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Odd Words June 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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Coming up this week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday Garden District Books hosts the book launch of Laura Lane McNeal’s Dollbaby, A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.

& At the East Bank Regional Library on Tuesday the Louisiana State Poetry Society hosts the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work. Free of charge and open to the public.

& In Westwego the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at he Edith S. Lawson Library.

& Wednesday Amanda Emily Smith, Donney Rose and Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater.

& Thursday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface.Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.
& Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels

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Odd Words May 21, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odd Words May 6, 2015

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

& Thursday at 6 pm Crescent City Books hosts a reading by poets John Amen, Brett Evans, Jenn Marie Nunes, and Christopher Shipman read from new books. Bio details for Amen and Shipman are below on Sunday’s Maple Leaf listing.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Christophe Pourny’s The Furniture Bible, Booksigning & Demonstration. Pourny learned the art of furniture restoration in his father’s atelier in the South of France. In this, his first book, he teaches readers everything they need to know about the provenance and history of furniture, as well as how to restore, update, and care for their furniture—from antiques to midcentury pieces, family heirlooms or funky flea-market finds. The heart of the book is an overview of Pourny’s favorite techniques—ceruse,vernis anglais,and water gilding, among many others—with full-color step-by-step photographs to ensure that readers can easily replicate each refinishing technique at home. Pourny brings these techniques to life with a chapter devoted to real-world refinishing projects, from a veneered table to an ebonized desk, a gilt frame to a painted northern European hutch.

& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm the shop features a presentation & signing with Matt McCarthy featuring his new book, THE REAL DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU SHORTLY: A Physician’s First Year. “It’s just you and me tonight…and eighteen of the sickest patients in the hospital,” medical intern Matt McCarthy’s second-year resident adviser told him on his first night as a physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. “These patients should all be dead. Almost every one of them is kept alive by an artificial method. And every day they’re going to try to die on us. But we’re going to keep them alive.” For McCarthy, this task was sobering. Just two weeks out of Harvard Medical School and with only a few days of medicine under his belt, he could recite pages from a journal article on kidney chemistry and coagulation cascades, easy, but he hadn’t yet been schooled in the practical business of keeping someone from dying. How do you learn how to save lives in a job where there is no practice?

Jimmy Ross

Jimmy Ross

& Thursday at 7 pm poet Jenna Mae has organized a 30th Birthday Party for Jimmy Ross’ Dreadlocks! Jimmy is a poet, playwright, actor and raconteur extraordinaire and the most beloved and colorful figure in New Orleans’ contemporary literary world. You won’t want to miss this.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the Alvar Branch of the New Orleans Public Library will host an author event featuring illustrator, Mon, and writer, Jinks, will discuss their project of creating an abridged and illustrated adaptation of Silivia Federici’s text, Caliban and the Witch. This book offers a history of the body in the transition to capitalism.

& Friday the Freedom Writing for Women of Color group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& New Orleans will celebrate Independent Book Store Day this Saturday (delayed a week by Jazz Fest because that’s just how we roll down here. Activities in New Orleans will take place at three independent stores across the city: Tubby & Coo’s, Garden District Book Shop, and Octavia Books. The three stores have joined together to give away a limited number of Blackbird Letter Press New Orleans City Notebooks (printed in Louisiana) to customers who purchase a limited edition IBD book or item or who spend $25 or more on May 9th.

Store-by-store highlights include:

  • At Octavia Books in the morning, there will be coffee and Rebecca’s famous carrot cake chip cookies, brownies and a blueberry coffee cake to go along with a discussion of The Golem and the Jinni by the Science Fiction Book Club. In the afternoon, New Orleans piano man Armand St. Martin gives a solo performance, and we’ll have special author visits by Irvin Mayfield presenting NEW ORLEANS PLAYHOUSE, Carrie Rollwagen discussing THE LOCALIST, and Sarah J. Maas reading A COURT OF THORNS & ROSES. We are also featuring some exclusive literary-themed art and gift items you will want to have to remember this special day.
  • Maple Street Book Shop will celebrate Children’s Book Week Saturday with a party with children’s authors Kenny Harrison , Marti Dumas, and Alex McConduit who will be reading and signing, 11:30-1PM. At 1:30PM, Big Class students will read from their work.
  • Tubby & Coo’s will have Taylor Made Wings on the Geaux food truck, giveaways, exclusive items, and fun activities going on all day, including: a Celebrity Death Match style write-off between local authors for charity; authors reading bad reviews of their books; on the spot personalized poems from local poets; story time for the kids; and, exclusive items available only on IBD, including a Finders Keepers broadside from Stephen King and a signed Hyperbole and a Half broadside.
  • Garden District Books hosts David Eugene Ray and The Little Mouse Santi at 1 pm. Meet the little mouse Santi—he may be small, but he has a big dream! This beautifully illustrated story explores one of the most important aspects of a child’s life, the search for identity. Santi wants to be a cat, and even though all the other mice laugh at him, he follows his dream. This timeless story ends with a whimsical twist as Santi learns a valuable lesson about self-determination while also learning he is not the only dreamer

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features poets Chris Shipman and John Amen will read from newly published books. Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris). His next collection, strange theater, will be released by New York Quarterly Press in early 2015. Shipman is the author or co-author of five books and three chapbooks, most recently a book of poems co-authored with Vincent Cellucci, A Ship on the Line (Unlikely Books 2014), Cat Poems: Wompus Tales and Play of Despair (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press), and a book of poems co-authored with Brett Evans, The T. Rex Parade (Lavender Ink, 2015). The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Tuesday at 6 pm the Hubbel Branch of the NOPL in Algiers hosts an author event featuring a discussion of Jyl Benson’s Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes and Kit Wohl’s New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes.

& Also on Tuesday at 7 pm the West Bank Writers Groups meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego, featuring 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY:

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

SUNDAY:

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

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

Odd Words’ Tennessee Williams Festival Preview Part 1 March 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, The Typist, Theater, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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It’s Tennessee Williams Festival Week. Sadly, Odd Words will not be covering the festival as in recent years as the paying day job makes that impossible. Here, however, are the highlights for the first two days of the Festival (Thursday and Friday):
Program-Logo-Cropped
& Master classes kick of on Thursday at The Historic New Orleans Collection, including:

  • RANDY FERTEL: IMPROV AND THE ESSAY If improvisation generates spontaneous works of art inspired by the
    muses, born of instinct and intuition, and spurred on by revelry, then what city could be more nurturing of improv artistry than New Orleans? Join scholar, author and philanthropist, Randy Fertel, as he investigates the role of improv in the confecting of the essay and works of creative non-fiction. With the city that care forgot as a Dionysian backdrop, Fertel’s call to action, based on his A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation, may encourage hesitant artists to develop a taste for chaos and discover a recipe for pure and undiluted creativity. & This would be OW’s Go To Master Class. I’m reading the essay right now and I think this will be a fantastic event.
  • NIGEL HAMILTON & PATRICIA BRADY: WRITING TRUE STORIES So you want to write a real Life? Where to start, how to conduct research, organize your materials, scaffold the story—and bring it to life? And finally: for whom? Who is your audience, and what, in theend, do you want to communicate, and why? Two distinguished biographers, Nigel Hamilton whose latest work is The Mantle of Command; FDR at War, 1941-1942,and Patricia Brady (A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson), explain—and take you to the heart of biography today.
  • ROY BLOUNT, JR.: ALPHABET JUICE—GETTING THE GOOD OUT OF LETTERS Writing may be about any number of things, but it always consists of the alphabet, variously arranged. Always comes down to wrangling the ABC’s. So let’s take a close look at the building blocks of writing in this master class. In addition to writing bestselling books, Blount is a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary. You will enjoy his take on dictionaries, slang, rhyme, rhythm, and yes, weasel words. This will spice up your style, liven your language, and tickle your funny bone.
  • MICHAEL FARRIS SMITH: PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER How do you write a novel? Maybe the better question is how to write pieces of a novel. Thinking about the form as a sum of parts can help relieve the anxiety of the whole. How can you shake things up, give the novel the propulsion it needs to sustain? Discover some different strategies to use when thinking about the next step for your novel-in-progress and practice creating intruders for your story with in-class exercises that may give your work the push it needs.

& And you won’t want to miss this (I won’t since it’s after work): Don’t miss your chance for a first look at the next wave! New Orleans literary blog Room 220 will host the #TWF15 Contest Readings. The contests, part of our organization’s mission to encourage and support new talent, unearth the freshest new talent from hundreds of entries. Writers who have yet to publish a book compete for cash prizes, publication, and the honor of being selected by a judge. This year Molly Antopol (The UnAmericans) judged the Fiction Contest and Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections) judged Poetry. In this panel, the winning writers will read and discuss the contest with Seshadri and novelist Zachary Lazar (I Pity the Poor Immigrant). Press Street HQ, 3718 St. Claude Ave., free and open to the public.

& Another Not To Be Missed Event Thursday: JOHN WATERS: THIS FILTHY WORLD: FILTHIER AND DIRTIER Visionary filmmaker and one-of-a-kind personality John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Female Trouble,
and Hairspray) is bringing his show “John Waters: This Filthy World: Filthier and Dirtier” to New Orleans, presented in a presentation by Daniel Nardicio. Waters takes on taboo topics as only he can do in this hilarious and completely uncensored one-man show. Waters, who has been dubbed “the Pope of Trash” and branded “O for Offensive” by the Catholic Church, earned his bad reputation by turning bad taste into high art. Part confession,
part Vaudeville act, he’ll share his origins in the trash genre and his subsequent adventures.

& Friday’s Master Classes include:

  • LAUREN CERAND: LITERARY BUZZ AND HOW TO GET IT Lauren Cerand is the independent literary publicist you want in your corner. •In this Master Class, she’ll talk about innovative publicity now, from tricks-of-the-trade of the old school in traditional publishing right up to the evolved media landscape and social media of the present day.
    Attendees will have a chance to discuss their personal challenges and aspirations, and work towards formulating a sensible public relations plan that can serve as a “North Star” in order to orient themselves, and focus on strengths and strategy.
  • LAILA LALAMI: DECEPTIVE HISTORIES, TRUTHFUL FICTIONS If history is fated to be written by the victors, then fiction offers tantalizing alternate readings of official records. Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account follows
    conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez’s 1527 expedition to the New World. The 300-man enterprise ended with four survivors, three Spaniards and an enslaved African named Estebanico. The latter’s account—and role as the first African American explorer—is obscured in the authoritative historical chronicle. In her novel, a NYT Notable Book of 2014, Lalami imagines Estebanico’s story. She will discuss history as narrative force, her re-creation of the multilingual voices of the past, and the points at which facts turn into fiction with Festival literary programming
    director, J.R. Ramakrishnan.
  • JIM GRIMSLEY: THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH Writing fiction and nonfiction about painful subjects involves a willingness to expose the harder and more painful sides of ourselves. Grimsley will share from his own experience in writing nonfiction about the racial attitudes he learned in the South of his childhood, detailed in his memoir How I Shed My Skin, to be published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in April 2015. He will also discuss the different processes for approaching such difficult material in fiction and in nonfiction.
  • MARLY RUSOFF AND JONATHAN ODELL: AUTHOR AGENT ALLIANCE An agent and author explore their dynamic partnership in the today’s changing world of publishing. Roles are no longer as fixed in this brave new world of publishing. How does one navigate times of increased fluidity, where roles often need restructuring in the face of market demands? It’s exciting, fast-moving, and can be daunting, as events happen very much in real time. There are no easy templates but in this class, agent and publisher Marly Rusoffand author Jonathan Odell will share their experiences and innovative ideas about how to succeed in publishing in today’s world.

& Friday is also the annual Tennessee Williams Scholar’s Conference. Panels at the The Historic New Orleans Collection Williams Research Center 410 Chartres Street include:

  • Tom’s “good time girls”: Burlesque and Chorus Girls in Williams’s Early One-Act Plays — Dr. Annette Saddik, City University of New York, Mr. David Kaplan, Provincetown Theatre Festival, Dr. Michael Hooper, St. Margaret’s School (UK) Moderator: Dr. John Bak, Université de Lorraine (France).
  • The Paintings of Tennessee Williams — Dr. Cori Convertito, Curator, Key West Art and Historical Society John Bak, Mr. Bradley Sumrall, Ogden Museum of Southern Art Moderator: Ms. Margit Longbrake, The Historic New Orleans Collection.
  • Suddenly, Last Summer, Play and Film Discussion — John Lahr, former New Yorker drama critic Brenda Currin, actor Dr. Barton Palmer, Clemson University Moderator: Dr. Henry Schvey, Washington University.
  • Southern Literature and the White Trash Aesthetic — Dr. Andrew Leiter, Lycoming College, Dr. Meredith McCarroll, Clemson University, Mr. Jim Grimsley, Emory University, Moderator: Dr. Robert Bray.

& Literary Panels , Theatrical Performances, and Special Events for Friday (Odd Word’s picks; for the full list go to the Festival Website):

  • LOUISIANA WITNESS: HOMEGROWN NARRATIVES The gumbo of the American South’s identity comes from cultural histories as diverse, and in some cases more diverse, than America itself. So when writers, born of the region’s native locales, render and evoke the South, their personal narrative perspectives inform the stories that we receive and read. Panelists discuss how their characters bear witness to an ever-changing Southern social and cultural climate, evolving views of histories, and how these views inform the overall work. Panelists: M.O. Walsh, Rick Barton, Laura Lane McNeal, and Vicki Salloum.
  • SWEET AND SAVAGE: WRITING THE WOMEN OF THE SOUTH Southern women in fiction have faced and overcome seemingly insurmountable adversity, Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlet O’Hara and Alice Walker’s long-suffering Celie come to mind. In this region of sweet tea and magnolias, lynching and the Klan, female characters have long had to be less than genteel, perhaps at times even savage, in order to live their lives and protect those around them, as we see
    depicted in the works of the writers on this panel. Panelists: Natalie Baszile, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Katy Simpson Smith, and John Warley. Moderator: Nancy Dixon
  • GOOD MORNING, BALTIMORE: LAURA LIPPMAN INTERVIEWS JOHN WATERS John Waters’ wry eye on pop culture has resulted in some of America’s most beloved cult films. The Pope of Trash decided to put his finger on the pulse
    of contemporary culture by hitchhiking across America, from his home in Baltimore to his home in San Francisco, armed with no more than his sardonic wit and a sign saying “I’M NOT A PSYCHO.” The book Carsick is an account
    of what he found. Another Baltimore icon, award-winning bestseller Laura Lippman, sits down with him to talk about what he found on his trip, the experience, and get some insights on America.

& More events the first two days include Southern Rep’s production of Suddenly Last Summer, matinee shows of HOTEL PLAYS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (THEATER), in which The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival brings short plays by Williams including The Last of My Solid Gold Watches and Lord Byron’s Love Letter set in such rooms. At the Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street, $30; and, BLUE DEVILS AND BETTER ANGELS: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS TRIBUTE READING These luminous readings will be comprised of scenes, monologues, poetry, and correspondence of Williams that relate to the struggles and triumphs of the spirit. Readers include author and cult filmmaker John Waters; playwright Martin Sherman; veteran stage and screen actors Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon; and John Patrick Shanley, who will read excerpts from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt. Also joining our cast are author/columnist “Ask” Amy Dickinson, and glamorous thriller writer Rebecca Chance. Curated by Paul J. Willis and Thomas Keith, and hosted by Keith. The Old Ursuline Convent, 1112 Chartres Street, $35.

Look for another listing Friday of the weekend’s events here on Odd Words, or visit the website for the complete program.

Odd Words March 4, 2015

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

& Thursday at 6 pm Jyl Benson and Sam Hanna bring their book FUN, FUNKY, AND FABULOUS: New Orleans’ Casual Restaurant Recipes to Octavia Books. Filled with folksy art and creative recipes from affordable restaurants captured in tantalizing photographs—with tidbits of history thrown in as lagniappe—author Jyl Benson serves up just the right taste of this fascinating and ever-evolving city. Included are neighborhood favorites such as MoPho, Purtoo, Toup’s Meatery, Lola, Bhava, and Juan’s Flying Burrito: A Creole Taqueria.

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

& IT’S THURSDAY NIGHT & THE GIRAFFES ARE ON FIRE…That means it’s time to call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel for a personal poetry reading! Call 504-264-1336 between 8-Midnight CST. [This copy taken directly from the Poetry Brothel Facebook page. To the best of Odd Word’s knowledge, no giraffes were harmed in the hosting of this event.]

& Friday the FREEDOM WRITING for WOMEN OF COLOR (NEW ORLEANS) group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& Friday at 9 pm brings Slam Up to The New Movement, 2706 St Claude Ave. In case you didn’t know Slam Up is kinda like “underground speakeasy meets bubblegum pop. It’s dirty, jubilant, tender and inspiring. Not exactly a comedy music set, not exactly a poetry slam, not exactly a lesbian folk duo- Slam Up is something all to itself.” -William Glen, Fringe Review.

& This Saturday brings Story Time with Miss Maureen 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop.

& Every Saturday at 2 pm two-time national champions Slam New Orleans (SNO) multi-part workshop for youth and teens will engage participants with poetry both through hearing it and creating their own.. Team SNO is a community-based organization and home of Team SNO. The team, established in 2008, promotes literacy, creativity and self-expression by urging youth and adults alike to become vocal about what matters to them. This The workshops are supported by Poets & Writers, Inc.

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

& Also on Saturday The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans hosts its March meeting at the Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library from 2:00-4:00 p.m. BLEAK HOUSE, Chapters 43-49 will be discussed. The New Orleans Branch of the Dickens Fellowship holds meetings September through May, reading one of the works of Charles Dickens each year. The meetings include book discussions, movie versions of the novel, and lectures by Dickens scholars. This year’s book is BLEAK HOUSE. Dues
are $25/person (couples $40) payable in September.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series celebrates the life of Sara Beth Wildflower, presented by Lisa A. Hix and Brad Ott. Bring any poems, photos or memories!followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Monday at 5:30 pm the Robert E. Smith branch library will host its biweekly creative writing workshop.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books will host a Middle School Book Event, Peter Lerangis and SEVEN WONDERS #4: The Curse of the King. The adventure unfolds in this fourth book in the New York Times bestselling Seven Wonders series!

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

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

& Wednesday The Blood Jet returns too B.J.’s Lounge at 8 pm with poets Jonathan Penton and Bernd Sauermann. Penton founded the literary electronic magazine Unlikely Stories. Since then, UnlikelyStories.org has grown into a contemporary multimedia journal of sociopolitical and cultural essays, reviews, interviews, criticism, poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, movies, visual art, music, cross-media work, and first-hand tales of political and cultural activism, now known as Unlikely Stories: Episode IV. It has spawned a print and e-book subsidiary, Unlikely Books, which has published, among other things, the 418-page anthology (CD and DVD attached) Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind. Jonathan currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Unlikely Stories: Episode IV and Unlikely Books, Managing Editor for both Fulcrum and MadHat Press, and a co-ordinator for Acadiana Wordlab, a weekly literary drafting workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. Born in Hof, Germany, Sauermann graduated in 1993 from McNeese State University with an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry). Since then, Sauermann has taught at colleges in Illinois and Vermont and currently teaches composition, literature, creative writing, and film in the Division of Fine Arts and Humanities at Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Sauermann was also the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, a now-retired online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature. He has a chapbook entitled Diesel Generator out from Horse Less Press (2013), and his first full-length collection, Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song, was released by MadHat Press at the Brooklyn Book Festival, September, 2014

& Wednesday at 6 pm The New Orleans Youth Open Mic invites all 7th-12th grade poets to come out and share their work OR support their friends as they share at Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center, downstairs in Der Rathskeller Cafe. This month, we have partnered with the Tulane Black Arts Fest for a double whammy of a feature with 2 New Orleans born and now internationally renowned poets! First we have 2014 National Poetry Slam Champion, award winning educator and top tier TED Talker Clint Smith! He accompanies the legendary queen of New Orleans poetry, HBO Def Poet Sunni Patterson! This is a line up any poetry fan would swoon over! And we’re bringing it straight to the youth! Don’t miss it!

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