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Lord of the Quiet Bayou February 6, 2016

Posted 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. image 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, 2016

Posted 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, 2016

Posted 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, 2016

Posted 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, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, je me souviens, Remember, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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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, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, science, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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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, 2016

Posted 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

Hello, Cruel World January 27, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street.
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Bring it.


Floating January 26, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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floating away

“I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.”
Author: Khaled Hosseini

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans January 24, 2016

Posted 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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Carnival time is upon us but the few events this coming week in literary New Orleans are big ones, including the quarterly installment of Waves and the return of The Dust Bowl.

& Tuesday at 6 pm brings The Dust Bowl // An Open Mic, Open Canvas Collaboration Workshop to Gasa Gasa on Ferret St. We will be providing the canvas and paint for anyone that wants to BRING YOUR OWN BRUSHES (BYOB) and contribute some art to the canvas. We invite and encourage any and all vocal performers (comedians, singers, poets, rappers, etc..) to come share some material with everyone. Guest artists this month will be singer/songwriter: Shane Avrard; Spoken Word: Jonathan Brown; Comedy: Benjamin Hoffman. Sign up for the open mic will begin at 7. We will turn the mic on at 8 pm. Painters, bring your brushes… We will have another giant canvas and paint supplied by National Art & Hobby for you to use. Come help us create organic collaboration.

& Thursday brings the return of Waves to the Antenna Gallery, 3718 St Claude Ave. The Waves is a new LGBTIQ reading series presenting student voices, local writers, and visiting writers side by side. This event features Uriel Quesada along with Cassie Pruyn, Engram Wilkinson, Amelia Hess, Anya Leonhard, and perhaps more TBA.

  • Quesada is the author of seven books of fiction, including El atardecer de los niños (short stories, 1990; Editorial Costa Rica Award and Costa Rica National Book Award 1990), Lejos, tan lejos (short stories, Áncora Award in Literature, 2005), El gato de sí mismo (novel, Costa Rica National Book Award 2006) and Viajero que huye (short stories, 2008). Quesada recieved a Masters Degree in Latin American Literature from New Mexico State University, and a PhD from Tulane University. He lives in New Orleans, and is the current director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Loyola University.
  • Pruyn is a New Orleans writer originally hailing from Portland, Maine. Her poems, reviews, and blog posts can be found in AGNI Online, ENTROPY, The Normal School, 32 Poems, The Los Angeles Review, The Adroit Journal, NolaVie, and others. She is currently working on her first poetry collection, and also on a book-length narrative history of Bayou St. John.
  • Originally from Birmingham, AL, Wilkinson now lives in New Orleans. His work has previously appeared in Wag’s Revue, Anomalous and Cobalt Journal; for The Waves, he’ll be reading from his novel-in-progress, The Other Adults Test.
  • Amelia is a first semester sophomore at Tulane University where she is the co-editor of poetry for the Tulane Review. Amelia has been published in The Wrens Nest as well as contributed to the Notes of the Margin zine.
  • Leonhard was born in Melrose Park, IL, but commonly lies about this and says she is from Chicago. She is a fourth-level student in the Certificate of Artistry Creative Writing program at Lusher Charter School. Currently, she is working on her own bio, but in the near future, she will be working on a one-act play based on a personal statement essay and a nonfiction piece about the white alligator at Audubon Zoo.

& Also on Thursday, The University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop will host a reading by Juyanne James from her new book, “The Persimmon Trail and Other Stories.” It will be in room 197 of the Liberal Arts Building at 7:30pm. The 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.

& More to do on Thursday: The New Orleans Jane Austen Society presents The Singing Austen, a special performance of Regency and Romantic songs of the British Isles by focalist Arynne Fannin. Wine Reception 6:30 pm, performance pm at the Beeauregard keyes House, 1113 Chartres St.

& Saturday morning at Maple Street Book Shop brings Story Time with Miss Maureen. This week she’ll read the Greentail Mouse by Leo Lionni. This is a tale of a city mouse who visits his peaceful country cousins and tells them about Mardi Gras in the city. The country mice are inspired to have their own Mardi Gras. At first, it’s fun wearing their masks with sharp teeth and tusks and scaring each other, but after a while, they begin believing they’re really ferocious animals. Usual time in the past was 11:30 am but is not noted on their webpage. Call the store to confirm: (504)866-4916.

& Next Sunday, Jan. 31 it’s Family Day! at Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop. This end-of-monthly event from 12-2 pm features a family party style event with story time, games, and crafts! This coming Family Day!will be a have a Mardi Gras themed event, including king cake. Bring the kiddos and come read and play with us!

&  Next Sunday at 3ish the Maple Leaf Reading Series features 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.

& If your parading takes you downtown, you should stop and visit Crescent City Books, which is running a 30% off sale through the end of the month. Would you rather come home with another plastic cup, or a new book or three? Crescent City has New Orleans’ largest selection of titles new and used, including rarities, maps and art, and two full floors of books you could get lost in. 230 Chartres St.

What Rough Beast? January 23, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, The Vision, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Say OK, I’ve had enough. What else can you show me?

I do not wish, Doc, to be healed
lose everything that is revealed
to those who turned away and kneeled
their backs turned to where bells are pealed
& chose to keep their eyes wide-peeled
to witness the world burning.

Trois! Douze! Merde!


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

Posted 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:

& All area libraries are closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day. In New Orleans, the Latter Memorial Library remains closed indefinitely for renovations. In Jefferson Parish, the Live Oak library also remains closed for renovations.

& On Monday at 9 am join Octavia Books at Le Pavillon Hotel when #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning returns to New Orleans for another spectacular launch party for her much anticipated new novel, FEVERBORN. To attend the signing, you must purchase FEVERBORN through Octavia Books. In Karen Marie Moning’s latest installment of the epic Fever series, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada are back—and the stakes have never been higher and the chemistry has never been hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction, FEVERBORN is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of love. When the immortal Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged, and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of life itself—can save the planet.

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Library presents an Author Event featuring Dark Blood: Infamous Louisiana Murders by Alan Gauthreaux. This collection chronicles the most mysterious, bizarre and often overlooked homicides in Louisiana history. Drawing on contemporary records and, where available, the recollections of those who provide a coherent version of the facts, these mesmerizing tales detail some of the more gruesome episodes: the rise of the first Mafia godfather in the United States; the murder of two New Orleans police chiefs; the brutal murder of a famous New Orleans madam; the story of a respectable young woman who “accidentally” poisoned her younger sister and is a suspect in other family deaths; the ritual killing of blacks in southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas; the mysterious death of a young housewife which still generates debate; and the demise of a local celebrity who believed in his own invincibility.

& At 8 pm Wednesday Esoterotica presents its “No Resolutions, No Regrets, And No Theme Show” of erotic poetry, spoken word, story and who knows all what at the Always Lounge. Doors at 7 pm.

&Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Bryan Bailey and Embracing the Wild in Your Dog. Dogs are as interwoven in the American culture as baseball, apple pie and the Fourth of July. In most households, the dogs have trumped evolution itself and jumped straight to being four-legged humans where they are adorned with human names, designer outfits and fed diets. Yet, for all that man has done to carve the wolf from the wild to create a surrogate human, today’s dog is still a wolf at heart. This book is not a training book. It does not cover obedience topics such as heel, sit, down, stay, and come. Instead, it’s about righting the ship of American dog ownership by changing our perception of our dogs. It is about the author growing up in the Alaskan wild under the tutelage and guardianship of a Special Forces survival instructor who introduced him to the ways of wolves and the similarities they shared with dogs. It is about the wisdom and splendor of nature and the many life lessons she provides. Mostly, it about developing a deep understanding of the authors of your dog’s behavior; nature and the wolf. In doing so, you will truly learn who and what your dog really is and the whys and hows of its behavior. You will learn how activating and deactivating natural impulses and mechanisms in your dog will lead to the harmonious existence and the control you always dreamed of.

& At 7 pm Thursday Dogfish Reading Series presents “Mixed Company.” Written, designed, and edited by women of color, Mixed Company is a collection of literary fiction and visual art offered as an expression of contemporary Black thought. Its contributors are representative of diasporic communities engaging in their radical traditions. Chinua Achebe said, “It is the story that out lives the sound of war-drums and the exploits of brave fighters. It is the story that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence.” From the city of New Orleans, we unite these narratives to assert undeniably that WE REMAIN. Contributors include Addie Citchens, Jeri Hilt, Soraya Jean- Louis McElroy, Ambata Kazi- Nance, J.R. Ramakrishnan and Kristina Kay Robinson

& 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 for critique by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Saturday at 2 pm the GNO Chapter of LA Poetry Society meets at the Old Metairie Library, featuring poetry reading and discussions for poetry lovers.

Persona non gravitas January 16, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“Temporal bandwidth” is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar “Δt” considered as a dependent variable. The more you dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are. It may get to where you’re having trouble remembering what you were doing five minutes ago, or even— as Slothrop now— what you’re doing here

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

poetry is not January 15, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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that monster under your bed.

That exercise in writing is my latest project, and seems to keep me from a more “serious” manuscript in revision. Still, there is nothing unserious about poetry is not. It is a conscientious attempt to explore the borders between versification, best (?) exemplified by Hallmark and a poetry deeply serious about its business but at first glance simple–and most of all accessible to the general reader. Then again, shouldn’t all poems aspire to be as simple as possible, to pare away every unnecessary word as an engineer builds to spec and budget, an economy of material and forces which at the highest produces both beauty and function, the Golden Gate Bridge golden in the morning? There is nature, the echo of haiku, and a playfulness to it, and a music. It is often self-referential, confessional even, but without the bottle or the oven. If assonance and consonance are a bother, brother, don’t go there. It is a chamber orchestra of penny whistles. It is my attempt to produce a poetry that resonates with a public ruined for poetry by modernism and post-modernism, poetry written for other poets and to please professors of creative writing, a poetry that is swallowing its tale, a Rosicrucian arcanum to which the reading public is not admitted.

Give it a look. Open the door, and let in a bit of sunshine and birdsong. Go fearlessly into the simplicity of snowflakes.


Black Star Man January 12, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Dead, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“. . . I am going to put a shield of beauty
over the face of the earth to protect us.”

— Sun Ra

They are the gods we the godless have invented to replace the old inventions, the godly models we follow and when they die a piece of our souls leaves with them. We are that much closer to the darkness and our sadness for the great ones is not abstract and remote, an ancient crucifixion or a one-shot starlet’s moment. It is a priceless fragment of our Adamic world the god clock has ticked off the list.

Damn the darkness. We must burn brighter.

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

Posted 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 coming week in literary New Orleans:

& This Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features E. A. Channon and Flesh of the Blood. Great evil is stirring and it has its sights set on acquiring an ancient power source unknown to the inhabitants of a distant planet lost in time. The alien presence in search of the instruments of this power has set in motion events centered on the kingdom and city-state, Brigini’i, of King Dia. A Cyclops leads a huge army of orcs and goblins on an invasion of the king’s realm as Methnorick, the evil magician behind these machinations, has dark elves kidnap the king’s daughter, Shermee. The first book in this three-book series ends with Brigini’i being destroyed. Now, all hope lies with two bands of humans, dwarves, elves, giants, magicians and Druids sent in search of the Princess Shermee.

& At 7 pm Tuesday 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 at the The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego.

& At 6 pm Thursday Octavia Books local writer Juyanne James joins us to share her new collection, THE PERSIMMON TRAIL AND OTHER STORIES. The 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. James has written a thoroughly eclectic, lyrical collection of stories that speaks to the African American tradition, depicting life in New Orleans and rural Louisiana.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop hosts Val McDermid in Conversation with Greg Herren about McDermind’s book Splinter the Silence. Psychological profiler Tony Hill is trained to see patterns, to decode the mysteries of human behaviour, and when he comes across a series of suicides among women tormented by vicious online predators, he begins to wonder if there is more to these tragedies than meets the eye. Similar circumstances, different deaths. Could it be murder? But what kind of serial killer wants his crimes to stay hidden?
Former DCI Carol Jordan has her own demons to confront, but with lives at stake, Tony and Carol begin the hunt for the most dangerous and terrifying kind of killer – someone who has nothing to fear and nothing to lose…

& At 7 pm Thursday PAGE FLIPPERS, a new quarterly event, features guests reading great novels aloud. The Winter 2016 book is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The Nobel laureate’s 1st novel (from 1970) has been heralded, banned, and had its adaptation staged, most recently at Le Petit Théâtre Du Vieux Carré Reading slots are available the night of the event for 6 readers up to 10 minutes each. Sign-up is first come, first served. Readers don’t need to read consecutively. Just pick your favorite pages. A copy of “The Bluest Eye” will be available to read from or please bring your own.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library Hosts Four New Authors.

  • An Immigrant’s Song, by Kevin Bitter Sr.: An eighteen-year-old Yugoslavian boy from a small village in the valley is unwillingly drafted as a soldier in a communist army, is wounded, and immigrates to the United States to live with his uncle who happens to be the Yugoslavian Consulate in Chicago. He is culturally shocked upon arrival—the size of O’Hare Airport, the big city, the big cars, and American wealth. He eventually moves to New Orleans to live and work in a machine shop belonging to his uncle’s friend. He learns to speak English and through a series of events captures his version of the American dream for almost 20 years.
    At 40 years old, the mother of his two children spitefully calls U.S. Immigration to report him for an expired visa. This sends his life into a spiral and the struggles of going to a country Louisiana jail for nine months, then forcibly shipped back to European socialism after living half of his life enjoying capitalism in the Land of the Free. It is based on a true story.
  • The Way Eye See It, by Sol Heiman: Dr. Heiman’s memoir begins in 1951 when he joined the Air Force to work as an optometrist and was ordered instead to teach math. Eventually he received an assignment to run an eye clinic, but that did not mean his Air Force career would run smoothly. With the exception of his time in the Air Force, Dr. Heiman has lived his entire life in New Orleans. He sings with the Mardi Gras Barbershop Chorus and uses his love of writing comedy by directing the annual Barbershop Show for the past five years. He continues to practice optometry one day a week in New Orleans. He and his wife Lois have been married more than 63 years and they attribute their long marriage to “consideration for each other.”
  • The Jury Scandal, by Alice Abel Kemp: Marilise, a divorced professor, struggles with an unintended pregnancy from a foolish one-night stand. Her high school sweetheart, Tommy, shows up as a student in her class, but she’s afraid to become involved with him again. He’s a short-tempered homicide detective working on a case where a sportscaster is accused of shooting his ex-wife. Marilise attends the sportscaster’s trial to see Tommy testify. In the bathroom on a break, she overhears a thug threaten a woman juror to vote not guilty. She tells the judge and becomes a target and a risk to a local politician’s plans. Tommy and Marilise rekindle their relationship while he attempts to protect her. Can their new relationship survive the threats and will he accept her pregnancy?
  • The Night Walker’s Song, by Dawn Ruth Wilson: The Night Walker’s Song interweaves the voices of three characters whose lives intersect through the needless deaths of yellow fever victims in the city’s final outbreak in 1905. Jo Nell James, a woman looking for a new start, Archibald Carrier, a crime reporter whose career is on the skids, and Mother Edna Williams, a housekeeper turned spiritualist minister, all must face the consequences of their own secrets as they reveal the shocking truth of a long-dead family’s past.

& Saturday at 10 am the Algiers Regional Library hosts New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City by Carolyn Kolb, who will present a wide ranging illustrated discussion of New Orleans people and culture. Four major subjects give an all-encompassing view: food, Mardi Gras, literature, and music. New Orleans Memories will be available for sale. Ms. Kolb is a former reporter at The Times-Picayune and is currently a columnist for New Orleans Magazine. She teaches a course on New Orleans People and Culture at Tulane University’s School of Continuing Studies, is a native of New Orleans, a graduate of Newcomb College, and holds a doctorate in Urban History from the University of New Orleans.

& Also at 10 am the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts a meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, which will will screen “Love Between the Covers,” a feature-length documentary film about the little-known, but powerful community of women who read and write romance novels. While romance novels and their signature covers are ubiquitous around the world, the global community of women who read, write and love them remains largely invisible. “Love Between the Covers” is the story of five different authors who invite viewers into a vast female community running a powerhouse industry that’s on the cusp of an irreversible power shift. For three years, film producers followed the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished newbie as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing, and earn a living doing what they love—while empowering others to do the same. Viewers accompany authors on trips with their readers, at conferences and special romance events and watch them encourage their readers to become writers themselves.

& From 12-4 pm Saturday at Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop kick open a door, fight a monster, get some treasures, and betray your “friends” at Come and Play Munchkin Day! From 12 PM to 4 PM we will have tables set up for free play of Munchkin. Bring your own copy or purchase a brand spanking new one from the store! Want to learn how to play Munchkin? Staff will be on hand to teach and clarify rules.  Sign up for the Officially Unofficial Munchkin Tournament for a chance to win some big prizes, including items from Steve Jackson games, ProGuide, free games, and much more. Tournament will be from 4PM – 7PM. Sign up will be during free play time (12-4PM).

& At 1 pm Saturday Louisiana Cultural Vistas, the magazine of the Louisian.celebrates the new issue with a DJ party at NOLA Mix Records. The winter 2015-16 issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine (knowlouisiana.org) is dedicated to the music of Louisiana. Photographer Zack Smith provided the cover photo, and the issue includes a selection from his My Louisiana Muse portfolio. We present new articles by Jerry Brock and Alex Rawls, an interview with guitar legend James Burton, columnists Richard Campanella, Ben Sandmel and Thomas Uskali, and an excerpt from Todd Mouton’s new book, Way Down in Louisiana: Clifton Chenier, Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop Music.Customers who make purchases of $20 or more will receive a free LCV subscription, and anyone who buys a subscription will receive 50% off their used record purchases.

& On Saturday from 2-4 pm, food and travel writer Beth D’Addono will be signing her new book, “The Hunt – New Orleans” at Kitchen Witch. Kitchen Witch Cookbooks is a small book shop at 1452 North Broad in New Orleans. They specialize in rare, hard to find, out of print and pre-owned books on food and cooking.

& Saturday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Hoda Kotb’s Where We Belong: Journeys That Show Us The Way. In this incredible collection of stories, Hoda Kotb writes about individuals who realized their path in life was either veering off in a completely new direction or was getting too far off course from where they knew they belonged. By following their passions, their gut, and their heart, these people learned how fulfilling life could truly feel. From the investment banker who became a minister after years of working on Wall Street, to the young woman from a blue-collar background whose passion took her to Harvard Medical School, to the high-powered PR exec who found herself drawn to a pioneering residential community, to a “no-kids” guy who now helps children all over the world, the stories in Where We Belong come from an array of ordinary individuals who have discovered the power of embracing change or fighting for a dream. Hoda also interviews celebrities, such as producer Mark Burnett and actress/producer Roma Downey, comedienne Margaret Cho, and former boxer Laila Ali, all who’ve pursued their passions to find fulfillment.

America at a Crossroads January 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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The people of Grenada who murdered Lorca did it … [n]ot even for his politics, which weren’t left anyway. They hated him because he was so fucking talented, because he was bisexual; they hated him the way dumbbells hate smart people, the way the graceless hate someone amazing.

— The Paris Review–The Art of Poetry 39, Philip Levine

our outcast state, our poverty if need be, our discomfort, our rage January 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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We had such a powerful faith in the rightness of our cause, such a deep belief that if we articulated our vision it must become the American vision, for surely our fellow citizens didn’t want innocent blood on their hands. I can remember feeling full of the power of a just cause and believing that power would not fail me. It failed me or I failed it. We didn’t really change the way Americans lived, unless you take hairstyles seriously. I think it killed something in us, the way something died in Wordwsorth and many of his contemporaries when the French Revolution went first violent and later bourgeois. Everything we spoke out in behalf of got watered down and marketed and then forgotten. Maybe I’m nuts or maybe I’m just tired, but that’s partly what I feel. Maybe it’s also the proliferation of the writing workshops; maybe academia has managed to rent and spay us. Maybe the various endowments have institutionalized and neutralized us, when in fact we should have kept our outcast state, our poverty if need be, our discomfort, our rage; we should have turned and lived with animals. I think I may simply be talking about myself, but maybe not.
— The Paris Review: The Art of Poetry 39: Philip Levine

…the seriousness and dignity of their feelings. January 9, 2016

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I see my son in the small tumult of the moment…shaking the man’s hand, nodding madly. He is not experienced at hearty rapport, of course, but his effort is meticulous and touching. He knows the man’s pleasure is important… . We must be more precise in the details of our responses. This is how we let people know we understand the seriousness and dignity of their feelings. Life is different here. We must be equal the largeness of things.

— Don Delillo, The Names

Not the largeness in the American sense of the monumental but in the warm, Mediterranean sense of this place, it’s large-hearted people. It is the particularities of the moment that are large in their ordinariness, the neighbor, someone across the street or around the block, the store owner, the man who catches the bus as the same time every day and the man who emerges from the store at precisely the same time the bus arrives with his first beer of the day. Each requires your attention in their own way, born of the familiarity and the pleasure of each connection, the roughly measured to overflowing by moment of the encounter.

The newcomers here do not understand this. They come from cities of strangers with a strict and distancing etiquette of sidewalks. Their connections are exclusively professional, whether accountants or poets. They are the people of the nodding acquaintance, subway elbows at the ready to measure their separation. They isolate themselves in the place they have come to immerse themselves in, run in packs of their own kind with the self-interested isolation of wolves, but without with an inbred knowledge of the landscape. They are forever expatriates in a land where they do not speak the language, lost without a map, forever miscalculating the human currency in which we trade.

The Persistence of Memory January 4, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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So I am walking my two-and-a-half mile circuit around Bayou Metairie at the south end of City Park, searching for a sentimentally precious medallion the color of a well circulated penny, a rectangle about the size of a squared-off penny press souvenir, which might or might not be somewhere among all fall’s leaf litter. I am pretty sure I lost it there from the end of my queue, which requires some sort of decorative weight to not become a ridiculous, curly pig’s tail, while walking New Year’s Eve right after the heavy rains, circling off the walk because of the puddles.

A well circulated penny among an entire season’s leaf litter: A more perfect camouflage could not be devised by the best of military or artistic minds. Add in ADHD and some cognitive issues from medication and, well, it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack. It would at least prick my finger and get my undivided attention.

Gaudi Alpha Omega.It is (as it still is, not was, just somewhere other) a reproduction of Antoni Gaudi’s alpha and omega from the Sagrada Familia, the wonderfully monstrous and beloved folly of a cathedral in Barcelona, and one of my most treasured souvenirs of my 40 days and 40 nights in Europe in the summer of 2014. It was not expensive, somewhere between $15 and just over $20 US, an impulse purchase from off the check-out counter. You can see the figure it mor at the capital of a column in the picture at right.

It is amazing the things you will find in City Park, given our citizens inclination to drop bits of garbage where ever they go. I am used to seeing all sort of trash left on the ground or sometimes floating in the bayou, and I picke up some when I know am in inbound toward a garbage can. If one studies the ground carefully, all sorts of things emerge. Pull TabBits of bottle glass, the sharp edges wearing smooth enough to run one’s fingers along unharmed, rounded only by countless rains; a dropped Imodium tablet in its bright silver foil, and the caps from bottles of every sort of beverage imaginable. I even came across an old-fashioned pull-tab of the sort banned decades which has lost only a little of its persistent aluminum luster over the years.

It should go without saying we would not be so far into this if I had found the medallion. Perhaps I lost it while shopping later in the day. Monday I will run out to Majoria Drugs, and to the Cansecos and Harry’s Ace Hardware on Metairie road. I vowed to go out today when the parking lots would be clear but completely forgot. Which is consistent with the added challenge of my various cognitive disabilities in searching for it. I managed to remain calm (a struggle at the best of times when confronted with the unpleasant). Or so I tell myself. There were oaths made to St. Jude: first a full novena, promising to relearn the rosary, which quickly dissolved into a more realistic promise to publish my thanks in the newspapers as is customary for favors granted, along with a donation to the church on Rampart Street. I also invoked my maternal grandfather, a devotee of St. Jude, suggesting that abstract religious medallion was as close as I was likely to come to the Church, and perhaps my last chance at salvation. An extravagant stretch but perhaps I was not as calm as I hoped.

Then followed my entirely heathen invocation of the largest oak on my walk to aid me, for which favor I would make whatever repayment it should send me in a dream. (So much for my Christian salvation, but I was leaving no leaf unturned, so to speak). I did this with one hand and my forehead against its bark, a pose I held for several minutes which some passersby I vaguely heard found I hope more amusing than disturbing. Remarkably I ran into a man with a metal detector, who said he covered all of the park frequently, and that his device could detect any metal regardless of composition. I described it to him and gave him my email address. At which point I largely gave up, and made another circuit at speed for the exercise I had set out for on New Year’s Eve.

Mu type

I had a wonderful lunch with my daughter before she returned to New York after the Christmas holidays. I had watched her precious pup, my grandpuppy I thought, while she ran errands one day. When she returned for her pup, she saw the incredible disorder into which my living quarters had fallen over the past year (a story in itself, told elsewhere in this space), and we got onto the topic of hoarding. Books are a particular weakness. I have volumes bought and read decades ago which I have not touched since. As an English major and a writer and voracious reader, they are a part of my deepest identity. For years I took the same care to choose which books are on the shelves in the front room as I do to inspect the shelves of people I visit. The last year wrecked that long-standing rule as it ruined so much else. As we talked about the hoarding of things, she asked me what I kept. Among other items from my trip to Europe (the obvious art postcards, maps with notes, purchased museum guides, etc.) I mentioned I had a towelette, a wet wipe that came with dinner on my return flight from Madrid. What memory is that associated with, she asked? I weakly offered asking to purchase a second bottle of wine to help me sleep to which the flight attendant, said, “no, no” and promptly brought me one gratis. Maps I had kept (my fondness for maps equals that of books) and might conceivably use again (one of Madrid, one from Barcelona, and another given to me by the pension I stayed at in Grenada but which bore some marginal notes, and a call out of a graffiti of Pops Armstrong of all people. The towelette, however, we came to agree was a bit over the top.

Of all the truly important things I brought back and kept–an empty bottle of the wine of Brunnenburg Castle where I lived for a month, a small pocket book on the Black Paintings of Goya, a small notebook covered in handmade Venetian paper, a few glass cherry peppers in the signature red glass of Murano; in particular a custom leather cover for the battered and water-marked first edition of City Lights pocket book of the Selected Poems of Garcia Lorca purchased in Granada (of course) from a seller of leather-covered notebooks, handmade papers and most of all books, who studied carefully the title page to confirm to himself it was in fact a first–among all these that small, inexpensive medal from the Sagrada Familia held a special place. My father was a modernist architect, and I could almost sense him beside me as I marveled at Gaudi’s work, could trace the wave-like the curves of the Rivergate in Gaudi’s work. I have seen Venice and I have seen the Alhambra and was overwhelmed, but the Sagrada Familia struck deep into my being. And the most tangible thing other than a few art postcards that I purchased there seems gone forever. Whatever external calm I managed during my search was a mask, it hid an absence as profound and disturbing as the faceless Veronica on the cathedral’s facade.

It was not until this morning when I awoke from a peculiar and stressful dream the subject of which was things, from which the clearest message I could decode in the dark hours before dawn, was this: things are just things. It was my birthday and I was presented with a dizzying and bizarre array of practical household goods from which to select my present. I selected a small barbeque pit thinking we could also use it as a fire pit these cold winter nights. I forget what was delivered but it was wrong: the wrong thing, which furthermore had something intrinsically and disturbingly wrong about it. They had just finished packing away their display when they delivered it to me, and I had to make a great fuss to get what I asked for. When it was given to me, it was disappointing, not at all like the one I had originally seen. It was shoddy and unsatisfying.

As I sat in the dark smoking my e-cigarette and trying desperately not to fall into the insomniac’s false dawn of Facebook, I thought of the dream and what it could possibly mean. The best I could manage was that you don’t always get the things that you ask for, and that the thing desired often is not the thing needed or wanted. Things are just things and often disappointing in and of themselves. It occurred to me like an unexpected light in the darkness. The medal was just a thing. I have countless pictures of the cathedral inside and out but I do not have to consult them to call it all up in my otherwise eccentric at best memory. Losing the medallion did not mean losing the cathedral, the sense that my father stood with me, or the curves of the roof of the school-house I recognized from The Rivergate. What I had lost was an inexpensive souvenir, an impulse purchase from the counter as I rung out my other, small purchases. What is precious, and as persistent as that pull-top I found in the park, is memory: particularly those that imprint themselves not only on our neural networks but on that transcendent array of connections that is our soul.

I had lost something, yes, and yet I had lost nothing that really mattered. To obsess over the medallion was an unhealthy attachment. I am frequently troubled by unhealthy attachments to the past, which intrude through the actions of others, and by my preoccupation with them to the point of mania. This is an unhealthy form of memory, to live in that from my past which is ugly or painful. The lesson of the medallion (which has gone to a new home, like so many other of my hair pendants) and of the dream is this: to let go of what is merely checked baggage and to keep close to my heart that which is truly precious, the indispensable things I should carry on through life. The path of maniacal attachment leads to madness, and the other to a peace my clinically anxious mind has long sought. I should return to my walk with my eyes not on the ground but on the serene trees, the quiet bayou, the view from the secret spot I call Peace Point where I sit and let my mind wander over the scene, capturing each thing I see then letting it go until I reach a state of mindfulness nature kindly offers if you let yourself be in that moment.

It is time to let go of the medallion and so much else, to put on my walking shoes and move on.

Alpha Omega type 72

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans January 3, 2016

Posted 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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Back to business this week in literary New Orleans:

&  Happy New Year Maple Street Bookshop, which has gone from immanent closure and a clearance sale to a call to help restock the used book selection with a preference for literary fiction, philosophy, history, sociology, and children’s books. That said, Maple Street is a generalist store and is happy to take a look at whatever you have. Details on what is not wanted here.

&  Starting today Jan. 3 the New Orleans Public Library has expanded their hours and will be open seven days at week at select locations. For all the details, visit nutrias.org.

&  Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books Carly Hallman, author of the YEAR OF THE GOOSE, joins Cate Dicharry, author of THE FINE ART OF F$#KING UP for a conversation

  • YEAR OF THE GOOSE: As China’s economy booms, so do its corporations, but none are as successful as the Bashful Goose Snack Company. Founded by Papa Hui, the company is a national treasure, as is his inspiration and beloved pet: the goose. Papa Hui’s daughter, Kelly, isn’t quite as adored, but she has a new and exciting post in her dad’s company: head of the corporate responsibility department. There she is tasked with helping solve the obesity problem plaguing the country’s children.
  • Your archenemy taunts you with clandestine bacon frying. Your boss feverishly cyberstalks an aging romance novel cover model. Your husband unexpectedly takes in a wayward foreign national. Your best friend reveals a secret relationship with your longstanding workplace crush. Welcome to the life of Nina Lanning, lone and floundering administrator of a prestigious Midwestern art school. Propelled by disasters both natural and personal, Nina must confront her colleagues, her husband, and most importantly, herself. Cate Dicharry’s debut novel is a painfully hysterical examination of what is truly worth saving, and mastering the art of letting go.

&  Also at 6 pm Wednesday at Garden District Book Shop Karol Brandt-Gilmartin and Robby D’Angelo discuss and sign their book, The Struggle is Real: Finally Break the Dieting Cycle, Transform Your Mind & Body, and Evolve Into The Person You Have Always Wanted To Be. After losing 100 pounds each…Robby and Karol lived to tell about it. And how you to can accomplish this same goal. “Here’s to Us…to ordering a salad when you really want a burger and fries. To working out for ourselves in the gym, like no one is watching and yes, blaring your favorite music! To drinking more water than seems possible. To giving one more rep or five minutes when your body is telling you NOOOO. To working out twice as hard as all the genetically skinny people. To falling in love with the real you and the you that you want to become. ” Your working-up-to-10,000-steps-a-day editor would say Just Do, um, SOMETHING, hoping he does not get a cease-and-desist letter.

&  Wednesday at the Always Lounge–doors at 7, show at 8– the provocateurs of Esoterotica present the Sexiest Selections of 2015 & Twelfth Night! If you’ve never been or been missing this show (me), this is the one you don’t want to miss. Details of upcoming shows are on this titillating troupe’s Facebook page.

&  Also at 7 pm Wednesday the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library author Ron Chapman and The Battle of New Orleans: “But for a Piece of Wood. Although it occurred near the end of the conflict, the Battle of New Orleans was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. Had the defenders of New Orleans, led by Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson, failed, the British would have been able to seize the territory recently acquired by the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase, including the lucrative port of New Orleans. This account details the events of and leading up to the battle and the British military blunders, chief among them a failure to account for the strong current of the Mississippi River. If the British had tested the river’s flow with a simple piece of wood, all might have been lost for the fledgling American nation.

&  Thursday at 6:30 pm the Rosa Keller library presents An Evening with José Torres-Tama, Performance Poet & Artist. Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares is a debut collection that documents twenty-five years of José Torres-Tama’s poetry in his unique bilingual voice. Labeled a “Permanent Resident Alien” during his entry into GringoLandia at the age of seven in 1968, he explores the psychic, physical, and open wounds of an Ecuadorian immigrant balancing two languages and cultures, challenging the United States to live up to its mythic ideals as the beacon of democracy.

&  At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library at 7 pm. 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 10:30 am the Nix Library hosts Trisha Rezende, MFA, leaing a dynamic creative writing workshop where students will produce, share, and critique texts while learning how to develop character, voice, and style.

&  The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans will meet at Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library Saturday at 2:00 pm. The current reading is NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. Chapters 30-39 will be discussed

&  Next Sunday Jan. 10 at 3ish the Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. Coming up in this month: on Jan. 17 New York fiction writer Thaddeus Rutkowski reads from and signs his new book, Violent Outbursts, a collection of short fictions from Spuyten Duyvil press; and, on Jan. 24 poet Stuart Strum reads from his work. Features, as always, followed by an open mic at the South’s longest continually running poetry reading series.

&  Also next Sunday at 4 pm Garden District features partners with Billy Reid New Orleans to present, Warren Zanes. Warren discusses and signs his book, Petty: A Biography. An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty. No one other than Warren Zanes, rocker and writer and friend, could author a book about Tom Petty that is as honest and evocative of Petty’s music and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write. This is a book for those who know and love the songs, from American Girl and Refugee to Free Fallin’ and Mary Jane’s Last Dance, and for those who want to see the classic rock and roll era embodied in one man’s remarkable story. Dark and mysterious, Petty manages to come back, again and again, showing us what the music can do and where it can take us.

&  Also next Sunday at 7 pm at the Old Marquer Theatre 12 of the top poets in the city compete for a spot on #TeamSNO2016 , this one is NOT to be missed! Each poet has won at least 1 slam this year at our monthly shows and are ready to go head to head for a spot on the 5 person team. Top 8 poets advance to #ReteamSNO finals hosted on Jan. 22. DOORS OPEN 6:30pm, show starts PROMPTLY at 7pm for the two round slam

Furthur January 1, 2016

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Shield of Beauty, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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The faster we go the rounder we get.

That’s It For The Other One, Con’t. December 28, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, Sinn Fein, The Narrative, The Revolution Will Be Televised, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I really need to sweep, but so does the United States.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales December 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Xmas, Yule.
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The Junkie’s Xmas December 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Burroughs does Xmas stripped of all the pretense. I love this story but then I was raised on The Little Match Girl. If you don’t understand why Jesus of Nazareth would love this story go back to wrapping presents. Better yet,  burn your tree. Leave the angel on top so she can fly up to the heavens in the smoke and ash and ask whatever gods may be lurking behind the entirely ordinary stars of a mythical winter’s night to have mercy on your soul.

A Day in the Park December 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is a pivotal moment that occurs, of all places, in the lunch room at work.  It is the guy across the table eating his daily bacon cheese burger, dipping each French fry delicately into the ketchup, explaining that your quinoa is grown by people who are now suffering from malnutrition because their crop is more valuable than coca. So they chew coca and eat expired U.S. surplus cheese food and white flour which they make into something resembling biscuits and gravy. Cheese burger guy will, through a genetic dispensation, live to be 87 and die quietly in his sleep after a night of wild sex with his fourth wife, followed by a cheeseburger and French fries from the all night fast food joint.  This comes to you as a haunting as you stare at your floppy gluten-free sandwich, which was stiff if not crisp when it came out of the lunchroom toaster oven, but is now floppy again. You stare at it but do not eat until the lunch room is empty: quiet, white, almost serene. You get up and walk out of the office without telling anyone and wander the streets for hours stretching into days during which time you don’t eat. You subsist exclusively on weak diner coffee with three sugars and a non-dairy creamer, because when you walked into Starbucks your remnant college Italian left you incapable of deciphering the sizes on their menu. As you walk your cell phone will ring and the picture of a familiar woman will appear on the screen, but you don’t remember how to answer. Eventually the battery dies and you trade the phone for a patty melt on white with a side of fries and bottomless coffee for the night.

When the plastic card stops working you move into the park and start collecting acorns to eat and find a hollow shrubbery in which to sleep. Over time, the birds and squirrels and insects increasingly find you harmless, although they wish you had some cold popcorn. They speak to you until you begin to learn their languages. They explain that they too are dying like the Andean quinoa farmers because the world has become poisonous because of man. You are unsure what is quinoa or an Andean farmer.  You wonder if you are a man. None of the large animals you see in the park have a beard as long as you do, and they wear ugly boxes on their feet. You try to approach them one by one to discuss this creature man, until you encounter a creature magnificent creature covered in shiny bits who wears a belt much like the things the other bipedal creatures in the park wear on their feet. It is full of interesting looking objects. As you attempt to ask him your question the last stitches holding up your pants give away, and you stand naked trying to ask him your question. He pulls out a box that is at once black and shiny, with two bright shinier bits on the end, and he fills you with their light until everything goes black.

You awake up in a box lying on a soft box with a soft thing under your head. A two-leg in a white wrapping visits you every day and talks to you, doing something with a stick and a board as you walk, and another two-leg who brings you am acorn like thing only larger filled with brightly colored things to eat. You like to watch the light on the wall march across the room, and stand at an opening looking at the animals outside. You eat the brightly colored things until you are declared fit to get up and join everyone else in the lunchroom, where you eat brown things …. chicken …. chicken nuggets, yes, and soft white potatoes covered in …. gravy and and a mix of new colored things which are soft.  One day the man in the white wrapping informs you that as you have no insurance, you are now well enough to be discharged. You are not quite sure what this means, but you are given a set of wrappings …. of, clothing, and out of pity the white wrapped man named Doctor gives you a wad of green paper. You walk out, unsure where to go, until you capture a familiar smell in the air, and another forgotten word. Coffee. You walk into the place with coffee, and notice a green and white figure of a woman with something on her head, and she reminds you of the nice  …. nurse who brought you your …. medication. You stare at the menu, and because you have forgotten almost all human language much less Italian, you see the word Grande and something in your head tells you this means wonderful and large. You are disappointed at its size, but overjoyed by the aroma. The woman who is not green but just white and wears nothing on her head bangs on a metal thing, and speaks until you remember what the green paper is for.  You give her some, and she gives you more back (hurray! you think, you think) along with shiny things. You are afraid of the bright shiny things because something frightening once happened to you when you were touched by bright shiny things so you put those in a …. jar with other shiny things. You keep the brown ones, and wonder if the green paper and brown shiny things are something the animals would like to eat. The colors remind you of …. acorns. You wander into the …. park, but the animals will not eat either the green things or the shiny brown things. They chatter at you. You remember that once you could knew their words, could speak to them, but now it is all noise. Everywhere there is noise …. horns, you think, which go with something called …. cars. There are loud metallic and howling sounds that wake the memory of the shiny black box with the  shinier bits sticking out of it. And rhythmic noise you believe might be …. music, but you do not like this music. You prefer to whistle the sounds you once learned from the birds. You listen and try to remember how to do this.  You walk slowly through the park drinking your coffee. When it is gone, you drop the cup and a woman yells at you but it is all noise. You keep walking until you reach the lake in the middle of the park.  You keep walking until the noise stops and all around you are beautiful dancing lights.


Such a Beautiful Day December 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, The End, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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This is the movie that will destroy your comfortable American life. It is on Netflix. What are you waiting for?


Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans December 21, 2015

Posted 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 holiday week in literary New Orleans, Odd Words reminds you that if you are reading this, there is probably no one on your shopping list who wouldn’t like a book. And time is running out to pay a last visit to Maple Street Book Shop. Look down the list of Indie book stores in the right hand column of the blog.

& The December meeting for the New Orleans Haiku Society, which would typically take place today at 6 pm, is cancelled for the holidays.

& There are no other literary events at the New Orleans Public Libraries this week, and all branches will be closed Dec. 24-26.

& The Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group is listed for Tuesday at 7 pm at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. However, the calender lists a “Programming Break” all through the week due to the holidays. I strongly recommend you call the library to confirm.  (504) 349-5912.

& The Jefferson Parish libraries will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.

& St. Bernard Parish libraries will be closed Dec. 24-26.



Saddest of All Animals December 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in errata, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.

““[V]erily I feel myself sometimes to be that saddest of all animals,” he wrote, “a poet who cannot write poetry…””

— Malcolm Lowry

Abandoned Cruciform December 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Once Upon A Bayou, The End, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Abandoned Cruciform
Take your oil
& burn it.

It is the blood of our uprooted earth
which we have given up to you.

Do this in ignorance of me.

Still Standing December 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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“I am not alright but I am upright.”
— “O’Neil’s Lament“, Moose Jackson

Indecency December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, film, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Fellini fought so that indecency would not become a habit. When the TV channels went to spy on his death their real mission was to announce the end of a world and the birth of a new cycle. Politics as the constant invention of reality, as deception.
— Mung, Viva la libertà

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans December 14, 2015

Posted 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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& Monday at 6 pm James Beard Award-winning Chef John Besh returns to Octavia Books with his newest, BESH BIG EASY: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes. And, he is bringing some tastes of Mamma’s Seafood Gumbo which is from the new book. In BESH BIG EASY, John Besh makes his favorite hometown cooking accessible to a wide audience of cooks and readers. In this, his fourth book, he takes another deep dive into the charm and authenticity of the cuisine of his hometown, New Orleans. “There’s no reason a good jambalaya needs two dozen ingredients,” John says. In this book, jambalaya has less than ten, but sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor.

& Tuesday at 7 pm at Cafe Istanbul the Lost Love Letters series continues a reading of vintage love letters, childhood diaries, and other artifacts of youthful angst.

& Wednesday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and book signing with photojournalist Cheryl Gerber featuring NEW ORLEANS: Life and Death in the Big Easy. The book uses photo juxtaposition to portray New Orleans culture–its contrasts, dichotomies, and social ironies, the things that make the city so richly diverse and distinctive–as seen through the lens of photojournalist Cheryl Gerber, with shots of her hometown’s local color, showing how everyday New Orleanians live and how they celebrate life through Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, second lines, and more. The images then take a more serious turn as they depict the inequalities that sometimes make living in New Orleans so difficult. The book closes with photos depicting the way New Orleanians observe, mourn, and celebrate death. Besides images of jazz funerals, the photos include vigils for slain rapper Magnolia Shorty and Archbishop Philip Hannan, among others.

& At 7 pm Wednesday the Algiers Regional Library presents its Big Easy Author Series featuring Kit Wohl, award-winning writer, photographer, and artist. A lifelong food and win enthusiast, since 2005 she has authored twelve cookbooks that celebrate cuisine and her native New Orleans, including New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes and New Orleans Classic Cocktails. She will be discussing another of her classic cookbooks, New Orleans Classic Celebrations.

& Thursday at 4:30 pm the Algiers Regional Library continues its Spoken Word Workshops for Teens, in Partnership with New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM). At each workshop students will channel their creativity to write and perform original spoken word pieces. Using model texts from local and national artists, students will elevate their craft while also building a community of young artists. Hosted by A Scribe Called Quess? of NOYOM and Team SNO.

& At 6:30 pm the 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 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.

& At 7 pm Thursday the December Dogfish features Dogfish Reading Series Founders Alex Jennings, Jessica Kinnison, Becca Kelly Moussa, Taylor Murrow, and Cate Root. The reading takes place at 2448 N Villere St.

& At 7:00 pm Thursday the Nix Library hosts an Author Night at Nix featuring Marvin Allen’s Magic in a Shaker. Allen, a bartender for the last 25 years, currently works at the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone. His book, Magic in a Shaker: A Year of Spirited Libations, is a guide to mixing cocktails. Each chapter talks about a spirit, its history, and recipes pertaining to that spirit.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Reading Series features poet Danny Kerwick reads from and signs his new book, Behind Lies the Sugar, from Portals. Meeting in the patio (weather permitting) of the Maple Leaf Bar, this is the oldest continues reading series in the south, founded by beloved New Orleans poet Everette Maddox.

Debt Is Freedom December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I am come from the underworld
to tell you your new gods
are concerned about your parsimony.

This country was built on credit, goddammit,
so spend it. You are not carrying your weight
in their grand scheme of things & things.

Their sisters will snip your disobedient cards &
abandon you to eating the happy employee meal
sweating at the bus stop over the rent.

They can take it all back at any minute,
a repossession worse than death:
carless, houseless, under the overpass.

The obsolete missionary gods slop contempt
on mercy’s plate. Get a job, their prayer but
there’s no good work for folk with your credit score.

I was as you once, and walked away, thinking:
freedom. It was then they came for me. No room
for bad examples except under the overpass.

Your new deities send me to tell you:
debt is freedom, the endless shelves
of choice beyond your grandparents imagining.

Spending and getting is all of heaven
you will ever know before the balloon note is due
& cold repo death, the only old god left

comes due at some month’s end.

Chicken Salad on Rye December 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It’s 4 am and I’m hungry so I decide I’m not quite ready to go back to sleep. I make a sandwich. Chicken salad on rye, things that are good for turning around my pre-diabetes you have not through sloth and gluttony but because you sat too many hours through too many days in a job from hell, gaining weight while living in a constant state of molar-destroying stress. And you think chicken salad on rye not just because it’s on your safe list, and you are rapidly becoming one of those dietary obsessives, the vegan and gluten crowd, but because you know this drill. You father worked himself into a complete collapse, literally dropping at work followed by a week in the hospital and a month of doctor’s orders for no work. He had to piss on the tape back then but came back from it. I don’t know if he managed his stress by getting himself fired, or walking away (they always let you walk away, they let me walk away), owed $100,000 which was serious money back then. But he bailed, and he beat it. And I have walked away. And I’m going to beat it.

And if this is starting to sound like a Bukowski poem without line breaks I started reading Bukowski when I couldn’t sleep because Clarice Lispector is a madwoman of the first order, a twin separated at birth from Beckett but you’re just not ready for Lispector and her brilliant cockroach monologue, because that sort of concentration doesn’t come at 4 am. You are up because of an anxiety dream about your ex- who is freaking out because our daughter is bringing her dog home with her for Xmas, and you just know she doesn’t want to leave a nervous dog alone in her obsessively Southern Living-ready condo. And later this morning you have to call unemployment because they don’t want to give you unemployment. You have to call the insurance company because they’ve lost your crappy COBRA policy but at my age I need something. You have to call the life insurance company which canceled your life insurance policy because you spaced a bill with a rate hike. They’ve cashed the makeup check but you still don’t know. You have to get out and walk five miles to loose the weight gained sitting in the Herman Miller chair you splurged on to make sitting in that tiny corner of your apartment 12 hours a day slaving for people you hated a little more bearable, the job you kept only because they paired you with a single mom with two small kids who had never worked anywhere else who was also loosing her mind from all the work, and you just couldn’t leave it all to be dumped on her. (Asked once by an HR department if I had a friend at work, I declined to answer, finding it creepy and intrusive. But in the job from hell, I made a true friend at work. And I was not going to bail on her).

And you’re reading Bukowski because he’s not trying to be intellectual or clever in ways your brain can’t process at 4 a.m., and the other book on your bed is Grace Paley and while you love her stories she’s just so persistently cheerful through all of the mad lives of her characters you can’t stand it right now. Bukowski, he is just telling you brilliant little stories of life without Paley’s incessant optimism; stories of life’s moments of bullshit and beauty, and your own life right now is an endless freight train with moments of beauty glimpsed between the endless gondola and tanker cars of bullshit, the boxcars filled with sacks of bullshit, the boxcars half the politicians in this country would stuff you into if they were given the chance. Bukowski was first and foremost a journalist who looked deep into the cesspit of America and spoke what he saw. He afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted, unless he was drunk and the afflicted were making a scene of their affliction then he threw them out because they didn’t know how to suffer with class, because they couldn’t take a punch.

I should go back to sleep but in half an hour the lights will come on at the Fairgrounds across the street and maybe I’ll make some coffee instead, sneak in the back gate and stand at the rail and watch the horses warming up until someone tells me to scram. Maybe later I will go to the track instead of walking because the track is exercise for the mind and the body if it’s done right: first the form, to train the brain, a puzzle to keep the mind working; then off to the paddock to study each horse’s temperament, the way they manage themselves in a tight space surrounded by the competition; followed by a trot out to the rail for the post parade to see how they move, again a question of temperament but also how the muscles flow, if they prance with excitement do they do it with the grace of a dancer or a nervous wobble? Then watching the tote board, comparing what you’ve doodled on the form to the constantly changing numbers, probability and statistics meeting up on the mind. Then, at the last minute when the tote board seems to be settling in, the sprint to the window and back to the rail. Finally, the stationary cardiovascular circuit of the horses running, the blood pounding and your voice shouting encouragement.

Just maybe that is how Bukowski lived as long as he did with all the wine and beer, the cigarettes and cigars: he know how to exercise his mind and body in one place, how to celebrate the wins and how to suck up the losses; like the fighter he was, how to take the adoration of the winner and the humiliation of the loser, but most of all how to take the punches.

The sandwich is gone. I wonder if a glass of wine would help me get back to sleep, or if I should just call it a night and go watch the horses. The horses may disappoint, but they are always beautiful.

Honorary Thieves December 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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How does some rich asshole come to “Sponsor” a WPA bridge?


How does some wealthy fuck come to “sponsor” a WPA bridge?

Baphomet’s New Orleans (17th Ed.): The Christmas Lounge December 10, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Baphomet's New Orleans, Christmas, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Uptown.
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The Christmas (or Christmas Tree) Lounge is a bad answer to any question. Located just over Lowerline Street from stolidly respectable Uptown–the tourist-bus haunt of gnarled oaks, neo-Classical mansions and money as old as Egypt, rooted in a river, cotton and slavery–the Christmas Lounge stands in the adjacent nineteenth century suburb of Carrollton, long ago its own town with a quaint neo-Classical courthouse turned school just where the streetcars turn at the spot called Riverbend by real estate agents but known to past generations Uptown as the Devil’s Elbow. Surrounded by the once modest but now fashionable bungalows of a prosperous antebellum bourgeoisie and their employees, like all good dive bars the Christmas Lounge has the low-roofed and neon ambiance of a place men once gathered to wreath themselves in cigarette smoke and drink away the day’s labor straight from the beer bottle.

Today it is more likely filled with weary service people after the manager has tossed them out of the bar and everywhere respectable is closed, and the children of local, Jersey and Long Island money who mingle with the confident ease of daddy’s platinum card, students at Uptown’s expensive if not precisely prestigious universities, scholars of the sort who have quiet forgotten exactly which class they are in. Here the next generation of waiters and lawyers assemble to while away the smallest hours of morning with a studied drunkenness handed down in New Orleans from generation to generation.

The Christmas tree can manage a quite respectable martini early the evening, but the specialty of the night is the beer and occasional shot. Upended bottles of Jägermeister stand half-empty in their chiller/dispensers, the inverted stag suggesting a tribute to the author of this guide. A bottle of cinnamon whiskey does not last long and sugary sorority girl cocktails can be managed at all hours. There is still an active jukebox, an increasing rarity in an age when bartenders are liable to dial up a Pandora channel on their smartphone, and the music is an indefinable mix best categorized as loud and danceable.

There is a small set of long overused couches near the front, available for whiskey-earnest arguments, public foreplay, and passing out to the Instagram amusement of your friends. Toward the rear are small high tables opposite the bar, stools across long taken by the time you arrive, and the usual, narrow obstacle course through the middle where drinks are apologetically sloshed back from the bar.

To truly appreciate the Christmas Tree, it is best to dress in casual and spill-sacrificial clothing, start drinking before dinner, and continue doggedly on through the evening at one of Uptown’s many music venues until the band tears down. If you think you can still drive the Christmas Lounge is for you, or one can simply stagger over from the nearby destinations on Oak Street as they close.

Ranking: Four horns out of five largely for its promising youthful depravity.

Odd Words: This week in literary New Orleans December 6, 2015

Posted 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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& At 6 pm Monday New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson comes to Octavia Books to present & sign his new book, UNDER OUR SKIN. Can it ever get better? This is the question Benjamin Watson is asking. In a country aflame with the fallout from the racial divide – in which Ferguson, Charleston, and the Confederate flag dominate the national news, daily seeming to rip the wounds open ever wider – is there hope for honest and healing conversation? For finally coming to understand each other on issues that are ultimately about so much more than black and white? An NFL tight end for the New Orleans Saints and a widely read and followed commentator on social media, Watson has taken the Internet by storm with his remarkable insights about some of the most sensitive and charged topics of our day. Now, in UNDER OUR SKIN: Getting Real about Race – And Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us, Watson draws from his own life, his family legacy, and his role as a husband and father to sensitively and honestly examine both sides of the race debate and appeal to the power and possibility of faith as a step toward healing.

& Monday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Carol Reese, Tina Freeman, and Walter Stern’s Longue Vue House and Gardens. The stunning interiors and glorious gardens of New Orleans’ unrivaled jewel and architectural masterpiece. Longue Vue House and Gardens, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and listed as a national historic landmark, was designed and built between 1934 and 1942 by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman and architects Charles and William Platt for Edgar Bloom and Edith Rosenwald Stern, New Orleans’ foremost mid-twentieth-century philanthropists and civil-rights activists. The mansion and its surrounding eight acres of garden spaces, with varied designs ranging from the formal to the wild, draw upon Southern architectural traditions and native Louisiana flora, even as they echo the contemporaneous garden-design movement that set the stage for the creation of some of the most breathtaking garden estates in the country. Lush photography, supporting architectural drawings, and an informative text bring the main house and gardens to life and establish the estate as an enduring symbol to its creators’ contributions to building a just society.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Chef John Besh will be signing Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked Recipes at Maple Street Book Shop’s Holiday Party.In this, his fourth book, award-winning chef John Besh takes another deep dive into the charm and authenticity of the cuisine of New Orleans. “Besh Big Easy” features all new recipes, published in a new flexibound format and accessible to cooks everywhere. Much has changed since Besh wrote his bestselling “My New Orleans” in 2009. The book is dedicated to accessibility. “There’s no reason a good jambalaya needs two dozen ingredients,” John says. In this book, jambalaya has less than ten, but sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor. With 101 original, personal recipes such as Mr. Sam’s Stuffed Crabs, Duck Camp Shrimp & Grits, and Silver Queen Corn Pudding, “Besh Big Easy” is chock-full of the vivid personality that has made John Besh such a popular American culinary icon.

& Also at 6 pm Tuesday the Robert E. Smith Library hosts an Author Visit: A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook. Cynthia LeJeune Noble’s cookbook offers recipes inspired by the delightfully commonplace and always delicious fare of Ignatius and his cohorts. Through an informative narrative and almost 200 recipes, Nobles explores the intersection of food, history, and culture found in the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, opening up a new avenue into New Orleans rich culinary traditions.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the Alvar Library presents an Evening with José Torres-Tama, Performance Poet & Artist. Immigrant Dreams & Alien Nightmares is a debut collection that documents twenty-five years of José Torres-Tama’s poetry in his unique bilingual voice. Labeled a “Permanent Resident Alien” during his entry into GringoLandia at the age of seven in 1968, he explores the psychic, physical, and open wounds of an Ecuadorian immigrant balancing two languages and cultures, challenging the United States to live up to its mythic ideals as the beacon of democracy.

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

& At 6 pm Wednesday the Norman Mayer Library hosts author Tiffany Monique talking to prospective authors about the process of self-publishing and promoting one’s own work. & Wildlife photographer C.C. Lockwood will be signing Louisiana Wild at Maple Street Book Shop, Wednesday, at 6 pm. Lockwood has lived and worked in fragile ecosystems whose preservation shapes his artistry. His work has earned him international acclaim as an environmental artist, including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. His newest book, “Louisiana Wild: The Lands Protected and Restored by The Nature Conservancy”, portrays the good work this organization is doing on over 280,000 acres of land in our state. The scenic images that Louisiana brings to mind—moss-draped cypress, lush marshlands, alligators gliding through bayous, herons coasting across an open sky—all spring from one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the continent. From the precious maritime forests of Grand Isle to the steep contours of Tunica Hills, Louisiana’s wild outdoors defines each region’s sense of place and value.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday meet Anne Butler and Henry Cancienne, creators of LOUISIANA SWAMPS AND MARSHES at Octaviva Books. Louisiana’s wonderful wetlands, coastal marshes, and swamps have meant much to different visitors over the years–sustenance for fisherman and trappers, food supplies for hunters, inspiration for artists and writers, hideouts for hermits and pirates, unbroken solitude for weary souls and assorted dreamers clinging to a vanishing way of life. But these wonderful wild spots are so fragile, and every year brings the loss of more of them. We have been so careless about our environment in the past, so sure our natural resources would last forever. Now we know better. Noted photographer Henry Cancienne has a passion for preserving our unique natural environments through his spectacular images, and in this book he shares some of his favorite walking trails and drives, most free and easily accessible via raised boardwalks and well-maintained paths. Significant spawning/nesting/breeding grounds and vital habitats for wildlife, including a number of endangered species, these wetlands and wildernesses are themselves in danger of vanishing as well. Visit them while you can.

& At 8 pm Wednesday the Blood Jet Poetry Series at B.J.’s in the Bywater hosts a special fiction night with Ann Glaviano and Alex Jennings. Jennings is an author, comic, actor and music writer living right here in New Orleans. He loves comic books, fancy beer, trashy movies, fine films, shoes, and jokes of varying quality. He spends way to much time procrastinating on social media, but it’s usually for a good cause, he swears. Glaviano is a multidisciplinary artist and a born-and-raised New Orleanian. In 2015 her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Atlas Review, descant (Frank O’Connor Award for fiction), Gravy, VIDA’s “Report from the Field,” Antigravity, and Please Forward: How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina (UNO Press). A novella, Dickbeer, is forthcoming from Day One in January.

& At 6 pm Thursday Maple Street Book Shops will be hosting Robert S. Brantley, author of the new book, Henry Howard, Louisiana’s Architect. One of the nineteenth century’s most prolific architects but also, until recently, one of the most historically elusive, Henry Howard (1818-1884) left an indelible mark on the landscape of his adopted home, Louisiana. Howard gave Louisiana some of its most iconic structures: the Pontalba buildings on New Orleans’s Jackson Square, the Robert Short house in the Garden District, and a string of legendary plantation houses along the Mississippi River. The photographer and architectural historian Robert S. Brantley provides a comprehensive survey of Howard’s career in this meticulously researched collection. Lavishly illustrated with photographs both new and historical, and interspersed with archival drawings and plans, Henry Howard: Louisiana’s Architect restores its subject to his rightful place in the pantheon of southern architects.

& Thursday at 6:30 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts a discussion of How Research Informs Both Fiction and Non-fiction with National Book Award Winner Adam Johnson, Gilbert King, Scott Hutchins and Eric Puchner. The authors books will be available for purchase and autograph. Fortune Smiles consists of six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before. In A Working Theory of Love, before his brief marriage imploded, Neill Bassett took a job feeding data into what could be the world’s first sentient computer. Only his attempt to give it languagethrough the journals his father left behind after committing suicidehas unexpected consequences. Amidst this turmoil, Neill meets Rachel, a naïve young woman escaping a troubled past, and finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her and the possibilities she holds. But as everything he thought about the past becomes uncertain, every move forward feels impossible. In Model Home the Zillers—Warren, Camille, and their three children—live the good life in a gated Southern California neighborhood, but the sun-bright veneer hides a starker reality. As Warren desperately tries to conceal a failing real estate venture, his family falls prey to secrets and misunderstandings, both hilarious and painful, that open fault lines in their intimacy. Their misguided attempts to recover their former closeness, or find it elsewhere, lead them into late-night burglary, improbable romance, and strange acts of betrayal.

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

& At noon Friday Octavia Books hosts a tasting & signing with Chef John Folse featuring his new encyclopedic cookbook, CAN YOU DID IT: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Vegetable Cookery. Readers can expect to find chapters on the swamp floor pantry, root vegetables, leafy greens, off the vine, grains, exotics and more. Recipes focus on vegetables as the primary ingredient in appetizers, soups, salads, sides, entrées, breads, desserts and even drinks. Like Folse’s three other “Big Books,” Can You Dig It begins with a look to the past by co-author Michaela York. The history of agriculture is told from ancient man and biblical perspectives; there are discussions of farming in antiquity including Egypt, Greece and Rome; gardens of the Middle Ages and Renaissance are explored; as well as the discovery of America and vegetables’ influence on population and power through the Colombian Exchange. The history section culminates in an overview of Louisiana’s deep roots in agriculture, with particular focus on the farming methods of the seven nations that make up Louisiana culture and cuisine.

& Friday at 6 pm Octavia Books brings Katrell Christie to the store to share words from her newest book, TIGER HEART: My Unexpected Adventures to Make a Difference in Darjeeling, and What I Learned about Fate, Fortitude, and Finding Family. Her special guest will be husband Thanh Truong, news anchor from WWL Channel 4. Christie was a thirty-something artist turned roller-derby rebel who opened a tea shop in Atlanta. Barely two years later, her life would make a drastic change–and so would the lives of a group of girls half a world away. “I chose the name of my tea shop–Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party–because it sounded whimsical. India wasn’t part of the equation. Not even remotely. I didn’t do yoga. I had no deep yearning to see the Taj Mahal or tour Hindu temples. Indian food? I could take it or leave it.” Yet on a whim, Katrell did go and fell in love with a country that was gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once, where tragedy, humor, resilience and kindness were inextricably bound. From dodging feral monkeys, to slamming shots of whiskey to win acceptance at a local Rotary Club, to forging lasting friendships with the people who stepped up to help her cause, Tiger Heart offers a shot-gun seat on an inspiring trek across the globe, capturing the essence of India: its quirks, its traditions, and its people. Fate may have led Katrell to a tiny spot on a map, but it was a kinship that brought her back home a half a world away. Tiger Heart is a life-affirming look at the ties that bind and the power of each of us to make a difference.

& Saturday at 11:30 am Marti Dumas will be reading from and signing her latest Jaden Toussaint book at Maple Street Book Shop.Jaden Toussaint is a five year-old who knows it all. I mean, really knows it all. Animal Scientist. Great Debater. Master of the art of ninja dancing. There’s nothing Jaden Toussaint can’t do. The only problem is that grown-ups keep trying to convince him that, even though he’s really smart, he doesn’t know EVERYTHING. The thing is…he kind of does. This time our hero must use all his super-powered brain power to save his school and some possible alien invaders (which may or may not be caterpillars) from destroying each other.

& At 4 pm Saturday Kalamu ya Salaam and Kelly Harris-DeBerry read at Community Book Center to launch Kelly’s poetry CD, Revival.

& Sunday at 3 pm the Maple Leaf Poetry Reading Series hosts GROUP READING BY UNO MFA Creative writing students studying with John Gery and Carolyn Hembree.

Cognitive Disobedience December 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Journey, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Yesterday I walked away from the prospect of a job, a job job with health benefits for all the fun stuff that comes with growing old, life insurance to replace the policy I just lost (again, like my COBRA over and over) because, well, Aetna. Back to Moloch, with banker’s hours and all the usual holidays paid. Back to the racket, automating ways to shake you by the ankles until all the money falls out. A job job, in an office full of clones who wear a full undershirt beneath a polo shirt, with razor sharp faces and clean shaven hair. Razor cut. Razor. Cut. The blood of the lambs on my hands.


But I might die tonight.

Radiant Brains December 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Poetry as discipline (yes, mistress) the painstaking arrangement of the gunpowder flowers pounding the Anglo-Saxon drum of controlled explosions the crackling shower of non sequiturs of my radiant brains        Klonopin espresso shots! Wallace Stevens Terry Gilliam! Fellini Bugs Bunny! Gasoline-flavored rainbows! Clem and the Amazing Technicolor Radio!        the whizzing pinball governor humming Apple bomb chords of tilt resonating Steven Gould’s piano.

The trick is putting Xmas back neatly in its box–not a jingling crinkle out of place–with a just-so paper lady bow.