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Odd Words June 4, 2015

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

& Room 220 is pleased to present a Happy Hour Salon celebrating two excellent New Orleans music books: Spirit of the Orisha by Janet “Sula Spirit” Evans and Talk that Music Talk edited by Rachel Breunlin and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes. The event, featuring readings, discussion, translation, and live music, will take place from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Spirit of the Orisha is a book-music combination meant as a teaching tool to connect new generations with traditional Orisha music. It features a selection of song lyrics compiled and annotated by Janent “Sula Spirit” Evans, translated into English by Omoba Adéwálé Adénlé. The book’s accompanying two-CD album features performances of the songs by the Zion Trinity, of which Evans is a member. Talk That Music Talk: Passing On Brass Band Music in New Orleans the Traditional Way is the latest major offering from the wonderful Neighborhood Story Project. Editors Rachel Breunlin and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes spent years compiling oral histories, photographs, and documents that tell the story of how brass music in New Orleans has remained alive and thriving for more than a century. Breunlin is co-director of the Neighborhood Story Project and Barnes is a veteran park ranger at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

&Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Bill Hancock and Riding With The Blue Moth. After the death of his son, Will, in the 2001 airplane crash that took the lives of nine additional members of the Oklahoma State basketball team and support staff, survival became a common word in Bill Hancock’s vocabulary. Bicycling was simply the method by which he chose to distract himself from his grief. But for Hancock, the 2,747-mile journey from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast became more than just a distraction. It became a pilgrimage, even if Hancock didn’t realize it upon dipping his rear tire in the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach, California in the wee hours of a July morning. On his two-wheel trip, Hancock battled searing heat and humidity, curious dogs, unforgiving motorists and the occasional speed bump-usually a dead armadillo. Hancock’s thoughts returned to common themes: memories of his son Will, the prospect of life without Will for him and his wife, and the blue moth of grief and depression. That pesky moth fluttered around Hancock as if he was a beaming lamp pole in an empty parking lot.

& Also at 6 pm The East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. the group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

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

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. Debonair cat-detective William finds himself at the center of a mysterious theft when the Mona Cheesa is stolen from a Parisian gallery. Can William put the clues together and solve the crime? Fans of Helen Hancocks’s Penguin in Peril won’t be disappointed in this hilarious tale of cat and mouse.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet serves up its monthly reading at the Latter Memorial Library. This month features poets Ralph Adamo, Carolyn Hembree, Brad Richard and Mark Statman reading from their work.

& 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.

& Tuesday at 5 pm Crescent City Books will be home to a poetry reading hosted by Thaddeus Conti featuring noted local poets Megan Burns, Joseph Bienvenu, Nancy Dixon, Bill Lavender.

& At 6 pm Tuesday the West Bank 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.

& Tuesday at 7 pm “TEATRO SIN FRONTERAS” is a community arts initiative of the “ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project” supported with funds from Alternate ROOTS’ Partners in Action Program. José Torres-Tama & ArteFuturo Productions in partnership with Puentes LatiNola have launched a series of 7 “Movable Feasts” and “Theater Without Borders” events to engage the community at large, and gather around food, theater, & music for sharing of stories & ideas to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina REBIRTH of LA NUEVA ORLEANS for the 10th Anniversary of the storm. Featured artists at this event are Featured Artists: Veronica Isabel Giraldo-Puente, poet/performer, Antonio Garza writer & performer, Ecos Latinos & Carlos Valladares short films, and Margie Perez & Guitarist performing original songs.

& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater continues their month of poetry in June with readings by Joseph Bienvenu & James Blanchard. Bienvenu is the author of Atom Parlor (BlazeVOX 2010), Cocktail Poems (Hobby Horse, 2011), and Pool Hall Quartet (Verna Press, 2008). His translation of the poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus was published by Dialogos (2013). Joseph is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives and teaches Latin and English at a local high school. He received his B.A. in Classics from Loyola University of Chicago and his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Blanchard is a writer, spoken-word artist, poet, bartender residing in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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

He Was A Mess October 8, 2014

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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Was there a twinkle I missed, drinking too much on the wrong end of town? Some wisdom issuing from your tobacco-scented beard, a joke so blue men were afraid to laugh, busting a gut to hold it in? I like to imagine one of the nights I was working the East Bank and didn’t have to go back to Gretna, and sat at that bar waiting for Marianne to get off from work around the corner, that you were there. I will still reading Stevens and Olson and Berryman, trying to figure out which way was up and you were probably scribbling the very instruction required on a bar napkin.

Yes, I could put my damn pants back on and join what’s left of your old gang at the East Jefferson Parish Regional Library, in some room the carpet runs up the wall like nylon mold and sit in an fluted plastic stackable chair (Panhandle aquamarine? burnt sunset orange?) but what’s the point in that? Did you even know there was a West Esplanade? It’s neither lake nor river but another direction you probably wouldn’t want to go in. And if I don’t write this belated birthday elegy who the hell else is going to do it?

I would recognize you now if you appeared for a moment at the Maple Leaf, the vision I saw one Saturday morning at Jazz Fest: a man of the right height and build, in a tweed jacket in baking May for chrissakes, pipe issuing from his beard like the fasces of poetry. But the time I realized what I saw and turned around again you were gone. I don’t want to know about no doppelganger. Nobody is going to rob me of my ghost.

I hope some folks show up tonight, learn what I’ve learned over the years, hunt down your books like possums and pause, too amazed to shoot.

Rutledge in the Rain

The first poem I ever spoke
into a microphone (not my own,
but well said or so I heard)
in Everette Maddox’s patio
at the umpteenth reading
celebrating the late poet’s
Selected Sad Whimsies,
the moment saved on a page
dimpled by the afternoon’s drizzle.

I owe you one for that, a whole run of ones one after another until it takes both of us arm-in-arm, leaning in to steer the other down the middle of the sidewalks of heaven. I don’t really believe in heaven but a man has to believe in something and I believe I’d like to buy you drink: somewhere, someday. The best I can manage for now is to make it to the Maple Leaf tomorrow after class and beat the cover at the door and buy two glasses of bar scotch, one to pour for you and the other to prove I love the man we’ll call The Speaker in workshop before, because I hate scotch and I’ll toss it back every drop. You were The Speaker, and the singer, and the instigator of the chorus, there’s no doubt about that.

He was a mess, was Everette Maddox, and those of us who tend to the messy side need our own patron saints and your poems are a novena for the messy and the lost. I think instead of tepid coffee in a library I’ll mix another drink and take down the Songbook that found me and read a bit instead, before I prepare for class tomorrow. I don’t have a poem for workshop and if one’s going to come to me before tomorrow night it’s going to come in your voice, with the faint tinkle of ice cubes like a chime in the wind: not a muse or an angel but the deep, deep song of the your blues.


Happy Birthday Everette Maddox October 9, 2012

Posted by The Typist in books, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Join us tonight in the back patio of the Maple Leaf Bar to read some ‘Rette and celebrate. Until then, courtesy of 13Possums:


On a hill high above
the mild October day
I stand, heroic, hands
clasped behind my back,
as the last musket’s
crack fades
and the smoke drifts away
from the place where the famous
battle of my youth was fought.
Who won? Who lost?
Who knows? My speech,
which I seem to have misplaced,
tells. Oh well:
myself and loves and grey
uniform were not among
the casualties, quite; though
a gold button dangles.
Now we’ll bind the wounds,
free the slaves, and set up
(oh shrewdly!) a national shrine
in the decaying mansion
of my body: post cards,
stuffed possums, and (out back)
whiskey to be sold
such emissaries
from the glacial future
as have coin to spend

Guilty! Life, I’m your beautiful man! February 19, 2012

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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I am not Uptown.

I am not Downtown.

I am the sad clown charming
improbable cabaret balloons
in fantastic Fellini dreams*

And then . . . and then . . . something comes back to me.
A door opens & I walk into the brisk, invigorating night.


I put on a shirt
with a couple of
gone buttons and a
pair of pants my wife
hates and walk into
the living room and
sit down in a dull
chair. In this way I
acknowledge nothing’s
going on. If I
wanted to really
suffer I could go
lie down in some shit,
but that transgresses
the fine line between
propriety and
masochism. If
I were any kind
of poet I’d go
stick up a Jiffy
Mart or, Say, the First
Bank of the Cosmic
Then I could buy a
red plaid jacket with
a rooster tie and
stumble out into
the clear autumn air
crowing “Guilty! Life,
I’m your beautiful

So long, 2011. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. December 31, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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By Everette Maddox

“Things are tight,” the man
said, tightening his
quasi-friendly grin.
“We can’t give you a
job, we can’t give you
any money, and
we don’t want these here
poems either.” He
tightened his tie. “Fact
is, the old cosmic
gravy train’s ground to
a halt. It’s the end
of the line. From now
on there’s going to
be no more nothing.”
He went on, lighting
a cigar: “We don’t
wish we could help, but
even if we did,
we couldn’t. It’s not
our fault, by God, it’s
just tight all over.”
He brought his fist down
on the burnished desk
and lo! from that tight
place there jetted forth
rivers of living water.

Happy Birthday ‘Rette October 9, 2011

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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October 9 is Everette Maddox’s birthday. Happy Birthday, ‘Rette. There are no special observances scheduled for today. There is a featured reader at the Maple Leaf, followed by an open mic. I believe I will read a few poems, and pour a dram of well scotch in the man’s memory beneath the plaque in the patio that is his sole memorial.

I’m more in the mood of “The Picture” than the poem below, but the one selected is more fitting for the occasion. Still, the closing stanza of “The Picture” are to my mind a better epitaph than the one on the plaque at the Maple Leaf, which reads “He was a mess.”

Oh if this moment
should indeed prove
to be the corner
I’ve spent thirty-five years
painting myself into

think only this of me

That one more cheap camera
has shattered
against the world’s beauty.

The poem below and all of the 13 Original Poems are available online (including a picture of the cover) here. I have inserted what must be a missing article in brackets.


On a hill high above
the mild October day
I stand, heroic, hands
clasped behind my back,
as the last musket’s
crack fades
and the smoke drifts away
from the place where the famous
battle of my youth was fought.
Who won? Who lost?
Who knows? My speech,
which I seem to have misplaced,
tells. Oh well:
myself and loves and grey
uniform were not among
the casualties, quite; though
a gold button dangles.
Now we’ll bind the wounds,
free the slaves, and set up
(oh shrewdly!) a national shrine
in the decaying mansion
of my body: post cards,
stuffed possums, and (out back)
whiskey to be sold
[to] such emissaries
from the glacial future
as have coin to spend

Gone Fishin’ September 17, 2011

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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“My husband’s a lazy and shiftless Southerner,” she said once, telling me the annecdote because she thouht it funny. She says she meant it in jest but all those earnest North Dakotan women took it seriously, cooing poor dear over their glasses of apres-training wine. I always wondered if if was one of those moments of unintended truth drinks after a long day of work-related drudgery can bring out, the sort I spent the last long week guarding against.

Lazy and shiftless. I had planned to sleep until noon to make up for too little sleep all week, the rigors of travel and the evenings of drinks, dinner and then more drinks I only managed to escape one evening out of six. Perhaps I could if I get up and hang the room darkening paper curtains I bought for the front (although my son has no problem sleeping until noon in a room flooded with sunlight through the cheap, unfitted venetian blinds.)

And there’s the laundry I left behind, plus two hotel laundry bags more. And the promised trip to take my daughter bicycle shopping. I need to do a final ruler proof of my chapbook, pick up my sample paper and start printing. And then there is the Wikipedia entry for Everette Maddox, all those books I carted off to Richmond but found no time for until last night’s flight.

Which is how I come to be sitting in bed sipping coffee and typing this instead of rolling over to try to banish the exhaustion of a long week. Things to do, people to see, and the Saint’s home opener is Sunday. Forget that fist of whiskey I poured when I finally got home last night, hopping for the sleep of that can tolerate a sidewalk for a bed, and which I did not finish before 1:30 this morning,

There are days when I think I need the equivalent of a gastric bypass for my enthusiasms, combined with careful adjustments to lifestyle: a reduction in my daily intake of work for people who are letting me go in just over than a month, and a daily program of vigorously exercising better judgement in what I take on. Yes, by god, Everette Maddox should have a Wikipedia page but what possessed me at this particular moment in my life to start it requires not an explanation but a diagnosis and program of treatment.

Yes, Maddox needs that page and if no one else has done it in a decade well, there’s me. He certainly deserves it, among other honors fitting to a poet of some note (and notoriety). I think if I win the lottery I will establish one of those specialized bequests in his name, of the sort I often used at U.N.O. that allowed a sort of payday loan against next month’s student worker check. Mine I think would be a bar tab somewhere (although they have torn down all the bars around U.N.O., and what the hell kind of university can’t manage a strip of conveniently located bars?), granted on merit to a creative writing student by a panel of judges randomly selected from the afternoon crowd at the Maple Leaf.

I think Maddox should also have a library christened in his honor, since we are finally (half a decade later) getting around to replacing flood-damanged luxuries like libraries. And schools. And fire stations. We are an industrious and thrifty people down here for certain in spite of what those North Dakotan social workers thought. Out front there should be a commissioned bronze sculpture showing Maddox sleeping on a bench in the back of the Maple Leaf, a tribute to a man who looked bourgeois conventionality straight in the eye, and asked if it could stand him a drink.

I think I’ll leave the paper blinds in their boxes for now, the laundry scattered on the floor with the books, and spend the rest of the morning planning my first month of unemployment. First, flag all email notices from Linked-In, Monster and Dice as spam. Rise up promptly at noon and make coffee, and after a reasonable interval dress and take the bus to the Napoleon House. Have breakfast of some sort from their lunch menu and a drink, and commence a poem or some other writing work. Read for a while to the scratchy classical LPs if nothing comes. When I feel worked out, wander down Chartres and stop in the used bookstore with a couple of cups of coffee for an extended conversation with Micheal about literature.

One the sun has crossed the yardarm fortify myself at the Chart House for the streetcar ride Uptown and find an amenable and quiet workplace with cheap PBR and an atomic jukebox. Resume writing, or just sit there and chat up the bartender, reading a bit when she gets busy. Flirt until you convince her that any decent establishment would have Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby’s 1951 pop hit Gone Fishin‘ on the box. Leave before the band starts to avoid the cover charge and plop down on a bench outside to listen. Make a point, out of decency, to arrive home before moon-set.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. At least until the shampoo runs out.

Happiness is for Saps September 17, 2011

Posted by The Typist in books, Everette Maddox, New Orleans, Odd Words, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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This is New Orleans; everyone changes here.”
— G.A. Shirley, Greyhound bus driver
(From a letter from Everette Maddox
to Bob Woolf, 1978, quoted in
The New Orleans Review)

Reading Everette Maddox’s letters to Bob Woolf is fascinating but makes a man thankful for an unmade bed of my own one room over from a respectable liquor cabinet. Think I’ll have a few fingers fist of whiskey when I get home and read something cheerful like Lay Down in Darkness.

Notes from a Dancing Bear October 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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As I noted last week, author Stephen Elliott of The Adderall Diaries and Happy Baby will be in New Orleans tomorrow night talking about about work and signing his book. The Adderall diaries is a fascinating work of biography not quite masquerading as crime fiction so much as merging with it. If you visit here much you probably understand my interest in anyone who explores (and tests the boundaries of) memoir as creative non-fiction.

I hope to go but I think I have to find someone to go with so I won’t be the only person there who doesn’t look like R. Crumb’s Speed Kills caricature or who isn’t there hoping to score outré sex with the author. If I don’t make it for some reason (namely safe escort for my sorry, chino-and-polo-shirted self), I hope someone who reads this will ask him this question and get back to me with the answer:

I understand the natural intersection of the true crime story with Elliott’s own, but why does be believe that occurred to him (even if it was initially unconscious) as the logical narrative engine for his own story and why does he think it works? Did the two threads just overlap as he wrote spontaneously and somehow interleave themselves successfully? Or was it something he stitched together from two narrative threads as he re-wrote and why? I think I know the answer but I am curious to hear Elliott’s version. (Should I write it at the bottom upside down so we can compare my guess with Elliott’s answer?).

If I don’t make it but you do, hypocrite lecteur, and ask my question and share his response, well then I’ll have to find someway to repay you. I can buy you a drink (or many as the discussion of his answer, my guess, and the rest plays out) so long as what you drink isn’t kept in a locked cabinet the bartender has to ask for the key to open.


This will probably sound like boring crowing but I finally broke down and read some things at the Maple Street Bar’s longstanding poetry series on Sunday. It was awkward when I first walked into a small group of people who clearly knew each other (and knew the quiet people sitting alone in the corners). I think it helped to be greeted so kindly (and loudly) by the featured reader, Dave Brinks, who I learned visits here often and rather liked what I wrote about his recent book The Caveat Onus. In the end they proved a very charming and very talented group of people people. Open mike can be a gamble to listen to but what I heard ranged from the entertaining to the stunning, and I felt quite at home by the time I left.

I probably wouldn’t have stood up to read (or started submitting things until I finally got an acceptance) without some encouragement from a few people I should thank. First Robin, who put a link to my old Poems Before Breakfast site under her listing of New Orleans Poets long before I deserved it. Second is Sam who reads much of what I write and gushes far too much (which is valuable as rejection slips start to pile up) but who I trust implicitly will tell me if I show her crap.

Finally I should thank Everette Maddox. The first time I stood up at the Maple Leaf’s microphone was two weeks ago at the book launch for the UNO Press selected works I Hope Its Not Over, And Goodbye. Reading his revered words to the audience was an exhilarating experience, and got me hooked on the idea of finally breaking down and reading my own. The long departed Maddox, who founded the Maple Leaf poetry reading series, was famous for his encouragement of young (or, um, inexperienced) poets. For his little nudge from beyond the grave, my eternal thanks.


I felt guilty at first sticking these bits of nothing from my life up here, but I spent far too much time today thinking about a problem I struggle with here on Toulouse Street: the temptation to look at Toulouse Street as a place where I can only post long, thoughtful pieces like the recent Rain Street or something like The Slow Noon Burn of June 16, the problem I used to refer to as More Lewis Lapham Than Thou when I struggled with it over essays about New Orleans on Wet Bank Guide.

I think this is a mistake, as the universe of online writing we call blogging is more akin to early television than anything else. There is room for the thoughtful dramas of Golden Age Television but an equal demand for men spinning plates atop sticks while the Flight of the Bumble Bee plays frantically.

When I wasn’t afraid to jot down short thoughts and musings as I did more frequently in the early days of this blog, more people tended to stop by. Maybe I am as entertaining as I think I am when I’m drinking. It’s entirely possible. Or perhaps the more crap you throw at the wall, the more will stick. Either way, I think it’s time for the Dancing Bear to dust off his metaphorical unicycle and stop worrying so damn much.

Odd Words October 7, 2009

Posted by The Typist in books, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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I’m going to try something new. I plan to post something like this—listing upcoming book events or talking about what I’ve read in hard copy or online—as a weekly feature. It won’t be everything, so don’t quit scanning Susan Larson’s column on Wednesday or Gambit for what’s up. What you get here are those events where you might run into me. You’ll recognize me; I’m the guy in the sharp hat. (This works. Ask Barb Johnson).

I don’t intend this to be a book blog or a (pretentious) “literary” blog. Maud Newton’s job is safe. Trust me. I intend Toulouse Street to remain primarily a place about Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans as they happen or occur to me, with the occasional, random bit of Radio Free Toulouse tossed in. That said, some of those Odd Bits of the greatest interest to me are in fact literary, in some sense. Given that Toulouse Street is basically a textbook example of the Dreaded Vanity Blog, I can do whatever the hell I want here.

So, here goes:

  • ArtSpot Productions and Mondo Bizarro present Loup Garou, a new environmental performance featuring performance poet Raymond “Moose” Jackson in a poem/play that explores the deep interconnectedness between land and culture in Louisiana. The outdoor performance opens at sunrise on October 8 in the abandoned fields of City Park’s old East Golf Course. Showings are Thursdays at sunrise (7am) and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 5pm through October 25.

    Written by Raymond “Moose” Jackson, directed by Kathy Randels, and designed by Jeff Becker, Loup Garou features Nick Slie in a reprise of his tour de force portrayal of the mythical werewolf in ArtSpot’s 2006 piece Beneath the Strata/Disappearing. Part performance, part ritual, part howl to the world about southeast Louisiana’s plight, Loup Garou sings a song of love and hope for our precarious homeland.

    I caught Jackson’s reading a few months back at SoundCafe and picked up his Illusion Fields CD that evening and based on that I highly recommend this. It has got to be interesting. Visit him on MySpace for a taste of his work.

  • As you likely know what I write not precisely memoir but is unabashedly first-person and (I think) creative non-fiction, here and on Wet Bank Guide (and in Carry Me Home). There is an interesting piece by Stephen Elliot, author of the Adderall Diaries, on SmithMag.com on the subject of writing in the first person. Hat tip to Ray Shea for finding this.
  • Then there’s the release of “I hope it’s not over, and good-by”, Selected Poems of Everette Maddox by UNO Press this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Maple Leaf (see the post below).
  • And apropos of nothing except crowing (c.f. reference above on Dreaded Vanity Blogs), I had three poems accepted by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature online journal. Cock-a-doodle-do-dah-do-dah. They will appear in February, 2010.
  • Dialing back in to add one: Go read the story on New Orleans poet and poetry impressario Dave Brinks in today’s TP. (I think I’m going to do this feature on Thursdays, so I can call out anything on the Wednesday TP book page you might miss if you don’t normally read it, but which is worth a special trip).
  • Missed another one: Darrell Bourque Room 205, University Center, Xavier University. Louisiana’s Poet Laureate will present a poetry reading, at 7. Free. Call 520.5155. (Also noticed the TP misspelled “peotry: in the listing when I pasted it in. Like I should criticize. Anyway, another reason to run this on Thursdays after I check all the local listings to make sure I haven’t missed something choice. I’ll be at the Radiators at the Square, so let me know how it goes if you make it to his reading.

If you have a literary event (reading, performance, signing) you would like me to list in this weekly post, please drop me a line via email or in the comments below. If you have a book coming out as a local author or with a local setting or other strong tie to New Orleans, let me know. Extra points for anything Odd. I’m not asking for comps yet or committing to reviews but I’ll at least get your name and your book’s title out in this space if it catches my interest.

Note: I hate the way list items lines display in WordPress, especially for multiple paragraphs, and can’t figure out how to fix the leading on following paragraphs. CSS, yeah, yeah, yeah: I don’t have time for that sort of thing any more, but then it’s been a long time since I bought me an animal book. Eh, la bas.

I hope its not over, and good-bye October 6, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Everette Maddox: He was a mess, by everyone’s assessment including his own and so reads his memorial, a plaque in the patio of the Maple Street Bar where he hosted the long running poetry reading series he founded. He is a bit of an obsession here on Toulouse Street, where we frequently take him down from the shelf and longingly look at that copy of The Everette Maddox Songbook on Amazon for only $215.

Now the University of New Orleans Press is releasing I hope its not over, and good-by Selected Poems of Everette Maddox with a kick off party at the continuing poetry venue, 3 p.m. this Sunday at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans.

Even if you don’t read poetry (and you’re probably not that sort, given that your here and the amount of other people’s work I post up here when I’m tongue-tied or bored), I can highly recommend this site unseen because Maddox’s work is, among other things, highly accessible. In his own poem “GIFT” he describes his writing as “whimsical little gifts” and I can’t think of a better description. It is by turns wry and dark and I think you will come away from reading it thinking as I do: damn, this is someone I wish I’d had a chance to have a drink and a long talk with.

Editor Ralph Adamo promises his selection from Maddox’s four books provides a “novel organization [which] also suggests new and surprising readings for those who know the work, or thought they did.” Now there’s an irresistible teaser, at least for the likes of me and maybe you, too since you’re here.

I never met the man. I was too busying trying to help my first wife drink herself to death at Betz Brown’s Abbey on Decatur Street when Maddox was at the top of his form and the bottom of his run to the end of the row of bottles the gods had allotted him. Maddox was something I discovered looking for every last word I could find to read on the subject of New Orleans to escape the bright lights, big city madness of Fargo, N.D. and I’ve been reading and rereading him every since.

In honor of the occasion of this book launch (that’s 3 p.m. Sunday at the Maple Leaf) here’s a poem that’s been rejected by some of the best regional journals in the south. If I get drunk enough mid-afternoon and there’s open mike, I might attempt to read it there but don’t count on it. I still don’t like the way the lines are laid out, and I’ve just cut out a middle section. If I can ever get the lines breaks just right, I’ll have to have another run at the reviews.

Blinded by Sunrise

For Everette Maddox

So listen,
it’s not like we ever met
or anything, but
I think we’ve both been
blinded by sunrise
refracted in a bar glass.

It’s like this:
I’ve had just enough
of a taste of your words
that I’m haunted
like a man in love
who’s suddenly not sure where
his next drink’s coming from,
except–it’s not from her.
She’s up and left.

You being dead and all
I’m sorry to bother but
if you scare up a copy
of the Songbook in
some discount street-side box
I might happen to pass by,
I promise I’ll have them
bury me with a bottle so
I can repay the favor.

Pure Despair for the Savor of It September 30, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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No, he’s not about to jump. He’s just some guy whose roommates preferred he smoke outside, catching some rays on the ledge outside the window of his third floor room in North Stadium at LSU sometime late in 1976. The Odd thing is they snapped this picture while he was likely doing precisely that, stepping out for a smoke, and ran it in the last edition of the Reveille for the year over an excerpt from the found journal of some candidate for taking the final’s week dive off of the high rise dorm (Miller Hall? I don’t remember; it was a long time ago).

I should have lawyered up and paid my way through private school on the proceeds (did they not teach Sullivan v. N.Y. Times at the J-School at LSU?) but instead I just saved the entertaining picture and moved on. Go with the flow, man. And yes I really was once that skinny and had that much hair. Like I said; it was a long time ago.

I don’t know why but when my biorhythms start the long plunge down the luge run into malebolge I don’t dive headfirst into escapist television (wow, a World’s Deadliest Chef marathon!) or read cheerful and uplifting stuff (anyone seen my bio of Helen Keller?) No, I tend to just ride the tide and dive right into some lovely Everette Maddox (he was a mess, by everyone’s assessment including his own) or perhaps some Charles Bukowski, pure despair for the savor of it like a cheap cigar.

Today’s inspirational verse is taken from Everette’s epistles to the Carrolltonians and is absolute poetic proof of the positive power of drinking alone. So as The Byrd’s All The Things plays at unneighborly volumes and the weeping pedal steel guitar sets up harmonic vibrations in the aluminum empties at my elbow, here’s a little something to cheer us all up.

By Everette Maddox

The cream stucco
of my ex-wife’s dentist’s office
across the street

Light green budding liveoaks

A sky-blue Volvo backing up
on this side from

behind the red white and blue
Cinzano umbrellas

Dark figures in the front
of the dark bar
faces edged in TV baseball light
from Busch Stadium

And down at this end me

If I should die now

Oh if this moment
should indeed prove
to be the corner
I’ve spent thirty-five years
painting myself into

think only this of me

That one more cheap camera
has shattered
against the world’s beauty.

Monday. Again. April 13, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry.
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Why are holiday Mondays, even after a good night’s sleep, so damned gruesome? Back to the counting of dollars until we have no sense left, making them into the piles of Monday, Tuesday, and so on until we have topped off Friday’s stack and so purchased another bit of freedom.

So, with this bit of good advice below under your belt, just crack open Monday’s paper (not too far, just a peek; it’s awfully early yet) to remind yourself: it could be worse.

The Future

Oh hush up
about the
Future: one
morning it
will appear,
right there on
your breakfast
plate, and you’ll
yell “Take it
back,” pounding
the table.
But there won’t
be any

— Everette Maddox

The Old South May 10, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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“The Old South was simply intolerable: it required generations of neurotic artists, often alcoholic, to paste all of its myth’s together and then peer into its black heart. Its political and social realities are long gone, its eloquence and nuance vague to the point of disappearing.What remains are its literature.”
— Richard Kilbourne, “Poems Represent Bare Essentials of [Everette] Maddox’s Life, Art”

I stumbled across this particular carpetbagger while reading Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox, and was inclined to ask him:

From what ivy tower In the dour and snow white North did this particular clap trap issue from? The South’s political and social realities long gone? Just ask the chuckling seersuckers and blue blood blazers brunching in their cups at Galatoire’s some Sunday.

“How is it going? Straight down, I tell you–to the bank, that is–what with all of this nearly free real estate and oil over a hundred and billions in federal dollars floating around. We’re going to build the city the way is always was and should have remained, the Queen of the South. The new opera house will go up on the riverfront and the right sort of people will be able to walk down to it from luxurious condos with sweeping views of the Mississippi. We’ll build it with all these Mexicans, every one as hard working and subserviently afraid of the White Man’s Law as that surely busboy’s great grandfather. It might squeeze out some of the weirdos down in the Bywater but they always seem to land on their feet somewhere, and where would the show be for the tourists at Mardi Gras without them? They’ll all find a place to live in their charming artist’s squalor and not too far from a four dollar free trade cafe au lait grande, I’m sure.

“Our Blanches and Stellas are still with us, with their fine educations and their boyfriends with more tattoos then the sailors on old Decatur used to have. Of course they will have to find some new place to live, or finally figure it all out: either go back and finish that MBA or find some fellow with more head on his shoulders than hair and move back Uptown to respectability because, frankly, we’re running out of cottages to flip and the Bywater is next. Between the crack heads and Katrina there’s hardly anything left Uptown worth its weight in termites.

“Everette Maddox? Never head of him. Was he related to that cracker governor from Georgia? Poet? Well, I don’t go for that sort of thing much, but I do sit on the board at NOMA and the CAC and you have to admit that whole artist bunch are an important part of our charm, don’t you think? I love that Rodrigue fellow’s Blue Dogs, myself, much nicer than those old, dark Cajun things he used to do. My wife goes in for the literary sort of thing. She’s in a book club with her circle from Newcomb but I think they mostly read whatever Oprah tells ’em to. I think they did Maya Angelou once. The artists and yes even our eccentrics are all part of our charm, of the brand that fills up the downtown hotels and by God we need them. Yes, we’re going to build a New South City here with all the old charm preserved, I tell you, once we get rid of all those troublemakers in the projects. We’re going to put Charleston and Savannah to shame. We haven’t lost our old ways. We’re just updating them for the 21st century.”

And I only am escaped alone to tell thee, what with all our neurotic artists having drunk themselves to death.

Ed’s Note: Forgot to tag it. Republished.


Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Everette Maddox, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Cheer up, @skooks. it’s always darkest just before the 16 ton weight drops from Terry Gilliam’s drawing table onto one’s head.

By Everette Maddox

Rutledge has made up his mind
this is the last day he will lie
at length in his glinting hair
his eye fixed on a fig
his toes alive in the permissive mud.

Out beyond these roots in a pool
clear by day dark by night
purple eels jiggle:
that is another universe of course
but that is not where Rutledge lives
and neither is this.

Though the air is thick with bells
bizarre with flutes
Rutledge lies on his belly now
billowing like a child’s balloon
and it means nothing to him
that ultimates and ultimates buoy him up.

He will leave in the morning
by the ordinary door
and walk in the shrill gray streets
in the old soot and sunshine.
He has learned all he needed to know,
what he already knew, that he is happy.

Visit 13 Possums.

Bar Scotch January 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Everette Maddox, ghosts, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Cover price of seven bucks, plus shipping. I hardly know what to say, except that I instructed my wife the other night that I am absolutely, positively to be buried with a bottle of scotch.

Car Scotch Cover

Thank you Mr. Maddox, wherever you are. I’ve already posted one of the Bar Scotch poems up to 13possums, where I hope to try to recapture some of what was lost when http://www.everettemaddox.org went dark. Look for more poems posted there as I get a minute to type instead of just read.