Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 25, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Tuesday at 4 pm at the Keller Library the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) is excited to host monthly writing workshops. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.
& At 7 pm at Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.
& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with award-winning photojournalist Leon Morris featuring and his new book, HOMAGE: New Orleans. The book serves as a tribute to the vitality of the city’s people and culture. HOMAGE is a photographic journey through New Orleans’ influence on contemporary music. This elegantly designed book includes over 300 images capturing the personalities and performances of some of the most influential and impactful jazz, soul, world, roots and blues legends of our times. Featured artists include New Orleans greats like Dr John, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas and Wynton Marsalis, and jazz and blues legends like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, and Cab Calloway. The aforementioned images are accompanied by essays and personal anecdotes on the musicians, the music industry, the central role of New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta in the development of contemporary music, and explains the evolving role of music photography from the point of view of an artist.
& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop presents Darlyn Finch Kuhn and Sewing Holes. A little girl grows up in the 1960s and 70s in a family with a volatile mother, a loving but very ill father, a brother who flees the country to evade the draft, a foster sister whose life is consumed by waiting for her real parents to return, and a best friend who likes to beat her up. She survives on stories told to her by her father, particularly the one about “sewing holes”—creating beauty out of what seems to be nothing.
& Wednesday at 8 pm Esoterotica Investigates the XXX-Files, A Night of Fandom Fetish for All Kinds at the Allways Lounge.
& The Jazz Fest Book Tent signings for the coming week include: Thursday: Michael Murphy, 12-1PM,
Hear Dat; Leif Pedersen, 1-2PM, Swamp Kids: A Dog Named Cat; Richard Campenella, 2-3PM, Photojournalism of Del Hall/em>; Cheryl Gerber, 3-4PM, New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy; John Pope, 4-5PM, Getting Off At Elysian Fields; Alexis Braud, 5-6PM, Parade. Friday: Johnny Goldstein & Michael Lydon, 12-1PM, Elegy of the Lost City; Elvis Costello, 1-2PM, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink; Laura Cayouette, 2-3PM, Secret of the Other Mother; Roger Hahn, 3-4PM, Sounds of Louisiana. Saturday: Todd Mouton, 12-1PM, Way Down in Louisiana; Mary Millan (Bloody Mary), 1-2PM, Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing With the Dead : True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans; Peter Finney, 2-3 PM, The Best of Peter Finney; Tom Piazza, 3-4PM, Free State; Poppy Tooker, 4-5PM, Tujague’s Cookbook: Creole Recipes and Lore in the New Orleans Grand Tradition; Sunday: Alex Cook, 1-2 PM, Seat Yourself: The Best of South Louisiana’s Local Diners, Lunch Houses, and Roadside Stops; Big Freedia, 2-3PM, Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!; Rien Fertel, 3-4PM, One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog; Johnette Downing, 4-5PM, Louisiana, the Jewel of the Deep South.
& Thursday at 5 pm the Smith Library hosts a Teen Creative Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.)
& Peter Cooley, Ph.D., Poet Laureate for the State of Louisiana, will discuss the importance of poetry at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library. This presentation is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. Dr. Cooley is Director of Creative Writing, Professor of English, and Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities, at Tulane University.
& Also at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.
& Saturday at 1:30 the Alvar Library continues New Orleans poet and performer Valentine Pierce five-part poetry workshop for adults. Novice writers, as well as poets with some experience, are encouraged to attend. Get inspired and write some dynamic poetry for 2016! Participation at all 5 workshops is suggested, but not required. Participants will be invited to read their poetry at a public reading when the program is completed. Sign up in advance at the Alvar Library circulation desk.
& Next Sunday at 3 pm. The Maple Leaf Poetry Series, founded by beloved poet Everett Maddox and curated by poet Nancy Harris, is the longest running poetry reading series in the South. This week features an open mic.
& At 6 pm Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO) hosts May Open Mic and Slam Featuring WORDZ the Poet EMCEE at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center. $5 admission.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 17, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Meet Amber Tamblyn, actress, writer, film director, and poet, when she reads from and signs DARK SPARKLER at Octavia Books on Monday at 6 pm. Here is the American starlet: discovered, disrobed, displaced, disused, disgorged. In more than thirty haunting, visceral poetic portraits, acclaimed poet and actress Amber Tamblyn contemplates the interior lives of women who glimmered on-screen and crashed in life figures as diverse as Frances Farmer and Brittany Murphy, Jayne Mansfield and Dana Plato, Jean Harlow and Sharon Tate, Heather O’Rourke and Dominique Dunne and Marilyn Monroe. Their stories invite us behind the eyes of a century’s worth of women, the adored and the disappeared.
& Also at 6 pm Monday The East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.
& At 6:30 pm Monday the New Orleans Public Library hosts Poetry on Tap. Come celebrate National Poetry month with us at the Old Point Bar. Have a drink, and share some words. . . . Read your original work or some pieces by your favorite poets (or songwriters, because it’s Jazz Appreciation Month too!). Funny, sad, long, short . . . we want them all!
& Tuesday Garden District Book Shops features William Barnwell’s Called to Heal the Brokenhearted: Stories from Kairos Prison Ministry International. In this stirring book, William H. Barnwell tells the stories of prison inmates and the Kairos Prison Ministry volunteers who work with them. Set mostly at the huge Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Barnwell’s narrative illustrates how offenders who have done the worst can and do change, becoming model inmates and, if released, productive citizens. The stories also reveal how Kairos volunteers have found healing for broken hearts. Now serving 300 state and federal prisons, 30,000 Kairos volunteers work with 20,000 inmates each year. They take part in long weekend retreats with the inmates and follow up with regular prison visits. Since its beginning in 1976, Kairos has served over 250,000 inmates. Broad-based, nondenominational, and nonjudgmental Christian, Kairos seeks to carry out its slogan–“listen, listen, love, love”–among inmates who have had few to listen to them, and fewer still to love them.
& At 8 pm Tuesday the New Orleans Public Library and Esoterotica “Get Between the Covers.” Join NOPL and Esoterotica upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny to bring you an evening of lascivious language and sensual stanzas pulled both from the stacks and personal experience.
& Thursday at 5 pm the Smith Library hosts a Teen Creative Writing Workshop. Patrons 12 – 17 are invited to create short works of fiction and participate in writing games and exercises. Open to all types of writers interested in all types of stories. Reservations required; contact Luke at 596-2638.
& At 5:30 pm Thursday The Booked for Murder Book Club meets at the Norman Mayer Library.
& Thursday at 7 pm Celebrate Poetry Month with Loyola Professor Mark Yakich at the East Jefferson Regional Library. He will discuss the importance of poetry. This presentation is free of charge and is open to the public. Registration is not required. This event is held in honor of National Poetry Month, held each April to celebrate, increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Dr. Yakich is editor of New Orleans Review. He is the author of Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross (National Poetry Series, Penguin 2004), The Making of Collateral Beauty (Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo 2006), Green Zone New Orleans (Press Street 2008), The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine (Penguin 2008), Checking In/Checking Out (NO Books), and A Meaning for Wife (Ig Publishing 2011). With Christopher Schaberg, he is also co-founder and co-editor of airplanereading.org, a new media project that aims to rejunvenate airplane reading. In spring 2012, Dr. Yakich was a Fulbright Fellow in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon
& Join Please Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm, on the eve of Jazz Fest 2016, for a presentation and signing with Michael Murphy celebrating the release of HEAR DAT NEW ORLEANS, a charmingly irreverent guide to the thriving, world-famous music scene in New Orleans. One of the first questions visitors to New Orleans often ask is, “Where can I go to hear music?” A better question might be, “Where can I go and not hear music?” Music is everywhere in this city, but to experience the best of it, you need the right guide. In Hear Dat New Orleans, local expert Michael Murphy brings his signature offbeat sensibility to the Big Easy’s largest tourist draw. With in-depth recommendations for the greatest venues, the best musicians, and the must-see festivals, Hear Dat New Orleans is an indispensable companion for anyone who wants to really experience the sounds of New Orleans live and uncensored.
& Also on Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Melissa Ginsburg’s Sunset City. Before the drugs, Danielle Reeves was Charlotte Ford’s most loyal and vibrant friend. She helped Charlotte through her mother’s illness and death, and opened up about her own troubled family. The two friends were inseparable, reveling in Houston’s shadowy corners. But then Danielle’s addiction got the best of her and she went to prison for four years. When she gets out, she and Charlotte reconnect. Charlotte hopes this is a new start for their friendship. But then, a detective shows up at Charlotte’s apartment. Danielle has been murdered, bludgeoned to death. Overwhelmed by grief, Charlotte is determined to understand how the most alive person she has ever known could end up dead. But the deeper Charlotte descends into Danielle’s dark world, the less she understands. Was Danielle a hapless victim or master manipulator? Was she really intent on starting over or was it all an act? To find out the truth, Charlotte must keep her head clear and her guard up. Houston has a way of feeding on bad habits and Charlotte doesn’t want to get swallowed whole, a victim of her own anguished desires.
& At Maple Street Book Shop on Thursday at 6 PM celebrate the release of Adrian Van Young’ new book, Shadows in Summerland. Boston, 1859. A nation on the brink of war. Confidence men prowl the streets for fresh marks. Mediums swindle the newly bereaved. Into this world of illusion and intrigue comes William Mumler, a manipulating mastermind and criminal jeweler. Mumler hopes to make his fortune by photographing spirits for Boston’s elite. The key to his venture: a shy girl named Hannah who sees and manifests the dead and washes up on Boston’s harbor along with her strange, intense mother, Claudette. As Mumler and Hannah’s fame grows throughout Boston, everybody wants a piece: Bill Christian, a brothel tough; Algernon Child, a drunken rival; Fanny A. Conant, a sly suffragette; and William Guay, a religious fanatic. These rogues among a host of others, including the great spirit rapper Kate Fox, form powerful bonds with the spirit photographers, one of which will end in murder. Mumler’s first and last mistake: the dead cannot be made to heel. Roughly based on the real-life story of William H. Mumler, spirit photographer and his clairvoyant wife, Hannah Mumler, Shadows in Summerland immerses the reader in a shifting world of light and shade where nothing is quite what it seems at first glance. A soaring and resplendently Gothic novel spanning three decades, it is as much an homage to the Golden Age ghost stories of Edith Wharton and Henry James as it is a companion to the revisionist historical epics of Peter Carey and Sarah Waters, with a little steampunk all its own.
& New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association once again operates the Jazz Fest Book Tent. Book signings for week one of the festival include:
- Michael Murphy, 12-1PM, Hear Dat
- Keith Polk, 1-2PM, Mardi Grasfish
- Michael Zell, 12-1PM, Run Baby Run
- Todd Mouton, 1-2PM, Way Down in Lousiana
- Tom Piazza, 3-4PM, Free State
- Sally Asher & Meagan Baccinelli, 4-5PM, Stories from St. Louis Cemeteries & New Orleans Neighborhoods
- Peggy Scott Laborde, 5-6PM, New Orleans Mardi Gras Moments
- Ann Benoit, 12-1PM, New Orleans’ Best Seafood Cookbook
- Cheryl Gerber, 1-2PM, New Orleans: Life and Death in the Big Easy
- Julie Smith, 3-4PM, New Orleans Noir: The Classics
- Leon Morris, 4-5PM, Homage: New Orleans
- Laura Dragon, 5-6PM, Bayou Bogeyman Presents Hoodoo and Voodoo
& Saturday at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts The Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft
& Beginning this Saturday at 1:30 pm New Orleans poet and performer Valentine Pierce will lead a five-part poetry workhop for adults. Novice writers, as well as poets with some experience, are enclouraged to attend. Get inspired and write some dynamic poetry for 2016! Participation at all 5 workshops is suggested, but not required. Participants will be invited to read their poetry at a public reading when the program is completed. Sign up in advance at the Alvar Library circulation desk.
& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Reading Series hosts its annual Jazz Fest open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar. This is the oldest continuous reading series in the south, and also presents featured readers.
Coming Out Crazy April 14, 2016Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I have never shied away in this space from discussing my personal situation. It makes for a strange mix, the literary stuff–Odd Words the occasional poem, the quotes–and a personal journal I chose to share publicly, mixed with quotes and brief essays of a highly personal nature.
Today I took the 2013-2014 piece “Confessions of a Pill Eater” and published here as a page. posted it to Medium. Yes, writer ego played a part but I did it for the same reason I went through the process of reporting what I consider an accidental overdose when I went through a change of generic medications for spectrum disorder. I have a story to tell about mental health and Big Pharma and what that means to a creative person, and I am not afraid to tell it.
Fear is death to an essayist. No topic should be taboo, particularly if one tends toward the personal essay. Now I need to follow-up the 2013-2014 installment with the 2016 installment: the new diagnosis, the new pills, the accidental overdose, the constant struggle for a balance between suffering and the creative impulse. Big Pharma and Conventional DSM Psychiatry seek to kill the ups and downs, the necessary mania of the creative impulse as mentally unhealthy.
That is not an acceptable choice to make. It is no more a reasonable choice than suicidal ideation represents a reasonable choice. It is really no choice at all. I don’t believe in the myth of the suffering artist but I suffer and I create, and if I must suffer in some way to create then I need my doctor to understand that, to work with me to ameliorate the symptoms to the extent possible without killing my creative voice.
Trees April 11, 2016Posted by The Typist in Once Upon A Bayou, quotes, Shield of Beauty, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Sacred Grove, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
~ Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 11, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
This week in literary New Orleans:
& This coming weekend brings New Orleans first Poetry Festival, sponsored by local publishers Trembling Pillow Press and Lavender Ink Press. The event will host more than 60 poets from New Orleans and around the nation for a day of readings, panels and workshops, with a Small Press Fair featuring books by participants along with book-making demonstrations, tarot readings,
workshops and more. New Orleans poet and author Rodger Kamenetz will lead a workshop on dreams and poetry . Saturday brings a full day of panels and workshops, with the details available on the website. Highlight events include:
- Poets with Bands, Friday night at SIBERIA, 2227 St. Claude Ave., featuring: Skin Verb, Bruce Andrews with Rob Cambre & Donald Miller, The Call Girls and Shock Patina.
- Saturday night’s reading at 7 pm at MAGS, 940 Elysian Fields, including poets Laura Mullen, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyraffite, Niyi Osundare and Adeena Karasick.
- The weekend closes with open mic at the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading at the Maple Leaf Bar at 3 pm. This is the oldest continuous reading series in the south hosted by Nancy Harris.
Information on the featured readers and panelists can be found here.
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Raif Shwayri’s family history BEIRUT ON THE BAYOU: Alfred Nicola, Louisiana, and the Making of Modern Lebanon. Shwayri begins his family’s story with his grandfather Habib Shwayri’s arrival at Ellis Island in 1902 and making his way to relatives in New Orleans. There, he began peddling down the Bayou Lafourche, befriending the communities living alongside the water and earning the nickname Sweet Papa for his kindness and generosity. When he returned home to Lebanon in 1920, he invested the money he had made, from years of peddling, in real estate and died a wealthy man in 1956. Nicola’s story, like the story of Lebanon itself, begins farther back in history. In its account of centuries of Ottoman rule, decades of colonial occupation, and years of internal political strife and civil war, Beirut on the Bayou intertwines a family narrative with the story of a people, of Lebanon in the making.
& Also at 6 pm Monday Garden District Book Shop presents William Joyce’s Ollie’s Odyssey. Can a beloved but lost stuffed rabbit save himself and other Losts from becoming the most feared designation of all: The Forgotten? Find out in this epic quest from the author of The Guardians series and the creative force behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Oswald is a favorite. Of all the toys in Billy’s home, the stuffed rabbit takes top rank: everywhere Billy goes, so goes Oz. But being a favorite is more than a privilege—it’s also fraught with danger. Because of Zozo. Zozo has never been a favorite. An amusement park prize who was never chosen, Zozo has grown so bitter that, when the amusement park closes, he seeks revenge on every toy lucky enough to be a favorite. He wants them all to become The Lost, and even better, Forgotten. When Billy accidentally leaves Oz under the table at a wedding, Oz finds himself on an unplanned adventure, kidnapped by the nefarious Zozo and his gang of creeps and faced with the momentous task of saving not only himself, but all the other stuffies who are “lost” as well…
& Also at 6 pm the NOLALIT Book Club meets at the Columns Hotel to discuss Susan Larson’s The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans.
& Tuesday at 7 pm Antenna’s Room 220 is pleased to present the New Orleans book launch for Carolyn Hembree’s Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague, a collection of her poetry published by Trio House Press. The book won the 2015 Trio Award, selected by Neil Shepard, and the 2015 Marsh Hawk Press Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award, selected by Stephanie Strickland. The event will take place at 2231 St. Claude Ave, the former Tete Auto Body Shop and soon to be new home of Frenchmen Art Market. Sara Slaughter will also read, and Maple Street Books will be on hand to sell copies of Hembree’s books. Hembree is a poet and beloved teacher of English and creative writing at the University of New Orleans. Her first poetry collection, Skinny, was published by Kore Press in 2012 and her chapbook by Nous-zot Press in 2015. Her work has appeared in a variety of respected publications, including DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Poetry Daily. Slaughter is a poet and teacher of writing at Lusher Charter School. Her first chapbook, Upriver, was published by Press Street Press in 2014. Her work has recently appeared in New World Writing, The Cortland Review, and PANK.
& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Edith Lawson Library in Westwego. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.
& Please join Octavia Books for a special evening with #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction Erik Larson when he presents DEAD WAKE: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. The event will take place at the JCC (5342 St. Charles Ave.) on Tuesday at 7 pm. To attend, you must purchase a ticket from Octavia Books. ABOUT THE BOOK: On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
& Wednesday at 6 pm at Octavia Books meet Vivian Swift, author of Men>GARDENS OF AWE AND FOLLY…An engaging guide to gardens in locales ranging from Key West and post-Katrina New Orleans to Paris (‘gardening capital of the world’) and Marrakech . . . whimsical.” </em?– Kirkus Reviews. Nine masterpiece gardens. Nine stories of grandeur, sorrow, disaster, triumph, discovery, and joy. From Scotland to Key West, from Brazil to Paris–even right next door–there is always something to learn about being human from a great garden.
& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Maple Street Book Shop hosts an evening with Courtney B Lance and Nikki D. Pope, the authors of Pruno, Ramen, and a side of Hope, a book of uplifting stories of innocent people who survived the ordeal of incarceration and were eventually set free. The event will be co-sponsored by the Innocence Project New Orleans. Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a nonprofit law office that represents innocent prisoners serving life sentences in Louisiana and Mississippi at no cost to them or their loved ones, and assists them with their transition into the free world upon their release. IPNO uses its cases to explain how wrongful convictions happen and what we can all do to prevent them. IPNO works with legislators, judges, lawyers, law enforcement and policymakers to protect the innocent within the criminal justice system.
& At the Alvar Library at 6 pm Wednesday there is a Poetry Reading with Louisiana Poet Laureat Peter Cooley. To celebrate Poetry Month, Dr. Cooley will headline a poetry reading, performing along with the participants of the workshop (held earlier on April 6). Local poet Lee Grue will MC the reading and introduce the poets.
& At 7 pm Wednesday Esoterotica presents “Our Fantasy Love Letters” at the Always Lounge. Esoterotica’s local provocateurs invite you to a singualrly sexy and evocative night of original erotic fantasy all in the form of love letters. These are letters to those we have not yet met but hope to, to those we had not yet had the courage to write, for lovers from a past when we had not yet found our words, or lovers present about a future with them we hope to see.
& At 6 pm Thursday the Maple Street Book Shop Book Club features Eula Biss’ On Immunity. Local author Anya Groner is guest facilitator. The book club choice will be available at 10% off at the store. Refreshments will be served.
& Also at 6 pm Thursday Katie Parla’s Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City is featured at the Garden District Book Shop. ven 150 years after unification, Italy is still a divided nation where individual regions are defined by their local cuisine. Each is a mirror of its city’s culture, history, and geography. Butcucina romana is the country’s greatest standout. Tasting Rome provides a complete picture of a place that many love, but few know completely. In sharing Rome’s celebrated dishes, street food innovations, and forgotten recipes, journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill capture its unique character and reveal its truly evolved food culture—a culmination of 2000 years of history. Their recipes acknowledge the foundations of Roman cuisine and demonstrate how it has transitioned to the variations found today. Studded with narrative features that capture the city’s history and gorgeous photography that highlights both the food and its hidden city, you’ll feel immediately inspired to start tasting Rome in your own kitchen.
& Renowned litigator Roberta Kaplan presents the gripping story of her defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court at a major community event at Temple Sinai on Thursday, hosted by Temple Sinai, Forum for Equality, and Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter. Doors open at 5:45 pm. Octavia Books will have copies of THEN COMES MARRIAGE: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA for sale at the event. Roberta Kaplan will sign books beginning at 6:00 pm before her presentation which begins at 7pm, and immediately following the presentation.
& Also at 7 pm Thursday the Nix Library Book Club meets to discuss A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor.
& The East Jefferson Regional Library continues its celebration of National Poetry Month Thursday at 7 pm. Bill Lavender, a poet, novelist, editor and teacher living in New Orleans, will speak at 7 p.m., on Thursday, April 14. He founded Lavender Ink, a small press devoted mainly to poetry, in 1995, and he founded Diálogos, an imprint devoted to cross-cultural literatures (mostly in translation) in 2011. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in dozens of print and web journals and anthologies, with theoretical writings appearing in Contemporary Literature and Poetics Today, among others.
& Also at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.
& On Friday in Honor of Big Class’s Pizza Poetry Project, Maple Street Book Shop will be serving pizza for lunch. The store will donate 10% of the day’s sales to Big Class. The Pizza Poetry Project celebrates National Poetry Month and the power of youth voices by publishing poems by New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18. Working together with Reginelli’s, Pizza Delicious, Dolce Vita, Garage Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Theo’s and G’s Pizza (who generously donate 10% of their proceeds to Big Class’s free youth writing programs). Big Class publishes poems of all kinds on pizza boxes, order from the previously mentioned locations for delivery and pick up on April 15 to receive a pizza box with a poem! Pizza eaters/poetry readers post their poems on Twitter and Instagram using #pizzapoetry16. learn more by visiting Big Class at: http://bigclass.org/pizzapoetry/ or follow our blog on Tumblr at http://pizza-poetry-blog.tumblr.com/.
& Saturday at 10 am at the East Jefferson Regional Library brings the Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft.
& Saturday at 10:30 am The Octavia Books Book Club meets the third Saturday of each month. This month they are reading HALF OF A YELLOW SUN. All are welcome, and members receive 10% off book club selections.
& At 11:30 at Saturday Maple Street Book Shop will feature George Sanchez, author of the new mystery, A Place Unchanged. He will be reading from and signing copies of the new book, the third in the Jeff Chaussier series. “The third Jeff Chaussier mystery finds Jeff returning to New Orleans. This time he has marriage on his mind. New Orleans, though, is far too seductive a lady and too wrapped in secrecy for a straightforward narrative to unfold. Things seem hopeful at the start. Bryna no longer has her brother’s child to care for. Jeff is tired of the life of an itinerant actor and is also unusually flush with money from a London engagement. Things are on track, even though the flight home (his least favorite form of transportation) has left him woozy from self-medication. He wakes to an uncertain morning, unclear whose bed it is he finds himself in. Luckily, it’s Bryna who is obeying his mother instructions on what to do with him on arrival. Memory happily restored, Jeff lolls in bed as Bryna goes downstairs to prepare breakfast. Jeff expects a meal, not muffled screams and a slamming door. Dashing downstairs, he chases the intruders out the door, handicapped by his lack of clothing and irked that Bryna was taken in the same state. “
& Saturday at 11:30 pm Join the editor of and contributors to THE BAYOU BOGEYMAN PRESENTS HOODOO AND VODOO for a signing at Octavia Books. The night might have started as a normal camping trip, but it soon becomes a nightmare from the swamp when a group of students are joined by the Bayou Bogeyman! With their teacher missing and no way home, the children have no choice but to play the Bogeyman’s twisted game: tell a campfire story spooky enough to satisfy the monster’s appetite or get eaten alive! This supernatural collection features spine-tingling tales from nine different Louisiana writers, each with their own share of screams to add to the trove of Southern lore. Be warned: you may need to sleep with one eye open.
& Sunday at 2 pm Rheta Grimsley Johnson shares and signs THE DOGS BURIED OVER THE BRIDGE: A Memoir in Dog Years at Octavia Books. Nationally syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson uses a parade of beloved dogs to take readers on a colorful journey. It’s not really a dog book in the Old Yeller sense; it’s a personal story that uses dogs as metaphors for love, loss, and life. Meet Rheta’s eccentric neighbors, her friends, her three husbands, and-best of all-her dogs. She introduces Monster, “a big galoot of a mutt, the variegated color of a hand-knitted sweater a dour aunt might give you for Christmas”; Humphrey, who spent much of one night in an apartment complex “patiently lining stolen shoes up at our back door like a clearance rack at Payless”; Mabel (pronounced May-Belle), the first of the dogs to be buried “over the bridge” in Rheta’s sad little dog cemetery, who was “so beautiful that it never really mattered how much toilet paper she shredded, whose hairbrush she destroyed, where she sat or slept. . . . Scolding Mabel would have been stomping a rose”; and Pogo and Albert, who taught Rheta that “grief can kill you, whatever your species. It isn’t pretty, and it’s a walk you must take alone.” There are other dogs as well, for hers has been a life that measures its quality in canines.
The Wild Wood April 6, 2016Posted by The Typist in Bayou Diaries, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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In a row of canted half-drowned oblong stones
the park ends & the wild begins again.
Stand back in awe of the anhinga’s wings
drying in the sun on the horizontal branches
of a half-drowned fallen oak root-bound
to a spot of shore hard as planted rock.
The plans of scheming shovel men are toppled
but the oak is propped up on ship stuff
insists on its green camouflage
in which the anhinga unfurls itself
& mocks the thought of park, the bread begging
white ducks & quarrelsome geese
which draw the crowds up to the edge
of the collapsed rocky landing & no farther.
The anhinga asks who is master
& the oak’s broad-fingered reflection answers.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans April 4, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 7 pm at the East Jefferson Regional Library the East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.
& Tuesday at 7 pm at the Columns Hotel Kiese Laymon, author of the novel Long Division and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, is 1718’s featured reader in April. Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. It was also short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books. Long Division won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award on November 10th. Three essays in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic’s Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015.
& Also at 7 pm Tuesday the Old Metairie Library Great Books Discussion Group meets to talk about The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy.
& Wednesday at 6 pm at the New Orleans Main Branch Library celebrate the 10th anniversary of New Orleans Noir and the release of New Orleans Noir: The Classics with editor Julie Smith and contributors from both volumes. Short readings will be followed by a discussion and audience Q&A. Octavia Books will have copies of both volumes available for sale at the program. Refreshments will be served.
& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Louisiana’s Poet Laureate Dr. Peter Cooley will be leading a poetry writing workshop at Alvar Library for 15 participants. There will be a reading the following week by the workshop participants at Alvar Library, MC’d by local poet Lee Grue. If someone wants to be in Dr. Peter Cooley’s workshop they need to email Emilie Staat: email@example.com They need to send Emilie a poem that they would like to be “workshopped.” Dr. Peter Cooley’s workshop is limited to 15 participants.
& Meet Richard B. Crowell, author of Chenier Plain at Octavia Books at 6 pm Wednesday. Crowell chronicles the history and economic development of a region in southwest Louisiana defined by unique geologic formations and distinguished by its position beneath the Mississippi flyway. Crowell traces the evolution of this region’s well-known sport hunting legacy, creating the first comprehensive narrative history of the area, from 1800 to today. In Chenier Plain, the author takes a fresh look at the decline of French and Spanish influence in coastal Louisiana and investigates an isolated region struggling to find its place against inhospitable conditions following the Civil War. In chronicling the Chenier Plain’s transition from a center of market hunting to one of sport hunting. Crowell draws together over 140 illustrations. He highlights the opportunistic land purchases by a US president, British and American businessmen, a university president, and an illiterate French-speaking Acadian whose property became the nexus of The Coastal Club, the oldest hunting lodge in the geographic region. These events, combined with the background of six hunting clubs established before 1929 and modern methods of waterfowl habitat conservation, illustrate how inextricably linked sport hunting is to the life and preservation of this remote Louisiana world of ridges and marsh.
& AT 7 pm Wednesday Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop hosts Reading Between the Wines at the Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company. This month’s featured authors are; Stephanie Garrison was born and raised in the idyllic Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. Always a dabbler, it wasn’t until college where she tried her hand at playwriting. She fell in love with the form shortly after and has been writing plays since, even earning her MFA in dramatic writing from Adelphi University. She’s had a few productions in New York City, including a one act that made it to the semi-finals of the Harvest Theatre Festival. Shortly after, she moved down to New Orleans, her second home, with her husband, Bradley Warshauer. She still writes, and has had her pieces performed for Southern Rep’s 3×3, Elm Theatre, and her current piece, Solitary, was featured in the Two for Tennessee Festival. Kate Bailey is a playwright originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She received her BA in Theatre Performance from Louisiana State University and her MFA in Playwriting from the University of New Orleans. Kate began playwriting in Chicago at Chicago Dramatists. She took classes there and participated in a few small short play festivals. In New Orleans, Kate is a part of Southern Rep’s 6×6 play slam/new play development series and a founding member of Generate INK, New Orleans’ first and only playwright-driven nonprofit. Her full-length play Strays debuted in New Orleans in June 2015 and her full-length play Pleading 894 will be performed in April 2016 as the Spring main stage show for the University of New Orleans.
& At 8 pm Wednesday at the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater Chanel Clarke, Gian Smith, and Whit “The Whitness” Wddington read. Clarke is a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Texas-Austin, where she received a fellowship from the Michener Center for Writers. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals, including smoking glue gun, EveryDay Genius, Flag and Void, Bayou Magazine, WomenArts Quarterly, and Hayden Ferry’s Review. She now works as a social worker in the New Orleans area. Smith is a New Orleans based artist. His craft spans over several media including writing, acting, and video production, but he is most notably recognized as a spoken word poet. Smith is also well known locally for his community organization including NOYOpresents: Pass It On open mic. Gian is a proud member of the Melanated Writers Collective. A group of writers of color in New Orleans which boasts a strong cast of talented individuals. Gian’s current focus is film making. After completing a first season for his web series “open mike” he went on to produce a short film “The Adulterer” which has been accepted into several film festivals.
& Thursday at 5 pm the Robert E. Smith Branch Library presents a Teen Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.
& Thursday at 6 pm Maple Street Book Shop will be hosting the book launch for Geoffrey Parker’s Platform Revolutions. Uber. Airbnb. Amazon. Apple. PayPal. All of these companies disrupted their markets when they launched. Today they are industry leaders. What’s the secret to their success? These cutting-edge businesses are built on platforms: two-sided markets that are revolutionizing the way we do business. Written by three of the most sought-after experts on platform businesses, Platform Revolution is the first authoritative, fact-based book on platform models. Platform Revolution teaches newcomers how to start and run a successful platform business, explaining ways to identify prime markets and monetize networks. Addressing current business leaders, the authors reveal strategies behind some of today’s up-and-coming platforms, such as Tinder and SkillShare, and explain how traditional companies can adapt in a changing marketplace. The authors also cover essential issues concerning security, regulation, and consumer trust, while examining markets that may be ripe for a platform revolution, including healthcare, education, and energy.
& Meet Lydia Pyne and editor Christopher Schaberg when they discuss BOOKSHELF at Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm. Every shelf is different and every bookshelf tells a different story. One bookshelf can creak with character in a bohemian coffee shop and another can groan with gravitas in the Library of Congress. “Writer and historian Lydia Pyne finds bookshelves to be holders not just of books but of so many other things: values, vibes, and verbs that can be contained and displayed in the buildings and rooms of contemporary human existence. With a shrewd eye toward this particular moment in the history of books, Pyne takes the reader on a tour of the bookshelf that leads critically to this juncture: amid rumors of the death of book culture, why is the life of the bookshelf in full bloom? Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. It is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic.
& The Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club meets the second Saturday of every month at 10:30 A.M. Members receive 10% off book club selections. This month the club is discussing THE SORCERER OF THE WILDEEPS. Everyone is welcome!
& At 11 am Saturday the New Orleans East Regional Library will hosts The Bibby Gumbo Book Club is New Orleans East’s first parent-baby book club. A series of interactive games along with an innovative craft session will infuse literacy and laughter
& Octavia Books hosts paperback book launch party & signing with author M.O. Walsh, Director of the creative writing program at UNO, featuring his Louisiana-based novel, MY SUNSHINE AWAY at 5:30pm Saturday at The Little Gem Saloon on S. Rampart St. My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.
& Saturday at 9 pm Antenna Gallery presents ANTENNA::SIGNALS at Castillo Blanco, 4321 St. Claude Ave. Conceived as a “live arts magazine,” ANTENNA::SIGNALS is a new sort of variety show by the artists and writers of Antenna. Each “issue” of Antenna::Signals will feature a spread of 8 local artists, writers, performers, or scholars whose practices relate thematically. The live event will be accompanied by the release of a two-dimensional print version, with each magazine dropping on a Second Saturday of the Month.
& On Sunday, April 10 at 3 pm Garden District Book Shop features John Hanson’s Farewell to an Angel: It All Began in Old New Orleans. The book gives the reader a personal view of the lives of a man and woman who were born, raised, worked, and found each other in the Crescent City. The man, John Hanson, was from the Carrollton neighborhood. The woman, Patty Callegan, was from the French Quarter. Their parents had only grammar school educations. They were poor, but not destitute. They always managed to shelter, clothe, and feed their families by dint of hard work. After starting on their memoirs, John had more time to work on his as Patty was simultaneously fighting cancer. Much of his memoirs are Patty’s, however, since they were inseparable from their meeting in 1966 until Patty’s death in 2014. A registered nurse and ever a patient advocate, Patty wrote only briefly of her life before nursing and marriage and only as an introduction to an exhaustive guide for cancer patients. Their story will at times evoke both tears and laughter. Overall, it will edify.
& Also at 3 pm Sunday the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading, the oldest, continuous reading series in the south, presents featured readers in all genres followed by an open mic. The April calendar of features is still TBA at this time.
Fragments April 2, 2016Posted by The Typist in poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is the fragment of a song
the symptomatic single verse
which best represents
mania stuck in its groove,
free from the ADD-inspired
of random light & bells
the silver balls of thought
ricocheting from bumper
to target & I bet you thought
it was all about needing
a chess timer for conversation.
in such a quiet moment,
alone with the tumbling
one might enumerate
the reasons for staying,
not unplugging the machine
first the children
(who frankly could use
the insurance for school)
and your lover, who says
she lives through
her fibromyalgia pain
only for you; & then
you are left wondering
if counting up why not
constitutes suicidal ideation?
This latter is the part
Jimi Hendrix’s mad guitar
doesn’t slow down to capture
in “Manic Depression,”
(A merman I should turn to be)”
gets the morbid rumination part
rather nicely and the sea,
the sea is straight ahead, straight up ahead
the beautiful moonlight highway
into the motherly shushing of the waves
but remember the children and &tc.,
so many bright, shining worries
left to worry as the manic burning sun
breaks the spell in a palette of beauty
& leaves you with a moment
of poetic clarity & a pencil
and the suddenly welcome
frenzy of energy &
the day begins again,
just you, your thoughts
& the tumbling tumbleweed.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 27, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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& The 30th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is upon us. Check out the program for the Festival, which runs March 30-April 3, and the our box office is now open and ready to take your ticket orders. Updates to the published program can be found here. Featured speakers and guests are listed here. They include:
Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning noir crime writer, whose latest book, The Fever, is being adapted for an MTV show;
Dorothy Allison, award-winning author of Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller, and the forthcoming She Who;
Alys Arden, New Orleans native who parlayed her self-published novel The Casquette Girls into a two-book deal;
Cynthia Bond, New York Times best-selling author of the novel Ruby, the latest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection;
Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, All Over But the Shoutin’, Ava’s Man, and his latest, My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South;
Billy Cannon, Heisman Trophy-winner and College Football Hall of Fame LSU Halfback;
Dick Cavett, Emmy-winning broadcaster, who has interviewed many cultural icons including Tennessee Williams, and author of Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets, and Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks;
Alexander Chee, Whiting Writers Award-winning author of the novel Edinburgh and the just released The Queen of the Night;
Lisa D’Amour, Pulitzer finalist and multi-award winning playwright of Detroit;
Beth Henley, Pulitzer-winning playwright of Crimes of the Heart, who recently adapted Tennessee Williams’ short story, “The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin,” for the stage;
John Lahr, senior drama critic at The New Yorker, author of the highly-acclaimed biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, and Joy Ride: Show People and Their Shows;
Estelle Parsons, Oscar winner (Bonnie and Clyde), Broadway legend with a star turn in Williams’ The Seven Descents of Myrtle, and widely known as Mother Bev on “Roseanne”;
Rex Reed, critic, columnist, and lecturer whose writings have appeared in nearly every national magazine and newspaper in London and the U.S;
Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the critically-acclaimed Battleborn and newly-released Gold Fame Citrus, who is judging our 2016 Fiction Contest.
& Elsewhere this week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 6 pm Professor Baz Dreisinger will share insights from her new book, INCARCERATION NATIONS: A Journey to Prisons Around the World at Octavia Books. Beginning in Africa and ending in Europe, INCARCERATION NATIONS is a first-person odyssey through the prison systems of the world. Professor, journalist, and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex. From serving as a restorative justice facilitator in a notorious South African prison and working with genocide survivors in Rwanda, to launching a creative writing class in an overcrowded Ugandan prison and coordinating a drama workshop for women prisoners in Thailand, Dreisinger examines the world behind bars with equal parts empathy and intellect. She journeys to Jamaica to visit a prison music program, to Singapore to learn about approaches to prisoner reentry, to Australia to grapple with the bottom line of private prisons, to a federal supermax in Brazil to confront the horrors of solitary confinement, and finally to the so-called model prisons of Norway. Incarceration Nations concludes with climactic lessons about the past, present, and future of justice.
& Tuesday at 6 pm at Garden District Book Shop My Journey Through War and Peace: Explorations of a Young Filmmaker, Feminist and Spiritual Seeker is based on Melissa Burch’s experiences as a war journalist for BBC, CBS, and other networks. Her team was one of the first documentary crews allowed in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and she was featured in a New York Times story about her time in Afghanistan. She was just in her twenties when she traveled with the mujahedeen, filmed an attack on a Soviet convoy, slept with an Afghan commander, and climbed 14,000-foot mountains in the Hindu Kush. My Journey Through War and Peace examines how, through outward action and inward exploration, life can unfold in mysterious ways, far beyond cultural and family expectations. In looking back at this momentous decade, Burch shares why she pursued such dangerous and difficult circumstances at such a young age and continued to live on the edge. She now understands that she was seeking self-discovery, a connection to something greater, and ultimately inner peace.
& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Essay Night with Laurence Ross and Cate Root. Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. He has published his essays and reviews in literary journals such as Brevity, Gaga Stigmata, and The Georgia Review as well as The Huffington Post. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he recently served as the Director of P.3Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Art Triennial Prospect New Orleans. You can read a selection of his work at laurencebylaurence.com. Root is a writer whose work has appeared in xoJane, The Times-Picayune, The New Orleans Advocate, the Gambit, and more. Originally from Kansas City, she moved to New Orleans a decade ago to stomp the streets and slurp raw oysters. She is one of the co-producers of Dogfish Literary Series.
& Also on Wednesday at 8 pm Esoterotica’s local provocateurs present Esoterotica Exposes Ourselves with An All True Confessions Show. One hundred percent real life sexy stories, guaranteed to get you one hundred percent hot and bothered. Put your confession in our confessional hat and you could win something very sexy from us at Esoterotica. Confessions will be read anonymously, so feel free to let it out. Or join then on stage. Submit your original erotica to firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk to them at one of their shows.
& Thursday 5 pm The Smith Library offers a Teen Writing Workshop. Patrons 12-17 are invited to create an original work of short fiction (up to 20 pages) for a group workshop, led by Luke Sirinides, Young Adult library associate at Smith Library and MFA graduate. (Reservations are required; contact Luke at 596-2638.)
& Thursday at 6 pm Room 220 will be hosting a Happy Hour Salon honoring the winner of the 2016 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival’s fiction contest from at the Antenna Gallery (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of both of Claire’s books. This official Tennessee Williams Festival event will begin with a book launch for the inaugural winner of the UNO Press Laboratory Award, Each Vagabond by Name by Margo Orlando Littell. The evening will conclude with feature readings by the 2016 fiction contest winner and this year’s fiction judge, Claire Vaye Watkins. Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the StoryPrize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, The Paris Review, One Story, Glimmer Train, Best of the West, Best of the Southwest, The New York Times and many others. A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
& Also at 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.
& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet presents its annual Poets Reading Poets reading, A gathering of local poets who will read from works of their favorite poets. Hosted by Gina Ferrara at email@example.com.
Gaudi’s Veronica March 25, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Xian, Xianity.
“Don’t get hung up about Easter.”
— Leon Russell
Veronica like Mary is simply a vessel. I believe that is the correct term from my catechism. Faceless before her savior. Simply a womb-shaped amphora into which the power of the almighty father of the savior on a stick (r) is poured. Barely an amphora, really; more like a funnel, something faceless and transient, passed through. A vessel, an object, the rape of Europa made dainty.
The Messenger Wind March 23, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Algiers Bend, Algiers Point, The River
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The riverboat whistles echo from the wrong direction, bouncing off the two-story gutted shell next door on the Lake side, resonating perhaps in the neighboring emptiness like the body of a guitar. When this happens, I am always up and out the door to taste the weather that brings the distant whistles. The wind blows from the river, carrying the sounds over two miles, assuming I hear the Algiers Ferry. The ships on the river are guided by radar like aircraft these days, and the old signals are not used by the ships sliding around the blind corner at Algiers Bend. The ferry, however, always sounds its blasts before it enters the stream, and it is a river wind, a ferry wind I feel in the street just outside my door: heavy with water and chill, just the sort of breeze the ferry whistles up for itself in making the crossing. If I were standing on the railing next to my motorbike as I did 30 years ago, I would smell the earth in the water, the silt of dozens of rivers, with just a note of oil and creosote, and ozone churned up by the propellers. The street breeze has no aroma but is thick with the feel of water, not a dampness on the skin as much as a weight, the sensation of the force that invisibly propels the sailboat even as it clocks and slows the wind. as it settles into its own particular, vectored wind. I listen. Unless they have reintroduced the steam engine, I know it was not a train. I know that not only from the familiar, deep and full-bodied Calliope note but I know it from the messenger wind blowing north west up Esplanade from the levee. If I don’t hear it again for half an hour, I will know it was the ferry.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 21, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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& Just around the corner the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival celebrates 30 years of theatrical, literary, and cultural offerings, hosts a stellar lineup at its annual event March 30—April 3 in locations throughout the city’s iconic French Quarter and beyond. Guests will enjoy a packed tableau of events to celebrate our patron playwright, his works, and literary life, as well as contemporary artists.Details of the program and tickets can be found at the website http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/.
This week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 7 pm the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s 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 Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.
& Tuesday at 4 pm the New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) is excited to host monthly writing workshops at Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.
& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a reading and siging with authorKeith Lee Morris featuring his new dystopian thriller, TRAVELERS REST, a chilling fable about a family marooned in a snowbound town whose grievous history intrudes on the dreamlike present. With the fearsome intensity of a ghost story, the magical spark of a fairy tale, and the emotional depth of the finest family sagas, Keith Lee Morris takes us on a journey beyond the realm of the known. Featuring prose as dizzyingly beautiful as the mystical world Morris creates, Travelers Rest is both a mind-altering meditation on the nature of consciousness and a heartbreaking story of a family on the brink of survival.
& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shop will host Mary Millan (AKA Bloody Mary) and Bloody Mary’s Guide to Hauntings, Horrors, and Dancing With the Dead: True Stories from the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Journey through compelling chapters and meet 50 ghosts as Bloody Mary shares with readers her experiences with the ghosts and haunted happenings of New Orleans. Among the tales of the supernatural are: A visit to a haunted sanitarium; A meeting with Julie the Ghost of Forbidden Love; The story of Madame La Laurie, La Vampyra; Meetings with Jean Lafitte, the Gentleman Pirate; and, Encounters with the ghosts in New Orleans graveyards. Each chapter ends with Afterlife Lessons and Warnings that help readers navigate the seen and the unseen worlds. What makes these stories particularly engaging is Bloody Mary herself. She is not only a psychic investigator, she is also a psychic healer offering healing and kindness to spirits that walk the earth and also helping readers find spiritual lessons in encounters with the spirit world.
& At 7 pm Tuesday the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.
& The 44th Shakespeare Association of America Meeting runs Wednesday through Saturday at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street. To register or for more information visit www.shakespeareassociation.org/annual-meetings/. This meeting is co-sponsored by the Tulane University Department of English.
& Wednesday at 8 pm Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater presents Fiction Night: J.R. Ramakrishnan, Michael Allen Zell and DC Paul. Actor and comedian Paul will be joining Zell to do a staged reading of the first “Hutch/ Clint” scene from Run, Baby, Run. Paul is currently in “Jungle Kings” at the Anthony Bean Theater. Zell is a noted New Orleans based writer. His newest Lavender Ink book Run Baby Run was praised as “a successful entertainment, taking a buzz saw to the glamorous city New Orleans has purported to have become since Katrina, shining a light on the city’s myth, and, more globally, on the myth of authenticity.” His first play, What Do You Say To A Shadow? was named a ‘Top 10 Play of the Year’ in 2013 by the Times Picayune. His first novel Errata was named one of the Times-Picayune’s ‘Top 10 Books of 2012’. He has worked as a bookseller in New Orleans since 2003. J.R. Ramakrishnan’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, [PANK], Style.com, and the Mixed Company anthology, among other publications. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she is a graduate of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is the director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.
& Thursday at 6 pm author Teresa Nicholas will visit Octavia Books with photographer David Rae Morris (son of Willie Morris) to celebrate WILLIE: THE LIFE OF WILLIE MORRIS with a presentation and book signing. In 2000, readers voted Willie Morris (1934-1999) Mississippi’s favorite nonfiction author of the millennium. After conducting over fifty interviews and combing through over eighty boxes of papers in the archives at the University of Mississippi, many of which had never been seen before by researchers, Teresa Nicholas provides new perspectives on a Mississippi writer and editor who changed journalism and redefined what being southern could mean. More than fifty photographs–some published here for the first time, including several by renowned photographer David Rae Morris, Willie’s son–enhance the exploration. With his broad knowledge of history, his sensitivity, and his bone-deep understanding of the South, he became a celebrated spokesman for and interpreter of the place he loved.
& At 7 pm Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library features an Author Event! Girl’s Literary Night Out. The local authors – Carroll Devine, Juyanne James and Vicki Salloum – will talk about their new books and sign them. Devine,’ Sleeping Between the Rails: A Woman’s Odyssey traces a young New Orleanian’s two interwoven journeys–external and internal. Both begin with her passion to know the world and to live an uncommon life. It is 1967. Enticed by a former boyfriend’s romantic promise, she sails on a freighter to meet him in Spain. Without a scheme for survival, almost no money, and led only by the prevailing winds, the couple journey in four continents for five and a half years. The odyssey is suffused with ridiculous risk and peril as they hitchhike through Europe and North Africa, and otherwise travel mostly third or abominable class. James’ The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories features seventeen stories in this debut collection by Juyanne James interpret the Louisiana experience. They stage encounters mostly with strong women—but also interesting men and families—all trying to survive in their own way. While this collection is as an evolution of the idea of “double-consciousness” and how African Americans see themselves in the world, the characters are remarkable in their own right, without having to be labeled. They are not so much concerned with color as they are with survival. Salloum’s Candyland is the story of seventeen-year-old Lázara overhears her brothers plotting to kill the teenage son of her employer for failing to pay his drug debt. Unable to bear the burden of the boy’s murder on her conscience, she embarks on a crusade to save the boy, first alerting the boy’s father then confronting her brothers and, finally, seeking help from a New Orleans cop. When all efforts fail, she steals a handgun and surprises her brothers during their rendezvous with the boy at the meth lab, Candyland, unleashing consequences she never expected or could ever have imagined.
& All locations of the New Orleans Public Library will be closed Friday in observation of Good Friday.& Thursday at 7:30 pm Dogfish Reading Series presents Megan Burns and Graham Foust. Burns is publisher at Trembling Pillow Press and the author of three full length poetry collections, most recently Commitment (Lavender Ink, 2015). She is also the author of six chapbooks, most recently Sleepwalk with Me (Horse Less Press, 2016). She runs the Blood Jet Poetry Series (@bloodjetpoetry) in New Orleans and is the co-founder of the New Orleans Poetry Festival. (nolapoetry.com). Born in Tennessee and raised in Wisconsin, Foust is the author of six books of poems, including To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems (Flood Editions 2013), a finalist for the Believer Poetry Award, and Time Down to Mind (Flood Editions, 2015). With Samuel Frederick, he has also translated three books by the late German poet Ernst Meister, including Wallless Space (Wave Books, 2014). He works at the University of Denver. Also featured is opening music by Guts Club, musician and video artist Lindsey Baker.
& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series features poet Danny Kerwick celebrating his 60th birthday with a reading of his work followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf is the oldest continuous reading series in the South.
The Sublime March 13, 2016Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
in 130 pages. I am in awe.
“All the road has been alive with incident and visions.” Behind that line is a book that would make Edward Abbey weep and Annie Dillard curse like a drunken sailor not to have authored it, a tour de force avalanche of prose poetry that buries the main road and reveals the mountain, dusted in crystal. Mountain and meadow, forest and desert Urrea paints the west in sunset and moonlight and peoples it with saints and maniacs that would send Kerouac into a benzedrine frenzy of poetry. Whatever you are doing right now if you are not reading this book you are doing it wrong. The title page says first paperback 2015 and his bio says he is writer in residence at U of L Lafayette and if you see me tearing down I-10 intent on an autograph and to shake his hand don’t get in the way.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 13, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 5:30 pm Tulane University’s NewDay Speaker Series features Saru Jayaraman author of FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining. A restaurant critic can tell you about the chef. A menu can tell you about the farm-sourced ingredients. Now who’s going to tell you about the people preparing your meal? FORKED is an enlightening examination of what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income? As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. FORKED offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books presents Claudette Sutton, author of FAREWELL, ALEPPO: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home. The Jews of Aleppo, Syria, had been part of the city’s fabric for more than two thousand years, in good times and bad, through conquerors and kings. But in the middle years of the twentieth century, all that changed. To Selim Sutton, a merchant with centuries of roots in the Syrian soil, the dangers of rising anti-Semitism made clear that his family must find a new home. With several young children and no prospect of securing visas to the United States, he devised a savvy plan for getting his family out: “exporting” his sons. In December 1940, he told the two oldest, Meïr and Saleh, that arrangements had been made for their transit to Shanghai, where they would work in an uncle’s export business. China, he hoped, would provide a short-term safe harbor and a steppingstone to America. Farewell, Aleppo is the story—told by his daughter—of the journey that would ultimately take him from the insular Jewish community of Aleppo to the solitary task of building a new life in America. It is both her father’s tale that journalist Claudette Sutton describes and also the harrowing experiences of the family members he left behind in Syria, forced to smuggle themselves out of the country after it closed its borders to Jewish emigration.
& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Suzanne Heagy and Love Lets Us Down. On a single day in June, 2004, newlywed ghosts Dorissa and Don haunt a room in an aging hotel, the Meridian Inn. On the afternoon that the ghosts arrive for their honeymoon, the hotel is full of characters—employees and guests—who inhabit the lobby, the pool area, and the parking lot, not to mention what happens behind closed doors. Individually, the characters include an unfaithful wife, an unfaithful husband, a missing girl, as well as a broken engagement, divorce, and unrequited love. If there is a hero in the novel, it might be the night supervisor Duncan, whose bitterness and sarcasm veil a tendency to assess and reflect, and to become involved in the concerns of other people.
& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Octavia Books features Roy Blount Jr. and SAVE ROOM FOR PIE: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations and off-the-cuff. Blount is one of America’s most cherished comic writers. He’s been compared to Mark Twain and James Thurber, and his books have been called everything from “a work of art” (Robert W. Creamer, The New York TimesBook Review) to “a book to read till it falls apart” (Newsweek). Now, in Save Room for Pie, he applies his much-praised wit and charm to a rich and fundamental topic: food. In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways, with all the wit and verve that prompted Garrison Keillor, in The Paris Review, to say: “Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth, and soulful all in one sentence.”
& Also on Tuesday celebrate the publication of Louisiana Women, Volume 2, at Maple Street Book Shop at 6pm. Co-editor Mary Farmer-Kaiser and contributing writers Shannon Frystak, Tania Tetlow, and Leslie Gail Parr will read. The book highlights the significant historical contributions of some of Louisiana’s most noteworthy and also overlooked women from the eighteenth century to the present. This volume underscores the cultural, social, and political distinctiveness of the state as well as showcases the actions and activities of women who greatly affected the history of Louisiana in profound and interesting ways. These essays on women at the forefront of Louisiana and national events include information about Sarah Morgan; Janet Mary Riley; Lindy Claiborne Boggs; Lucy Alston Pirrie; Appoline Patout, Mary Ann Patout, and Ida Patout Burns; Lulu White; Neda Jurisich, Eva Vujnovich, and Mary Jane Munsterman Tesvich; Carmelite “Cammie” Garrett Henry; Alice Dunbar-Nelson; Coralie Guarino Davis; Lucinda Williams; Rebecca Wells; Phoebe Bryant Hunter; Cora Allen; Sarah Towles Reed; and Georgia M. Johnson
& At 7 pm Tuesday Great Books Discussion Group at the East Jefferson Regional Library meets to discuss Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The Old Metairie Library Great Books Discussion Group meets to discuss The Prince by Machiavelli.
& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books also features James Beard Leadership Award winner Saru Jayaraman presents FORKED: A New Standard for American Dining. FORKED offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.
& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Garden District Book Shop hosts Peter Finney Jr. and The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sportswriter. Five times each week over the past several decades, sports fans in New Orleans began their mornings by reading local sportswriter Peter Finney. Finney’s newspaper columns—entertaining, informative, and inspiring—connected New Orleans readers to the world of sports, for nearly 70 years. From a career total of 15,000 articles, this book offers a prime selection of the very best of Finney’s writing as well as an introduction from Peter Finney, Jr. This collection includes Finney’s account of Billy Cannon’s 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss in 1959; Tom Dempsey’s 1970 NFL-record 63-yard field goal; and the Saints’ 31–17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl. His interviews and profiles covered nearly every major sports figure of his time: Ted Williams, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Billy Cannon, Pete Maravich, Lee Trevino, Rusty Staub, Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, Eddie Robinson, Doug Williams, Dale Brown, Billy Martin, Brett Favre, Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal, Mike Ditka, Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Sugar Ray Leonard, Skip Bertman, Les Miles, and Tom Benson, among many others. The riveting moments and fascinating characters portrayed in this volume will delight both hardcore sports enthusiasts and casual fans, in stories told with Finney’s characteristic grace, humility, and wit.
& Wednesday at 8 pm Martin Cain and Sandra Grace Johnson read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater. Cain was raised in southern Vermont. Currently, he lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he edits Yalobusha Review and hosts the Trobar Ric Reading Series. His writing has appeared (or is forthcoming) in Tarpaulin Sky, Jacket2, The Pinch, Action Yes, The Journal, Spork Press, and elsewhere. His first manuscript, Kids of the Black Hole, has been short-listed at Cleveland State, The Song Cave, Black Ocean, Tarpaulin Sky, and other presses, and he is pursuing an ongoing critical study of rural avant-gardes. Johnson is a poet, artist, vocalist and all around amazing human being.
& Also at 8 pm Wednesday Esoterotica is Not-Safe-for-Work (NSFW). Esoterotica’s local provocateurs will show you that just just because you may be ‘on the clock’ doesn’t mean you can’t get it on, with original erotica about all kinds of sex in the workplace. So no matter what kind of work you have, go to, or do, you are not going to want to miss this show… you may even get a few industrious ideas.
& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books presents Peter Bergen, author of UNITED STATES OF JIHAD: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, discusses the impetus compelling some Americans at home and abroad to join militanat Islamic groups. Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: an American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than eighty U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, and in San Bernardino. What motivates them, how are they trained, and what do we sacrifice in our efforts to track them? Paced like a detective story, United States of Jihad tells the entwined stories of the key actors on the American front. Lucid and rigorously researched, United States of Jihad is an essential new analysis of the Americans who have embraced militant Islam both here and abroad.
& On Thursday at 7 pm Katy Simpson-Smith will be reading from and signing copies of her new book, “Free Men” , At Nix Library. Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of the book. From the author of the highly acclaimed The Story of Land and Sea comes a captivating novel, set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions-an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian-who are being tracked down for murder.
& Also at 7pm Thursday the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event Why the History of Women Writers Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux. Rioux has been teaching at UNO since the Fall of 1999. She is a member of the Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and teaches courses in American literature, with an emphasis on the 19th century, cultural studies, and gender. She earned her doctoral degree in American Studies from Purdue University in 1999. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, and she writes reviews and essays for general and academic audiences, specializing in biography and women writers. She is particularly committed to the recovery of lost women’s voices.
& At the Main Branch Library on Thursday at 6 pm Stephanie Hepburn, author of Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight, as she facilitates a panel discussion about human trafficking and the personal and financial costs to victims and society. The conversation will focus on both the local and global impacts of human trafficking. Other speakers include: Tamara Jackson, Executive Director of Silence is Violence; Andy Lewis, Coordinator of Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force; and Susanne Dietzel, PhD, Executive Director of Eden House.
& Friday at 7 pm Room 220 Presents: A Reading with Adam Tipps Weinstein, Laurence Ross, & Michael Jeffrey Lee at Antenna, 3718 St. Claude Ave. Weinstein is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing, and Steffensen-Cannon fellow at the University of Utah. His first book, Some Versions of the Ice, was chosen by Fanny Howe for the NOS Book Contest is forthcoming from Les Figues–he is also nonfiction editor for Quarterly West. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Emily, and daughter, Zella Mae. Ross received his MFA from the University of Alabama where he served as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Black Warrior Review. He has published his essays and reviews in literary journals such as Brevity, Gaga Stigmata, and The Georgia Review as well as The Huffington Post. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to Pelican Bomb, a regional publication dedicated to the Louisiana arts community. Laurence Ross lives in New Orleans where he recently served as the Director of P.3 Writes, a program in conjunction with U.S. Art Triennial Prospect New Orleans. Lee’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB, The Collagist, Denver Quarterly, and Fairy Tale Review, among others. His first book, Something in My Eye, received the Mary McCarthy Prize and was published by Sarabande. He teaches at NOCCA, Tulane University, and for the Loyola Writing Institute.
& Saturday at 10 am at the East Jefferson Regional Library Emily McKay, author of numerous novels including the young adult book The Farm, will speak to the Southeastern Louisiana chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The event is free of charge and is open to the public. McKay will discuss the art of manuscript revision: “Does your Nano manuscript need some work? Do you sometimes wonder if the term rough draft is a euphemism for Unfixable Mess? If you’re struggling to whip your work-in-progress into shape, you’re not alone. All manuscripts need revisions. Sometimes it’s a little nip and tuck; other times it’s a full organ transplant, heart, lungs and all. Every book can be saved.”
& Saturday at 10:30 am the members of the Octavia Books Book Club will be discussing THE LAND OF LOVE AND DROWNING by Tiphanie Yanique. The club meets the third Saturday of every month. Members receive 10% off the selections.
& Saturday at 11:30 am Maple Street Book Shop will be hosting Connie Collins Morgan, author of “Hercules on the Bayou”. She will be reading from and signing copies of her book. Hercules faces his biggest challenge yet—the Louisiana swamps! Including battles with a twelve-clawed crawfish and the taming of a raging hurricane, this Cajun re-imagining of the Hercules legend stirs together myth, culture, and Louisiana spice. Sent down to the hot and humid bayou from his kingdom in the clouds, Hercules must perform four daring labors to escape the immortal queen’s wrath. Luckily, Hercules has godlike strength, bravery, and his new bayou family to help him conquer every incredible feat! This pourquois tale is told in the style of a gentle Cajun storyteller and features vibrant and whimsical illustrations. Written by an award-winning children’s educator, this adventure will have you shouting “Aiyee!” from start to finish
& At 2 pm Saturday the Greater New Orleans Chapter of LA Poetry Society meets at the Old Metairie Library.
& Sunday at 1 pm the Friends of NOPL are bringing their Book Sale to Norman Mayer Library. Hundreds of books for the whole family will be on sale — adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and teens’, plus CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks.
& Next Sunday March 20 at 3 pm fiction writer Vicki Salloum reads from her newest novel, Candyland. at the Maple Leaf Reading Series, the longest continuously running poetry reading series in the South. Followed by an open mic in the patio of The Maple Leaf.
Mystery in a Tree March 13, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I set out as soon as the rain stopped, two solid days of drenching rain, to return to my urban forest. What began as purely physical exercise has morphed into something else. My GPS tracker tells me my pace has slowed from a brisk three-plus miles an hour closer to two, more of an amble than a power walk. Power walkers, dog walkers, oblivious runners are all around me but I think they miss the fine details of the place, fail to notice the mystery in the trees. Even people I have seen stop and climb up on the massive root boles of the Grandfather Oak likely never look down to see His face looking up at them. (I name everything around me, transforming the space, making it a personal Eden and I its Adam).
Do they ever notice the tree I call The Sisters, the slender trunk of another species I have yet to identify somehow grafted onto a pine tree? One can tell from the bark that there are clearly two trees here, one symbiotically rooted into the other. I can imagine a seed landing in the interruptions of the bark of the pine and sprouting, roots somehow intertwining with the trunk of the mother tree, providing the water and nourishment for both. This is not something one is going to notice if all of your attention is on the song on your iThing as you pass with the distant stare of the jogger, or if you are primarily paying attention to your dog, pulling it to heel if people or another dog approach, bending to tend to its droppings. One must walk with intent to notice things like this and that has become the nature of my daily exercise, one as much spiritual and psychological and it is simply of the body. Walking slowly allows me to both flex and exercise just enough (I continue to lose weight) while simultaneously my urban forest nourishes my soul just as the pine nourishes its sister tree.
What looks like sweepings or something blown together by the wind suddenly looks mysteriously intentional, a cryptic message left on the sidewalk by some other spirit of the place, human or of some other agency it really doesn’t matter. What matters is seeing it, being slow and open and ready to partake of the magic.
Friday after the rain I had to relearn the childhood skill of navigating what we called “the mushies,” threading the driest path through the flooded park lawn when the sidewalk was the center of a spontaneous pond. Again, it is a matter of slowness and attention, to pick out which of the crooked lines of tree drift washed up on slightly higher ground or grass beneath, and which are just collections floating on the water. I didn’t take a picture then. I was too intent on finding the driest path around the flooded walk, and I did. Where the path was drier and I was free to look up and around, the resurrection fern which had been grey with drought was bright green on all the oak limbs.
I have come to trust this forest as a living thing, believe that the spirits which reside in certain of these trees guide my feet around tripping roots and fire ant piles and this leaves me free to notice the fresh green on the trees in the quiet, dripping space in the hour after two days of rain have ended. There are few other people to distract, and a gaggle of geese foraging in the puddles pays me little attention, continues barely interruptedd by a glance my way, and I feel in their acceptance that I am one with the space, am as much of as in a liminal space between a public park and something deeper and older. It no longer matters to me to go for three and three, at least three miles at a speed of at least three miles an hour. My journey is of a different sort, not a distance crossed but a path into, a crossing of another sort, into that space where the wild creatures do not flee at my approach but accept me as one of their own. It is a journey in which I find gateways in a receding set of arches leading to a space where a particular tree has grown down and enclosed a chapel of branches. The tracks and lamp, the works of man, are not a distraction but simply a high, dry path deeper into mystery.
Redemption Songs March 12, 2016Posted by The Typist in Irish, Irish Channel, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: St. Patrick's Day
Now at the annual collision of our African, Celtic and Sicilian cultures, in this town where the African’s ripped from their villages and put into bondage were too valuable a property to risk so the hungry Irish were set to work and die digging the New Basin Canal, where the Sicilian residents of the French Quarter were lynched by practiced hands, the Mardi Gras Indians will come out even as the Irish and Italians stage their parades and the green beer and red wine will flow, and the streets will be lined with rotted cabbage heads, pork chop sandwiches and loose feathers, a celebration in the way only our entirely Creolized culture knows how to do best. In this one place God set aside like Nod for the rejects of Anglo culture and in which we have established (with a wink and a blind eye from God) all that the propaganda of the north promised in their lies, the true melting pot. It is time to to sing Redemption Songs.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans March 7, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& At 5 pm Monday at the New Orleans East 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.
& Monday at 7 pm the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jeffersion Regional Library. The East Jefferson Writer’s 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 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
& Monday at 7 pm Garden District Book Shop features Katy Simpson Smith’s Free Men. Set in the late eighteenth-century American South, that follows a singular group of companions—an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian—who are being tracked down for murder. In 1788, three men converge in the southern woods of what is now Alabama. Cat, an emotionally scarred white man from South Carolina, is on the run after abandoning his home. Bob is a talkative black man fleeing slavery on a Pensacola sugar plantation, Istillicha, edged out of his Creek town’s leadership, is bound by honor to seek retribution. In the few days they spend together, the makeshift trio commits a shocking murder that soon has the forces of the law bearing down upon them. Sent to pick up their trail, a probing French tracker named Le Clerc must decide which has a greater claim: swift justice, or his own curiosity about how three such disparate, desperate men could act in unison.
& Tuesday at Oil & Vinegar Louisiana, 6111 Pinnacle Pkwy, Covington from 11:30 am – 2 pm meet Ann Benoit author of NEW ORLEANS’ BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS. From shrimp and crab to fish and oysters, New Orleans knows how to do seafood right. In this mouthwatering collection of recipes, family establishments like Sal’s Seafood dish up long-time favorites, sparkling new talents like Crudo+Bar at Baru offer scintillating tastes, and celebrity eateries like Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House serve celebrated fare.Featuring dazzling photographs, fascinating restaurant and restaurateur profiles, and industry history,
& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts a Texas two-fer when Manning Wolfe and Bill Rodgers and discuss their books Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer Vs. Boots King and History Retweets Itself: Texas Edition. Merit Bridges, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer. Bill Rodgers is currently writing a series of short-form humor books, entitled History Retweets Itself, offering a funny take on historical events. Bill’s view through the lens of modern day social media provides a fun look at history. No pop quiz. No term paper. Just laughs! The first in the History Retweets Itself series is the Texas Edition, taking a fun slant on historical events in the Lone Star State. The next books in the series will include the Golf Edition, the World History Edition, and the Sports Edition, among others.
& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Tubby & Coo’s Science Fiction Book Club meets. No title announced.
& At 7 pm Tuesday The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors
& At noon Wednesday the Tulane University Book Store presents a Reading and Book Signing of Free Men, a Novel by local author, Katy Simpson Smith.
& Wednesday at 6 pm Marlene Trestman visits Octavia Book to discuss and sign her biography of Bessie Margolin, FAIR LABOR LAWYER: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin. Through a life that spanned every decade of the twentieth century, Supreme Court advocate Bessie Margolin shaped modern American labor policy while creating a place for female lawyers in the nation’s highest courts. Despite her beginnings in an orphanage and her rare position as a southern, Jewish woman pursuing a legal profession, Margolin became an influential Supreme Court advocate. In this comprehensive biography, Marlene Trestman reveals the forces that propelled and the obstacles that impeded Margolin’s remarkable journey, illuminating the life of this trailblazing woman.
& Also at 6 pm Wednesday the Garden District Book Shop Book Club meets to discuss The Children Act. New Members are always welcome. Purchase book in-store for Garden Dsitrict Book Club and for a 20% discount.
& At 7:30 pm Wednesday the East Jefferson Regional Library presents an Author Event featuring San Irwin, author of a new book titled It Happens in Louisiana: Peculiar Tales, Traditions & Recipes from the Bayou. Irwin writes regularly about Louisiana culture as a freelance writer — blogging at http://www.LaNote.org and http://www.CrawfishReport.com, in addition to print publications. He is the author of several books, including Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean.
& Leslie D. Rose and Poeticsoul read at Blood Jet at 8 pm at BJ’s in the Bywater, followed by an open mic. Rose is a journalist and photographer from Baton Rouge, by way of southern New Jersey.. She is the editor of Gonzales Weekly Citizen and The Donaldsonville Chief, and the volunteer director of external communications for the Baton Rouge-based, multi-generational arts organization – Forward Arts, Inc. . Leslie promotes a brand of journalism-inspired poetry and has even created a workshop and performance program titled “Ripped from the Headlines”, which debuted at Baton Rouge Community College’s 7th Annual ArtsFest. Leslie has been on two national poetry slam teams, represented Baton Rouge individually, published and featured on various outlets and has toured select cities. PoeticSoul owns and operates Lyrically Inclined, where she can be seen live monthly in Lafayette, LA. She takes her strong, resound messages to a new level of vibration with her powerful live performances. Her debut album, Scattered Thoughts, was released in December 2015. The tracks address a variety of life issues inspired by the artist’s own personal growth, addressing a variety of human and human rights issues. She challenges her listeners to, “Speak up, Speak out, and Be heard.”
& Thursday at noon the Tulane University Book Stores hosts a Meet and Greet Book Signing featuring Marlene Trestman, New Orleans native and former special assistant to the Maryland attorney general and former law instructor at Loyola University of Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management. Trestman’s book is a biography based on the life of Tulane and Yale Alumna Bessie Margolin. Also a New Orleans native, Margolin was an advocate for the Supreme Court where she won 21 of 24 arguments she presented to champion the wage and hour rights of millions of american workers while overcoming anti-Semitism and sexism
& Thursday at Octavia Books at 6 pm author Travis Ian Smith will read and sign INDIE DARLING. Ex-this, former that. Noah Seymour has a second chance, having been ambushed by Bands Back Together, a reality TV show that reunites once-popular bands for a televised concert. Pondering whether to take the stage again, Noah daydreams about his past in The Vows: his first tour (a disaster), his first album (nominated for a Grammy), his first love (a fellow musician already in a relationship), and his final betrayal. Now a high school teacher in New Orleans, maybe Noah can use The Vows’ reunion as a means to bed flirty guidance counselor Chloe Sorensen? Or maybe it’s his ticket out of writing lesson plans, unjamming copy machines, and loosening neckties at three o’clock? But can Noah in good conscience abandon Miles Lafayette, his hipster student who follows him everywhere, seeking his advice? Furthermore, is it even possible for an ex-rock star to improve the second time around, like a song in reprise at the end of an album?
& Also at 6 pm Thursday the Maple Street Book Club discusses Megan Abbott’s The Fever. This month the club will have local author Adrian Van Young as guest facilitator, and he’s picked Megan Abbott’s “The Fever.” Adrian Has a book coming out called “Shadows in Summerland,” for which we will also be hosting a release party and reading from Adrian at the book store on April 21st at 6 PM. The book club choice will be available at 10% off at the store. Refreshments will be served.
& At 7 pm Thursday the Nix Library Book Club meets to discuss its March selection The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty.
& At 7 PM on Thursday in celebration of the 10th annual New Orleans New Writers Literary Festival, Rickey Laurentiis will be reading at NOCCA|Riverfront. Boy With Thorn is his first book of poetry. Maple Street Book Shop will be on-site, selling copies of the book. In a landscape at once the brutal American South as it is the brutal mind, Boy with Thorn interrogates the genesis of all poetic creation—the imagination itself, questioning what role it plays in both our fascinations with and repulsion from a national history of racial and sexual violence. The personal and political crash into one language here, gothic as it is supple, meditating on visual art and myth, to desire, the practice of lynching and Hurricane Katrina. Always at its center, though, is the poet himself—confessing a double song of pleasure and inevitable pain.
& Saturday at 10:30 am the Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club meets to discuss Jennifer Marie Brissett’s ELYSIUM.
& Also at 10:30 am at the Nix Library Trisha Rezende, MFA, leads a dynamic writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.
& From 1-5 pm Saturday the Friends of NOPL are bringing their oop-up Book Sale to Norman Mayer Library. Hundreds of books for the whole family will be on sale — adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and teens’, plus CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks.
& At 1 pm Sunday at Octavia Books Raymond Arroyo for when he introduces his middle grade book, WILL WILDER: THE RELIC OF PERILOUS FALLS. Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and Peter Lerangis’s “Seven Wonders” series will embrace this first epic adventure in a rollicking new series by a New York Timesbestselling author. Will Wilder is a mischievous, headstrong twelve-year-old with an otherworldly gift he alone can see the nefarious creatures encroaching on Perilous Falls. For nearly a century, a sacred relic has protected his hometown from the raging waters surrounding it. But when Will borrows the relic for his own purposes, he accidentally unleashes an ancient evil. As boats sink and hideous creatures crawl from the rising waters, Will must set things right before it is too late. With the help of his sweet (if lethal) Great Aunt Lucille, the curator of a museum of powerful artifacts, Will proves that the actions of one twelve-year-old boy can change the world.
Pedestrian I: The Old Man in the Oaks February 29, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Pedestrian I, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Walking with intent, without the distraction of an iThing and ear buds and with attention to my environment, I find the most interesting things in the grove of oaks and other trees along the south side of Bayou Metairie. Among yesterday’s discoveries was The Old Man in the Oak. No, I’m not going to tell you where to find him. You will have to join me in walking with intent through what I have come to think of as the Sacred Grove.
Of course, when intent and attentive, one also notices certain vistas of great beauty. I make a habit of leaving the sidewalk and going cross-country as it were through the grove of live oaks, stepping over and through what I think of as gates made by the pendulant branches that come down and touch the ground only to ascend again. Below is a view I found particularly striking on Sunday. I call it the Lady in the Grove.
Finally, while wending my way through the gates (think walking straight ahead above toward the fountain, although the particular path I thread usually involves a much smaller passage), I found a rose stuck in the ground, framed by (and appearing to glare at) a green bottle cap with a bit of gold twist tie you can’t easily make out laying nearby.
Walking with Intent. It’s the only way to travel.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans February 28, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts journalist Mary R. Arno presents and signs THANKSGIVING, her novel of memory and coming-of-age based on a short story that won the gold medal in the Faulkner Wisdom competition. New Orleans, Summer 1965: Nancy Drew, the Beatles, Hurricane Betsy. For four young people, it is a time for sailing lessons, clandestine cigarettes, facts of life, guilty secrets. Playing girl detectives, Peg and Emmaline hitchhike to the Winn Dixie, where Emmaline hopes to find her runaway sister. Harry, Emmaline’s brother, lurks on the edges of their toxic, disjointed family. As seasons and years go by, each of the four must come to terms with what happened that summer and what they did—or didn’t do. Thanksgiving slowly reveals the adult ugliness festering beneath the summer idylls of childhood.
& At 6 pm Tuesday Garden District Book Shops features Julie Smith (editor), Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr, O’Neil De Noux, and Maurice Ruffin with New Orleans Noir: The Classics. New Orleans’ tremendous literary tradition shines bright in this outstanding collection of stories from some of the best writers in American history. Julie Smith has masterfully curated this volume with stories published as early as 1843 and as recently as 2012. Classic reprints from: James Lee Burke, Armand Lanusse, Grace King, Kate Chopin, O. Henry, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Shirley Ann Grau, John William Corrington, Tom Dent, Ellen Gilchrist, Valerie Martin, O’Neil De Noux, John Biguenet, Poppy Z. Brite, Nevada Barr, Ace Atkins, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. The 18 stories in this irresistible sequel to Smith’s New Orleans Noir run chronologically from Armand Lanusse’s A Marriage of Conscience (1843), about an unusual social custom of the day, to Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s Pie Man (2012), a powerful examination of ethnic tensions in post-Katrina New Orleans. Famous bylines punctuate the book, but even the lesser-known authors hold their own. Former New Orleans police office O’Neil De Noux’s The Man with Moon Hands has particular relevance in view of recent controversial police shootings. Ace Atkins’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down mixes New Orleans’s traditions of music and crime. There’s one outright ghost story, Poppy Z. Brite’s Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz, a surrealistic swirl of time travel and assassination. Anyone who knows New Orleans even slightly will relish revisiting the city in story after story. For anyone who has never been to New Orleans, this is a great introduction to its neighborhoods and history.
& Also at 6 pm Tuesday Octavia Books welcomes local activist Emilie Bahr when she introduces her book, URBAN REVOLUTIONS: A Woman’s Guide to Two-Wheeled Transportation. Urban Revolutions is a different kind of cycling book. Author Emilie Bahr draws on her own experience as an everyday cyclist and a transportation planner in New Orleans to demystify urban bicycling in this visually-compelling and fun-to-read field guide. What does it mean for a city to be bike-friendly? What makes bicycling a women’s issue? What does it take to feel safe on a bike? How do you bike to work in the summer and still look professional? What is the most fun you can possibly have on two wheels without having to become an athlete? Bahr answers all these questions and more in her friendly and thoughtful essays and detailed practical tips.
& At 7 pm Tuesday Tulane University presents an evening with Zadie Smith, 2016 Zale-Kimmerling Writer-in-Residence. Smith is the author of six books. Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the stories of three ethnically diverse families, won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and two BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards (Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer). It was also shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. The Autograph Man (2002), a story of loss, obsession and the nature of celebrity, won the 2003 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2003 and 2013 she was named by Granta magazine as one of 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. On Beautywon the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and her most recent novel, NW, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction and was named as one of The New York Times ‘10 Best Books of 2012.’ Zadie Smith writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. She published a collection of essays, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays(2009) and is working on a book of essays entitled Feel Free. She is currently a tenured professor of Creative Writing at New York University.
& Also at 7 pm Tuesday at the Old Metairie Library The Great Books Foundation meets.
& At 8 pm Tuesday at Bar Redux readers are invited to join the discussion with the beautiful, talented, smart, members of Picolla Tushy Presents The Bluestockings. This month we’ll be talking #GirlBoss by Sophia Amorusa. “Girlboss is a hub of inspiration to share stories about what creating an amazing life really means. Being a Girlboss isn’t about being the boss of other people – it’s about being the boss of your own life.”
& At 5 pm Wednesday The West Bank Book Club meets at the Algiers Regional Library to discuss their selection, which is usually literary fiction. Meetings are open to the public and are hosted by library staff
& Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Geneveive Munson Trimble’s Afton Villa:The Birth and Rebirth of a Ninteenth-Century Louisiana Garden. n 1963, fire ravaged the forty-room Victorian Gothic plantation home on the historic estate, bringing to ashes over 170 years of history. Over the next decade, its once-regal serpentine entryway and carefully laid out gardens gradually deteriorated, as vines strangled the rows of azaleas that once welcomed guests. A place of enchantment crumbled toward extinction. Afton Villa documents Trimble’s decades-long restoration project while providing a history of the original owners and paying tribute to the other people who contributed to its rebirth. Focusing on preservation, Trimble reveals how the garden’s original footprint survived as well as how she thoughtfully introduced new flora into the terraced landscape, including the foundation ruins of the house, under the guidance of landscape architect Neil G. Odenwald. With steep learning curves and devastating setbacks, including hurricane destruction, each milestone in the recovery of Afton Villa marked a triumph of collaborative will over adversity.
& At 7 pm Wednesday Reading Between the Wines at Pearl Wine Co. welcomes Eva Vanrell and her book THE BUTTERFLY CREST, heavily influenced by Japanese culture, and the Japan Society will also discuss their new book club! An ancient war. A long-told prophecy. A cursed inheritance. If you were destined to die, how would you choose to live? The Butterfly Crest is the first book in a series that tells the tale of a human girl who sacrifices everything to struggle against the inevitable, choosing to resist even when the outcome is doomed from the start. Join Elena as she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a Greek myth and an ancient war between gods, in a world where the old myths are real and human belief has the power to alter the divine. The Butterfly Crest was a 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist.
& At BJ’s in the Bywater at 8 pm Wednesday Blood Jet Poetry Series returns for its spring season featuring: Bernard Pearce, a Louisiana native born in the rural community of St. Martin Parish. He attended St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM and returned to Louisiana to pursue a life immersed in music and art. He has owned and operated several music and arts venues in Lafayette, Louisiana. Bernard has recorded and released two full length recordings with his band One Man Machine and has toured internationally with this group. Bernard has recently published a collection of poems, photos, and visual art entitled “The Deed to My Bones”. Also featured is Jim Trainer whose work has appeared in Raw Paw 6: Alien, The Waggle, Philadelphia Stories, Divergent Magazine, Anthology Philly, A Series of Moments and PoetryInk. The release of September, his second full length collection of poetry, coincides with the founding of Yellow Lark Press. Trainer lives in Austin, Texas where he serves as curator of Going For The Throat, a weekly publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance. Please visit jimtrainer.net.
& Also 8 pm the provocateurs of Estorotica present “Esoterotica knows Romance (Erotica) isn’t Dead, It’s Mysterious, Exciting, and Often Hilarious!” at the Allways Lounge. Doors at 7, show at 8. “…an evening of sex and romance and sexy romance, because we know Romance isn’t dead, especially when it’s also erotica… it’s mysterious, breath-taking, exciting, sometimes corny and when it comes to our show, often hilarious! ”
& Thursday at 6 pm Maple Street Books also welcomes Emilie Bahr, author of Urban Revolutions.
& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. 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.
& Also at 7 pm Thursday the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop will host two visiting readers in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 140. Mark Yakich is a Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, USA, Editor of New Orleans Review, and a poet and novelist. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross and The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine. Jennifer S. Davis is the author of two collections of short stories, Her Kind of Want, winner of the Iowa Award for Short Fiction, and Our Former Lives in Art, which was selected by Barnes and Noble for the Discover Great New Writers Series
& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm local writer Dr. Anne Boyd Rioux will be reading from and signing CONSTANCE FENIMORE WOOLSON: Portrait of a Lady Novelist and MISS GRIEF AND OTHER STORIES. Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840 1894), who contributed to Henry James’s conception of his heroine Isabelle Archer of The Portrait of a Lady, was one of the most accomplished American writers of the nineteenth century. The best known (and most misunderstood) facts of her life are her relationship with James and her suicide in Venice. Uncovering new sources, Anne Boyd Rioux provides a fuller picture of Woolson’s life, her fight against depression, her sources for her writing, and her capacity for love and joy. In her critically acclaimed fiction, Woolson created compelling and subtle portrayals of Americans from the Great Lakes, Reconstruction-era South, and formerly Spanish Florida. As an expat in Europe, she explored women’s thwarted ambitions while challenging the foremost male writers of her era. Ultimately, Rioux reveals an exceptionally gifted and committed artist who pursued (and received) serious recognition despite the stigma attached to female authors and to ambitious, single women.
& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop hosts Chris Offutt and My Father the Pornographer. When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1800 pounds of porn. Andrew had been considered the “king of twentieth century smut,” a career that began as a strategy to pay for his son’s orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the ‘70s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel was at its height. With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote 400 novels, ranging from pirate porn and ghost porn, to historical porn and time travel porn, to secret agent porn and zombie porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became, and the more difficult it was for his children to penetrate his world. Over one long summer in his hometown, helping his mother move out of the house, Chris began to examine his deceased father’s possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to come to grips with the mercurial man he always feared but never understood. Offutt takes us on the journey with him, showing us how only in his father’s absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy.
& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books features Authors Yuri Herrera, SIGNS PRECEDING THE END OF THE WORLD, and Lina Wolff, BRET EASTON ELLIS AND OTHER DOGS. Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld. At a run-down brothel in Caudal, Spain, the prostitutes are collecting stray dogs. Each is named after a famous male writer: Dante, Chaucer, Bret Easton Ellis. When a john is cruel, the dogs are fed rotten meat. To the east, in Barcelona, an unflappable teenage girl is endeavouring to trace the peculiarities of her life back to one woman: Alba Cambo, writer of violent short stories, who left Caudal as a girl and never went back. Mordantly funny, dryly sensual, written with a staggering lightness of touch, Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Swedish sensation Lina Wolff is a black and Bolano-esque take on the limitations of love in a dog-eat-dog world.
& Saturday at 11:30 am Maple Street hosts a Book Shop launch party of Z.W. Mohr’s children’s book, Desdemona’s Dreams, Volume 1: To Dream of Dancing. Raised in the small town of Remsy by her mysterious aunts and guardian teddy bear, eleven year old Desdemona has always had a hard time relating to the waking world. The elaborate world of dreams she often travels to starts to take on a very real life, and soon she is battling a mad maestro to keep her dream of dancing from being stolen away. This is the first book in the fully illustrated series, Desdemona’s Dreams. A story not only about the beauty of a child’s imagination, but how dreams shape the very world around us. Always remember, you’re dreams are worth fighting for.
& At 1 pm Saturday Garden District Book Shop presents C. S. Harris’s When Falcons Fall. yleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to this seemingly peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend and on a quest to learn more about his own ancestry. But when the body of a lovely widow is found on the banks of the River Teme, a bottle of laudanum at her side, the village’s inexperienced new magistrate turns to St. Cyr for help. Almost immediately, Sebastian realizes that Emma Chance did not, in truth, take her own life. Less easy to discern is exactly how she died, and why. For as Sebastian and Hero soon discover, Emma was hiding both her true identity and her real reasons for traveling to Ayleswick.Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place of secrets that have festered among the villagers for decades—and a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian’s own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he’s willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.
& At 2 pm Saturday the Poetry Buffet pops up at the Alvar Library in the Bywater. Local poet Gina Ferrara presents noted authors George Guida, Kelly Harris, Nancy Harris, and David Rowe for an unforgettable afternoon of powerful poetry in the Bywater.
& Sunday March 6 from 1-5 pm and the following two weekends the Friends of NOPL are bringing their Book Sale to Norman Mayer Library. Hundreds of books for the whole family will be on sale — adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s and teens’, plus CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks. So tell your friends about our Friends, and we’ll see you there!
& Next Sunday at 3 pm at the Maple Leaf New York poet GEORGE GUIDA reads from his work. The Maple Leaf Poetry Series, founded by beloved poet Everett Maddox and curated by poet Nancy Harris, is the longest running poetry reading series in the South.
& At 7 pm Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO) hosts The Women of World Poetry Slam Send Off Show featuring ICON at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center. $5 admission.
Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia February 27, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
“Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia” (“I am I and my circumstance”) (Meditaciones del Quijote, 1914).”
For [Jose’] Ortega y Gasset, as for Husserl, the Cartesian ‘cogito ergo sum’ is insufficient to explain reality. Therefore, the Spanish philosopher proposes a system wherein the basic or “radical” reality is “my life” (the first yo), which consists of “I” (the second yo) and “my circumstance” (mi circunstancia). This circunstancia is oppressive; therefore, there is a continual dialectical interaction between the person and his or her circumstances and, as a result, life is a drama that exists between necessity and freedom.
The Triumph of the Shills February 26, 2016Posted by The Typist in The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
He did not expect a rally when he stepped out for coffee. The sidewalk was clocked by a feral collection of people in their office clothes, an angry mob that frightened away the homeless, gathered in front of one of the last small electronics shops, a window filled with televisions.
The mobs’ man was giving a speech, and every set in the window was locked to Fox News. Their man railed against the man selling vegetables across the street who wisely decided to close up for a while, and went inside to light a candle to the Virgin Guadeloupe for protection. Their man bellowed against the old woman with her EBT card who had come to the now-closed stand hoping for bananas, who shuffled in hunger slowly back toward her tidy if tiny one room home. Their man called for war and the mob cheered, mindless that their own children were the ones who would be sent to some foreign land most could not find on a map.
He needed coffee and to get back to work, but the storm of emotion stood between him and Starbucks, a gauntlet no thinking person would dare to pass. He stood for a long time, smoking his break-time cigarette, then turned back towards the bar on the corner. There was a television there, but he was certain from experience it would only show the afternoon’s double header, a gentle, Black peanut-man bit of a different America he remembered fondly from his childhood.
I Can’t Get Started February 23, 2016Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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No going back to sleep for the Insomnimaniac. It’s just going to be one of those days. Time for a slouchy hat, brim snapped low, and to pick up a pack of smokes. Where can I get Chesterfields? [Cough]. Gotta put a quick spit shine on my shoes, find my cleanest shirt and squint out into the painful sunshine of another instant coffee day in the city of broken sidewalks.
First, slink over to the bank, the teller lines snaking around the slumped customers in chairs that would shame a bus station, all waiting for some good word that will not come. Sign my name, wait my turn, close out the big account, and shake the dust of Downtown off my shoes as I walk out the door. Take that fat check somewhere people smile and remember my name.
Lunch. Fuck doctors. I want it medium rare on a soft white bun. Ketchup yessir mister and mustard you bet. A nice sour pickle to suit my mood, and a draft beer with a famous shame. If you’re looking for me, ask Otis. He knows where I slink to drink when afternoon’s a thunderstorm and my raincoat’s at home. Somewhere in Metairie where no one knows me, there’s an ashtray on my table, and the kitchen smells like last night but tastes like Kansas City.
Tonight when the shit storm is blowing outside: whiskey, Prez and Lady Day, a broad brush sadness that brings a smile to dump the cigarette ash on your pants. Well, fuck. Laundry tomorrow.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans February 21, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with Craig Werner exploring the songs that linked to the times for the soldiers of the Vietnam War in WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War, named by Rolling Stone as the #1 Best Music Book of 2015. For a Kentucky rifleman who spent his tour trudging through Vietnam’s Central Highlands, it was Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” For a “tunnel rat” who blew smoke into the Viet Cong’s underground tunnels, it was Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.” For a black marine distraught over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., it was Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” And for countless other Vietnam vets, it was “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” or the song that gives this book its title. In We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Doug Bradley and Craig Werner place popular music at the heart of the American experience in Vietnam, a central if often overlooked component of the American war in Vietnam.
& At 6:30 pm its Lights! Pens! Poetry! at the Algiers Regional Library. Participants are encouraged to bring original poems to read or poems by a favorite author to share. Anthologies will also be provided for inspiration.
& Tuesday at 4 pm the Rosa F. Keller Library offers New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) Workshops. Facilitated by Team Slam New Orleans (SNO) founding member and #NOYOM committee member Akeem Martin, the workshops will help youth learn new writing skills and improve upon the ones they already have in a fun, structured space. Attendees will have the chance to submit work to be published in the NOYOM Youth Anthology. Open to all 7th – 12th graders.
& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books welcomes Marisa Acocella Marchetto, author of ANN TENNA. From the celebrated New Yorker cartoonist and acclaimed author of Cancer Vixen, a brilliant, funny, and wildly imaginative first novel: the story of an influential gossip columnist brought face-to-face with her higher self and a challenge to change her life for the better. Glamorous, superconnected Ann Tenna is the founder of Eyemauler, a New York City-based Web site that’s always the first to dish the most up-to-the-minute dirt on celebrities and ordinary folks alike. Ann has ascended to the zenith of the New York media scene, attended by groups of grovelers all too willing to be trampled on by her six-inch Giuseppe Zanottis if it means better seats at the table. Told with laugh-out-loud humor, spot-on dialogue (including via cameo appearances from Coco Chanel, Gianni Versace, and Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few), and stunning, full-color artwork, Ann Tenna is a timely, necessary tale for our overly media-cated times: the newest, much-anticipated adventure from a supremely gifted artist at the height of her powers.
& Tuesday at 7 pm the West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. The Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors. Gary Bourgeois moderates.
& At 8 pm Tuesday The Bluestockings Book Club presents a discussion with the beautiful, talented, smart, members of Picolla Tushy Presents The Bluestockings at Bar Redux. This month we’ll be talking #GirlBoss by Sophia Amorusa. “Girlboss is a hub of inspiration to share stories about what creating an amazing life really means. Being a Girlboss isn’t about being the boss of other people – it’s about being the boss of your own life.”
& Wednesday at 6 pm The Director of the Creative Writing program at LSU, Laura Mullen, is here with her newest poetry collection, COMPLICATED GRIEF. “In a way (the way I’m taking it) Laura Mullen’s COMPLICATED GRIEF follows (with giant dropouts) everything she knows about being a monster. Her aegis covers women (young ones and aging), un-natural disasters and literature. If something packed could wander like Julianne Moore’s mind, to the benefit of everyone, but more like a whole department store or a library feeling snarky, shuffled itself and somehow it was wise.” ~Eileen Myles.
& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia books hosts a special evening with author Taylor Brown featuring his new book, FALLEN LAND, in conversation with author Kent Wascom, SECESSIA. Fallen Land is Taylor Brown’s debut novel set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman’s March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives. Dramatic and thrillingly written with an uncanny eye for glimpses of beauty in a ravaged landscape, Fallen Land is a love story at its core, and an unusually assured first novel by award-winning young author Taylor Brown.
& At 6:30 pm the EJ Writers Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. he East Jefferson Writer’s 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.
& Also at the East Jefferson Regional Library at 7 pm the library hosts an Author Event! “Louisiana Aviation” by Vincent Caire. The book includes photos of early aviation pioneer John Moisant, air racing champion General James Doolittle, barnstormer Roscoe Turner, aircraft designer James Wedell, and founder of Delta Airlines C. E. Woolman reflect Louisiana’s zeal for aeronautics. Caire explains the efforts of Senator Huey P. Long and Harry P. Williams, co-owner of the Wedell-Williams Air Service in Patterson, Louisiana, influenced the development of viable airmail routes throughout the southeastern United States. Rarely seen photographs depict the Art Deco elegance of the first modern, multi-operational passenger terminal in the nation—Shushan Airport in New Orleans.
& At 7 pm Thursday The Dogfish Reading Series presents an evening with readings by ANYA GRONER and MAURICE CARLOS RUFFIN.
& At 7 pm Thursday Room 220 presents a reading from Souffles-Anfas at the Antenna Gallery at 3718 St. Claude Ave. Maple Street Book Shop will be on hand to sell copies of the book. Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics introduces and makes available, for the first time in English, an incandescent corpus of experimental leftist writing from North Africa. Founded in 1966 by Abdellatif LaÃ¢bi and a small group of avant-garde Moroccan poets and artists and banned in 1972, Souffles-Anfas was one of the most influential literary, cultural, and political reviews to emerge in postcolonial North Africa. The essays, poems, and artwork included in this anthology-by the likes of Abdelkebir Khatibi, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Albert Memmi, Etel Adnan, Sembene Ousmane, Rene Depestre, and Mohamed Melehi-offer a unique window into the political and artistic imaginaries of writers and intellectuals from the Global South, and resonate with particular acuity in the wake of the Arab Spring. A critical introduction and section headnotes make this collection the perfect companion for courses in postcolonial theory, world literature, and poetry in translation.
& This Friday kicks off the Delta Mouth Literary Festival in Baton Rouge.
- At 4 pm the festival features a discussion featuring two amazing fiction writers, Carmen Maria Machado and Alexander Lumans. Learn about the creative and professional experience of publishing short stories, how short fiction is changing or adapting in the digital age, and what it’s like to be a working fiction writer today. Come out and talk craft and business with two of the most-widely published writers out there. MACHADO is a fiction writer, critic, and essayist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Paris Review, AGNI, NPR, Los Angeles Review of Books, VICE, and elsewhere. Her stories have been reprinted or are forthcoming in several anthologies, including Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, Best Horror of the Year, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and Best Women’s Erotica. Her debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in Fall 2017. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, and lives in Philadelphia with her partner. LUMANS’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Story Quarterly, TriQuarterly, Black Warrior Review, Greensboro Review, American Short Fiction, Bat City Review, Gulf Coast, Cincinnati Review, West Branch, and The Normal School, among others. It has also appeared in several anthologies: Surreal South 2009, 2011, 2013 (alongside Ron Rash, Lee K. Abbott), The Versus Anthology, and The Book of Villains. He has published poetry, interviews, essays, creative-nonfiction, and reviews in Guernica, Glimmertrain, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Colorado Public Radio, Sycamore Review, American Short Fiction, The Collagist, Southern Humanities Review, and Cosmonaut’s Avenue. He graduated from the M.F.A. Fiction Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He teaches at the University of Colorado-Denver and at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.
- Friday at 7pm offeres a reading featuring Jami Attenberg, Peter Cooley, and Carmen Maria Machado at Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary art at 1515 Dalrymple Drive in Baton Rouge.
- Saturday at 6 pm at the LSU Honors College the festival features a lively discussion featuring powerful poet-performers Tracie Morris, Monica McClure, and Rodrigo Toscano on the interplay of poetry, performance, and activism, moderated by M.K. Brake. Learn about integrating poetry into different mediums, navigating the divide between page and stage, plus the import of performance in poetry’s relationship to social justice.
- From At 7 pm at LSU’s French House the festival offers a night of amazing poetry, including Baton Rouge’s own WordCrew! Like all of Delta Mouth, this event is free and open to the public.MORRIS is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, sound poet, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. She is co-editor, with Charles Bernstein, of “Best American Experimental Writing” (2016) from Wesleyan University Press. Her upcoming book, handholding: 5 kinds, published by Kore Press, debuted in late 2015. MCCLURE is a writer and performer based in New York. She is the author of Tender Data (Birds LLC, 2015) and chapbooks Mala (Poor Claudia, 2014) and Mood Swing (Snacks Press, 2013). Her poetry and critical writing can be found in Tin House, The Claudius App, Jubilat, Lambda Literary Review Spotlight Series, Emily Books, The Hairpin, The Huffington Post, The Awl, Spork Press, The Los Angeles Review, Intercourse Magazine, The Lit Review, and CultureStrike / The Margins. WORDCREW is a youth spoken word collective of Forward Arts Incorporated. WordCrew members meet once a week on Wednesday evenings during the school year and participate in writing and performance workshops. Its members are also responsible for running the monthly teen open mic/poetry slam, Freshhhh Heat.
& Saturday at 2 pm the Norman Mayer Library hosts a Black History Month 2016 event with Author Carole Boston Weatherford reading read from Freedom in Congo Square.
& On Sunday at 1:30 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square. This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart. As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance, and play music. They were free to forget their cares, their struggles, and their oppression. This story chronicles slaves’ duties each day, from chopping logs on Mondays to baking bread on Wednesdays to plucking hens on Saturday, and builds to the freedom of Sundays and the special experience of an afternoon spent in Congo Square. This book will have a forward from Freddi Williams Evans (freddievans.com), a historian and Congo Square expert, as well as a glossary of terms with pronunciations and definitions.
An Imaginary Genocide The Cause of Which Is Unsupported by Fiat by Any Government Funded Science, or Your Tax Dollars At Work February 17, 2016Posted by The Typist in fuckmook, FYYFF, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, The Dead, The End, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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And so the end begins, a slow-motion genocide as a byproduct of The American Way and Dream, swallowed by Moloch the infant-feasting god of Capital, a land poured into the tank of your SUV, a people’s way of life devoured to supply you with an endless supply of plastic-wrapped things.
And I chose that word carefully, and mean it.
The individuals will mostly survive. nly the multiple, unique, World Heritage cultures of the place will be diluted until untastable. Their children will be assimilated and the great machine will move along, consuming them in the more convention ways. Except of course the very old who cannot manage the transition, as they died in the thousands after the Federal Flood and the Great Evacuation of 2005, the largest forced movement of US citizens in history. The old could not cope. Their deaths ride shotgun with you, are the faint dark spots you sometimes spy in your high-riding review mirror.
Nice Day, Fuckmooks.
As if February 16, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, poem, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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it didn’t winter enough
for them to stop
& think to take
the time to
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“But can we not help but marvel, at least every now and then, at the scandalous beauty of existence, what Robinson Jeffers called the “transhuman magnificence” of the world?”
— “The Love of Destiny: the Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism” by Dan McCoy
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans February 15, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This week in literary New Orleans:
& The 30th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is pleased to announce that the program for the Festival, which runs March 30-April 3, is live online and our complete box office is now open and ready to take your ticket orders. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PROGRAM.
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with Vern Baxter and Pam Jenkins featuring LEFT TO CHANCE: Hurricane Katrina and the Story of Two New Orleans Neighborhoods. The book takes us into two African American neighborhoods—working-class Hollygrove and middle-class Pontchartrain Park—to learn how their residents have experienced “Miss Katrina” and the long road back to normal life. The authors spent several years gathering firsthand accounts of the flooding, the rushed evacuations that turned into weeks- and months-long exile, and the often confusing and exhausting process of rebuilding damaged homes in a city whose local government had all but failed. As the residents’ stories make vividly clear, government and social science concepts such as “disaster management,” “restoring normality,” and “recovery” have little meaning for people whose worlds were washed away in the flood. For the neighbors in Hollygrove and Pontchartrain Park, life in the aftermath of Katrina has been a passage from all that was familiar and routine to an ominous world filled with raw existential uncertainty. Recovery and rebuilding become processes imbued with mysteries, accidental encounters, and hasty adaptations, while victories and defeats are left to chance.
& Also at 6 pm Monday, the New Orleans Haiku Society meets at the Rosa Keller Library on Broad due to the continuing renovations at the Latter Memorial Library.
& Beginning Tuesday Tulane University hosts Audre Lorde Days continuing throughout the Spring Semester at Tulane University. They feature lectures, films, workshops, celebrations, and dialogues that build on the work of Audre Lorde. The series combines analysis and love, research and lyricism, as well as debate and collaboration to address the ways in which inequity, alienation, and violence undermine individual, collective and planetary health. Collaborations seek to foster holistic analyses and strategic interventions that fuel wellbeing, justice, and positive social change. Tuesday at 6 pm brings An Intimate Conversation with Janet Mock & Alexis de Veaux in the Lavin-Bernick Center Kendall Cram Room. This event features trans-advocate, author and MSNBC talk show host Janet Mock for a discussion about sexuality and identity with Alexis de Veaux, 2015 Lambda Literary Best Lesbian Fiction award winner.
& Also on Tuesday at 6 pm, Octavia Books presents author Melanie Benjamin to the store for a reading and signing of THE SWANS of FIFTH AVENUE. The New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York’s Swans of the 1950s and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley. Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends the alluring socialite Swans. By all appearances, Babe has it all. Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entree into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, but Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller even when the stories aren’t his to tell. Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.
& Tuesday at 7 pm The West Bank Fiction Writers Group meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Members perform writing exercises, discuss fiction and critique the writing of fellow authors.
& Also at 7 pm Tuesday, the Old Metairie Library Great Book Club meets to discuss Agamemnon by Aeschylus while the East Bank Regional Library that location’s Great Books Discussion Group convenes to discuss The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron.
& Thursday at 5 pm the Booked for Murder Book Club meets at the Norman Mayer Library. This group meets Club every third Thursday of the month. New members are welcomed to join. No title is listed on the library events calendar.
& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Suzanne Rheinstein and Rooms For Living: A Style for Today with Things from the Past. Celebrated interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein focuses on the use of rooms from entries to outdoor spaces that reflect her relaxed, elegant style, in which beauty and comfort are paramount. Suzanne Rheinstein is a master at translating traditional style into something fresh and elegant. In Rooms for Living, she shows how to achieve a calm and livable environment in casual or more formal settings. Rheinstein presents welcoming rooms to share with others, as well as private, cozy spaces for relaxing or sleeping. Born and raised in New Orleans, Suzanne has a deep appreciation for the traditions of that city. Her Southern sense of style and hospitality, the visual sophistication she acquired living on the East Coast and her appreciation for the relaxed lifestyle of southern California have made her a sought-after talent.
& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional library in Jefferson Parish. 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.
& Saturday at 10 am The Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America takes place at the East Jefferson Regional Library, and features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft.
& At 2 pm Saturday at the EJ Regional Library GNO Chapter of LA Poetry Society presents poetry readings and discussions for poetry lovers.
& Sunday at 2 pm at the Algiers Regional Library Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO) and Rebessa Mwase, Co-Director of LOUD continue their workshops to prepare contestants for the 2016 Paul Robeson Student Acting Competition, we are offering acting and writing workshops. Participants are encouraged to join the professional artist-teachers leading these workshops to develop and enhance their performance. This weeks writing workshop with Team SNO is 2 pm at the Alvar Library, and the acting workshop will be at the East New Orleans Regional Library at 3 pm.
& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading is held every week (parades and Saint’s games permitting) at the Maple Leaf Bar with an open mic and featured readers. This is the oldest continuous reading series in the South. No feature this week but the mic will be open to all readers.
& Also at 3 pm Sunday Garden District Book Shops presents Lincoln Peirce and Big Nate Blasts Off. For fans of the hilarious Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, here comes the eighth novel in the New York Times bestselling series Big Nate. BIG NATE IS BLASTING OFF! Nate has a crush on Ruby. But after his scrap with Randy Betancourt makes headlines in the Weekly Bugle, he’s got a problem WAY worse than detention! Can Nate bounce back? And will the annual Mud Bowl be a blast . . . or a bust?
& The Loyola Writing Institute courses, covering various genres, are held in the fall, spring and summer at 5 Greater New Orleans locations–Loyola University New Orleans, the New Orleans Healing Center, Antenna on St. Claude, the Southern Hotel in Covington and A Studio in the Woods on the Westbank. Our classes are appropriate for adults over 18 at any skill level. Check out more information about our spring classes, starting February 23, and find our paper registration form on our Web site or register online at Eventbrite. Take advantage of special group discounts for the A Studio in the Woods retreats (See more information under New Programs for 2016).
The Spectrum February 12, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Reproduced from the Disorder Service Manual of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
When the going gets weird February 12, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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the weird mark their days by songs of Pink Floyd. There are your screaming “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” days and your quiet or soulful (or even depressive, the B-side of “Careful…) days of “Great Gig in the Sky.”
Today…today we shall be Fearless.
Wandering February 11, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Pedestrian I, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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When I first came home to New Orleans, I was working out of a converted kitchen cum office. I would often take a lunch break to step away from the massive monitor to bathe myself in sunlight instead of the cracklin radiation of the CRT. As it was closest, I often found myself wandering the groves south of Bayou Metairie.
That is where I walk today with more purpose: briskly for exercise, sometimes for distance, often just to be among the great trees, to catch a glimpse of the anhinga that haunts the west end of the cutoff remains of the Bayou.
Anyone who lives near this end of the park knows the air whistle of the miniature train that wends its way around the south end of the park. It has been a fixture of my life since childhood, when the trains were a streamliner style engine and cars, and an Old Smokey engine with false pistons tied to the wheels, a Smokey Mary stack, and most incorrect confederate flags flying at each side of the cow catcher. Those trains are gone. I miss the Old Smokey Mary (but not the flags), the actual tie-in of the decorative pistons and arms to the driving wheels, the antique look of it.
It does not run all of the time, only weekends and the long Celebration of the Oaks. What is always present is the line’s curving tracks wandering among the trees, another path I sometimes wander along the ballast or stepping gingerly along the ties.
Fire, ashes and garlic soup February 10, 2016Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Time to twist up a wicker sin man and put him to the torch, and wash the taste of ashes out of my mouth with a big steaming bowl of garlic and leek soup. To rest the aching brain, I can dredge up this now traditional post and return to an intent contemplation of Brownian motion in dust motes.
At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”
Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.
And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.
Adiu paure Carnaval
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal
Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater
Farewell, Poor Carnival
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, poor Carnival.
The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.
The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans February 8, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This busy, post-Carnival week in literary New Orleans:
& Orleans Parish Libraries will close at 3 pm Monday, reopening Wednesday after Carnival. Jefferson Parish libraries are closed today and Tuesday as well.
& Monday at 6 pm Tubby & Coo’s Science Fiction Book Club hosts its inaugural meeting.There will be a list of books to select from, we’ll pick one, and start discussing in the next meeting. If you have suggestions for books we should read, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
& Wednesday at 5:30 pm Rosa F. Keller Library & Community Center hosts its quarterly film screening based on great books. At each screening, we’ll watch the movie, compare and discuss the print and film versions, and enjoy refreshments reminiscent of each story. We’ll have extra copies of the books available for check out in the weeks before each screening (while supplies last). All ages welcome; attendees younger than 12 years must be accompanied by an adult.
& Thursday at 7 pm the Nix Library Book Club meets. This is a neighborhood group for people who love to read and get together to discuss ideas. Meets every second Thursday of the month. The February selection is A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor.
& Wednesday at 6 pm the Garden District Book Shop Book Club meets to discuss Station Eleven. New Members are always welcome. Purchase book in-store for a 20% discount.
& Thursday at 5 pm Maple Street employee Jasper den Hartigh hosts a new book club. The first book is Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, and the author will be joining in for the discussion. “Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back. Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.”
& At 7 pm Thursday East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. This is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the 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. No registration.
& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with author Sunil Yapa featuring his electric debut novel, YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE THE SIZE OF A FIST. On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor–a nomadic, scrappy teenager who’s run away from home–sets out to join the throng of WTO demonstrators determined to shut down the city. Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the fates of seven people will change forever: foremost among them police Chief Bishop, the estranged father Victor hasn’t seen in three years, two protesters struggling to stay true to their non-violent principles as the day descends into chaos, two police officers in the street, and the coolly elegant financial minister from Sri Lanka whose life, as well as his country’s fate, hinges on getting through the angry crowd, out of jail, and to his meeting with the President of the United States. When Chief Bishop reluctantly unleashes tear gas on the unsuspecting crowd, it seems his hopes for reconciliation with his son, as well as the future of his city, are in serious peril.
& Saturday at 10:30 am the Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club meets to discuss THE LOVE WE SHARE WITHOUT KNOWING by Christopher Barzak. The SciFi Book Club meets the second Saturday of every month. Members receive 10% off selections. “In this haunting, richly woven novel of modern life in Japan, the author of the acclaimed debut One for Sorrow explores the ties that bind humanity across the deepest divides. Here is a Murakamiesque jewel box of intertwined narratives in which the lives of several strangers are gently linked through love, loss, and fate.”
& Also at 10:30 am the Nix Library hosts a Creative Writing Workshop. Trisha Rezende, MFA, leads a dynamic writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.
& Saturday at 11:30 am Maple Street Book Shop will be hosting Nancy Backus Roniger, author of A Bayou Home: The Adventure of Swampmaster Bejeaux. Nancy has been a teacher at many schools in the area, including Ursuline Academy, Mt. Carmel, Jesuit, and Christ Episcopal. Lose yourself in the swamps and bayous of South Louisiana and enter a world of swamp creatures whose leader is an alligator named Swampmaster Bejeaux. Swampmaster Bejeaux goes on an action-packed adventure and encounters the Cajun world of fais do-dos, hunting camps, the loup-garou, and black magic. Along the way you will meet his swamp friends, several of whom save the day for our alligator
& At 2 pm Saturday Carnival isn’t quite over when Big Freedia visits the New Orleans Main Branch Library to launch her new book Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva. Big Freedia, Queen of Bounce, has gone from a New Orleans phenomenon to a national one, and she is coming out to the Main Library as part of our 2016 Black History Month Celebration. She will be talking about her new book, her music, and fabulous future plans. Q & A to follow; books will be available for sale.
& Also beginning at 2 pm on Saturday Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO) launches a series of workshops to prepare contestants for the 2016 Paul Robeson Student Acting Competition, we are offering acting and writing workshops. Participants are encouraged to join the professional artist-teachers leading these workshops to develop and enhance their performance.
Acting with Rebessa Mwase, Co-Director of LOUD:
- February 6, 12 p.m. – Keller Library & Community Center
- February 19, 3 p.m. – East New Orleans Regional Library
- February 21, 2 p.m. – Algiers Regional Library
Writing with Members of Team Slam New Orleans:
- February 7, 2 p.m. – Norman Mayer Library
- February 13, 2 p.m. – Alvar Library
- February 14, 2 p.m. – Main Library
& At 6 pm Saturday join in the launch celebration of local author Andy Reynolds’ new book The Axeboy’s Blues. Set in New Orleans, the story follows a centuries-old agency tasked with protecting the city from forces that would see her destroyed. In a city where mosquitoes don vests and spectacles, where the Mississippi is teeming with monstrous beasts, and where Wonder sprouts from people’s heads like plants, can this agency take on an adversary that has jumped through time itself? The event includes: Live readings from the book, Mini Art Market, Wine & Light Edibles, and Musical Guest: Shane Avrard of The Noise Complaints
Lord of the Quiet Bayou February 6, 2016Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Mostly they come for the common ducks, the white dinner party escapees, the mallards, and the black dabbling ducks I can’t identify past the Casino toward Wisner where the mainstem Bayou St. John bends and you might glance a brown pelican.. There are many, obnoxious geese, filled with entitlement which will bite if not fed. There are the stately, stilted Egrets, which together with the placid white swans are the nobility of the motely, bread-begging crew. The lovers stand atop the half-moon bridge and bend their necks together as if all of a kind with the curvaceous birds.
A half mile away, where most people are too intent on their iPhone or heart rate to notice, often just out of site of the island where a lone yogi sometimes practices and the the hula hipsters often congregate, hidden by the mass of foliage on the northwest end of Bayou Metairie, this is where you find the lord of the quiet bayou. If there is a Spirit of Bayou Metairie it is the anininga, often airing his wings far from the madding crowd after his best imitation of a feathered Loch Ness monster on the hunt. This is the bird that diverts me from my walk, to stand on the marge in worshipful wonder. Countless joggers could pass on the path behind me without notice. Their earbud oblivion is just that; mine is the momentary suspension of connected time and space born of awe.
Wyrd Synchronicity February 5, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Imbolc, New Orleans, The Journey, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
It is Imbolc, typically thought of as Brigid’s feast day. Somehow, I found myself at Yule falling into the myth of Frau Holle. Instead of simple decorations, I used the shelf that hosts the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage to erect a small altar to her. At Carnival, I stumbled through a link that took me past the usual matter on the pagan roots of Carnival and into the realm of the goddess Nerthus, one of the Vanir of Germanic (Heathen, if you will and as most prefer) goddesses. It seem as if at a point in my life when it is most necessary, my Germanic ancestors are calling me to a path of responsibility and righteousness. In spite of my acquired, indolent Carribean ways (perhaps because of them, the need to overcome them at this moment, to tend to what is necessary, to my kith and kin), the pull is in fact a specifically Wyrd synchronicity.
As I last posted, the parallels between Nerthus drawn on a cart by white oxen and our own, modern Carnival traditions struck a chord with me. So instead of twisting up a Brigid’s Cross as my friend Bart did today, over the last several days I have assemble on my public altar (born one long Jazz Fest ago as The Shrine of Jazz and Heritage) to Nerthus, who is like Brigid a goddess of fertility honored at this eighth-point of the earth’s orbital compass, the winter cross corner.
If it seems strange to honor a goddess of fertility when in much of North America the ground is frozen hard as a rock, consider the lighting of bonfires (a tradition still well honored here) at the dark of Yule and New Year’s, calling back the light. it is not so strange to call upon a goddess of the earth and fertility to return. Am I ignoring the old Biblical injunction about praying in public by putting this on the Shrine of Jazz and Heritage shelf? I don’t think so. I’m not a biblical person, anyway, and why not start a discussion with someone about alternate ways to honor our ruling and guiding spirits? My new neighbor up the street from Germany was much impressed by my small altar to Frau Holle this past holiday season.
Ay any account, that strange January of blooming tulip trees is behind us and we are back into our New Orleans winter just as we reach the winter cross corner. The pot of daffodils I found at the home center store seem to like this current weather just fine, and I hope to walk out of my girlfriend’s front door one day soon greeted by my favorite flower, long before the snow drops burst through in the higher latitudes. I love daffodils (and tulips, and all the bulb-borne flowers) because there is something so damned right about them in spring, the perennial bulb sleeping through the long winter in the earth, and then as the earth itself is awakening the daffodil emerges as Her messenger of the brightly painted tulip days to come.
Nerthus and Carnival February 2, 2016Posted by The Typist in Carnival, cryptical envelopment, The Mystery, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
Ever wonder why there is a white bullock at the front of Rex? Below is an image of Nerthus, a Germanic deity whose worship involved a sacred cart pulled by white bullocks. Nerthus, close cousin to Freya, is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania.
The word ‘Carnival’ is of uncertain origin … Usener drives “carnival” from currus navalis, the ship car, and finds its origin in some ship procession similar to that which figures in the cult of the goddess Isis. Certainly in the Middle Ages ship processions were held as spring celebrations in England, Germany and the South of Europe [and] the procession may take place either at Christmas or at the beginning of Lent; for the resemblance between the Kalends and the Saturnalia is paralleled by the resemblance between the Twelve Days and the Carnival.
The Court Masque
– By Enid Welsford
Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans January 31, 2016Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This quiet Carnival week in literary New Orleans:
& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with Vern Baxter and Pam Jenkins featuring LEFT TO CHANCE: Hurricane Katrina and the Story of Two New Orleans Neighborhoods.The book takes us into two African American neighborhoods—working-class Hollygrove and middle-class Pontchartrain Park—to learn how their residents have experienced “Miss Katrina” and the long road back to normal life. The authors spent several years gathering firsthand accounts of the flooding, the rushed evacuations that turned into weeks- and months-long exile, and the often confusing and exhausting process of rebuilding damaged homes in a city whose local government had all but failed. As the residents’ stories make vividly clear, government and social science concepts such as “disaster management,” “restoring normality,” and “recovery” have little meaning for people whose worlds were washed away in the flood. For the neighbors in Hollygrove and Pontchartrain Park, life in the aftermath of Katrina has been a passage from all that was familiar and routine to an ominous world filled with raw existential uncertainty. Recovery and rebuilding become processes imbued with mysteries, accidental encounters, and hasty adaptations, while victories and defeats are left to chance.
& Saturday at 11:30 am it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read Parade by Donald Crews. Illustrations and brief text describe a parade—the spectators, street vendors, marchers, bands, floats, and the cleanup afterwards.
& Next Sunday at 3ish the Maple Leaf Reading Series presents featured readers followed by an open mic at the Maple Leaf Bar (on the patio, weather permitting). This is the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by beloved adopted son of New Orleans poet Everette Maddox. Next Sunday’s details are TBA.
Hail & Farewell, Commander Kantner January 30, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Remember, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Blows Against the Empire, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Paul Kanter
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“…and we commend his body to travel forever in the depths of space. Farewell and Hail, Commander Kanter.” The thin, silver death vessel is launched to voyage forever among the family of stars.
Requiescat in Astrorum Paul Lorin Kantner: March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016
Asperity in the Cosmos January 29, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, science, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: asperity, Cosmos, neildegrassetyson, wabi-sabi
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In episode five of Cosmos, at 15:30, Neil Degrasse Tyson gets it wrong. He is not communicating with us as the speed of light. Every device in the production and distribution of electronic media from the time of the telegraph, be it analog or digital and including television, radio, internet, our telephone calls phone calls relies on circuits constructed from copper wire. The signals that arrive in our homes traverse the “last mile” which is almost universally still copper wire, not glass fibers transmitting light. Electrons travel through copper at normal temperatures at 2/3 C.
I think this is wonderful, evidence of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi, the imperfection integral to any great work of art. It enhances Tyson’s message of the inevitability of mistakes, of the need to question everything, the very bones and tissue of the scientific process. It is not a mistake so much as a badge of his own humility as a frail human standing before the greatness of the Cosmos, the moment at which the series most closely approaches perfection. It illuminates Tyson’s own wonder at the ability of humanity to strive through all our limitations, to learn to learn from out mistakes, and so arise to the level of understanding we have today, to be–as the Grateful Dead song has it–the Eyes of the World.
Agraphoria January 28, 2016Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Crappy to report that the lexical selection terror on this knew medication is much butter. Going to try not to drink about it, and go watch something mindless (like me), like Disney’s Dysphasia. I love the part with the element ballerinas. Agraphia me a beet while your up, will ya?
— Benzo the Clown