, and is there a prophecy somehow hidden in them? At the same time a shocking global announcement is made: . . . Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign for the good of the church . . . Is there a connection?

& Friday at 6 pm at Octavia Books, from award-winning, Los Angeles Times bestselling author Jervey Tervalon comes MONSTER’S CHEF, a highly clever, twisting tale of suspense involving drugs, perverse sex, and poisonous celebrity worship, in which a man trying to rebuild his life becomes entangled in dangerous and deadly circumstances. Once upon a time, Gibson was a successful chef with a popular restaurant and a beautiful loving wife. He was also a drug addict with a habit that nearly destroyed him. Fresh out of rehab, he’s now using his skills to feed his fellow halfway house residents budget gourmet meals—a talent that attracts two shady women who offer him a job cooking for a music superstar named Monster. Though Gibson doesn’t have a good feeling about his seeming good fortune, he needs a job. Arriving on Monster’s compound, Gibson senses that trouble is still on his tail. First, he’s asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Then he meets the compound’s gardener, who warns him not to go outside at night—and tells him that to stay alive he must see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing.

& On Friday at 6 Garden District Books features Timothy Duffy’s We Are the Music Makers, with live music from Major Handy. Consolation to the lovelorn, courage to the oppressed, warning to the naive or a ticket to the Promised Land, a great song can deliver the wisdom of ages directly to our souls. Deeply personal and implausibly universal, the blues, jazz, gospel and old time music of the American South form a deep aquifer that contemporary musicians all around the world drink from daily. The music is constantly expanding and morphing into country, rock, rap and soul, but trace the origins and you will find yourself standing squarely in the South. In the pages of We are the Music Makers, we present portraits of these artists: fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, daughters and sons, grandparents and neighbors, who continue to lovingly stir the South’s musical stew and feed American culture. Features over 65 photographs taken by Tim Duffy over twenty years along with stories and songs.
Character sketches and black and white photographs of great American musicians Etta Baker, John Dee Holeman, Jerry Boogie McCain, Taj Mahal, Willie King, Othar Turner, Little Freddie King, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ironing Board Sam, and the original guiding light for the Foundations formation, Guitar Gabriel, are shared in the book. The book also highlights other artists nestled deep in southern culture and telling a hidden story of American music. The book also highlights the musicians vital role in Southern culture.

& 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.he

& Saturday at 10 am the SOLA Chapter of Romance Writers of America meets at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. Monthly business meeting of members, a speaker on literary matters and craft of writing fiction.

& Saturdays at 11:30 am its Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop. This week Ryan Adam will read and sign New Orleans Mother Goose. Mother Goose takes a trip down South in this new and hilarious collection of nursery rhymes. A cast of classical characters is reimagined on a streetcar, in the French Quarter, and on the bayous. Come celebrate the fun of the Crescent City with such rhymes as “Peter, Peter Gumbo Mixer,” “Old King Rex,” and “Sing, Song of Parades.” Witty and charming, these jazzy rhymes will delight every Jacques and Gilles. Bright illustrations lovingly depict the sights and sounds of the city. Mardi Gras, music, and food are just some of the topics included with a light touch and a sense of humor. This collection will become a favorite read-aloud for locals and visitors alike.

& This Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open midc The Maple Leaf is the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. .

& Monday brings the monthly meeting of the New Orleans Haiku Society at the Latter Memorial Libary. The Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& 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 the Maple Leaf Book Shop on Tuesday it’s Addie and Jeremy Martin’s Southeast Louisiana Food: Launch Party. The cuisine of Southeast Louisiana is informed by a unique landscape. Defined by water—Vermillion Bay to the west, marshlands to the east, the Mississippi River to the north and the Gulf Coast to the south—the scenery transitions from verdant swamps to open seas stocked with diverse wildlife. The indigenous Cajun cuisine is a cultural blend three centuries in the making, with traces of American Indian, French, German, Italian and African heritage. To feed themselves and bourgeoning markets, locals built formidable aquaculture empires. Eventually, the area became less isolated, offering more opportunity while threatening traditions. With interviews and family recipes, authors Addie K. and Jeremy Martin present the history behind this enchanting culinary tradition.

& Tuesday at Garden District Books at 6 Wayne Curtis discusses his book The Last Great Walk: The True Story of a 1909 Walk from New York to San Francisco, and Why It Matters Today. In 1909, Edward Payson Weston walked from New York to San Francisco, covering around 40 miles a day and greeted by wildly cheering audiences in every city. The New York Times called it the”first bona-fide walk . . . across the American continent,” and eagerly chronicled a journey in which Weston was beset by fatigue, mosquitoes, vicious headwinds, and brutal heat. He was 70-years-old. Using the framework of Weston’s fascinating and surprising story, journalist Wayne Curtis investigates exactly what we lost when we turned away from foot travel, and what we could potentially regain with America’s new embrace of pedestrianism. From how our brains and legs evolved to accommodate our ancient traveling needs to the way that American cities have been designed to cater to cars and discourage pedestrians, Curtis guides readers through an engaging, intelligent exploration of how something as simple as the way we get from one place to another continues to shape our health, our environment, and even our national identity. Not walking, he argues, may be one of the most radical things humans have ever done.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event! Zion by Dayne Sherman. Zion is a literary mystery set in the rural South, the story of a war fought over the killing hardwood trees in Baxter Parish, and replacing them with more commercial pine trees. The tale begins in 1964 and ends a decade later, but the Hardin family, faithful members of Little Zion Methodist Church, will carry the scars for life. This 304-page novel is religious from the outset, a book that explores the darkness and light of family relationships. Dayne Sherman is a high school dropout from Natalbany, Louisiana. He worked a variety of jobs as a grocery store clerk, carpenter’s helper, door-to-door rat poison distributor, watermelon salesman, itinerant Baptist preacher, English-as-a-Second-Language teacher in Russia, paid fitness instructor and currently as a full professor of library science. At 18 years of old, he took the GED and earned master degrees from LSU and Southeastern Louisiana University. Sherman’s first novel, Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, was published by MacAdams/Cage in 2004. It was named a Best Debut of the Year by The New Orleans Times Picayune and a Notable Book by Book Sense. Recently, Welcome to the Fallen Paradise was the sole “Louisiana” pick for Booklist’s “Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Country Noir.” Sherman’s writing has appeared in many literary magazines, and one of his short stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sherman lives in Ponchatoula.

& 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 the Latter Memorial Library A Book Club Named Desire meets. Adults meet to discuss a local classic every fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 pm. For more information, contact Toni at tlmccourt@hotmail.com.

& At 8 pm Wednesday it is Poetry & Music at BJs’ Blood Jet Series at BJ’s at 8 pm. This week’s features are Vernon Fowlkes & Jordan Soyka. Fowlkes is the author of The Sound of Falling lives in Mobile, Alabama with his wife of 40+ years, Mary. His poems have appeared in various magazines and literary journals across the country, among them The Southern Review, Elk River Review, The Texas Observer, Willow Springs, JAMA, and Birmingham Arts Journal. Soyka grew up in Wisconsin and lives in New Orleans, where he heads the local chapter of The Poetry Brothel. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in GlitterPony, >kill author, Cave Wall, The Quarterly Conversation, La Petite Zine, Horse Less Review, Spork, and the anthology Fuck Poems.

& Wednesday at 6 Garden District Books hosts Susan Morse and The Dog Stays in the Picture. It is November 2009, and after months of mourning the loss of Arrow, their beloved Australian shepherd mutt, the Morse family is finally ready to adopt a new dog. David’s acting jobs keep him away from home for long stretches of time, Eliza is happily situated at college, and the twin boys are wrapped up in their senior year of high school. This time it’s Susan’s turn to pick the dog, and she probably should have thought a little more carefully before falling for a retired racing greyhound. Enter Lilly, who lands like a disoriented neutron bomb in Susan’s comfortable suburban home after living the first three years of her life in the rugged and ruthless world of the racetrack. Instantly lovable but hopelessly inept at domesticity, Lilly turns out to be more than Susan bargained for, throwing all the Morses’ plans for their long-anticipated, footloose empty-nest years into complete disarray. Lilly imprints on Susan instantly, following her “everywhere,” determined not to let her out of sight, threatening mass destruction when left home alone. Despite David’s valiant attempts at camaraderie, Lilly absolutely refuses to trust him–or anyone else, for that matter. And as they soon discover, Lilly, like most greyhounds, finds it nearly impossible to climb stairs. In The Dog Stays in the Picture, Susan Morse chronicles Lilly’s life at home as she moves from bewildered entrant to adored family stalwart–and tells the hilarious and moving story of how an anxious dog and an anxious woman find tranquility together.

& 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!).

Ghosts of the Flood August 29, 2014

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, Corps of Engineers, Fargo, Federal Flood, Flood, FYYFF, Hurricane Katrina, je me souviens, memoir, postdiluvian, Shield of Beauty, The Dead, The Narrative, The Typist, We Are Not OK.
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” . . . so many, / I had not thought death had undone so many . . . ”
The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

Sometimes I feel them, my wife told me, their spirits, as I’m driving down the street. All that suffering, she explains, all those people. As if 300 years of yellow fever and the lash, the lynchings and gansta gun battles weren’t enough to populate a parallel city of spirits in this place where tombs are mansions and burials a celebration, the Flood came.

Now there is a brooding presence even in the bright of day, looming over us all like a storm-bent house on the verge of collapse. These empty shells of former lives that line so many streets are a daily reminder of the vast catastrophe; the windows staring lifelessly at broken sidewalks, the facades washed pale and colorless. Each still bears the esoteric marks of the searchers that mimic the scratching on tombs in the old cemeteries, some the dreaded number at the bottom that totals up the lost.

The tally marked beneath the cross now rises to 1577, a crowed like that described by Eliot. I imagine not a host but solitary figures, the ghosts we know from childhood stories. In their newness to death, I picture them wandering as curious as children in the house of an aged aunt, getting underfoot and touching what they should not, interrupting and making unwelcome mischief. The brush of their passing is still strong enough to reach out and touch a good Catholic girl from North Dakota, one as innocent of the spiritualist shadows cast by every flickering candle flame before a New Orleans saint’s statue as a Midwesterner could possibly be.

Even the most rationale and disinclined among us imagine ghosts in a city this old, where the steamy air is a tangible presence on the skin and lights flash erratically in the night through the stirrings of the thick, tangled foliage, where the old houses creak and groan as they settle into the soft earth like old men lowering themselves into a chair. Once I wished to experience that touch of the other, a product of reading too much fantastic fiction. One of the signature scenes in film for me is John Cassavettes as a modern Prospero in The Tempest, standing in his urban tower and saying, “Show me the magic.” For him, the sky erupts in lightening. I would sometime catch myself whispering those words, but they were simply blown away by the night wind.

Then one bright August afternoon I was sitting in my idling car in my driveway in Fargo, North Dakota. At just before five o’clock that 29th of August a string of Carnival beads which hung from my rearview mirror–black and gold beads interspersed with black voodoo figures­–suddenly burst. It seemed strange at the time that they would break as the car sat still, would break at the bottom and not at the top where they routinely rubbed against the mirror post, where the string was tied off, the knot weakening the line. It was not the way that I, as a sailor with some idea of how a line will wear, would expect them to break.

Perhaps the beads slid about at the end of the string as I drove around, causing the string to wear through at the bottom, so that it was inevitable that is where they would break first, given enough corners turned, sufficient applications of the accelerator and brake. The timing of just before five o’clock on that Monday in August of 2005 was just a coincidence, the inevitable laws of physics unfolding without regard for the observer and his sense of time.

Be careful what you wish for is the lesson we learned in a dozen fairy tales. The longed for touch of the other, and the tide that washed me up on the shores of my personal Ithaca, into this house on Toulouse Street in the only place I have ever thought of as home, came with a terrible price: both are tainted with graveyard dust. I would undo it all in instant, if I only knew how.

I’ve written this post before–or ones very like it, that tell this story of the broken beads–and then deleted them. It seems just too strange and personal a tale to share with just any aimless visitor wandering the Internet. What will people think? I ask myself in a voice that sounds vaguely like my mother’s. What if some future employer Googles up this article? worries the husband with a mortgage and two children to raise. I don’t expect them to understand.

Unless you learned from the maid that cleaned your family home that crossing two matchsticks in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary and sprinkling them with salt would bring rain, unless you believed that a piece of candy found on the ground could be made safe to eat by making the sign of the cross over it, if people did not come in the night and scratch odd marks on certain tombs on the grounds where your family is buried; if these were not part of your earliest experience, then my tale of the broken beads sounds like the product of an overworked imagination, something like Scrooge’s undigested bit of beef, a spot of mustard.

There is a spectre over New Orleans. As the August anniversary slipped away, I thought the grim, invisible cloud that hung over the city would begin to drift away. Instead, as the weeks passed, I was increasingly convinced: everyone in New Orleans was haunted. You could see it in people’s eyes, in the way they walked, hear it in the words they spoke, or the ones they wrote online as they spoke about their lingering pain. It was a spirit as much inside as out, the ghost in the machine that haunted our every step.

Then came the Monday Night Football game. I thought about the curse of the Superdome, the one that suggests destruction of the Girod Street Cemetery has cursed the ground and all who play there. Was the spirit of the people in the Dome that night just the charm needed to lay that particular haunting to rest, to break that curse? The morning after the strut in people’s step, the lilt of their voices told me that perhaps, just perhaps a healing had begun. We were not a city in need of an exorcism: we were the exorcism.

The ghost of the Flood is now a part of who we are. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it is ectoplasm or the synchronized firing of a million neurons in ways science does not yet understand. In the end we have to come to term with it. This is something that we as Orleanians, the people who live next to our dead in their exclusive farbourgs of marble and white-washed stone, should be able to do.

We need to honor these dead and respect them, not with the weight of Confucian ancestor worship but in the simple spirit of the pre-Confucian Japanese who venerated odd stones, in the ways inherent in our own Latin roots mingled with the traditions of Africa, where the community of saints and the loa of Africa intersect. We don’t need an exorcism. We need a conjuration, a ritual that calls up the ghosts and honors them, that welcomes them in the way the way the devotees of Vodoun welcome the possession of the loa.

Perhaps next August 29, we should all tie a brown cord on some pillar or post of the house at just the point where we have carefully painted over the water stain. Just above that, we should mark in dust of ground gypsum the rescue symbol that is now as much a part of our selves and our city as the sign of the cross. We will do this to tell whoever is listening—Our Father, Oshun, Mother of God, ghosts of the Flood—we remember. We have suffered, and we will never forget the Flood and those who did not come through. We are the people who came through and came back. We remember the lost. We remember you. Je me souviens.

When we accept and embrace this spirit, perhaps the haunting will end once and for all, will not be a permanent pall over the city, a fearful sound in the night like a howling in the wires, or an unpleasant knotting in the stomach as we pass an abandoned house. It will cease when it becomes instead like the glinting of the sun on white-washed stone above the neat green grass of the cemeteries, just another comfortable part of who we are.

First posted Oct. 5, 2006 on Wet Bank Guide.

Odd Words August 13, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Another quiet week in literary New Orleans until we celebrate Charles Bukowski’s birthday Saturday at the Loa Bar starting at 8 pm. Then things might living up just a bit. (Details below). Until then, don’t wake the librarians.

Last spring, Press Street unveiled in a soft opening the new Reading Room 220 on the first floor of our headquarters on St. Claude Avenue. The community space—which hosts events, adult writing workshops, Big Class activities, and more—includes a collection of quality books and periodicals that span subject, format, and genre. Many are from independent publishers and are not readily available in bookstores and libraries around town. As we continue to acquire books and catalog and organize our collection (which will soon be available for your perusal on Goodreads), we will feature some of the noteworthy publications that you can find at the Reading Room 220. Press Street/Room 220 is located at 3718 Saint Claude Avenue. Press Street is open from 12-5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Call for additional hours: 504-298-3161.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out the weekly Spoken Word event #WordConnections at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Thursday 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. Location: Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library

& 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.

& George Gurtner will be signing his book, Cast of Characters, Saturday at 11 am – 1 pm at Maple Street Book Shop. Cast of Characters comprises colorful true stories of life in and around the Big Easy. Selected from the column of the same name written for 35 years by George Gurtner in New Orleans Magazine, this collection of unusual people— from creative loners to lovable freaks and many gradations between— is testimony to why New Orleans continues to be the most interesting city in the country. Foreword by Erroll Laborde, photos accompanying most characters by Frank Methe.

& Saturday celebrate Charles Bukowski’s birthday with a special event at Loa Bar located on the corner of Camp and Gravier Streets from 8 – 11 PM. Specials will include ham on rye sandwiches, stiff spirits and a toast at 10 pm. Also salon style poetry readings by celebrity guess and an open mic. There will also be a silent film and music. Special Guests include publisher and book collector Edwin blair, Author jeff weddle, International Gold Medal winner and poet Sarah Gamard, author and journalist Steve Garbarino. Rare first editions from Bukowski’s work from Loujon Press and others will be on display.

& 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 is an open mic.

& The monthly meeting of the New Orleans Haiku Society takes place at the Latter Memorial Library, That cool grey temple/Shaded by green oak trees on/St. Charles Avenue, at 6 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.

& 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.

& 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!) 

Odd Words July 31, 2014

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

& Thursday at 6 pm check out Team Slam New Orleans at the #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& On Thursday at 5 p.m. Octavia Books culminates their Find Waldo in New Orleans program with fun, games and the drawing of The Grand Prize (and lots of other prizes) for everyone who found Waldo in New Orleans this July. Regardless of your age, you are encouraged to come in costume. The event is being recorded by MSNBC for national broadcast. And if you haven’t found Waldo yet, there is still time – but hurry!!!

& On Friday at 6 p.m. Garden District Book Shops hosts Rolland Golden’s Rolland Golden: Life, Love, and Art in the French Quarter at the Garden District Gallery, 1332 Washington, New Orleans 70130. In the early twentieth century, the French Quarter had become home to a vibrant community of working artists attracted to the atmosphere, architecture, and colorful individuals who populated the scene (and who also became some of its first preservationists). Louisiana native Rolland Golden was one of these artists to live, work, and raise a family in this most storied corner of New Orleans. With 94 black-and-white and 54 color photographs and illustrations, his memoir of that life focuses on the period of 1955 to 1976. Golden, a painter, discusses the particular challenges of making a living from art, and his story becomes a family affair involving his daughters and his beloved wife, Stella.

& Saturday at 11:30 am Maple Street Book Shop hosts Connie Collins Morgan reading and signing The Runaway Beignet. In the heart of New Orleans lived an old baker named Marcel who made the most delicious beignets in the entire city. While his heart is filled with kindness, his home is cold and lonely. To repay some gratitude, a mysterious stranger grants Marcel a wish with his magic bag of sugar in this Louisiana-flavored retelling of a classic tale. Out of the sugared pastry pops the beignet boy with a penchant for trouble, who zips from Canal Street through Jackson Square and the French Market. His hilarious antics, a smattering of French phrases, and New Orleans cultural icons scattered like powdered sugar on the deliciously re-spun story will delight readers of all ages. Illustrator Herb Leonhard brings this little beignet to life with a mischievous grin and a sprinkle of sugar. His images of New Orleans dance across the pages, bringing a true taste of the city to the story. Author Connie Collins Morgan draws upon her memories of life in Louisiana—and her favorite treats—to make this retelling stand apart from the rest with an infectious jazz beat and the sweet aroma of magic sugar in its wake.

&Saturday at 2 p.m. the Latter Memorial Library hosts the monthly Poetry Buffet hosted by Gina Ferrara. This month features poets Asia Rainey, M.e. Riley, and Jordan Soyka .

& 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 is T.B.A as of Thursday.

& Join Team Slam New Orleans Sunday evening at 7 p.m at the Shadow Box Theater for their August Open Mic + Slam and help send Team SNO off to the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, CA. $5 Admission. Free to slam.

& 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.

& Later Tuesday Maple Street Book Shop’s The First Tuesday Book Club will meet at 5:45 p.m. Their August selection is Midnight in Peking. Newcomers are always welcome! Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger Chronicling an incredible unsolved murder, Midnight in Peking captures the aftermath of the brutal killing of a British schoolgirl in January 1937. The mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower, which, according to local superstition, is home to the maliciously seductive fox spirits. As British detective Dennis and Chinese detective Han investigate, the mystery only deepens and, in a city on the verge of invasion, rumor and superstition run rampant. Based on seven years of research by historian and China expert Paul French, this true-crime thriller presents readers with a rare and unique portrait of the last days of colonial Peking.

& 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 night at 6:30 Fleur de Lit and the Pearl Wine Co. present Reading Between the Wines. This month’s featured readers are Sally Asher , Sherry Lee Alexander and Stephanie Grace who will discuss their careers in journalism, how it affects their writing, and shared their interesting stories about New Orleans.

& 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!) 

While I’m still recovering from jet lag, for events at your local library please visit Nutrias.org for the New Orleans Public Library and http://www.jefferson.lib.la.us for Jefferson Parish.

Odd Words June 17, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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& This Thursday Maple Street Book Shop hosts Bonnie Warren and her book New Orleans Historic Homes. New Orleans is world famous for its unique residents and stunning architecture. Those who live in the Crescent City have crafted homes to suit their tastes and needs, creating some of the most beautiful, fascinating structures in the nation. Explore the private homes of renowned neighborhoods, including the Garden District, the French Quarter, Bayou St. John, the Bywater, and the Faubourg Marigny. Warren profiles the residents, their relationships to their homes, and well-known former occupants. Homeowners discuss the histories of their houses, detailing renovations and repairs and expounding upon striking the balance between preserving history and infusing the home with personal style.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Alan Furst’s book MIDNIGHT IN EUROPE. The New York Times bestselling author Alan Furst, the “most talented espionage novelist of our generation” (Vince Flynn), now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic and richly rendered novel of spies and espionage, in Paris, New York and Madrid, on the eve of World War II.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Karen White’s book A LONG TIME GONE. When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back, as generations of the women in her family had. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s exactly what happens—Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children. What she hopes to find is solace with “Bootsie,” her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. But instead she finds that her grandmother has died and that her estranged mother is drifting further away from her memories. Now Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she herself once was

& 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 a Summer Solstice Open Mike.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator.

& 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 hosts a presentation and signing with presidential biorgrapher Nigel Hamilton featuring his new book, THE MANTLE OF COMMAND: FDR at War, 1941-1942. In time for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a close, in-the-room look at how President Roosevelt took masterful command and control of the Second World War, from wresting key decisions away from Churchill and his own generals, to launching the first successful trial landing in North Africa, and beginning to turn the tide away from the Axis.

& 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.

& 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!)

& Wednesday at 8 pm at the Allways, Esoterotica presents “Tantalizing Travels in Desirous Destination!”, an evening of erotic writings.

N.B. The Blood Jet and Tender Loin reading series are adjourned until the Fall.

I am in Europe in a literary workshop for a month. Please get me your events as early as possible through the end of July so I can keep up Odd Words catch as catch can.

Odd Words June 11, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Andre Dubus III’s DIRTY LOVE. In this heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning, beloved and celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love. In these linked novellas in which characters walk out the back door of one story and into the next, love is “dirty”-tangled up with need, power, boredom, ego, fear, and fantasy. Slivered by happiness and discontent, aging and death, but also persistent hope and forgiveness, these beautifully wrought narratives express extraordinary tenderness toward human beings, our vulnerable hearts and bodies, our fulfilling and unfulfilling lives alone and with others.

& Thursday 5:30 pm the Nix Library features Hope and New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names. Author and photographer Sally Asher reads from her new book, a tour of the city’s most colorfully named streets and intersections

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& 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 Fiction writer Louie Crowder reads from and signs his new book, In Irons from Gallatin & Toulouse Press.

& This Monday New Orleans celebrates Bloomsday upstairs at The Irish House, 1432 St. Charles Ave. for Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses, sponsored by Crescent City Books. Come read or just join us and enjoy good food and drink (for purchase) from acclaimed Chef Matt Murphy. All are welcome to read, time permitting, up to 10 minutes max.
Featuring guest readers: Brian Boyles, Pandora Gastelum, Susan Larson, Stephen Rea, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and members of the New Orleans Poetry Brothel

& On Monday at 6 pm Garden District Books hosts Scott Cowen’s The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and The Future of Urban America, co-written with Betsy Seifer. This is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities. Ordinary citizens, empowered to actively rescue their own city after politicians and government officials failed them, have succeeded in rebuilding their world. Cowen was at the leading edge of those who articulated, shaped, and implemented a vision of transformative change that has yielded surprising social progress and economic growth: a drowned city identified with the shocking images of devastation and breakdown has transformed itself into a mecca of growth, opportunity, and hope.

& On Monday the Jefferson Parish Library continues hosting The Artists’ Way Seminar, a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator.

& 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.

& 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!)

Next Wednesday I will be in transit to Europe. Please get me your events as early as possible starting next week through the end of July.

Odd Words May 28, 2014

Posted by The Typist in art, books, Creative Non-Fiction, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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&Thursday at 5:30 pm Author Deborah Burst will discuss, Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Churches, Cathedrals & Sanctuaries, herhistory and architecture of churches in the New Orleans area, and their place in the local community at the Nix Library .

&Garden District Book Shop hosts Amy Conner’s The Right Thing Thursday at 6 pm. In her compassionate and lyrical debut novel, Amy Conner explores female friendship, loyalty, and the realities of class and race in a small Southern town. Through chapters alternating between 1963 and 1990, The Right Thing follows two little girls whose lifetime commitment to each other bonds them into adulthood despite their differences: money and the lack of it, the hard realities of class and race in a small Southern town, and how those factors worked to shape their lives. The Right Thing is also a midnight road trip to the New Orleans’ Fairgrounds Race Track, a dog-napping, a one-night stand and an evening spent in the trailer of a transsexual. It’s a southern country lane with potholes, twists and turns on the way to an inevitable yet satisfying ending. It’s a story about one woman’s coming of age at 35, what we owe the people we love and how to navigate compromise and principle.

& Thursday at 6 pm check out #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe.
& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& The New Orleans Public Library Summer Reading Program Fizz Boom Read kicks off Friday and Satuday with events at branches all across the city. You can get all the details here. Here’s the list: ALGIERS REGIONAL LIBRARY – Noon-2pm – 3014 Holiday Dr. – 596-2641 Science experiments, crafts, and cool snacks. ALVAR LIBRARY – 2pm-3:30p – 913 Alvar St. – 596-2667 Crafts, make-your-own ice cream sundaes, and a Mentos fountain. CHILDREN’S RESOURCE CENTER LIBRARY – 11am-3pm – 913 Napoleon Ave. – 596-2628 Storytimes, crafts, cake and snacks, and a super special science experiment. Children and teens can draw their version of the Summer Reading Program themes, Children’s “Fizz, Boom, Read!” or Teen “Spark a Reaction.” EAST NEW ORLEANS REGIONAL LIBRARY – 10am-4pm – 5641 Read Blvd. – 596-0200 10:am – Noon Sign Up for Summer Reading Program online in the Tech Lab – All ages welcome Noon – 1:30pm Zumba for Teens in the Teen Room – Healthy Snacks 1pm – 2pm Futter-by Butterflies Story Time & Footprint Painting of Butterflies Craft on the Front Lawn—Ages 2-8 2pm – 4pm Serving Cake – All ages welcome HUBBELL LIBRARY – 2pm-4pm – 725 Pelican Ave. – 596-3113 Snacks, crafts, and a Summer Reading Robot building project. ROSA F. KELLER LIBRARY & COMMUNITY CENTER – 10am-2pm – 4300 S. Broad – 596-2660 Crafts, stories, and treats. LATTER LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 5120 St. Charles Ave. – 596-2625 Summer reading program sign-up and book giveaways, face painting, yard games, crafts and storytime on demand. MAIN LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 219 Loyola Ave. – 596-2588 Loud entertainment by the Noisician Coalition. Crafts, fun snacks, Summer Reading Program Sign-ups, giveaways, and a science experiment. MID-CITY LIBRARY – 1pm-3pm – 3700 Orleans Ave. – 596-2654 Refreshments, experiments, and giveaways. NORMAN MAYER LIBRARY – Noon-2pm – 3001 Gentilly Blvd. – 596-3100 Crafts, treats, and giveaways. Philip Melancon will be singing silly songs and telling silly stories at 1 pm. NIX LIBRARY – 11am-3pm – 1401 S. Carrollton Ave. – 596-2630 Local storyteller Mama Saba. Science experiments, crafts, face painting, chalk art, and the Roman Candy cart. SMITH LIBRARY – 10am-4pm – 6301 Canal Blvd. – 596-263

&Friday at 8 pm author, poet and satirist Chris Champagne presents a stage show about his father, Ed Champagne’s football career. At LSU with Y A Tittle and Steve Van Buren and in the NFL’s LA Rams where he played alongside Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Bob Waterfield, Tank Younger and others. Multi media-video, photos, audio and a human. At the Mid City Theater. By admission.

& Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm Librarypalooza, two kick-off events for the Jefferson Parish Library’s Summer Reading Program, will occur on Saturday, May 31, at the Eastbank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Blvd, Metairie, and the Jane O’Brien Chatelain Westbank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan, Harvey. Librarypalooza is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. Teens have their own event at the East Jefferson Regional Library at 1 pm titled “We Are Sparking a Reaction – Ice Cream Sundae Experiment.” Teens are invited to “experiment” with a variety of toppings at the sundae bar and they will be encouraged to sign up for summer reading. Anyone who signs up during the party will win a free book. The teen center also will have crafts, gaming, a photo booth and more. For full details on all the activities, visit the Jefferson Parish Regional Library calendar of events.

& Garden District Books hosts Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning Saturday at 1 pm . Natchez Burning, the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage. Penn’s quest for the truth sends him deep into his father’s past, where a sexually charged secret lies waiting to tear their family apart. More chilling, this long-buried sin is only a single thread in a conspiracy of greed and murder involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the state. Aided by a dedicated reporter privy to Natchez’s oldest secrets and by his fiancée, Caitlin Masters, Penn uncovers a trail of corruption and brutality that places his family squarely in the Double Eagles’ cross-hairs. With every step costing blood and faith, Penn is forced to confront the most wrenching dilemma of his life: Does a man of honor choose his father or the truth?

& Saturday join Press Street at 6 pm for the FEAST yer eyes Comix/ Illustration Anthology release party and Cirkus Optikus Live Comix Reading! See some of your favorite local comic artists reading live on stage.

& Kenny Harrison will be signing his books Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach and Hide and Seek Harry Around the House Sunday at 11 am at Maple Street Book Shop. Harry likes to play hide-and-seek, but it’s hard to hide a hippo! Little readers will love being in on the joke as they spot the formidable Harry. Kenny Harrison worked for thirty-two years as an award-winning artist for his local newspaper before pursuing his passion: writing and illustrating children’s books. He now works in both traditional and digital techniques. Raised in New York City, he now lives in New Orleans with his wife, two children, and a menagerie of rescue pets.

& Sunday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features Nathan Deuel’s Friday Was the Bomb. In 2008, Nathan Deuel, the former editor at Rolling Stone and The Village Voice, and his wife, a National Public Radio foreign correspondent, moved to the deeply Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to see for themselves what was happening in the Middle East. There they had a daughter, and later, while his wife filed reports from Baghdad and Syria, car bombs erupted and one night a firefight raged outside the family’s apartment in Beirut. Their marriage strained, and they struggled with the decision to stay or go home. At once a meditation on fatherhood, an unusual memoir of a war correspondent’s spouse, and a first-hand account from the front lines of the most historic events of recent days—the Arab Spring, the end of the Iraq war, and the unrest in Syria—Friday Was The Bomb is a searing collection of timely and absorbing essays.

& 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 poet Danny Kerwick.

& 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 join Slam New Orleans for their second monthly open mic and slam of the new season at the The Shadowbox Theatre. Admission $5

& 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 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts one of a 12-part series of seminars based on the classic book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity, by American author Julia Cameron, with Mark Bryan. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection. Cherie Cazanavette is the group moderator. Free of charge and open to the public.

&Tuesday at 2 pm Making the Nix Library features Comics with Happy Presented by Harriet Burbeck Children will explore visual narrative by making small comic books and creating their own visual stories

& On Tuesday at 6 pm, just in time for the opening of the new hurricane season, Nicholas Meis comes to Octavia Books to present and sign the new book he has co-authored, NEW ORLEANS HURRICANES FROM THE START. While hurricanes of various sizes and strengths have impacted the Crescent City since its earliest settlement in 1718, there is little record of the magnitude and regularity of these storms. In this work, authors David F. Bastian and Nicholas J. Meis delve into a wealth of historical documents, journals, newspaper articles, and expert analyses in order to characterize and analyze the storms that have affected our region since the first colonizers set foot on the Mississippi delta in the late seventeenth century. Using letters, personal diaries, official records, newspaper articles, and expert analyses, Bastian and Meis delve into the effects of the monstrous storms that have irreparably impacted south Louisiana, including what went awry during Katrina in 2005. Also examined is the evolution of New Orleans’s protection systems as well as what the city can do to avoid another catastrophe.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets 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.

& Wednesday at 6:30 pm Fleur de Lit’s June Reading Between the Wines will feature Greg Herren (Lake Thirteen is his newest), Bill Loehfelm (The Devil in Her Way is his newest), Chris Wiltz (Shoot the Money & The Last Madam are her most recent), Jean Redmann (Ill Will is her newest), N.S. Patrick (Murder of Wednesday’s Children & Jack the Ripper), and Erica Spindler (Justice for Sara). At the American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave.

& 8 p.m. every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. This week’s features are Brett Evans & Christopher Shipman.

& Wednesday at 8 pm Esoterotica: Original Erotic Readings by Local Writers presents Esoterotica is Unthemed, So Anything Goes-Summer Edition! at the Allways.

& 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!)

& Enrollment is now open for The Loyola Writing Institute summer classes. Register now to get into the class you want. To receive email notification and complete schedules of upcoming classes, email chambers@loyno.edu. The Loyola Writing Institute has been offering writing courses to the New Orleans community since 1993. These eight-week evening non-credit classes are open to all (adults 21 and up), to aspiring writers and writers of all levels. Classes meet uptown on the Loyola University campus. All classes, taught by experienced published writers, are small and supportive. Classes capped at twelve participants. $250.* Deadline for enrollment June 14. Details on the courses on their website: http://www.loyno.edu/wpc/loyola-writing-institute.

& The New Orleans Museum of Art Book Club’s June Selections are Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino and/or Stealing Athena: A Novel by Karen Essex. Join the NOMA Book Club! Each month we read art-related fiction and non-fiction, and engage in discussion groups and programs. Book Club members may buy their reading selections at the NOMA Museum Shop at a 20% discount. Call the Shop at (504) 658-4133 for more information.
Looking ahead to a busy next week:

& Peeking ahead, on Sunday, June 8 is a special evening with Khaled Hosseini – #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE KITE RUNNER – celebrating the paperback release of AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. The author will be interviewed before a live audience by Louisiana Cultural Vistas editor David Johnson. Octavia Books is holding the event at Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue (at Calhoun), New Orleans, LA. Doors open at 4:300PM and the program will start promptly at 5:30. Tickets are required! The cost per ticket is the same as the price of the book. You will get to meet Khaled Hosseini in person while he signs your copy. Call or visit Octavia Books (or their website) to order tickets in advance.

& Also looking ahead to the following week there will be a Walker Percy Festival, A Literary Festival Celebrating the Writer and His Works June 6—8 in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Good food and drink, live music, and a great time talking about books and Southern culture under the live oaks: That’s what the inaugural Walker Percy Weekend has to offer when it celebrates the acclaimed novelist’s life and work in St. Francisville, June 6—8. * Tickets are limited and selling fast. You can get tickets here.

& Also in the near future: Ignatius’ Escape from Baton Rouge Tour!Lovers of A Confederacy of Dunces can feast on two exceptional events both guaranteed to deepen their love of the novel and increase their understanding of the author’s life and death. On Saturday, June 7, Ignatius’ Escape from Baton Rouge Bus Tour will retrace the steps of Confederacy protagonist, Igtnatius Reilly’s bus trip back to New Orleans after a disastrous job interview in Baton Rouge. Butterfly Toole biographer Cory MacLauchlin, author of Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of A Confederacy of Dunces will guide participants through John K Toole’s New Orleans from the Toole Collection at Tulane University Library, to several of Toole’s favorite watering holes in the French Quarter, Toole’s gravesite and finally for a private tour of The Lucky Dog Warehouse and a chance to feast on the iconic Lucky Dog, a Confederacy “character” itself. Along the way, MacLauchlin will regale you with little know facts and tales about Toole, his life and his literary masterpiece. The cost of the Tour is $100 (plus processing fees) per person and includes all transportation, meals, tours and presentations at the JKT Collection and Lucky Dog Warehouse. Seating is limited. Tickets may be purchase from The Manship Theatre Ticket Office. The Ignatius Escape Tour on Saturday will be followed on Sunday, June 8 with a 3 PM Matinee screening of The Omega Point documentary which will include a presentation by filmmaker, Joe Sanford and by Butterfly author, Cory MacLauchlin. There will also be the opportunity to purchase Butterfly in the Typewriter and have it signed by the author. Tickets for The Omega Point are$10 per person and also available at the Manship Theatre Ticket Office.

Odd Words May 21, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm is the one year anniversary of #wordconnections spoken word event at the Juju Bag Cafe, featuring heRO 44 featuring for the first time at #wordconnections. heRO 44 is Roosevelt Wright, III the author of two books, Tenacity, and The Power of Possibility. His third book, Rise Beyond Tolerance, is scheduled for release Summer 2014. He has starred in over 30 stage plays and has written and directed 4 of his own

& Thursday at 6:30 Bayou Magazine hosts a launch party for Issue No. 61 at the Mid-City Yacht Club featuring readings by Bayou Magazine Contributors, including this year’s James Knudsen Prize in Fiction Winner, Michael Gerhard Martin, Issue 60 essayist Juyanne James, Issue 60 poet Thomas Schwank, and Issue 59 James Knudsen Prize in Fiction Winner, Ari Braverman backed up by the musical stylings of The Shiz.

& Thursday at 7 pm James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop at the East Jefferson Regional Library to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) from 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with writer and Tulane University professor Thomas Beller featuring his new biography, J.D SALINGER: The Escape Artist, a spirited, deeply personal inquiry into the near-mythic life and canonical work of Salinger. Three years after his death at ninety-one, J.D. Salinger remains our most mythic writer. The Catcher in the Rye (1951) became an American classic, and he was for a long time the writer for The New Yorker. Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters introduced, by way of the Glass family, a new type in contemporary literature: the introspective, voluble cast of characters whose stage is the Upper East Side of New York. But fame proved a burden, and in 1963 Salinger fled to New Hampshire, spending the next half century in isolation.Beller has followed his subject’s trail, from his Park Avenue childhood to his final refuge, barnstorming across New England to visit various Salinger shrines, interviewing just about everyone alive who ever knew Salinger. The result is a quest biography in the tradition of Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage, a book as much about the biographer as about the subject-two vivid, entertaining stories in one.

& Saturday at 1 pm the Garden District Book Shop features Regina Charboneau’s Mississippi Current Cookbook: A Culinary Journey Down America’s Greatest River. Discover the diverse food and culinary traditions from the ten states that border America’s most important river–and the heart of American cuisine–with 200 contemporary recipes for 30 meals and celebrations, and more than 150 stunning photographs.

& 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.

& 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.

& All area libraries will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

& Tuesday at 6 pm the Garden District Book Shop features Barbara Herman’s Scent & Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume. Perfume has been — and continues to be — subversive. By playing with gender conventions, highlighting the ripe smells of the human body, or celebrating queer and louche identities, 20th-century perfume broke free from the assumptions of the prior century, and became a largely unrecognized part of the social and style revolutions of the modern era. In Scent and Subversion, Barbara Herman continues her irreverent, poetic, and often humorous analysis of vintage perfumes and perfume ads that she began on her popular blog YesterdaysPerfume.com. The book features descriptions of over 300 perfumes, starting with Fougère Royale (1882) and ending with Demeter’s Laundromat (2000).

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego 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 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 Garden District Book Shop features Ronlyn Domingue’s The Chronicle of Secret Riven. One thousand years after a great conflict known as The Mapmaker’s War, a daughter is born to an ambitious historian and a gifted translator. Secret Riven doesn’t speak until her seventh year but can mysteriously communicate with plants and animals. Unsettled by visions and dreams since childhood, she tries to hide her strangeness, especially from her mercurial father and cold mother. Yet gentle, watchful Secret finds acceptance from Prince Nikolas, her best friend, and Old Woman, who lives in the distant woods. When Secret is twelve, her mother receives an arcane manuscript to translate from an anonymous owner. Zavet suffers from nightmares and withdraws into herself. Secret sickens with a fever and awakens able to speak an ancient language, one her mother knows as well. Suddenly, Zavet dies. The manuscript is missing, but a cipher has been left for Secret to find. Years later, Secret becomes a translator’s apprentice for Fewmany, an influential magnate, who has taken an interest in her for reasons she cannot discern. Before Secret learns why, Old Woman confronts Secret with the truth of her destiny—a choice she must make that is tied to an ancient past.

& 8 p.m. every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. This week’s features are Gina Abelkop, Anne Marie Rooney, & Magdalena Zurawski.

& 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!)

Odd Words May 14, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 4 p.m. the Smith Library in New Orleans hosts Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr, bestselling authors of both adult and young adult book series, have teamed up and are visiting us for an afternoon to chat about their brand new books and answer questions about your earlier favorites. Signing to follow.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm Garden District Book Shop features Monte Dutton’s The Intangibles. It’s 1968. The winds of change are descending on Fairmont and engulfing the small South Carolina town in a tornadic frenzy. The public schools are finally being completely integrated. Mossy Springs High School is closing and its black students are now attending formerly all-white Fairmont High; the town is rife with racial tension. Several black youths have been arrested for tossing firebombs at a handful of stores. White citizens form a private academy for the purpose of keeping their kids out of the integrated school system. The Ku Klux Klan is growing. This is a story of a high school football team that puts aside its differences, never realizing that, outside its bounds, the world is unraveling. It’s a story about the cultural changes, good and bad, that take place when two societies shift and finally come together. The Intangibles is a story of triumph achieved at considerable cost.

& Porter Shreve will be reading and signing The End of the Book at Maple Street Book Shop Thursday at 6 pm. The End of the Book is the story of an aspiring contemporary novelist who may or may not be writing a sequel to Sherwood Anderson’s classic Winesburg, Ohio. Adam Clary works in Chicago for a famous internet company on a massive project to digitize the world’s books, but secretly he hates his job and wishes to be a writer at a time when the book as physical object and book culture itself have never been more threatened.

& Come meet internationally best-selling author Sarah Pekkanen (The Best of Us, These Girls, Skipping a Beat, and The Opposite of Me) at Octavia Books at 6 pm Thursday when she presents & signs CATCHING AIR, a new novel that once again delivers her “refreshingly introspective, sharply realistic, and tenderly humorous” style (Booklist) and will have readers “flying through the pages” (Hoda Kotb, Today show). It is the story of two couples – a pair of brothers and their wives – who leave everything behind to run a bed and breakfast in bucolic Vermont. But what starts out as an experiment in simpler living turns out to be more complicated than any of them could have imagined, testing the limits of love, family, and the power of forgiveness.

& At the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library hear poet and editor Peter Cooley. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Divine Margins (2009), A Place Made of Starlight (2003), and The Astonished Hours (1992). His poems have been widely anthologized in collections such as Best American Poetry (2002) and Poets on Place (2005). Cooley served as poetry editor for the North American Review from 1970 to 2000. He has taught at Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin. He lives in New Orleans. Born and raised in Detroit. He earned a BA at Shimer College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at the University of Iowa.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) rom 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Friday at 2 pm Garden District Book Shop invites you to meet bestselling author and star of Chelsea Lately as she signs her new book Uganda Be Kidding Me. Tickets are $29.43 and will include admittance for 2 adults as well as one copy of Uganda Be Kidding Me. Only copies of Uganda Be Kidding Me purchased from Garden District Book Shop will be signed. This is a signing only. Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever. On safari in Africa, it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s more dangerous: the wildlife or Chelsea. But whether she’s fumbling the seduction of a guide by not knowing where tigers live (Asia, duh) or wearing a bathrobe into the bush because her clothes stopped fitting seven margaritas ago, she’s always game for the next misadventure. Complete with answers to the most frequently asked traveler’s questions, hot travel trips, and travel etiquette, none of which should be believed, UGANDA BE KIDDING ME has Chelsea taking on the world, one laugh-out-loud incident at a time. Chelsea Handler is the star of her own late-night talk show on E!, Chelsea Lately, and E!’s comedy series After Lately, as well as the #1 bestselling author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang; Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea; and My Horizontal Life.

& At 6 pm Friday Garden District hosts Clifton Crais’s History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain. Born in Louisiana to a soon-to-be absent father and an alcoholic mother—who tried to drown him in a bathtub when he was three—Clifton Crais spent his childhood perched beside his mother on a too-tall bar stool, living with relatives too old or infirmed to care for him, or rambling on his own through New Orleans, a city both haunted and created by memory. Indeed, it is memory—both elusive and essential—that forms the center of Crais’s beautifully rendered memoir, History Lessons. In an effort to restore his own, Crais brings the tools of his formal training as a historian to bear on himself and his family. He interviews his sisters and his mother, revisits childhood homes and pours over documentary evidence: plane tickets, postmarks, court and medical records, crumbling photo albums. Probing family lore, pushing past silences and exhuming long-buried family secrets, he arrives, ultimately, at the deepest reaches of the brain. Crais examines the science of memory and forgetting, from the ways in which experience shapes the developing brain to the mechanisms that cause the chronic childhood amnesia—the most common and least understood form of amnesia—from which he suffers. Part memoir, part narrative science and part historical detective story, History Lessons is a provocative, exquisitely crafted investigation into what it means to be human.

& Show your New Orleans Public Library Card and get FREE entry into the RT Booklovers Convention Giant Book Fair on Saturday, May 17th. Over 700 new and bestselling authors will be signing and selling copies of their latest novels. For more information about the RT Booklovers Convention, and to see a full list of authors attending, visit rtconvention.com

& Julie Lamana will be signing her middle-grade novel, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, Saturday, 11:30-1PM at Maple Street Book Shop. Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm. A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable.

& Saturday at 3 pm the Norman Meyer Library hosts Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing But Did Not Know Who To Ask! Join us for a conversation with author Kimberla Lawson Roby, Latoya Smith (editor at Grand Central Publishing) and Linda A. Duggins (publicity director at Grand Central Publishing) about the writing process, the industry and being an author in 2014. Q&A and book signing will follow.

& Join Gallatin & Toulouse Press as they launch the novel In Irons by Stonewall Chapbook award-winning local playwright Louie Crowder at the newly renovated Apple Barrel on Frenchman Street.

& Sunday at 11 am Garden District Books features GMA host Robin Roberts’s and her memoir Everybody’s Got Something in which she recounts the incredible journey that’s been her life so far, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. With grace, heart, and humor, she writes about overcoming breast cancer only to learn five years later that she will need a bone marrow transplant to combat a rare blood disorder, the grief and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away, her triumphant return to GMA after her medical leave, and the tremendous support and love of her family and friends that saw her through her difficult times.

& Sunday at 1 pm at Octavia Books meet New York Times bestselling authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong presenting ODIN’S RAVENS. The duo co-authored their debut middle grade series, THE BLACKWELL PAGES. ODIN’S RAVENS is the epic sequel to LOKI’S WOLVES. Perfect for Percy Jackson fans, the series is filled with explosive action, adventure and larger-than-life Norse legends. When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern-day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right? But the descendants’ journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that’s only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor’s hammer, and stop the apocalypse–a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

& 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 also brings The Revival of Spoken Word at the Regency Reception Hall, 7300 Downman Road. Poets from “back in the day” will be reuniting one more time. This show will feature Peteh Muhammad Haroon Gina Marie Christopher Williams Kenneth Dillon Charles EasyLee Peters Blaque Wido Marcus Page Brandi FlueryTony WilsonTarriona Tank Ball Michael Pellet Erika Murray and many more. Free Food. Hosted by Black Steel( Régan Paul LeCesne) and Spoken Word New Orleans. $5 cover.

& 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 6 pm Master short story writer Ellen Gilchrist, winner of the National Book Award, returns with her first story collection in over eight years at Garden District Book Shop. In Acts of God, she has crafted different scenarios in which people dealing with forces beyond their control somehow manage to survive, persevere, and triumph, even if it is only a triumph of the will. In one way or another, all of these people are fighters and believers, survivors who find the strength to go on when faced with the truth of their mortality, and they are given vivid life in these stories, told with Ellen Gilchrist’s clear-eyed optimism and salty sense of humor.

& Also at 6 pm Monday The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& Monday at 7 pm the East Jefferson 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.

& Tuesday brings the third annual Best vs Worst Slam! Best vs Worst pits Team SNO against Team POO, a team of fake poets played by real life comedians of The New Movement. The concept is simple: Team SNO performs real pieces while Team POO entertains us with outlandish characters and hilarious “poems” in a two-round slam.Don’t miss your chance to check out one of our most fun and unique shows of the year. It all goes down this Tuesday, May 22nd at Press Street on 3718 St. Claude Ave. Doors open at 7 PM.  Show begins at 7:30.  Admission is $5. 

& Tuesday join author Robert Simonson signing his book The Old Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore at the Cane & Table, 1113 Decatur Street. No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate. The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement. Books will be available on-site from Garden District Book Shop.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Eve O. Schaub’s A Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. It’s Dinnertime. Do You Know Where Your Sugar is Coming From? Most likely everywhere. Sure, it’s in ice cream and cookies, but what scared Eve O. Schaub was the secret world of sugar–hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food. With her eyes open by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to eat no added sugar for an entire year. Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet–including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. The stories, tips, and recipes she shares throw fresh light on questionable nutritional advice we’ve been following for years and show that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping–with less and even no added sugar.

& 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.

& Also at 8 p.m. every Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series hosted by Megan Burns happens at BJ’s in the Bywater. This week’s features are Gina Ferrara & Izzy Oneiric.

& 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!)

&Wednesday at 7 pm Esoterotica, brings back “Pervspectives” originally part of the New Orleans Fringe Festival 2013, transforming the AllWays, 2240 St. Claude Avenue, into a completely immersive, and erotic fetish club experience. You will see what happens at, during, and inside a fetish event, from the unacquainted newbie to the seasoned player. Through interaction, performance monologue, poetry and prose, “Pervspectives” brings you the kinky, the sensual, the sometimes hilarious, and the undeniably human experience.

Odd Words May 8, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, novel, Odd Words, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Jumping out of order for an event Tuesday evening: Octavia Books, Le Petit Theatre, and WWNO host a special evening with New York Times-bestselling author and American radio personality Garrison Keillor featuring THE KEILLOR READER. For the first time, Keillor’s stories, essays, poems, and personal reminiscences have been brought together in a single volume that celebrates and demonstrates the incredible range of his far-reaching talent. The event will take place live at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre (616 St Peter Street) on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7:30 PM (doors open at 7:00 PM). To attend, you must purchase a ticket. Tickets are required. Each ticket admits one person and will be exchanged at the event for a signed edition of THE KEILLOR READER. (You get to meet Garrison Keillor on stage in person while he signs your book following his reading/performance.)

& Thursday afternoon at 4 pm at the Norman Mayer Library check out Youth Speaks: An Interactive Experience with Monica McKayhan This interactive “talk” will be you asking bestselling teen & tween author Monica McKayhan the questions, about herself, her characters, how she became a writer, what happens in her next book, whatever you want to know.

& Every Thursday evening the New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a Poetry Hotline. Call 504-264-1336) rom 8-12 pm CST and we’ll to hear an original poem.

& Friday at 6 m Garden District Book Shop features Corban Addison’s The Garden of Burning Sand. An accomplished young human rights lawyer, Zoe Fleming has made a life for herself in Zambia, far from her estranged father—a business mogul with presidential aspirations—and the devastating betrayals of her past. When a girl with Down syndrome is sexually assaulted in a Lusaka slum, Zoe demands justice. Determined to see the case through, she joins Zambian police officer, Joseph Zabuta, in investigating the rape. Piecing together clues from the victim’s past, they discover a violent connection between the girl— Kuyeya—and a powerful Zambian family that will stop at nothing to bury the truth.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts An Evening with children’s book authors Jeff Kinney (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID) Dav Pilkey (CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS); Jon Scieszka (FRANK EINSTEIN); and Dan Santat (RICKY ROCOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT). Each will give a talk about their latest books followed by a booksigning. The event will take place live at Metairie Park Country Day School (300 Park Rd., Metairie, LA 70005) on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 6:00 PM (Doors open 5:30PM). To attend, you must purchase a ticket. Each $10 ticket admits one person and counts toward the purchase of books at the event or toward the pre-purchase of signed Jon Scieszka’s forthcoming FRANK EINSTEIN (Aug. 2014) or Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9 (Nov. 2014). Only books purchased at the event will be signed.

& Saturday morning at 10 am Octavia Books invites you to come by and meet author Megan McDonald, creator of the popular and award-winning Judy Moody and Stink series when she drops in to sign copies of favorite titles.

& For Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop features she’ll read Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann. A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times… for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places… the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly! Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning illustrations will capture the imagination of readers young and old with the death-defying feats of this courageous and persistent young mouse.

& Then at 11:30 am Octavia features New York Times bestselling middle-grades children’s book author T. A. Barron (THE MERLIN SAGA) when he drops by Octavia Books to sign ATLANTIS RISING, a new fantasy world about the origins of Atlantis, perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings, Eragon, The Beyonders and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. T. A. Barron will also be signing some other favorite titles including books from the Merlin series, The Hero’s Trail, and others.

& Then at 2 pm Octavia hosts two more children’s authors – Marissa Moss (well-known for her Amelia’s Notebook series) and Marcia Goldman – when they drop by together to sign copies of their latest work. Marissa Moss’ BLOOD DIARIES: Tales of a 6th Grade Vampire continues her tradition of journal-style writing in this funny, yet relatable, story told from the perspective of a middle schooler who just happens to be a vampire. Her books are popular with teachers and children alike. Marissa is a California Book Award winner who has received multiple starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly. Marcia Goldman’s LOLA GOES TO WORK: A 9-5 Therapy Dog is an adorable children’s book that follows Lola, a little terrier with a big job. Children will identify with the feisty Lola as she struggles going to school, passing tests, and finally achieving her Big Dog dream. If Lola can make it in a world of Great Danes and Labradors, so can anybody who’s feeling like a runt! The book even includes a teacher guide for empathy curriculum in back of the book – so it’s a great buy for teachers.

& The burlesque poetry troupe The New Orleans Poetry Brothel hosts a unique scavanger hunt Saturday night. Track down the denizens of the Poetry Brothel across various haunts & dens of iniquity throughout the Marigny! Each poet will offer a riddle or challenge, and the first team to complete the SCAVENGER HUNT will receive a prize (rest assured – there’s punishment for stragglers). Afterwards, all teams are invited to the AllWays. Guest Reader BRETT EVANS (Poet & Founder of ‘Tit Rex) will throttle us with verse, and we’ll thrash to the music of THE CALL GIRLS! Our poetry whores will sell you a private reading in the dank corners of the mosh pit, and, as always, expect anarchic performances from our coterie of acrobats, buskers, and burlesque dancers. Come wearing your finest burlesque, Victorian, or steampunk ensemble and receive a token for a free reading. For full details visit their website.

& Sunday at 11 am Octavia continues its run of children’s authors with children’s picture book illustrator/author Brian Floca drops by Octavia Books to sign copies of his fabulous book LOCOMOTIVE, which recently was awarded the Caldecott Medal.

&Then at 1:30 Octavia finishes its weekend with bestselling and award-winning YA author RUTA SEPETYS featuring her novel, Out of the Easy.vIt’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

& 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 California poet Hugh Behm-Steinberg reads from his work, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& 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 5:30 pm at Octavia Paula Freedman presents and signs her debut middle grade children’s novel, MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH. During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O-who might also be her boyfriend-and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. With the cross-cultural charm of Bend It Like Beckham, this delightful debut novel is a classic coming-of-age

& Monday at 5:30 pm: Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the Smith Library’s free Creative Writing Workshop.

& Tuesday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features four New Adult Authors: Cora Carmack , Jay Crownover, Sophie Jordan, Nichole Chase , J. Lynn, and Lisa Desrochers sign their books, All Lined Up, Nash, Foreplay, Recklessly Royal, Be With Me, A Little Too Hot, respectively. New Adult fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18-25 age bracket. For detail on the four author’s and their books, visit the Garden District Book Shop website.

& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop hosts Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda. Christophe has been in the New World only a year when his native guides abandon him to flee their Iroquois pursuers. A Huron warrior and elder named Bird soon takes him prisoner, along with a young Iroquois girl, Snow Falls, whose family he has just killed, and holds them captive in his massive village. Champlain’s Iron People have only recently begun trading with the Huron, who mistrust them as well as this Crow who has now trespassed onto their land; and her people, of course, have become the Huron’s greatest enemy. Putting both to death would resolve the issue, but Bird sees Christophe as a potential envoy to those in New France, and Snow Falls as a replacement for his two daughters who were murdered by the Iroquois. The relationships between these three are reshaped again and again as life comes at them relentlessly: a dangerous trading mission, friendly exchanges with allied tribes, shocking victories and defeats in battle, and sicknesses the likes of which no one has ever witnessed.
The Orenda traces a story of blood and hope, suspicion and trust, hatred and love, that comes to a head when Jesuit and Huron join together against the stupendous wrath of the Iroquois, when everything that any of them has ever known or believed faces nothing less than annihilation. A saga nearly four hundred years old, it is also timeless and eternal.

& 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.

& Wednesdy at 3:30 pm the Smith Librry hots A Talk by Young Adult Author Erin Bowman. Author of the new Young Adult series Taken joins us to talk about her books, her writing process and her journey from graphic designer to published author. She will also read from her new book Frozen, with a Q&A to follow. Snacks provided.

& 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. This week’s features are: Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as two Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery and Good Morning! He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven. Chris Champagne is the author of The New Yat DIctionary from Lavender Ink. James Nolan says of Chris Champagne: “What Dylan Thomas did for Welsh, Chris Champagne does for YAT.” As noted scholar and linguist Dr. Nancy Dixon says, “If you ain’t got this book, how you gonna talk right, Dawlin?” He is also the author of Roach Opera from Portals Press. Kelly McQuain grew up surrounded by the mountains of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. His poetry has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, The Pinch, Assaracus, Kin, Mead, Bloom, Chelsea Station, American Writing and the anthologies Poems for the Writing and Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. His fiction has appeared in such journals as Icarus, The James White Review, Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review, The Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly and in numerous anthologies, including Best American Erotica, Skin & Ink and Men on Men 2000. His book reviews and columns on city life appear in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Recently his poem, “Camping as Boys in the Cow Field”, was selected by Reginald Dwayne Betts as the winner of Redivider’s AWP poetry contest. McQuain works as a professor in Philadelphia.

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.

TWF14: The Law and Order Episode of Who Killed the Essay March 24, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, lyric essay, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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“This is the Law and Order episode of Who Killed the Essay,” moderator John Freeman said to open the Tennessee Williams Festival panel “The Return of the Essay.” “Someone killed it. We’re going to find out later from Lennie Briscoe,” the character from the crime drama franchise. Panelists Dani Shapiro, Kiese Laymon and Roxanne Gay promptly put a bullet in the head of Freeman’s metaphor.

“The essay isn’t dead, it never died,” panelist Roxanne Gay shot back. “We have the arrogance in this age of believing that we’re going to be the end of literature when it has been around for millenia. That is always appalling to me. The book is dying. Are you kidding me? People were writing books on rice paper. Calm down. Books aren’t going anywhere, readers aren’t going anywhere. I think things are shifting. The essay from Montaigne to [fellow panelist] Kiese, we’re still doing it. I think we’re in the golden age of the essay. I’ve never read more stunning essays than the ones I read every single day and the art hasn’t been perfected because it can’t be perfected but people are practicing it at such a level. If the essay is dead, then the afterlife is quite wonderful.”

“The internet has done a lot of terrible things, but one of the best things it’s done has democratize this writing thing. It has allowed us to read all these amazing essays,” Laymon said. “I think there was a golden age. I think [James] Baldwin was the golden age. Every day, or every other day, I read an essay on the Internet that actually scares me as a writer. I think those are the best essays, I think s— I can’t do it. I just can’t do it as well as other people can do it. Now we have people not waiting for crusty editors to say: here’s your stamp that says, now you can put it out there. Also it puts out some art that is not so great, but it’s also allowed me to read some of the greatest essays that I have read in my life.”

“I don’t think we can know a golden age that we’re in one,” Dani Shapiro, countered. “I will admit tweeting this morning the title of this panel and saying, I don’t think it’s vanished. I also think it’s worth noting that the word essay means attempt, to attempt to get something right and true and universal and authentic down on the page. That’s like saying human nature is dead.”

Freeman asked his panelists: “If style is a struggle and essay is an attempt, what are you attempting in an essay? What makes you want to put the struggle in that form?”

“There’s an urgency when I’m writing an essay,” Gay explained. “Something has gotten under my skin. One of the first essays that got under my skin. One of the first essays that got my attention was “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence”. It was about a young girl that was raped in Cleveland, Texas. The New York Times wrote a story about the town–poor, poor town–and think of these poor boys but there were like 30 of them. The magnitude of the crime was horrific and the shoddiness of the reporting was also horrific. I went into this fugue state trying to temper my rage with understanding how we got to a place as a culture where we’re worrying about a town instead of this 11 year-old girl. The essays that I love writing the most are where I’m trying to make sense of this crazy world, but also acknowledge the god in this world.”

“Kiese, you [mention] the fact that an essay is going to deal some collateral damage to their family, because the wedge into a topic is not just your experience. It’s everything you grew up with. I wonder if you could talk about writing about your family and those essays and how you weighed what you would actually reveal because the truths you tell are quite difficult.”

“I feel like I’ve been writing about that question in my essays and my fiction. I come from a family in central Mississippi. I was raised by my mother. She was 19 when she had me. I went to graduate school and went to stay with my grandmother [also] in Mississippi. They’re both wonderful, brilliant people but whenever they got around white people their wonder and their brilliance and their thickness shrunk, and I think a lot of time they want me to also shrink my brilliance on the page. In [one] essay I talk about my mother pulling a gun on me when I was 19, partially because she wanted me to act right. I was trying to say in that essay there is a consequence to acting right in this country especially for folks of color…I think we talk about the consequences too often of not acting right, but there is a self consequence for acting right.

“Form is really important for me and I’m pushing back against forms and against my mom and I was trying to push back against my inclination to write predictable punditry. My inclination is to just write the traditional, standard essays that will make people say, ‘that’s a smart African-American man’ as opposed to being a potentially revelatory Black human being.” Later in the panel he added, “I come from a community where sadness, funk, funny happens all the time and I was being encouraged to take the funk and funny out.”

“Dani, you’ve written about your family in two memoirs, and this book Still Writing, it looks like a book about writing but then it’s threaded through with all these tiny memoirs,” Freeman asked Shapiro. “Did you find that to write about writing did you have to write about your family?”

“When it comes to form and when it comes to realism, it feels like in the last ten years of my writing life things have been breaking apart. The more I try to make something whole the more it breaks apart. I think what you just said about realism and the surreality that is at the core of it in some way is so true: the puzzle like structure, my last memoir Devotion was puzzle-like, every essay that I’ve written in the last five years. When I started Still Writing I was writing a blog because my publisher told me I had to write a blog. And I was thinking what can I blog about that’s not going to make me want to stick pins in my eyes every day. What I wanted to write about was how to do this every day. I didn’t want to write another book about craft. I wanted to write about what it takes: the courage, the tenacity, the persistence, the resistance. Then I started getting letters from people says, ‘I really needed this today’ and I thought, people are actually asking me to write a book. How often does that happen?”

“I’m reading this and what is it like to revise your life, the story of your life in public.” Freeman said.

“I think it would be an amazing thing for the same writer to spend an entire writing life writing the same memoir every ten years because it would be a different book every ten years because the relationship between the self and the story is the story. When I wrote Slow Motion [arising from the death of her father] I had feeling that this was the before and after moment. I wasn’t old enough to know that there is more than one before and after moment. It was also my son’s illness fifteen years later, and my mother’s death.

There was an essay in Ploughshares that was called “Plane Crash Theory.” I think it’s my best essay. It began shortly after 9-11, my infant son was dropped down a flight of stairs by a baby sitter and for months and months I couldn’t write a thing. It was all in the shadow of 9-11 and felt like a shadow had flown over our house and was hovering there. I was having coffee with a friend of mine in Brooklyn who’s a writer and I said, ‘I haven’t written a word since Jacob fell down the stairs’ and she said, ‘that’s your first sentence’. I couldn’t tell the whole story because the essay couldn’t contain that he was dropped down the stairs but that a few weeks earlier I had noticed these little movements and he was later diagnosed with this rare seizure disorder. An essay couldn’t contain both of those, so I took all of my anxiety and my fear and my feeling of–writing, what is the point of it–but finding a way to pour all of that into a very disciplined form and tell the whole story emotionally and not tell the whole story, what to leave in and what to leave out, which is such an important part of writing memoir and essay.”

“I think one of my most popular essays to write was the hardest to write,” Gay said in a comment that resonated for me in the post-Katrina room. “It was about The Hunger Games, because I love, love, love the Hunger Games to insanity. I started to think what is it about the Hunger Games that captures me as an adult because they are YA . There is a young woman in the novel Katniss, she has to endure the unendurable over and over again is that it showed PTSD as it is, as something that cannot necessarily be cured but something that you learn to live with, and as something that will shape the decisions you will make.”

Freeman asked the panelists if there was someone, an essayist, who opened a door and what they did. “I would say in a word [Joan] Didion if it was an essayist,” Shapiro said. “Grace Pailey was for me an example of the life of a writer, a life I wanted in some way. When I think of Grace I think of her sentences, I think of her fiction, the distillation, a certain kind of minimalism before there was minimalism. She was tremendously important to me.”

Gay, after citing the encourage of her parents from age four, cited Edith Wharton. “She was doing it when women weren’t encouraged” to write. “She is the master of the elegant sentence.” And Zadie Smith: “she is fierce. She makes me feel like I can do anything with the word.” Laymon also talked about his grandmother’s influence. “My grandmother taught me how to work. She worked at a chicken plant and the way she talked about it, the craft, she made me feel I was beautiful.” His essayist pick was James Baldwin. “The Fire Next Time was the first book that I really, really read. I would tear it apart. Ultimately I think I became the writer I want to be because in The Fire Next Time, someone who was so great could not make space for Black women. You could be so sublime and so great and not make space for this entire group of people you should make space for. Baldwin’s otherworldliness is something I could aspire for, not just because of his prose but because of the gaps in his prose.”

TWF14: Untangling the skein of memory March 22, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, memoir, New Orleans, Odd Words, Tennessee Williams Festival, Toulouse Street.
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A book on authors who knit was not what I expected when I walked into the panel An Examined Life: The Mysteries of Memoir but as Ann Hood pointed out “knitting is a metaphor for life.” Both her personal obsession with knitting and her novel The Knitting Circle grew out of trying to cope with her own tragic loss of a child. She also authored a memoir about the loss of her daughter Grace, COMFORT: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF but knitting proved to be her best coping mechanism “After my first knitting lesson I realize I got through two-and-a-half hours without crying.” She soon discovered other authors who knit, and decided to pitch her new book Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. She took her editors grunt when she pitched the idea as a yes, and ended up with 27 essays by authors who knit and how it changed their life. When she read her own audio book, she imagined the “fedora-wearing Brooklyn hipster” who was her audio engineer must have thought he had drawn the worst assignment ever, but she said he confessed to crying by the end of the four days by the stories he heard.

An Examined Life covered a lot of ground, some of it at the edge of memoir, but the four authors on the panel–Hood, Blake Bailey, Lila Quintero Weaver and Emily Raboteau–all authored recent books that attempt to reclaim a part of their lives. Bailey’s story of his brother, who fell into drugs and died by suicide, is the closest to true memoir. “Scott was the better brother, the more promising of [us] two before he started to go off the rails. We should have landed in the same place and we didn’t and I decided to write [the book] to figure out why.”

Quintero Weaver’s Dark Room: A Memoir in Black and White, a graphic-novel approach to a tale of growing up a Latin American immigrant in rural Alabama during the civil rights movement is, by her description, as much a book about place: what Odd Words likes to call a geo-memoir. Her father was the town’s only photographer, but the illustrations in the book are all Quintero Weaver’s. Raboteau’s exploration of African-Americans who moved to Israel and Africa looking for a place that felt like home was driven by her own desire to find her identity as a bi-racial child of the 1960s who grew up in New Jersey constantly answering the question “where are you from?” and ends with a return to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, the town her parents fled after her grandfather was lynched.

Solace and closure, the discovery of one’s real place in life and the world, are the meat of memoir. Only Bailey’s and perhaps Quintero Weaver’s books would be easy to file in the bookstore under memoir, but all drew deep on the author’s desire to understand critical events of their own lives.

Asked by moderator Nancy Dixon how their families’ reacted to their books, Bailey replied, “it was brutal. If you’re the sort of person who frets about what your family will think you’re in the wrong genre.” Quintero Weaver responded about the reaction of the people of the small Alabama town she writes about. No one would tell her exactly why they didn’t like the book but suspects “they want to move on.” Marion was at the center of the Civil Rights movement and the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson while the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was in town led to the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. She heard second-hand that the president of the Chamber of Commerce said, “we don’t want her book in our town.”

Hood summed up what is required of the memoir author: “You have to write like you’re an orphan.”

Earlier in the day, novelist Justin Torres spoke of his own approach to putting a life’s experiences down into words in his bildungsroman We The Animals,the story of his own gradual “orphaning” from his family. “When I started, I was writing back to my family…I’d been ejected [for coming out queer] and the original motivation was anger.” Torres brief, 125-page tale of three brothers is fictionalized, although after reading it one brother told him of an episode, “I remember that.” “You can’t,” Torres replied. “I made it up.” Later he added, “I did not write my memoir. This is not my life. This is the emotional texture of my life.”

Asked toward the end how his family initially reacted to the book, Torres said “I hurt them. You don’t tell family secrets. I don’t know that I did the right thing but I believe in art.”

Torres’ interview with Festival Programming Director J.R. Ramakrishnan was titled “The Super Sleek Novel” and a great deal of the discussion was about the brevity of the novel and how it achieves its goals in such a short space. When he went to New York, every publisher he met with told him they loved the book, but he needed to write another 100 pages. Novels are supposed to be 250 pages long, he was told over and over again. The last editor he met with also responded positively to the book, and Torres told her, “but you want me to write another hundred pages, right?” but she said no.

The book unfolds as a series of very short chapters, each unveiling one small aspect of the character’s life growing up with his two brothers. “Super compressed, super distilled chapters: that’s what works for me. I could be very poetic and still get to the point…little movements that were so complete and yet captured the world. What I really like about the short form is you are always creating tension and then there is a little climax.” Most of the chapters begin in the first person plural before moving to the first person. “The idea of we is we feel a collective personality as children, [my brothers and I] had this non-verbal way of understanding each other” and as the book progresses the characters gradually lose that, subtly depicting the gradual unraveling of childhood and Torres’ own place in his family.

Asked if he could write with the same passion if he were not writing from his personal experience, Torress said, “I think that what is true is the kind meaning you make out of your experience. We’re all thrown here on this earth and there’s no meaning, it’s chaos. A lot of writers are communicating the way they found meaning in this world. That’s inherently personal You have to find a way to create meaning. I choose to write from personal experience. I choose to keep it close. Also, because I feel [as] a mixed-race, queer, working-class dude, it’s political in a lot of ways. I’m really interested in intersectionality, I’m very interested in the ways i which my various identities are constructed socially…its absolutely possible to due to that in fiction” as well as writing from personal experience.

Torres never names the parents in his book. “They really are archetypes of our ideas of masculinity and femininity. I made a myth out of them to essentialize them….[t]here is a lot of opportunity for projection” in the book, and he says he frequently is told by readers that’s exactly what my experience was like. “There’s such a universal element in the book” a lot of people see their own families and experiences in it. “I hope the book breaks people’s hearts because we need to keep breaking people’s hearts.”

Odd Words January 30, 2014

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

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with John H. Baron featuring his recent book, CONCERT LIFE IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY NEW ORLEANS. During the nineteenth century, New Orleans thrived as the epicenter of classical music in America, outshining New York, Boston, and San Francisco before the Civil War and rivaling them thereafter. While other cities offered few if any operatic productions, New Orleans gained renown for its glorious opera seasons. Resident composers, performers, publishers, teachers, instrument makers, and dealers fed the public’s voracious cultural appetite. Tourists came from across the United States to experience the city’s thriving musical scene. Until now, no study has offered a thorough history of this exciting and momentous era in American musical performance history. John H. Baron’s Concert Life in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans impressively fills that gap.

& Every Thursday at 7 pm the JuJu Bag Cafe hosts the spoken word event Word Connections hosted by John Lacabiere. Call 504-307-9969 to sign up or for more information.

& Friday all New Orleans Public Libraries will be closed for an All Staff Day.

& Saturday at 11:30 it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer. In this imaginative tale from master storyteller Tomi Ungerer, two young siblings find themselves cast away on mysterious Fog Island. No one has ever returned from the island’s murky shores, but when the children begin to explore, they discover things are not quite as they expected!

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet returns to its home at the Latter Memorial Library, feeaturing poets jonathan Kline, Geoff Munsterman and Mike True reading from their new books.

& Saturday at 2 pm Octavia Books and Kid Chef Eliana celebrate the launch of her third cookbook. Come meet her and learn about the mouth-watering recipes in COOL KIDS COOK: Fresh and Fit. Everyone benefits from healthy menus, and Kid Chef Eliana has created a collection of twenty-six recipes that focus on flavor and fresh ingredients. Her recipes are easy to prepare and kid-friendly. With mouth-watering dishes, including such tasty treats as Vinegar and Sea Salt Kale Chips, Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry, and Inside-Out Peach Crumble, the whole family will be eating nutritious meals prepared by their very own kids!

& Starting Saturday Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of The French Pastry School and author of the new cookbook, The Art of French Pastry will be visiting New Orleans. He’ll be hosting a demonstration Saturday, at the Ritz, and Sunday he’ll be at Sucre. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site selling the books. Monday morning at 1 1AM, he’ll lecture and sign at the Maple Street Book Shop, and do a macaron tasting

& 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. January is a series of open mics.

& 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 at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library Fiction Writer’s Group will host guest writer Janet Moulton, the author of The Headless Palm. The chaos of life after Hurricane Katrina places a local attorney and her contractor son at odds with a broken legal system. When they befriend two college students, they agree to help them in the search for a missing cousin. The investigation uncovers horrors worse than anything the storm did. Janet Moulton graduated from the University of Connecticut with bachelor degrees in psychology and English. She obtained her law degree from Tulane University and has lived in various parts of the New Orleans area since 1972. 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.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts best selling author Wendy Webb and her new book The Vanishing. Set on the roguishly beautiful Northern shore of Lake Michigan, THE VANISHING begins with a past séance that goes unpardonably wrong—and then leaps forward to today’s most troubling headlines. The widow of a Ponzi-scheming genius who escaped through suicide, Julia Bishop is shocked by an offer so intriguing she cannot refuse: she’s offered the position of companion to a famed gothic novelist who much of the world believes has died. The authoress’s son offers Julia refuge from the cruel media and vicious personal attacks surrounding her husband’s misdeeds—she can vanish into his family’s cloaked estate, just has his mother, Amaris Sinclair, did some decades ago. But when Julia arrives at the aptly named castle-in-the-wilderness, Havenwood, she becomes unsettled: by voices from figures that are not there; by intruders who must mean someone harm; by legends surrounding the estate and the Sinclair family that seem all too true.

& The 1718 Society literary group will host its first first reading of the Spring semester is Tuesday at 7 pm. Shelly Taylor is the featured reader. Shelly Taylor is the author of Black-Eyed Heifer (Tarpaulin Sky Press) and Dirt City Lions (Horse Less Press), as well as two poetry chapbooks, Peaches the Yes-Girl (Portable Press of Yo-Yo Labs) & Land Wide to Get a Hold Lost In (Dancing Girl Press). Born in southern Georgia, she currently resides in New Orleans, where she teaches at Loyola. All readings are free and open to the public. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site selling books. The 1718 Society is a literary organization of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students, which holds a monthly reading series at the Columns Hotel, 3811 St. Charles Avenue.

& The Great Books Club meets at the Old Metairie Branch of the Jefferson Parish Library Tuesday at 7 pm. The Great Books Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to advance the critical, reflective thinking and social and civic engagement of readers of all ages through Shared Inquiry discussion of works and ideas of enduring value. Since 1947, the Foundation has helped people throughout the United States and other countries conduct discussion groups in schools, libraries, community centers, and other venues.

& Also on Tuesday the Jefferson Parish Library Teen Book Club will meet in the Lafitte Library. Teens ages 12-18 are invited to join in an exciting discussion of this month’s book, BETWEEN THE LINES by Jodie Picoult. Registration required. Please call 504-689-5097 to register. Held in the adult reading area.

& 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 6:30 pm Garden District Book Shop features Joshua Field Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus discussing their book Everything That Remains. Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn’t anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism and everything started to change. That was four years ago. Since, Millburn, now 32, has embraced simplicity. In the pursuit of looking for something more substantial than compulsory consumption and the broken American Dream, he jettisoned most of his material possessions, paid off loads of crippling debt, and walked away from his six-figure career. So, when everything was gone, what was left? Not a how-to book, but a why-to book.

& On Wednesday Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are bringing you a celebration of the all different forms of self-love… and we don’t mean in the Depak Chopra kind of way. 8 pm at the Allways.

Five January 19, 2014

Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, memoir, Memory, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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There was no time to stop or drop. Three-quarter throttle up Jackson Avenue, Honda Passport in the right lane (no, not Uptown you fool) when that long Detroit hood pulled out of the side street. The impact and somersault over the hood are mostly a matter of recollection after the fact of the possible mechanics, wondering how I’d come to land on my feet in the middle of the Avenue. My first clear recollection were the corner forty boys hooting and applauding.  “Hey, man, if we call Eyewitness News can you do that again?”

It took the heavy, middle-aged man a minute or more to come to his senses and makes his way around the car. I slowly removed my helmet, waved to the corner guys and told him I thought I was OK. My feet wouldn’t start to hurt until the adrenaline wore off. I wave off his apologies with a smile, lost in a reverie of appreciation  for my lucky stunt. The tiny 70cc bike,  however, was clearly done. The front wheel survived, looking true if flat. When I stood the bike up, it was clear the frame was not, just enough of a bend to render it unrideable. 

Marianne had a car, had  bravely ridden the Passport to work in her Eighties office skirt suit when I’d broken my arm in the bar stool-vaulting contest at the Abbey. (Some other time; a story in its own right)  but the little bike was my ride, the only way I had to get from Carrollton to work in Gretna and out to my newspaper assignments. It was a fixture on the West Bank, the man in the land of Harleys and Goldwings gassing up his tiny bike in a suit. It had carried me across all three ferries and against all sense across the Huey P. Long and Greater New Orelans Bridge, survived the time it dropped out from under me on the slick deck of the GNO just in front of an 18-wheeler. My head hit hard but god bless helmets; I rolled out from under the wheels and the bike passed under the truck between the wheels.

Now its was done and I was stranded. It would be for weeks until my brother-in-law gave me his father’s old  Ford Custom 500 with 300 plus on the odometer.  I don’t remember the driver’s name. I wish I did. We loaded loaded the bike with room to spare in the trunk of his beat Detroit wheels, and he drove me home, apologizing profusely the entire time as shock slowly set in and I kept moaning over and over again, “how am I going to get to work?”  He promised to make it good, and asked how much the bike was worth. I had learned on the way to my house he was on his way back from a no-luck day at the labor pool.  I really had no idea, and understood he was broker than I was with my $280 a week suburban newspaper job. Two hundred, I muttered. OK, he said. He gave me his phone number and took mine, but I never really expected to hear from him again

It was a few weeks later when the call came, and I fired up the blown muffler Custom 500 in a cloud of bad gasket smoke like a ghetto James Bond, and drove to somewhere on the Uptown side of Jackson between Magazine and the river. I sat on the spfung couch drinking sweet tea and politely refusing his wife’s cookies while he peeled of the wrinkled tens and twenties, a lot of money for a man with a car almost as gone as mine who spent his days sipping coffee outside of labor pool. At this point in my life Schwegman’s was my bank: cash the check, pay the NOPSI bill, get a money order for the landlord. I knew thar I was barely one rung up the ladder. I was wearing a Haspel wash-and-wear suit when he hit me. For all he knew the bike was a hobby and not a necessity. And he made it good.

We are all suspicious of each other, especially across color lines, but I’ve learned from experience there are times when color only matters when you make your coffee, that honesty is more common than you think. I’ve forgotten the man’s name but I hope through the miracle of the Internet that perhaps a grandchild or someone else who’s heard the other side of this story will know that he was a good man and he is remembered for it.

Odd Words January 15, 2014

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

& Thursday at 9 p.m. Bayou Magazine will launch Issue No. 60 of the literary journal at The Saturn, 3067 St. Claude Ave. ” Readers, writers, editors, contributors, music-lovers and party-goers, come join us for [REDACTED], dancing, singing, literature-dispersing, or any subset of these activities! Games will be played, prizes will be won, joy will be spread.”

& Thursday at 5:30 pm the Norman Mayer Library continues its Writing Workshops led by Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants. Call the branch to reserve your spot: 596-3100.

&  Also on Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library’s Great Books Discussion Group will take up Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov at 7 pm in the A/V Conference Room – 2nd Floor. Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in Lolita, Nabokov’s most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

& Saturday at 1 pm Garden District Book Shop features Katie Wainwright’s The Azaleas. Dumped by her lover, no money, no credit, no job, facing eviction…Karla Whitmore hits rock bottom. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she has reached a dead end, nowhere to turn, no place to go. Then a chance encounter at Café du Monde—Albert Monsant, a suave, sophisticated uptown lawyer, offers Karla a job selling real estate, dangling the prospect of big money under her nose. Suspicious, but lacking options, Karla accepts the challenge. Arriving at The Azaleas, Karla is pitted against a roaming ghost, a good-old-boy network and a past culture that hangs on and won’t let go. She soon realizes that the impediment to a sale is not the real estate, but the owner’s conflicts.

& At 2 pm Saturday the Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans meets to continue their discussion of David Copperfield. They will discuss Chapter XXIX “I Visit Steerforth at his Home, again” through Chapter XXXV “Depression. The Fellowship holds meetings September through May, reading one of the works of Charles Dickens each year. The meetings include book discussions, movie versions of the novel, and lectures by Dickens scholars. This year’s book is DAVID COPPERFIELD. Dues are $20/person (couples $30) payable in September.

& Also at 2 pm Saturday author Victoria Cosner Love will be signing her book Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans’s Most Famous Murderess Revealed at the 1850 House, 523 St. Ann St in the lower Pontalba. What really happened in the Lalaurie home? Who was “Mad Madame Lalaurie,” and what motivated her to commit such ghastly atrocities, if she indeed did? Mad Madame Lalaurie is one of New Orleans’ most infamous villains, even being portrayed by Kathy Bates in the 2013 season of American Horror Story. Historian Victoria Cosner Love and author Lorelei Shannon uncover the truth behind one of New Orleans’s most famous stories and one of America’s most haunted houses.

& 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. January is a series of open mics.

& 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.

& Monday, January 20 is Martin Luther King Day and both Jefferson parish and New Orleans public library will be closed. There will be no GLBTQ book club or student’s Creative Writing Workshop this week.

& 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 evenings the Old Metairie Library branch Great Books Discussion Group meets at 7 pm. No title is announced for this meeting. Contact the library at 889-8143 for more information.

& 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.

& Mark Rothko. Horse racing and cockfighting. Exotic New Orleans. On Wednesday the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities celebrates the new issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine with another publication party featuring several of the issue’s contributors. Doors open at 5:45 at 938 Lafayette Street and the event is open to the public. A $5 donation is suggested. Scheduled to discuss their articles in the Winter 13-14 issue are: Cybele Gontar, who unearths the details of artist Mark Rothko’s time in New Orleans; S. Derby Gisclair, who looks back at the golden age of Big Easy sports, when boxing, horse racing, cockfighting and baseball reigned; and, John Lawrence, who explores the exotic style in local architecture.

Odd Words January 9, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 5:30 pm the Norman Mayer Library continues its Writing Workshops led by Youths. Upstairs in the teen area. Encouraging creative arts exploration through reading, engaging discussions, and group activities. Youth ages 12-17 are invited! Group limited to 15 participants. Call the branch to reserve your spot: 596-3100

& This Friday through Saturday The Tennessee Williams Festival presents The New Play Bacchanal, a multi-faceted annual play festival that gathers local artists, playwrights, directors, and the theatre community to exchange ideas, to encourage the development of new work, and nurture local playwrights and support New Orleans’ creative community at large. In short, it’s a two-day play extravaganza for professionals and fans alike. Details are at TennesseeWilliams.net

& Thirteen poets will square off for two-rounds of no holds barred poetry and a chance to advance to the 2014 Team SNO finals at the end of January Friday at 8 pm at the Shadowbox Theater hosted by Charlie UptownzIllestson Vaughn Jr. $7 Admission SEMI-FINALS PERFORMERS: A Scribe Called Quess, Kataalyst Alcindor, Aurora, Beck Cooper, Desiree Dallagiacomo, Jim Dulin, Kaycee Filson, FreeQuency, Sam Gordon, Justin Lamb, Akeem Martin, Preach, and William Brian Sain.

& This Friday at 10 pm the literary libertines of The Poetry Brothel present their latest extravaganza. $10 cover; $5 requested donation for tokens. Doors @ 9:00. Show @ 10:00. Fearures include a guest reading by Geoff Munsterman. Our cast of poets includes: Tabitha “Totty” Quym (Aime’ SansSavant), Mam’zelle Cherie Louve (Anne Delatte), Jack Prince (Chris Shipman,) Alejandro Amoretti (Dean Felch), Jerome d’Amourt (Erik Elshire), Pearl du Mal (Izzy Oneiric), Bi Nary (Jenn Nunes), & Francis Shadfly (Jordan Soyka). Also featuring: Burlesque performances by Lana Turnover and Picolla Tushy; Acrobatics by Out on a Limb (Andrew Zutell & Ashley Fransien Brown); Busking by Aurelea River; Tarot card reading by Jenelle Campion; and, Cyanotype & stilting by Philip Ylannopoulos

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street at 11:30 am features Madeline and the Old House in Paris by John Bemelmans Marciano, the grandson of Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the Madeline books.

& 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.

& 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.

&  Monday at 4 pm the Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts a GLBTQ book club conversation for teens and their alli byes! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 p.m.

& Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with New Orleans writer and artist Dalt Wonk featuring his just released THE RIDDLES OF EXISTENCE.. The Riddles of Existence is an oversized deck of fifty cards, each with a full-colored figure wearing a costume. Beneath the illustration, there is a riddle in verse. The costume is the answer, or hint, to the riddle. This is the game. The illustrations and the verse provide great pleasure, above and beyond, the game. There is also a card with the answers to The Riddles of Existence for those who are stumped.

& Monday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Public Library Diction Writers Group hosts guest author David Armand will discuss his novel, Harlow, as well as his first novel, The Puglilist’s Wife. He teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammand, where he also serves as assistant editor for Louisiana Literature. 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.

& Please join Octavia Books Tuesday at 6 pm for a presentation and booksigning with columnist Charles Krauthammer featuring his #1 New York Times Bestseller, THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics. Tickets are required. Each ticket admits one person and may be exchanged at the event for one signed edition of THINGS THAT MATTER by Charles Krauthammer. Tickets are the price of one book. As space is limited, we strongly recommend that you purchase your ticket now. You may purchased tickets online by clicking here. Or you may tickets by coming to Octavia Books or calling us during store hours at 504-899-READ (7323). You must pay for your tickets at the time you reserve them. Tickets are the price of one book. From America’s most preeminent conservative columnist-a long awaited collection of his essential, timeless writings that goes beyond the world of politics to offer Charles Krauthammer’s penetrating and surprising reflections on everything from psychology, space exploration, medicine, his family, chess, religion and baseball.

& 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 Jefferson Parish Library West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Westwego branch. 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.

& The Louisiana Endowment fokr the Humanities hosts a discussion of Nancy Dixon’s new book N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature featuring a panel Discussion with Editor Nancy Dixon, Contributor Moira Crone, New Orleans Literature Scholar CW Cannon, and Contributor Fatima Shaik at the LEC center on Lafayette Street.

Odd Words December 26, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, novel, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Having missed two weeks of listings due to illness, this 206th edition marks the fourth anniversary of Odd Words. & so it goes. This week in literary New Orleans:

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner.

& Saturday at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Linda Baletsa and Operation Mockingbird. This thriller mirrors today’s headlines with its stunning revelations about dark recesses of media manipulation. Miami journalist Matt Connelly returns home from the Middle East eager to resume his once successful writing career. He soon learns that a powerful public relations firm is manufacturing the news and feeding this propaganda to an unsuspecting public. Reporters who don’t go along are being intimidated, tortured — or worse. This firm will stop at nothing to maintain the spin, including murder. Matt Connelly vows to expose the truth as well as the unholy alliance among business, the government and the media but soon finds himself on the run from those determined to silence him

& 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 week features Poet Sara Henning reading from and signing her new book from Lavender Ink, A Sweeter Water, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& 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.

& The New Orleans Public Library’s branches close at noon on Tuesday for New Year’s. Jefferson Parish Libraries are closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

& 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.

Odd Words December 19, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm James Beard Award-winning chef John Besh will be signing his new cookbook, Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way, at Maple Street Book Shop. In Cooking from the Heart, Chef Besh shares the lessons he’s learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, Cooking from the Heart is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh! Cooking from the Heart, Chef John Besh’s third cookbook, revisits the locations, lessons, and mentors that shaped his culinary journey

& TEN Gallery (4432 Magazine St> will host a reading at 6:30 pm. The theme is The Surface. Readers will include Richard Goodman, Alison Baker, and Maia Elgin.

& The East Jefferson Regional Library will host a Great Books Discussion Group on A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving Thursday at 7 pm in the A/V Conference Room – 2nd Floor. Otherwise, the library is on a holiday programing break through the end of the year.

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

& Saturday at noon Octavia Books hosts Phillip Collier’s Making New Orleans. This book takes you through the ever-evolving history of the Big Easy, owing to the boundless list of past and present locally made products. This volume is an homage to New Orleans’ rich past, bringing to life forgotten foods, coffees, beers, soft drinks, ironwork, furniture, clothing, perfumes, music, money, ships, airplanes, rockets, books, newspapers, and patent medicines. Written by fourteen local writers and historians and featuring over 200 unique New Orleans products, along with vintage advertisements, labels and photographs, this is the perfect book for lovers of all things New Orleans.

& At 2 pm Octavia hosts a signing with author and editor Mary Fitzpatrick and film location manager, producer and scriptwriter Virginia McCollam featuiring the new and final book of the Preservation Resource Center’s trilogy. NEW ORLEANS: Days & Nights in the Dreamy City is an around-the-clock trip to the favorite spots of more than 100 insiders. If you want to see New Orleans as people really live it or if you are fortunate enough to live here and want to travel beyond your own zone, here’s a remarkable diversity of the city’s greatest places according to locals. Celebrities like John Stirratt of WILCO, David Simon of Treme, the Duplass Brothers writing/directing team, crime novelist George Pelecanos and actors Wendell Pierce, Bryan Batt and John Goodman add their favorite spots to places chosen by the powder room attendant at Brennan’s, the Harley-Davidson dealer, the Uptown pediatrician, transplanted nanny, master silversmith, journalist, photographer, developer, and Julia Street drifter

& At 4 pm Saturday Jay Mazza will be signing his new book Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge at the Louisiana Music Factory.. Mazza attended over 350 of Kermit’s performances. Using notes, recollections, archival news reports and extensive interviews with many of the musicians, he has crafted a detailed history of a special time and a unique venue, which holds an exalted place in the memories of those who were there. The book features photographs by Herman Leonard, David Rae Morris, Cheryl Gerber and others. Mazza is also the author of I Got the Fish in the Head: A Radiators Retrospective, essays on the iconic homegrown rock band the Radiators — the 30-year purveyors of “fishhead music” and Up Front and Center, New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century. With this third book, Mazza steps up into the first rank of writers capturing New Orleans’ ever shifting music scene.

& Also at 4 pm Saturday Nadine Blake Gallery, 1036 Royal St., hosts a launch party and signing for The Riddles of Existence Written and Illustrated by Dalt Wonk. Inspired by the costume designs of New Orleans’ century-old Mardi Gras traditions, The Riddles of Existence is a kind of modern reinvention of Tarot Cards. But these cards are not for predicting the future. They are for having fun now. The Riddles of Existence are an oversized deck of fifty cards, each with a full-colored figure wearing a costume. Beneath the illustration, there is a riddle in verse. The costume is the answer, or hint, to the riddle.

& 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 week features poet Mike True reads from and signs his new book from Portals Press, Diabolical Seas, followed by an open mic.

& Sunday is Slam and Spoken Word Day in New Orleans. WhoDatPoets.com lists five Spoken Word shows on Sunday nights. For phone numbers with more details on all these readings visit WHODATPOETS.COM. (I stopped listing all of the events because one venue’s name forced me to limit this post for readers over 21. Check WHODATEPOETS.COM for all the latest on slam and spoken word in New Orleans.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& All area libraries will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25.

& 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.

& 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.

. T

Odd Words December 5, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The coming week in literary New Orleans:

Don’t forget this weekend is the Pirate’s Alley Faulker Society’s Words & Music festival. See the Odd Words’ special listing post for more details. Room 220 interviews one of the prominent featured participants Horacio Castellanos Moya at Room 220.

& In conjunction with Professor Melissa Harris-Perry’s Fall 2013 course, Hip-Hop and Feminism, Tulane University, in partnership with the Anna Julia Cooper Project, LLC, is hosting a mini-conference on the topic of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will bring together a small group of scholars, students, artists, and activists for an intensive series of discussions focused on the contemporary challenges and opportunities at the intersection of gender, sexuality and hip-hop. The conference will be held at Tulane University on Thursday, December 5th and Friday December 6th, and will feature a Thursday night keynote delivered by Joan Morgan, author and cultural critic who coined the phrase “hip-hop feminism” with the publication of the bestselling When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist. This conference is organized by the Anna Julia Cooper Project. Named in honor of one of the most noted African-American intellectuals in the history of the nation, the Anna Julia Cooper Project is an LLC based in New Orleans that investigates how gender and race intersect to shape women’s politics in the South. Details of the conference can be found at femhiphop.weebly.com/.

& Tonight Maple Street Book Shops hosts Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde at 6 p.m. for a book discussion 1and holiday dinner. Space is limited, so please reserve your book (hardcover, $35) and seat (no additional cost) by calling (504-866-4916) or emailing (people@maplestreetbookshop.com). Errol will talk about his latest work, Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival. This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected New Orleans expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, women’s groups, flambeaux, the Carnival foods, and more

& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm author Rich Cohen, who first visited Octavia Books in 2012 for the release of THE FISH THAT ATE THE WHALE, returns to present and sign his new book, MONSTERS: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. The gripping account of a once-in-a-lifetime football team and their lone championship season, Cohen breathlessly recounts the thrilling narrative of their championship season. It’s a story filled with outsized characters and unbelievable-but-true anecdotes gleaned from extensive interviews with the players themselves. It’s a story about fathers and sons, love and loyalty, hope and redemption, pain and joy. It’s a story about football, in all its beauty and all its brutality—the uniquely American sport.a

& Odd Words isn’t a theater listing, but a production of Eugene O’Neil’s A Long Day’s Journey into Night strikes me as a notable exception. Promethean Theatre Co with Four Humours Theater presents the play the ARK KLUB Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm starting Friday through Dec. 21. Tickets and information at fourhumourstheater@gmail.com or 504.948.4167.

& Saturday at 9 am join Octavia Books at the Saturday Crescent City Farmers Market for a special signing and recipe tasting with New Orleans’ own James Beard award-winning chef John Besh featuring his new book, COOKING FROM THE HEART: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way. Besh shares the lessons he learned from his mentors through 140 accessible recipes and cooking lessons. Featuring lush photography, inspiring personal stories, and a rich expanse of culinary knowledge, COOKING FROM THE HEART is the next best thing to having an apprenticeship with Chef Besh.

& Saturday’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shops at 11:30 am features How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss and David Catrow.

& Saturday at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop features Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s The Tilted World. Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love, from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the NY Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly.

& Also on Saturday at Garden District come meet John Currence, author of Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (and Then Some). In his first cookbook, Currence gives you 130 recipes organized by 10 different techniques, such as Boiling/Simmering, Slathering, Pickling/Canning, Roasting/Braising, Muddling/Stirring, Brining/Smoking, and Baking/Spinning, just to name a few. John’s fun-loving personality rings true throughout the book with his personal stories and history, and his one-of-a-kind recipes. Each recipe has a song pairing with it and the complete list can be downloaded at spotify.com. Over 100 documentary-style color photographs by photographer Angie Mosier complete this stunning look at the South.

& The Poetry Buffet returns to the Latter Memorial Library for it’s monthly reading at 2 pm, featuring Darrell Bourque, Lee Grue and Rodger Kamenetz.

& Saturday evening at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a special evening with chess Grandmaster Jesse Kraai when he comes to Octavia Books to read and sign his chess novel, LISA. This debut novel by chess GM Jesse Kraai tells the story of a 13-year-old California girl who defies her mother and her school to study chess with Russian master Igor Ivanov. Lisa is an exploration of what it means to get an education in chess, and a meditation on what makes the game so compelling to those who play. As much about art and education as it is about pawns and kings, Lisa tells a story that will resonate with anyone who’s ever set foot in a tournament hall, or has ever pursued beauty and excellence in any arena. Following his reading, Grandmaster Kraai will play blindfolded chess with a top New Orleans chess junior.

& 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 week features a group reading by John Gery’s UNO MFA poetry students.

& 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.

& The Main Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts GLBTQ teens & their Allies are invited to join in the book club conversation! We will provide paper and digital copies of a short story the week before; the subsequent discussion will be guided by the themes and issues explored in the reading. In the main auditorium at 4:00 p.m. Mondays.

& Do you think in verse that could become poetry? Do you imagine characters, dialogue, and scenes? If so, join the New Orleans Public Library Smith branch’s free Creative Writing Workshop. Every other Monday, beginning October 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia books hosts a reading and signing by two novelists: Daniel Chacon’s HOTEL JUAREZ: Stories, Rooms, and Loops and Jonathan Kline’s THE WISDOM OF THE ASHES.

& Monday the East Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library at 7 p.m.. The Fiction Writers’ Group is a support group for serious writers of fiction. We do not focus on poetry, essays or nonfiction. Events consist of critique sessions from group members, author talks and writing exercises. Free of charge and open to the public. Registration is not required.

& Monday at 7 pm Crescent City Books hosts the launch of The Oblivion Atlas, by Michael Allen Zell, whose first novel Errata (also from Lavender Ink) was a Times-Picayune top 10 book of 2012, with book design and illustration by the award-winning Louviere and Vanessa (L+V), who were named in Oxford American’s 2012 “Superstars of Southern Art”, is now available and launches with several events over the holidays and at PhotoNOLA. All events feature a reading by Zell with showings of the artwork by L+V. Please join us at any or all of these events:

& 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.

& Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Ogden Museum of Art hosts a book launch for Inventing Reality: New Orleans Visionary Photography. The collection, published by Luna Press and curated by D. Eric Bookhardt, presents a vision that is both subjective and representative of a broad spectrum of techniques, providing an overview into the creative renaissance that is taking place in the city today. “In photography, this city and the surrounding region have long been a spawning grounds for visionary or magic realist imagery dating to Clarence John Laughlin’s surrealist works of the 1930s,” writes Bookhardt. “Today a coterie of younger emerging artists, often reflecting alternative socio-cultural milieus, have – in concert with their more established peers – expanded this visionary vocabulary.” Bookhardt’s insightful essay details the rich history of photographic arts in New Orleans, and his individual introductions to each photographer’s series provide context for the works of 2013 Guggenheim Fellow Deborah Luster, David Halliday, Josephine Sacabo, and Louviere+Vanessa, among other established and emerging artists

& 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 Maple Street Book Shop will feature a reading of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas with Rebecca Snedeker (the local editor for the book), as well as local contributors Nathaniel Rich, Dana Logsdon, and Joel Dinerstein at our Uptown shop, Wednesday, December 11th at 6PM.

& Wednesday at the Alvar Library at 6:30 pm Poets & Writers, Inc. presents Reflections on Revolutionary Egypt Poet and nonfiction writer Andy Young has been living in Cairo for the last year and will return to Egypt in January. She will read from her poems and essays reflecting on revolutionary Egypt and share some of her photographs of the street art which reflects the state of resistance on the streets of the city.

Odd Words: Words & Music Special December 4, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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The Words & Music Festival, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, is officially underway. The theme for this year is “Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.” You can get all the details here: http://www.wordsandmusic.org/Schedule.html. All events except Wednesday evening’s are by admission.  Here are some highlights:

  • Wednesday’s opening event of the Words & Music Festival at 4:00 p.m. at The Presbytere at Jackson Square, Corner St. Ann & Chartres Streets, featuring author Rodger Kamenetz along with Terri Stoor, who won the Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story in 2011 and has been a finalist several times in both the short story and essay categories of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition; Tad Bartlett, J. Ed Martston, Maurice Ruffin,and Emily Choate, all of whom have placed in the Society’s competition. Caroline Rash, Associate Editor of the Double Dealer will be reading new poetry, and Geoff Munstermann. A Screening of Walker Percy, the documentary film, follows at 6:15 pm.
  • Friday the annual New Orleans, Mon Amour session, after the famous essay by the late National Book Award winner Walker Percy,features a program Thursday which includes a discussion about his work by his distinguished biographer the Rev. Patrick Samway, SJ. We start New Orleans, Mon Amour, 2013 with a book appropriate to this year’s theme: Faith and the Search for Meaning as Inspiration for the Arts.
  • Also on Thursday There will also be session on writing about architecture and food (two beloved New Orleans topics) featuring authors Deborah Burst and Elizabeth M. Williams ; a paper presentation by Dr. Nancy Dixon on Faith in Early New Orleans Literature, examining the role of Catholicism and alternate religions in early New Orleans literature beginning with some of the city’s earliest works up to the 20th century; the keynote talk will be delivered by the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., distinguished biographer of National Book Award winner the late Walker Percy; a set of fiction panels featuring authors Christine Sneed, T. Geronimo Johnson and David Armand; a paper presentation The Walker Percy I remember presented by Garic “Nikki” Barranger, an affectionate appreciation of Walker and Bunt Percy will be at the center of Nikki Barranger’s presentation, which deals with the frictions attendant on Walker Percy’s philosophy by one of the founders of the Society and a close friend of the Percys.
  • Literature and Lunch will feature will feature Michael Sartisky, left above, President of The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and author of A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Louisiana Art, who will discuss the ways the visual arts have been influenced by not only the Gulf light but by the arts, notably music and storytelling, historically in Louisiana. Joséphine Sacabo and Dalt Wonk, who recently created a new press specifically for creating beautiful books devoted to the arts, produced a remarkable book, Nocturnes, feature Joséphine’s images and Dalt’s poetry. The new company, Luna Press, also produced a collector’s limited edition of Dalt’s French Quarter Fables, combining his fables with his illustrations. They will be joined by bestselling poet and non-fiction author Rodger Kamenetz, whose new collection of poetry inspired a stunning collection of abstract expressionist art by his friend, The art images are reproduced in Rodger’s new book of poetry, To Die Next to You.
  • Thursday’s afternoon sessions will feature Shari Stauch, creator of Where Writers Win. Shari has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years; LITERARY ROLE MODELS …And the Agents Who Help Them Achieve Their Dreams Against All Odds! featuring author David Menache of New Orleans, introduced by his agent, Brandi Bowles, who worked with David to complete an inspiring memoir and then sold it; 21st Century Publishing Alternatives introduced by Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win and a member of the Faulkner Society’s Advisory Council, will feature April Eberhardt, who owns the April Eberhardt Literary Agency and is expert in alternative options, including successful formats and planning for self-publishing. Ms. Eberhardt will be joined by William Coles, who has been a finalist multiple times in multiple categories of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
  • Thursday ends with Music in the Mood of the Season
    The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society is Co-Sponsoring with the French Quarter Festival and St. Louis Cathedral, the kick-off concert for the annual Christmas concert series at the Cathedral. The concert will feature the fabulously entertaining jazz band,
    Harmonouche, led by French guitarist and harmonica player Rafaël Bas.

WHEW. That’s just Thursday.

  • Friday morning’s events features Faith and Literature: Robert Hicks, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Widow of the South , which will feature Naomi Benaron, Bellwether Prize winner for her novel, Running the Rift, will lead this session, a discussion of how faith or a search for it or even a lack of it can inform your writing. Joining them will be Leslie Lehr, who won the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Novella in 1998 and whose new novel, What A Mother Knows, is a retelling of the Old Testament story, the Judgement of Solomon; and Pamela Binnings Ewen (at left) nominated for the Christy Award for her work and whose new novel, The Accidental Life, is a compelling story of the consequences of a live birth during an abortion; PAN AMERICAN CONNECTIONS: FICTION Make it Real, Inject Black and Blue Humor
    Steve Striffler, Ph.D., who holds the Doris Stone Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of New Orleans, will set the stage for this session featuring our special Pan American Connections guest of honor, Horacio Castellenos Moya, who is a master of black humor in the face of horror. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness and other novels, as well as an impressive body of work as a journalist in both Latin America and the United States. Currently, in exile from his country, El Salvador, he teaches in the MFA Program in Spanish at the University of Iowa. His novel Senselessness is both a study in a revolution gone wrong and the search for meaning in the midst of horror. Daniel Castro, a New Orleans native whose heritage is Cuban and El Salvadoran, is invited to interview Castellanos Moya for this session. Daniel won our 2012 gold medal for his incredibly imaginative novella Inspection.
  • Friday’s Literature and Lunch features Cuba, My Beloved: Writing from the Heart about Tough Political Issues. This session will center on the appeal to readers of literature inspired by passion. Featuring George Fowler (left) author of the new book My Cuba Libre: Bringing Fidel Castro to Justice, and Humberto Fontova, bestselling author of the new book, his fifth, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. They will be introduced by Raúl Fonte of the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation, who is a professional engineer and patent attorney.. Prior to their presentation, Latina poet Melinda Palacio will read a new poem in tribute to the Pulitzer Prize Cuban American novelist Oscar Hijuelos, who passed away while playing tennis on October 12, 2012
  • Friday afternoon brings THE AESTHETICS OF LITERATURE What’s in a Name? A Literary Field Full of Daisies, introduced by novelist George Bishop, author of the new Night of the Comet, this session will be led by Lee Froehlich, the Managing Editor of Playboy Magazine, an excellent writer himself, has spent much of his adult life on the job editing some of the most exciting writers of our time. Beyond that he is a incurable addict of serious literature consumed voraciously in his leisure time. He will lead off this session discussing the importance of selecting memorable names in creating successful characters for fiction, using the Daisies of literature, such as Daisy Miller, as his focus. Joining him will be internationally noted poet Gordon Walmsley, editor of the Copenhagen Review, who has now turned his hand to fiction with his first novel, Daisy, The Alchemical Adventures of a New Orleans Hermaphrodite; and GQ Magazine critic Tom Carson, author of the new novel Daisy Buchanan’s Daughter and other events.
  • Saturday morning brings three master classes that each deserve their own bullet: MASTER CLASS: NARRATIVE NON-FICTION What Works and Why. This session will be led by literary agent Jeff Kleinman, left, of Folio Literary Management, who judged the Narrative Non-Fiction category of the Faulkner – Wisdom Competition this year. The program will begin with a reading by best-selling non-fiction writer Gary Krist, author of City of Scoundrels, The masterfully told story of 12 volatile days in the life of Chicago, when an aviation disaster, a race riot, a crippling transit strike, and a sensational child murder roiled a city already on the brink of collapse. Other featured authors are the men and women he selected to place: Alex Sheshunoff of Ojai,CA, Misplaced Paradise, Winner; Sybil Morial of New Orleans, Witness to Change, Leah Lax of Houston, TX, Uncovered, and the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J., “I am Properly Back Where I Started From”: Flannery O’Connor to Her Editor Robert Giroux, all runners-up;
  • MASTER CLASS: FICTION What is this Thing Called Novella? Novellas are really hot with publishers right now. Why? Lots of people write what they think are novellas but are really either longish short stories or short novels. So how do you write a real novella. Featuring Lisa Zeidner (left), author of bestselling novels Layover and Love Bomb and founder and director of the MFA program at Rutgers, and Moira Crone, (at right), winner of the Robert Penn Warren Award for her fiction, including her collection What Gets Into Us, former director of the MFA program at LSU, and author of the new novel, The Not Yet. They will explain for writers what a novella is and how to achieve it; and,
  • MASTER CLASS: FICTION The Evil of the World Inspires Quests for Meaning…and…Compelling Literature Featuring Horacio Castellanos Moya, left, born in Honduras and raised in El Salvador, and whose work centers on horrific consequences during revolutions in El Savador and Guatemala. Also featuring Ron Rash, a native of the Carolinas whose work has focused on Appalachia, and Tom Franklin, a native of Alabama who writes in the dark, southern Gothic tradition. Castellanos Moya is author of Senselessness, and 11 other novels, along with short fiction collections. He also has had a dramatic career as a political journalist in countries where it has been dangerous to be political at all. One of Latin America’s most important authors, his work only recently has begun to appear in English translations. His novels are born out out of rage over inhumanity and injustice. Ron Rash, center, a master short fiction writer and poet, as well as a critically acclaimed novelist, is author of the novel Serena, a portrait of evil personified, which has been adapted for a feature film starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence scheduled for release this winter. Like Castellanos Moya, Rash looks around his world and is appalled by the evil he sees and is inspired to capture that evil in his stories and their characters. Tom Franklin, like Rash, is a master of the short story form, and his books have included Poachers, which won the Edgar Award and other honors. Many of his characters are reminiscent of Faulkner’s unattractive family of Snopes and the degenerate Popeye of Sanctuary. Most recently, he co-authored a novel, The Tilted World, with his wife, the renowned poet and essayist, Beth Ann Fennelly. Invited to appear with them is Barnes Carr, selected by Ron Rash as winner of the Faulkner Society’s gold medal for Best Short Story for his dark story, The Needle Man.
  • LITERATURE & LUNCH brings Jesus Christ, Superstar! featuring Reza Aslan, religious studies superstar, author of the international bestselling new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as his previous bestsellers, No God But God and How To Win A Cosmic War, all works that have been translated in more than a dozen languages.
  • Saturday afternoon offers PAPER PRESENTATION The Moral Implications of the Time-Space Continuum presented by Gregory Freidlander, who will discuss the Einstein Hologram Universe theory of fundamental physics, not from a standpoint of the math but from the standpoint of logic and the moral underpinnings. “In order to understand the theory first I have to convince you that dimension is a function of time and doesn’t exist independently, and I will do that, says Mr. Friedlander! His paper revolves around the concept that that the existence of the universe derives from you, that your individual morality affects the universe, and that you can and should act with as much integrity and courage as your situation allows; THE HOLLY WOOD EXPERIENCE–WORKSHOPS, NTRODUCTION
    Workshop No. 1 feeatures Leslie Lehr a produced screenwriter, who currently is adapting her new novel, What a Mother Knows, for the screen—will introduce and participate in Hollywood Experience; and, Workshop No. 2 brings Writing a Screenplay to Sell on Spec featuring Mark Evan Schwartz, this session will zero in on a dynamic opening and lead characters. In theprofessional world of spec feature film screenwriting, the first ten 15 pages of a screenplay can make it or break it. If the set up through inciting incident and characters don’t immediately captivate, propelling the story and its leading characters forward in a way that compels the reader to keep turning the page, the agent, manager, development exec, and/or producer will pass. The Hollywood theme continues after these workshops with HOLLYWOOD EXPERIENCE PART TWO–Developing Authors: How to Improve Your Chances of Selling your Novel to Hollywood studios, Television, or Major Publishing Houses. Presented by Marilyn Atlas, an award-winning film, television, and stage producer and talent manager of actresses, actors, and authors.

Ready for more?

  • Sunday starts off with the MASTER CLASS: POETRY: This session will be introduced by poet Caroline Rash, a finalist in the 2013 Faulkner — Wisdom Competition and Associate Editor of The Double Dealer and led by the widely published, critically acclaimed poet Beth Ann Fennelly. Appearing with them will be Gail Waldstein, who was selected by Beth Ann for the Faulkner Society’s 2013 Gold Medal for Poetry. Joining them will be Geoff Munsterman, Associate Editor of The Double Dealer, whose new collection, just published by Lavender Ink Press, is: Because the Stars Shine Through It.
  • Sundayu morning also brings: Presentation of a paper Sherwood Anderson’s Search for a New Faith presented by Don De Grazia. De Grazia is author of the novel, American Skin (Scribner/Jonathan Cape) and an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, New City, TriQuarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, The Italian American Reader, Rumpus, The Great Lakes Review, Make Magazine, and other publications. He also a screenwriter in the Writers Guild of America (east) and co-founder/co-host of Come Home Chicago, a live event series dedicated to celebrating the Chicago storytelling tradition in all its forms; The Year of Flannery O’ Connor featuring the Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J. and W.Kenneth Holditch, scholar in the literature of the South; and, THE POLITICS OF RELIGION
    What you need to know about State Religions in Modern World, The Study of Other Faiths and How Such Studies Can Point You Back to Your Own Faith and to the Creation of Compelling Literature. This session will feature Reza Aslan, a Muslim who converted to Christianity and then returned to Islam and author of Zealot: the Life & Times of Jesus Of Nazareth, and Rodger Kamenetz (at right), critically acclaimed poet and bestselling non-fiction author of The Jew in the Lotus, a memoir about his studies of Buddhism and meetings with the Dali Llamma.
  • The festival will conclude with Sunday’s Literature and Lunch featuring: The Quests for Meaning of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner featuring Williams and Faulkner scholar W. Kenneth Holditch, who is co-founder of both the Tennessee Williams Festival and the Faulkner Society.

Odd Words June 27, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, spoken word, Toulouse Street.
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Featured Event: Ever thought of dating a poet, once of those charasmatic masters of the microphone you swoon to hear speak? Friday night Team Slam New Orleans is hosting a fundraiser for their trip to back to the National Poetry Slam in Boston this August. Team SNO will be hosting a date auction at the Red Star Gallarie from 8-11 p.m. hosted by The Hump Connection featuring D.J. Victoria Vixxen. Team SNO is a two-time winner of the nationals so everyone is encouraged to go out and help them raise that last $1,000 they need to get there. Come play for a date & hear in your very own ear the fierce & tender magic that’s Team SNO.

See you logo here! Sponsorship available. To reach 7,500 self-identified book readers & buyers, contact Mark Folse at odd.words.nola@gmail.comr

See your logo here and on Facebook daily! Sponsorship available. To reach 7,500 self-identified book readers & buyers a week, contact Mark Folse at odd.words.nola@gmail.com.

Some other literary chatter:

Pick up the current issue of the Oxford American to read a feature-length essay by Press Street co-founder Anne Gisleson, “Condolences from Death Row.” The essay, an early draft of which Gisleson read at a Room 220 event in May 2012, uses the author’s receipt of a letter from a death row inmate, who her attorney brother represented, as the jumping-off point to ruminate about their father’s recent death and her own mortality. Gallows humor (that, as we learn through Gisleson’s descriptions of her father, clearly runs in the family) and an urgent sense of longing pervade the essay, which is yet another piece of evidence that one of New Orleans’ best prose writers is getting better before our eyes.

Also check out Micheal Zell of Crescent City Books’ essay on the seminal New Orleans author, historian and folklorist Marcus Christian at Room 220.

Local poet and essayist Rodget Kamanetz has just co-published a book of pomes with illustrations by Michael Hafftka, To Die Next To You. From Amazon.com: “Two brother artists, both nurtured by the dream world and its imaginal colors and sacred words, have joined to produce a single work of rare quality. More that a collaboration this work is a journey into the power of the unconscious depth of word and image, in which master painter and poet present verbal and visual displays of agony and joy, destruction and falling, love and dying.”

Finally, this month’s find on the Intertubes is the Tumblr blog Structure & Style, where Rebecca Hazelwood and Savannah Sipple find marvelous poems and serve them up as a many course meal of poetic wonder. Check it out.

& so to the listings…

& This evening at Maple Street Books Brenda Marie Osbey will be signing her latest poetry collection, All Souls: Collected Poems (forthcoming, 2013); All Saints: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997), which received the American Book Award; Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991); In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988); and Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983; University Press of Virginia, 1985). She is the author also of a series of Kongo-New Orleans libretti, including Sultane au Grand Marais: a New Orleans Opera (Rites & Reason Theatre, December, 2011).

& This Thursday at The International House, 221 Camp Street, welcomes journalist Stephanie Hepburn for a presentation & signing celebrating the launch of her new book, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AROUND THE WORLD: Hidden in Plain Sight. Octavia Books will be selling the books on location and Stephanie will be signing books following her presentation. A complimentary cocktail will be served. From New Orleans to New Guinea. From Baltimore to Bangladesh. From Laos to Los Angeles. Stephanie Hepburn brings uncommon passion and penetrating insights, born of exhaustive investigation, to a topic which needs both.

& This week’s Alvar Arts, held every third Thursday at The Alvar Library from 7 to 9 pm, features Ken Foster discussing his latest book, I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Dog. Working in collaboration with book packager Becker & Meyer, photographer Karen Morgan, and Penguin USA, Foster will describe the collaborative process that produced the book, which features nearly 100 full color photos and historic images in addition to Foster’s text

Likely as not you will find a bunch of poets sitting around outside Flora’s Coffee Shop in an informal reading/meeting organized by Jimmy Ross. 8 pm-ish.

& Friday night Team Slam New Orleans is hosting a fundraiser for their trip to back to the National Poetry Slam in Boston this August. Ever thought of dating a poet, once of those charasmatic masters of the microphone you swoon to hear speak? This is your chance. Team SNO will be hosting a date auction at the Red Star Gallarie from 8-11 p.m. hosted by The Hump Connection featuring D.J. Victoria Vixxen. Team SNO is a two-time winner so everyone is encouraged to go out and help them raise that last $1,000 they need to get there. Come play for a date & hear in your very own ear the fierce magic that’s Team SNO. Team members include Akeem Martin, Justin Lamb, Sam Gordon, Kaycee Filson and Quess?. Team SNO came in sixth out of 32 of the best teams of the country in the recent Southern Friend Poetry Slam hosted by Team SNO. Quess? says the SFPL is “a competition that is getting fiercer every year. That was with that new members who just started writing, much less performing just last year. I put EVERYTHING on my team. We’re some of the best slam poets in the world and one of the best teams.”

& Also this Friday Word Connections @ The Juju Bag Cafe Open Mic features Mr. Spoken Word Lionel King. Word Connections aims to be a weekly fix of good times with people you know and soon will know, words being shared, great food being served, drinks and laughter all night with the amazing ambiance provided by The JuJu Bag Cafe’s outdoor patio area. Open mic so all poets (and singers) are welcomed to come sign up and showcase their skills

& Also on Friday night Octavia books hosts author Sheila Heti celebrating the paperback edition of HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? with a reading and book signing. Hailed as “a breakthrough” (Chris Kraus, Los Angeles Review of Books) for the critically acclaimed Sheila Heti, HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? is an unabashedly honest and hilarious tour through the unknowable pieces of one woman’s heart and mind. It has ignited conversation and earned Heti comparisons to Joan Didion, Henry Miller, Kathy Acker, and Gustave Flaubert. “Funny…odd, original, and nearly unclassifiable…Unlike any other novel I can think of.” —David Haglund, The New York Times Book Review

& On Saturday at 11:30 am Story Time with Miss Maureen at Maple Street Book Shop will feature Dr. Sues’ The Butter Battle Book.

Also on Saturday, the , the Teen Zone of the Main New Orleans Public Library will be hosting an visit by two Young Adult authors, for teens: e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, author of FAT ANGIE, and Michelle Embree, author of MAN STEALING FOR FAT GIRLS. The authors will read from and discuss their books. 2 pm at the Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave

& Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Bar is the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox. In the back patio, weather permitting. Periodic features and an open mic every Sunday.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Spoken Word artists perform as a resident artist sketches the performers. Doors at 7 pm. and show at 8 pm. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street.

& 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.

& Also on Tuesday, Maple Street Book Shop’s The First Tuesday Book Club will be meeting at 5:45PM at the Uptown location to discuss Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Pick up your copy today! Newcomers are always welcome. August’s titled will be In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White.

& Also on Tuesday the Jefferson Parish Library Writers Group meets at the Westwego library from 7-9 pm.

Every Wednesday at Buffa’s in the back room there will be music and poetry from 7-8 p.m. followed by an open mic.

Coming next week: The Community Book Store on Bayou Road celebrates its 30th anniversary with two days of events July 5 and 6

Odd Words March 7, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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coverGallatin & Toulouse press returns with a unique and startling coloring book by artist and poet Thaddeus Conti, Coloring Book for the Criminally Insane: Session 0. The book will be available pre-launch this Saturday, March 9 at an art show at the 1239 Congress Gallery of the same address featuring Conti. A formal launch of the book and re-launch of G&T Press, established in 2010 by editors Sam Jasper and Mark Folse with the publication of A Howling in the Wires: Selected Writers from Postdiluvian New Orleans, will be celebrated at the St. Roch Tavern later this month. G&T Press took an unavoidable hiatus after the publication of Howling, but plans to return in 2013 with a focus on works featuring New Orleans and its authors, poets and artists. Facebook users, please visit and “Like” the Gallatin & Toulouse Press page to keep up with events and books.

Local writer Ari Braverman was recently selected as the winner of the 2012 James Knudsen Prize in Fiction, awarded by Bayou Magazine and the University of New Orleans. More details on the Room 220 literary blog.

& so to the listings…

& Tonight, March 7 at 6 p.m. Octavia books hosts Elsa Hahne, author of shop favorite You Are Where You Eat: Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans, will be reading and signing her new cookbook, The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians, at our Bayou St. John location, Sunday, March 3rd at 2PM. It’s 192 pages, featuring 44 musicians, 45 recipes, and more than 200 color photographs, with an introduction by Dr. John.

& Tonight at 7:30 pm 17 Literary & Performance Series’ at Gold Mine Saloon features Book Signings & featured performances with poets Bernadette Mayer and Phillip Good. Mayer was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including: Ethics of Sleep (Trembling Pillow press, 2011) Poetry State Forest (New Directions, 2008), Scarlet Tanager (2005), Two Haloed Mourners: Poems (1998), Proper Name and Other Stories (1996), The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994), The Bernadette Mayer Reader (1992), Sonnets (1989), Midwinter Day (1982), The Golden Book of Words (1978), and Ceremony Latin (1964). She has a new collection forthcoming from New Directions: The Helens of Troy, NY. Good is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts. He co-edited with Bill Denoyelles, the last of the mimeograph poetry magazines, Blue Smoke. He has given poetry readings all across America and abroad. He now lives in a former shtetl next to the Tsatsawassa and Kinderhook creeks. His book Untitled Writing from a Member of the Blank Generation was released in 2011 by Trembling Pillow Press.

& Nationally renowned poet, author, and actor Roosevelt “Hero 44” Wright III will be instructing a spoken word course at Special Tea Cafe Thursdays at 6:30. This is a great opportunity to learn from one of the most innovated spoken word artist in the country.

& Friday, March 8 at 4 pm Tulane University will present a lecture featuring Timothy Hampton, University of California-Berkley “Tangled Generation: Dylan, Kerouac, Petrarch and the Poetry of Escape”. Hampton will sketch out an approach to the problem of the “generation” as a category of literary historical understanding. His focus will be Bob Dylan’s 1975 album Blood on the Tracks, which is both a milestone in his career and a complex meditation on the relationship between poetry, politics, and history. It is also the only place in his long career in which Dylan writes songs about the “1960s Generation”–that social group of which he was understood to be the “voice” or spokesman.Prof. Hampton will explore the ways in which Dylan deploys earlier traditions of writing about “generational” experience, from Dante and Petrarch to Rimbaud and Jack Kerouac, as a way of marking a break with his own earlier work.

& This weekend brings the sixth annual Jane Austen Festival in Mandeville, featuring the signature costume contest in which contestants compete in their best Mr. Darcy and Jane Austin threads, along with a Love Letter Writing Contest. Activities will begin Saturday, March 9, at the Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Interpretive Center’s Depot Room at 9 a.m. and continue at at 2:30 pm at the North Star at Girod and Madison streets, three blocks south of the Trailhead. Saturday’s events are free and open to the public. Sunday, March 10 the festival moves to the second floor of The Lakehouse, restaurant, 2025 Lakeshore Drive from noon to 6 pm . Admission is $35 or $25 for students and teachers with picture ID and includes a brunch, finale cake and champagne reception and several events during the afternoon. A complete schedule of activities is on the event’s web site, JaneAustenFestival.org.

& Saturday, March 9 at 11:30 am Miss Maureen will read A Birthday for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban at Maple Street Books Uptown’s weekly Story Time with Miss Maureen.

& Saturday, March 9 at 1 p.m. Garden District Books hosts C. S. Harris and his novel What Darkness Brings. “The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.”

& Don’t forget the pre-launch debut of Coloring Book for the Criminally Insane at the 1239 Congress Gallery from 6:30 – 10 p.m. The gallery’s name is it’s address.

& This Sunday’s reading at the Maple Leaf Poetry Series will feature poets Dave Brinks, Rev. Goat Carson and John Sinclair perform their work. 3:30 pm in the rear courtyard.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Poets perform as a resident artists paints the crowd and performers. At 6 p.m. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street. No longer at the Bayou Road location.

& Every Monday, 9 p.m. Writer’s Block, usually held on the amphitheater steps on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square. Check the Facebook page for details.

& 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.

& Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. Garden District Books features Paul Dorrell’s Living the Artist’s Life. “Dorrell opened [the Leopold Gallery in Kansas City, MO] in 1991 and has been advancing artists’ careers on a national level ever since. This is an updated edition of his original book, covering critical subjects that he didn’t before and expanding on others, written in the same honest tone. With clients such as Warner Brothers and H&R Block, Dorrell knows how to land the big deals, as well as how to win the trust of private collectors.”

& Tuesday 6 pm Octavia hosts a reading and book signing with Aimee Agresti featuring her gripping new novel, INFATUATE in which angels in training face evil in New Orleans. From Bourbon Street to St. Louis Number One to the LaLaurie Mansion—our city really serves as an additional character in the book. This sequel to ILLUMINATE has all the hallmarks of a great YA read: romance, action, paranormal elements, and mystery.

& Also on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Maple Street Bookstore at the Healing Center hosts Gael Thompson and The Dream of the Turquoise Bee by Dianne Aigaki. Thompson appears on behalf of the author. The book is a mystery set in Tibet revolving around the disappearance of the protagonists husband during the Chinese invasion of Tibet, and her return 30 years later to China hoping to uncovered his murderers.

& Wednesday nights from 7-10 it is Lyrics and Laughs, bridging comedy and poetry by featuring performers from both genres at Special Tea, 4337 Banks St.

If your event doesn’t appear here, please email odd.words.nola@gmail.com. I do my best to scrape the internet for everything of interest, but it helps if you send me your listings direction.

Odd Words February 28, 2013

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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Any book of journalism with a blurb from David Simon will make Odd Words sit up and take notice, so I want to call out the appearances of reporter Sarah Carr featuring her new book, HOPE AGAINST HOPE, a moving portrait of school reform in New Orleans told through the eyes of a family, a teacher, and a principal. She appears tonight at Garden District Book and next week on Wednesday at Octavia. The appearance at Garden District will be filmed by C-SPAN for BookTV. I have my own strong feelings about the anarcho-centrifugal Balkanization of the New Orleans school system, and can’t wait to read this.

& so to the listings…

& Sarah Carr appears at Garden District Books at 6 p.m. in a reading/discussion that will be filmed by C-SPAN for BookTV. “It’s work like this that makes journalism truly matter, that makes clear that reportage is not merely about fact and argument and theory, but about human lives in the balance. In Hope Against Hope, Sarah Carr has taken an open mind and a careful eye to the delicate, complicated issue of public education and the fading American commitment to equality of opportunity. She does so not by embracing ideological cant or political banter, but by following people through the schools of New Orleans, a city that is trying desperately to reconstitute and better itself after a near-death experience. Don’t embarrass yourself by speaking further on American education without first reading this.” — David Simon, former Baltimore Sun reporter and creator of The Wire and Treme

& 17 Poets! will host visiting poets Barbara Henning and Jamey Jones followed by the open mic. Henning is the author of seven collections of poetry and three novels. Her most recent books are a collection of poetry and prose, Cities & Memory (Chax), a novel, Thirty Miles from Rosebud, and a chapbook, A Slow Process (Monkey Puzzle). A Swift Passage is forthcoming this year from Quale Press. She is also the author/editor of a book of interviews, Looking Up Harryette Mullen (Belladonna), and The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins (Blazevox). Barbara grew up in Detroit and has lived in New York City since 1983, except for a few years in Tucson. She teaches for Naropa University, as well as Long Island University in Brooklyn, where she is Professor Emerita. Jones is from Pensacola, Florida, where he has long been an active proponent of all things poetry. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Long Island University in 2010. His most recent chapbooks are the notebook troubled the sleep door (brown boke press, 2008) and Twelve Windows (brown boke press, 2009). His poems have appeared in Yawp, The Mundane Egg, Brooklyn Paramount, The Tsatsawassins, With + Stand, and other various journals.

& Please join Room 220 as we celebrate the release of the newest Press Street publication, We’re Pregnant, with a Happy Hour Salon from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). We’re Pregnant is a chapbook of short fiction by Room 220’s esteemed editor, Nathan C. Martin, along with photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano. The book contains three of Martin’s short stories—which explore in morbid fashion anxieties related to sex, disease, marriage, and childbirth—with images inspired by the stories from each of the photographers. The result is a slim, elegant volume containing three dark couplets of photography and text.

& The Poetry Society of America and Tulane University present 1 THE NEW SALON: READING AND CONVERSATIONS Jericho Brown, with Peter Cooley at 7 p.m. in the Stone Auditorium, Woldenburg Art Center. Brown worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is an Assistant Professor at Emory University. His first book, Please (New Issues), won the American Book Award.

& Tonight at Maple Street Book Shop Uptown hosts a reading and signing with Chris Wiltz who will be promoting her new book, Shoot the Money, at 6 p.m. From Mamou to Miami to New Orleans, money and friendship are at the heart of Shoot the Money as it explores women’s desires for big bucks, and they see what money does to those who have it, lose it, pursue it, or steal it. And what happens when they try a little revenge on their rapid chase toward a better life.

& Thursday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with journalist Daniel Brook celebrating the release of his new book, A HISTORY OF FUTURE CITIES, a pioneering exploration of four cities where East meets West and past becomes future: St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai. Brook is the author of The Trap and a journalist whose work has appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Nation, and Slate. A New York native, Brook lives in New Orleans

& Also on Thursday night the Black Student Union of Loyola University will be hosting a Spoken Word Showcase on Loyola’s campus in the Audubon Room located on the second floor of the Danna Student Center. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. The event will feature 3 opening performances from students followed by sets from local poets including Hero 44, John L, Tony Wilson, Indie Writes and Smutdapoet.

& Friday Maple Street Book Shop’s Healing Center location hosts a reading with John McCusker at our Healing Center location, Thursday, February 28th, 6:30-8PM. He’ll be signing his book, Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz. Edward “Kid” Ory (1886-1973) was a trombonist, composer, recording artist, and early New Orleans jazz band leader. Creole Trombone tells his story from birth on a rural sugar cane plantation in a French-speaking, ethnically mixed family, to his emergence in New Orleans as the city’s hottest band leader. Drawing on oral history and Ory’s unpublished autobiography, “Creole Trombone” is a story that is told in large measure by Ory himself. McCusker is a photographer for The Times-Picayune. He was part of the the team that shared the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for covering Hurricane Katrina.

& Friday night Garden District Books hosts Deirdre Gogarty with Darrelyn Saloom and the book My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box. Although in the late 1980’s boxing is socially frowned upon and illegal for women in Ireland, a young women named Deirdre Gogarty has one dream: to be the first world champion. Unable to fit in at school and in the midst of her parents’ unraveling marriage, she plans her suicide. Death hovers in the back of her mind, but boxing beckons as Gogarty defies the odds and finds a gym and coach who is willing to train her. Her fierce determination leads to underground bouts in Ireland and Britain. But how can a shy, young misfit become a professional boxer in a country that bans women from the sport? Gogarty follows her calling to compete and journeys from the Irish Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, from outcast to center ring, from the depths of depression to the championship fight of her life.

& The first Saturday of the month brings the Poetry Buffet at the Latter Memorial Library at 2 p. hosted by Gina Ferrara. Featured this month are Delia Tomino Nakayama, Melinda Palacio and Genaro Ky Ly Smith.

& Miss Maureen of Maple Street Books Uptown announces that at this week’s Story Time: “We’ll read Henri’s Walk to Paris by Leonore Klein and talk about all the places we could walk to.” 11:30 a.m.

& Octavia Books will be at this Saturday’s Crescent City Farmers Market for a joint booksigning featuring Lorin Gaudin – NEW ORLEANS CHEF’S TABLE – and Elsa Hahne – THE GRAVY: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians. Gaudin’s book explores the culinary traditions in our fair city, amidst the dining evolution taking place, with recipes for the home cook from 50 of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, while Hahne’s digs into the deep connections between New Orleans music and food with forty-four first-person accounts from musicians and more than two hundred photographs.

& Also on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the Garden District Book Shop Gayle Nolan discusses and signs her book, What Love Can Do: Recollected Stories of Slavery and Freedom in New Orleans and the Surrounding Area. Arthur Mitchell was born in Irontown, Louisiana, on August 24, 1915. During his early childhood, he moved with his family to the French Quarter of New Orleans. There, he and his siblings sat around a coal or wood stove at night, listening to family stories about the descendents of a beautiful young slave girl from East Central Africa sold in 1810 to a French farmer in the New Orleans area. Later, Mitchell realized that the stories so precious to him needed to be preserved after his death, and he began writing them down in fifteen-minute segments during his work breaks at the Cabildo in New Orleans. His original 150-page, hand-written memoir was lost in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, when the levee broke just two miles from his house in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. Fortunately, one copy was preserved by Gayle Nolan, who has edited and prepared the manuscript for publication.

& Also on Saturday the Rising Tide 7.5 presents a forum on creative New Orleans. The afternoon program features a segment beginning at noon by Moira Crone, author of The Not Yet, a post-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2121 on the Isles of Orleans. Part Fantasy, part social commentary, Ms. Crone’s novel will sure to provide plenty of interesting topic of conversation. She’ll talk about the book itself and also about the real world issues that inspired her. This event is free and open to the public and we encourage anyone interested in the future of New Orleans’ creative art scene come by to learn more about how they can help protect and foster it.

& Sunday at Maple Street Books Bayou St. John location Elsa Hahne, author of shop favorite You Are Where You Eat: Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans, will be reading and signing her new cookbook, The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians, at our Bayou St. John location, Sunday, March 3rd at 2PM. It’s 192 pages, featuring 44 musicians, 45 recipes, and more than 200 color photographs, with an introduction by Dr. John.

& Sunday’s reading at the Maple Leaf Poetry Series is an open mic. Next week, March 10, will feature poets Dave Brinks, Rev. Goat Carson and John Sinclair perform their work.

& Sunday The Shadowbox Theater hosts the Slam Poetry Olympics, in which four teams square off in a test of poetry prowess. Events include timed poems, forms ranging from haiku to limerick, and a few surprises. Hosted by A Scribed Called Quess. 7 p.m. at 2400 St. Claude Ave.

& The new Sunday show from Spoken Word New Orleans is Poetry and Paint Brushes. Poets perform as a resident artists paints the crowd and performers. At 6 p.m. at Special Tea, 4337 Banks Street. No longer at the Bayou Road location.

& Monday, March 4th at 7 p.m. the Black Widow Salon at Crescent City Books welcomes Liz Williams, the founder and director of SOFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum) and author of the new New Orleans: A Food Biography; and Sara Roahen, author of the acclaimed Gumbo Tales and former restaurant critic for Gambit Weekly, who has been published in Food & Wine, Oxford American, Wine & Spirits, Gourmet, Tin House, Garden & Gun.

& Monday, March 4 The Tulane School of Architecture Master’s of Preservation Studies program invites you to hear award-winning journalist and urban critic Roberta Brandes Gratz speak on historic preservation and post-Katrina disaster recovery in New Orleans this upcoming Monday, March 4 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Richardson Memorial Hall room 305. Gratz is author of The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs and two other books, and a regular contributor to online news sites such as Citiwire.

& Also on Monday Garden District Book Shop features Veronica Kavass: Artists in Love: From Picasso & Gilot to Christo & Jeanne-Claude, A Century of Creative and Romantic Partnerships at 5 p.m. For centuries, great artists have been drawn together in friendship and in love. In her gorgeously designed book, curator and writer Veronica Kavass delves into the passionate and creative underpinnings of the art world’s most provocative romances. From Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Munter to Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Kavass’ intimate and daring text provides a generous glimpse into the inspiring and sometimes tempestuous relationships between celebrated artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries

& Every Monday, 9 p.m. Writer’s Block, usually held on the amphitheater steps on Decatur Street across from Jackson Square. Check the Facebook page for details.

& 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.

& Maple Street Uptown’s First Tuesday Book Club will bmeet March 5th at 5:45pm to discuss Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

& Tuesday evening The 1718 Society, a student-run literary organization of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students, hosts their reading 7 p.m. featuring curator and writer Veronica Kavass will read in March. She’ll be reading from her book, Artists in Love: From Picasso & Gilet to Christo and Jean-Claude, A Century of Creative and Romantic Partnerships, in which she discusses 29 20th- and 21st-century artist-couples—among them Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe; Josef and Anni Albers; Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; and Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg-exploring “the way they, as partners, collaborated, influenced one another, or guarded their art from a lover’s influence, or how they used muse-manipulation to come into their own, or sacrificed their art for the other’s.”

&Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with reporter Sarah Carr featuring her new book, HOPE AGAINST HOPE, a moving portrait of school reform in New Orleans told through the eyes of a family, a teacher, and a principal. .

& Wednesday nights from 7-10 it is Lyrics and Laughs, bridging comedy and poetry by featuring performers from both genres at Special Tea, 4337 Banks St.

Walking in August August 18, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Fortin Street, History, je me souviens, Louisiana, memoir, Mid-City, New Orleans, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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By August we’re done like long basting turkeys in the oven, well-browned and in danger of drying out. The wasps proliferate in the back yard, nesting in the neighbors wild vines behind their shed. The mushroom cloud rising out of the line of cumulonimbus is all the weather forecast that you need, convection foretelling the afternoon’s thunderstorms which coax the grass into miraculous growth the landlord never tends to properly. The pigeons come up to my stoop like hobos although I never feed them. Still, my neighbors walk up toward the grocery on Gentilly or on Esplanade, a subtle racial divide on my quiet street. The feral parrots complete the tropical scene.

We still walk the sunny side up sidewalks not to prove a point but out of habit. Bicycles are almost as frequent as cars on my street not to make some fashionable statement like a car plastered in stickers but out of necessity. Pedestians converge from the fashionable bayou Faubourg and edge-of-Gentilly Fortin Street toward Cansecos and Terranovas groceries, Dr. Bob’s drug store–where you can put your prescription on account or have it delivered–to the democratic coffee shop and the fashionable wine bar and salon.

If I walk up at noon the pavement is brighter than the sky and a hat is advisable. Even the pigeons have sensibly retreated to the shade. I don’t pass as many people on their porches as I would in the evening but air conditioning has driven people inside in the Faubourg unlike black, working class Orleans Avenue ten blocks away where neighbors still gather on shady side stoops and old men drag kitchen chairs beneath the trees of neutral ground trees. Still I am almost certain to converge with or pass someone with a shopping bag when the only others out are tradesmen with their heads bound in bandanas working a saw table, pausing to wipe the sweat and sawdust from their brows with the crook of their elbows.

I sit writing this beneath a whirring air conditioner in South Lakeview. The nearest grocery is on Harrison Avenue a good 25 blocks away around the railroad tracks and a car is a necessity. Lakeview is where the city meets its suburbs, just over the 17th Street drainage canal from the typical American sprawl of Metairie. To the north is the lakefront: Lake Shore, Lake Vista, Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks, the desirable addresses of doctors, lawyers and other men and women of educated industry and the luck of the draw. I grew up in Lake Vista, designed as a paradise of cul-de-sac street divided not by alleys as in Lakeview but by pedestrian lanes named for flowers as the streets we named for birds, shaded paths converging on broad parkways that radiate from the center. Once there was Dudah’s Grocery and Miranti’s Drug Store with its nickle-plated conical cup cherry Cokes a nickle at the soda fountain, a cleaners and a post office. Some idealistic planner once hoped the residents would walk there but in the Fifties and Sixties the automobile ruled. Over time people found it just as convenient to drive up and down Robert E. Lee Boulevard to the new strip malls and the stores of the Center faded into memories.

Across City Park Avenue from South Lakeview in Mid City only stalwarts and holdouts walk to the stores of Carrolton Avenue. When I lived on Toulouse one couple always engagaed in caffinated morning conversation would walk down the street to make their daily groceries in the big greocery up on Carrollton Avenue. The corner doors in that neighborhood are all converted to houses, the shop windows drapped or shuttered. The houses of Mid City are narrow, nestled Craftsmen relics of another era, most with no parking, but even there its hop in the car for the identical aisles of Rouses Grocery and Walgreens, indistinguishable from the stores of Metairie.

You have to journey further into the city or across the bayou to my neighborhood off Esplanade to find where the folk and the houses still match, where the corner store still prevails, and in the evening the closer you get to Mystery Street the walkers proliferate on their evening errands. At six o’clock the sun is hidden by the trees along Esplanade but in August the 90s don’t abate until much later and still they come slowly up the shady side or coast on their bicycles in their after work tanks and shorts and sandals, old habits persistent or forgotten ways rediscovered, a neighborhood that lives in its history like a worn and comfortable pair of shoes.

Odd Words July 14, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, Odd Words, Poetry, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I promise, we’ll get to Odd Words in a moment, but first a word from our sponsor” The Typist.

I think you have the right to tell your story and like I said I think you should do what you can to protect the privacy of those you write about . . . ultimately, what you’re really trying to do is tell the story of who you are. Sometimes you have to include other people, but mostly it needs to be about you.”
— Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the pseudonymous column Dear Sugar on The Rumpus.

The explosion of auto-biographical writing and creative non-fiction (and the line between the two is not at all clear unless autobiography appears somewhere in the cover, making the other people in the writer’s life just fuzzy enough to not be easily identifiable), may be the last gasp of the Me-X-Y generation. The seminar leaders take up the line as old as Hemingway: write what you know. That is what so many writers are doing, except they are not concerned with fictionalizing their material but with creatively structuring real lives, real people. If they do not do it well it will not be compelling and will fall by the wayside. Joan Didion has not fallen by the wayside. Tom Wolfe has not fallen into obscu1rity. Grab the reader by the short hairs and drag them into a compelling story and the lines between autobiography, creative non-fiction, roman de clef, and first-person New Journalism become matter for academics.

It would take more time than I have to find the point at which Toulouse Street began to become something other that just Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans. It begins with the first person nature of the vignettes that filled the early blog and I don’t think it happened all at once. First Moloch entered the picture, the large national bank I work for. I was not writing about the bank. I was writing about my own descent into burn out working for a corporate monolith. I don’t have time to scan through 1,150 posts to find the real tipping point but I jetted all the way to the back of the list and on Sept. 21, 2007 I posted up a You Tube video of Radiohead’s “Fitter, Happier” not just as another “I have nothing to say today bit of music I like but as a clue, no not a clue because I didn’t consciously know where I was going at the time, where it would lead. By October 2010 it has progressed to this:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin

the that appeared Oct. 17, 2010, just a few weeks after I left the house on Toulouse Street, grabbing what I though most important and fleeing to the St. Vincent Home for Wayward Boys, the hotel on Magazine noted for its low rates, interesting clientele and bed bugs. I have not mentioned the world divorce in the first person until this moment. I searched and checked. If you are still hear not just for Odd Words (and yes we will get to that in a minute) you may or may not have found The Narrative hidden among the other posts. Perhaps you had to know me already. I hope not as that would mean I have failed in some sense, been too cryptic or simply failed to tell a compelling story. No, this is not a swan song. I am not about to stop now. Some things bear repeating, a technique known at tautology when it is used in writers as sparse as Raymond Carver. I am not half to clever. I am simply going to repeat the quote that has probably appeared too often in the main column in recent months, and cannot be repeated often enough: “I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning. – Samuel Beckett.

Enough.

& If I were a timely person I would not be telling you about an event that starts in less than an hour, but I’ll stick it in here anyway as we are in the summer doldrums at the bookstores. Garden District Book Shop features novelist Pamela Binnings Ewen and her book Chasing The Wind starting at 1 p.m. and running until 3 p.m., although by the time you see this the reading will probably be past and she’ll just be signing books. Shame on me.

& Today is Bastille Day and there will be all sorts of festivities just up the block and the Bayou (Faubourg St. John) location of Maple Street Books will be having 20%$ off sale. In fact all of the shops will be having a sale but I’m trying to lure you down to Esplanade. The party starts at 5 but the bookstore is already open. All day July 14.

& On July 18th the Healing Center location of the Maple Street Empire Bookshop will host Kim Vodicka and her first full length book of poetry AESTHESIA BALDERDASH, published by New Orleans’s own Trembling Pillow Press. July 18th, at 6:00 P.M. Aesthesia Balderdash is Kim Vodicka’s first, full-length book of poems which “both mock and exalt femininity and feminine “types”. The text is drunk most of the time on seduction and repulsion. It satirizes the American girl’s desire to be an elle—a woman worthy of the belles and whistles of the French feminin suffixes (-ette, -euse, -enne). In short, Aesthesia Balderdash is “whispery, pink-packaged poesie signed by Elizabeth Arden and sealed with an adulteress.”

And that’s it for bookstore events, which I knew before I started and lapse into my rambling thoughts above. Open mic at the Maple Leaf on Sunday, and the weekly Spoken Word New Orleans Speak Easy Sundays Poetry at the Club Caribbean 2441 Bayou Road at 7 p.m. Cover. Visit their website for updates on other spoken words and visiting artists all around town.

An event I missed entirely until I was led their last night was the Southern Comfort Tour reading at the Mudlark Theater last night. The most memorable was local author Utahna Faith’s piece featuring Exile on Main Street. Somehow Sam Jasper and I managed to avoid rehashing, except for a raised eyebrow reminding me of our disagreement, the long standing argument over the place of Keith Richard’s triumphant monument’s place in the Stones’ discography. If I’d had Piano Dave there to back me up we might still be there disputing this point. We all got dinner at the St. Roch instead and grabbed cabs home.

Creative Non-Memoir March 23, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, memoir, New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Today’s Tennessee Williams Festival panel SPEAK, MEMORY: WRITING THE MEMOIR was Odd. Only one of the four panelists was a true memoirist. Here at Toulouse Street, where Creative Non-Fiction is one of our cornerstones, this made is all the more interesting

Zachary Lazar wrote a book about the killing of his father decades ago by members of the Mafia. Jesmyn Ward wrote a book about the death of five young Black men in her small, Gulf Coast Mississippi town, and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts has written a book about Harlem, base both on research and on her interactions with the people of Harlem when she moved there in 2002.

Only Claudia Sternbach, author of Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses wrote a true memoir, an account of how kisses mark important points in a person’s life, focusing on her own experience.

Rhodes-Pitt kicked things off by pronouncing “I don’t consider my book a memoir. I write essays and Creative Non-Fiction, the ugliest genre name in all of literature.” Lazar, with one novel under his belt, was up next and said he wanted his second book to be a novel but his publisher refused. “I thought writing it as a novel would be a better way to get readers engaged…I invented dialogue between people I never met and imaginistic descriptions of places I’ve never been. My model was (Truman Capote’s) In Cold Blood.”

Ward, the author of two novels who is working on a memoir, said her book The Men We Reaped is the story of five young men who died in her small hometown of DeLisle, Mississippi. “I knew these young men … and I wanted to try to get them to live again on the page.” By their author’s descriptions, all these books except Sternbach’s skirt the boundary between memoir, creative non-fiction and journalism.

Sternbach’s book, a compendium of kisses and how each played a prominent role in her life, an intimate personal history of kisses sounds like memoir gazing straight at the navel, she asserts that “I don’t think memoir is a style of writing that’s predictably about the author. I think it’s more universal. People come up to me all the time and say, ‘ah, that happened to me’.” The editorial board board chair of Memoir Journal and edit in chief of their publicaiton Memoir (and) has been a daily newspaper columnist and wrote her first memoir in 1999. Between the column and the memoir she said she had “lost a few friends but made some, too.”

Ward, winner of the National Book Award for fiction for her second novel Salvage the Bones, wrote Reaped to explore “why we would have an epidemic like that happen in a place where I live, a small down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?” The deaths all took place in a short period of time, and her book could just have easily been a non-fiction title had she not chosen to make it a personal exploration of five young men she knew before their deaths. Asked by moderator Ted O’Brien to compare working on this book to working on a novel, she said it was much more difficult.

Rhodes-Pitts, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Vogue and Essence, said her book Harlem is Nowhere grew out of a move to Harlem in 2002, where she was working on a novel in progress. She would walk the streets of her new neighborhood. “I was constantly inundated with people’s stories and the conversation always turned to something that happened forty or fifty years ago.” Hearing the stories she set her novel aside and wrote instead about “this place that held such a large place in African-American culture.” She now plans to make this the first part of a trilogy, with books on the African-American experience in Haiti and the American South to follow.

Lazar is also a novelist, whose book Sway fictionalizes an actual meeting between the Rolling Stones and the Manson family. “I found myself in the head of Keith Richards,” he said to the laughter of the crowed, “and strange as it sounds he was the voice of reason” in the story. He wanted his father’s story to be a novel at first because “fiction is always a weird sort of autobiographical work. I’m interested in appropriating people and figure out what they’re like.” He said he didn’t mind writing about difficult things like his father’s death, because “all writing is that, or it’s hard to make it interesting to the reader.”

The panel may have wandered far from its announced topic, but we live in an age saturated with memoir and navel gazing blogs like, um, never mind. Face it, we are not all Joan Didion. I left the room inspired not to open a new Word doc and Kindle my way from an online audience of hundreds into several more hundreds but instead itching to spend far too much money adding to my monstrously unstable “to read” pile. Except perhaps Reading Lips, unless I can get a deeply discounted copy to send to the notoriously crabby memoir bashing Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times Review of Books.