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I Have A Theory April 17, 2016

Posted by The Typist in quotes, The Narrative, The Typist.
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At this point they throw open the discussion. Events, characters, settings, impressions are thrust aside, to make room for the general concepts.
“The polymorphic-perverse sexuality…”
“The laws of a market economy…”
“The homologies of the signifying structures…”
“Deviation and institutions…”
Only you have remained suspended there, you and Ludmilla, while nobody else thinks of continuing the reading.
You move closer to Lotaria, reach out one hand toward the loose sheets in front of her, and ask, “May I?”; you try to gain possession of the novel. But it is not a book: it is one signature that has been torn out. Where is the rest?
“Excuse me, I was looking for the other pages, the rest,” you say.
“The rest?…Oh, there’s enough material here to discuss for a month. Aren’t you satisfied?”
“I didn’t mean to discuss; I wanted to read…” you say.

— Italo Calvino If on winter’s night a traveler

One poet talks about science & poetry as if a poem were not a careful set of observations of phenomena measured against the control set of the reader’s experience from which is derived the only theory with any meaning, and that the theory of meaning.

Another announces her feminist and post-colonial perspective in a poem about Sir Isaac Newton, and I wonder what intricacies of intellectual spelunking are required to reveal these hidden facets of a man whose known life is mathematics. I am reminded of my own youthful, Trotskyist indiscretions and realize that Theory has answered the problem of endlessly energetic disputation that fractured that world closer and closer to an anarchic all entropy of individuals. The dialectic is broken (perhaps excepting the Marxians), and one can concievably compose something significant (not a well-structued term paper but certainly a poem) that embraces all the theories of Theory!

The third speaker miraculously rescues me, revealing a common interest in something so concrete in both your lives that she is writing a narrative history alongside her poems, and the same subject is the setting of your own childhood: the bayou with its old fortification, the disused locks and rotary bridge which have vanished into memory but which she is anxious to meet with me and hear about. There is, in her history and the long poem about the bayou I am writing, a story sufficient to itself without a theoretical construct. It is a place with its unique features. It has a story. There are characters.

The next several hours are coloured by this encounter between theory and life, and I find it difficult to concentrate. I skip the workshop I paid for, and after a few hours of poetry readings, leave early. That evening I finish one book and start Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler and find in its clever confusion precisely the idea that must be written about, an explanation to myself for yesterday, for skipping the workshop and leaving early.

For some reason I thought of Italy this morning, of cigarettes smoked at breakfast on the little deck outside the kuchë before a morning of graduate classes on Ezra Pound, a figure fit to be chiseled into gravel by Theory, by those who cannot see the shape in the stone. The memories of my studies in the castle are sentimental and nostalgic but after I come inside and read the quote above and the rest of the chapter I am reminded why I am tempermentally unsuited to pursue an M.F.A..

Odd Words August 28, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, LGBT, LGBTIQ, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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This week in literary New Orleans:

Tonight kicks off The Waves,a new LGBTIQ reading series presenting student voices, local writers, and visiting writers side by side. Our kickoff reading, coinciding with Antenna Gallery’s 2nd Annual True Colors LGBTQ Art Exhibition, will feature an all local line-up: Chanel Clarke, Tyler Gillespie, Elizabeth Gross, Megan Ann Mchugh, Kay Murphy, Brad Richard, Anne Marie Rooney, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, Spencer Silverthorne, Madeleine LeCesne and perhaps even more.

About the Readers:

  • Anne Marie Rooney is the author of Spitshine, as well as two chapbooks.
  • Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers was born in a hailstorm, is the author of the poetry collection Chord Box, and lives on a street named Desire.
  • Tyler Gillespie is a pale Floridian whose writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Rolling Stone, Salon, NPR, and PANK, among other places.
  • Madeleine LeCesne is a senior at Lusher School and a writer in the Certificate of Artistry Program, directed by Brad Richard.
  • Elizabeth Gross throws her poems around and recently some have landed in LEVELER, Painted Bride Quarterly, B O D Y, and the upcoming Queer South anthology from Sibling Rivalry Press.
  • Spencer Silverthorne is a MFA candidate in poetry at the University of New Orleans.
  • Chanel Clarke is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and has had poems published in Anti-, Flag and Void, Smoking Glue Gun, and Hayden’s Ferry Review.
  • Brad Richard directs the creative writing program at Lusher Charter School, has published three books and two chapbooks, and is working on, among other things, a manuscript titled Reconstructions.
  • Megan Mchugh, who recently completed her MFA at UNO, is a garden teacher with the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, and also grows/designs flowers at the flower farm and design studio, Pistil and Stamen.
  • Kay Murphy is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Orleans. Her poetry and essays have been published far and wide.

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

& Thursday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event! featuring two new books by Sally Michelle Jackson. In A Darker Side of the Light (The Heilsing Cases) (Volume 1) the central character is a paranormal investigator (a friend refers to him as a con man) who played at investigating his caseload. He admits that he takes cases, does minimal legwork to solve them, and does little more than reassure the client that “everything is all right.” And then one night, he finds himself investigating a real case and it changes his life. In Never Stop Dreaming the main character dreams of one woman night after night – and he doesn’t seem to have control over them. In fact, it seems as if someone else is running the show in his dreams. This is no longer acceptable, so he turns the tables in his search for the woman and he does it in the only way that he knows how – through dreams. Jackson also will discuss Poems from a Transgendered Heart, a collection of poems published in 2011 that serve as attempt to convey the emotional part of a transsexual’s journey of self-discovery and transitioning.

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

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

& Friday at 6 pm author Michael Pitre’s presents Fives and Twenty-Fives at the Garden District Book Shop. Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine’s life in the road repair platoon. Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger. Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there’s Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture—from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries—is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country. Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them.

& Every Friday The Rhyme Syndicate presents a spoken word open mic at Dish on Haynes Boulevard hosted by Hollywood. Doors at 8. Admission $7, $5 will college ID. Music by DJ XXL.

& It’s Story Time with Miss Maureen Saturdays at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week features My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown. A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She’s loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won’t allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day… he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem. Each page is filled with “monstrous” details that will have kids reading the story again and again. Peter Brown takes a universal and timeless theme, and adds his own humorous spin to create another winner of a picture book.

& Saturday at 1 pm Bob Rogers discusses and signs his book The Laced Chameleon at Garden District Book Shop. Mademoiselle Francesca Dumas is a quadroon (one-quarter African American) and concubine of a New Orleans banker, Joachim Buisson. Courted by moneyed white men, she leads a sheltered life of elegant gowns and lavish balls until a bullet shatters her dream world. While awaiting the arrival of the Union Navy among a throng gathered atop a Mississippi River levee April 25, 1862, Francesca’s lover is shot dead by her side. Rain soaked and blood-stained Francesca vows revenge. The grieving Francesca is evicted from Joachim’s house by his family who refuses to honor the lovers’ plaçage (concubinage) contract. Francesca’s life becomes intertwined with a homeless hungry white woman and her children when she shares her last Confederate dollars to buy food for them. Her investigation of the woman’s plight lands her work as a spy for Major General Benjamin Butler’s army occupying New Orleans. As Francesca struggles with her identity to make principled choices between another plaçage arrangement and independence, an acquaintance is murdered and her best friend, Emily, is kidnapped.

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

& All area libraries will be closed for Labor Day on Monday.

& 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 East Jefferson Regional Library hosts Three New Authors who have brand new books: Tanisca Wilson, author of “Proclivity”; Cynthia Addison, author of “Mamma Said” and “The Devil Hates Marriages”; and Rhea Mayfield Berkeris, author of “Born Special.” Free of charge and open to the public.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

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

& Wednesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an event in its Culinary Legacies series, an interview with Sam Irwin, author of Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History. Sam Irwin is the guest interviewee of this event sponsored by the Southern Food and Beverage museum. The hunt for red crawfish is the thing, the raison d’être, of Acadian spring. Introduced to Louisiana by the swamp dwellers of the Atchafalaya Basin, the crawfish is a regional favorite that has spurred a $210 million industry. Whole families work at the same fisheries, and annual crawfish festivals dominate the social calendar. More importantly, no matter the occasion, folks take their boils seriously: they’ll endure line cutters, heat and humidity, mosquitoes and high gas prices to procure crawfish for their families’ annual backyard boils or their corporate picnics. Join author Sam Irwin as he tells the story–complete with recipes and tall tales–of Louisiana’s favorite crustacean: the crawfish.

& Wednesday The Maple Street Book Shop will host the launch party for Katy Simpson Smith’s novel, The Story of Land and Sea, at 7pm Sat The Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles Avenue). Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!).

Odd Words July 31, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This Sunday is T.B.A as of Thursday.

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

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

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

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

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

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!) 

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

Odd Words June 4, 2014

Posted by The Typist in books, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, Toulouse Street.
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& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts Edward J. Branley presents and signs his new book, NEW ORLEANS JAZZ, including more than 200 vintage images documenting the birth and development of jazz in New Orleans. Branley is the author of several historical books on New Orleans, including New Orleans: The Canal Street Car Line, Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, and Maison Blanche Department Stores.

& Thursday at 7 pm the New Orleans Public Library and Prospect New Orleans feature the first P.3 Reads, a conversation between Zarouhie Abdalian and Jerry Ward exploring Brenda Marie Osbey’s All Saints: New and Selected Poems. P.3 Reads, a Prospect New Orleans Public Program, is inspired by Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans’ vision for the at Alvar Branch, 913 Alvar Street. Prospect.3 (P.3). The program takes place monthly in different NOPL branches. Artists who will be featured in the upcoming P.3 Biennial will discuss with members of the New Orleans community the books that have been important in their lives and work.

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

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

& Thursday the Jefferson Parish Library SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writers’ Circle meets at 7 pm at the Lakeshore Library. James Butler, a writer of science fiction and fantasy (especially steampunk), leads a workshop to encourage the creation of these genres by local authors. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Starting Friday catch Pressure Cooker for the Soul new play by Moose Jackson. Jackson also authored Loup Garoup and is a notable local poet. Doors and Pre-show 6:00PM. Show @ 6:45PM Shows 6/6, 7, 8, 2014

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

& Saturday starting at 4 p.m. author and award-winning playwright Louie Crowder will sign his new novella In Irons from Gallatin & Toulouse Press at Faubourgh Marigny Art & Books, 600 Frenchman Street.

& At 3 pm Saturday in Aclee Fortier Park (Esplanade Avenue at Mystery Street) 100,000 Poets for Change hosts World Word Against Police Brutality. “Poetry vigil for Peace against police brutality stop the killing stop the WAR… Poets are invited to read, recite, sing or spit poems to raise consciousness about police brutality and to change hearts, the only way to achieve justice.”

& Saturday the Latter Memorial Library features the monthly Poetry Buffet hosted by Gina Ferrara. Reading this month are poets Peter Cooley, J Bruce Fuller, and Lee Grue.

& Every Sunday at 3 p.m. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, the oldest continuous reading series in the south, founded by Everette Maddox, features guest poets and an open mic. This Sunday features poet Delia Nakayama reads from her work followed by an open mic

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

& Speak Sunday is hosted every Sunday at 7 pm by Duece the Poet at Therapy, 3001 Tulane Avenue, also featuring live painting of the performers by C.C. Givens.

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

& On Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Jeanette Walls’ The Silver Star. It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations. An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Octavia Books and the Jewish Community Center invite you to a presentation and signing with outgoing Tulane University President Scott Cowen celebrating the launch of his new book, THE INEVITABLE CITY: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of Urban America. This is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities. Ordinary citizens, empowered to actively rescue their own city after politicians and government officials failed them, have succeeded in rebuilding their world.

& Tuesday at 6:30 bring Author Night at the Hubbell Branch of the New Orleans Public Library, featuring Vietnamese Cuisine in New Orleans by Susan Pfefferle. The East meets the Westbank and more! With recipes by local Vietnamese cooks and world-renowned chefs, this cookbook provides the reader with a detailed offering of Vietnamese cuisine in the New Orleans area. Join us for a discussion and book signing.

& Every Tuesday night get on the list to spit at the longest running spoken word venue in New Orleans at Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club hosted by African-American Shakespear. Doors open at 7pm and the Mic pops at 8pm. It is $5 to get in.

& Room 220 and The N.O. Loving Festival host NATIVE. HOMELAND. EXILE. featuring five New Orleans writers will explore the theme native, homeland, exile through readings and a Q&A from 6 – 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Press Street HQ, 3718 St. Claude Ave. Readers include: ADDIE CITCHENS, a Mississippi native and New Orleans-based writer of literary fiction. She has been featured in the Oxford American‘s “Best of the South” edition, in Calloloo journal, and others; JERI HILT is a Louisiana native with roots in New Orleans, Avoyelles Parish, and Shreveport. She writes fiction and teaches literacy in the Lower Ninth Ward; AMBATA KAZI-NANCE is a writer and teacher living in her hometown New Orleans with her husband and son. She writes for Azizah magazine and Grow Mama Grow, a blog for Muslim mothers; and, J.R. RAMAKRISHNAN whose journalism has appeared in Style.com, Harper’s Bazaar, Chicago Tribune, and Grazia, amongst other publications. Her fiction has appeared in [PANK]. She arrived in New Orleans by way of Brooklyn, London, and Kuala Lumpur, her original hometown. She is director of literary programs for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. They will provide attendees a concert of voices from women writers of color that unflinchingly captures the coming of age in America’s New South. This event is part of the New Orleans Loving Festival, a multiracial community celebration and film festival that challenges racial discrimination through outreach and education.

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Maple Street Book Shop features the Plume Anthology of Poetry Reading. lume (http://plumepoetry.com/) has become one of the most respected and influential on-line poetry journals. Its contributors are a veritable Who’s Who of contemporary American Poetry. Readers will include Carrie Causey, Peter Cooley, Benjamin Lowenkron, Brad Richard and Christopher Shipman.

& Every Wednesday at 8 pm at the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse there is an hour-long open mic poetry night (or fiction night; whatever you want to read really!)

Odd Words October 15, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Here is my second (now officially weekly) collection of bits of book and culture gossip from around New Orleans, essentially things that might attract me to attend, buy a book, or do something else interesting and specifically or exclusively about the alcohol, music or food. As I explained last week, this is not a comprehensive list; just the events where I’m likely to show up and some mention of books or whatnot I’m reading or about to read. If you show up at one of these events as well, I’m the old fart in a young man’s hat. Say hello. And buy me a drink.

§ Local poet and impresario Dave Brinks will be a man about town this week, signing or reading from his new poetry collection THE CAVEAT ONUS, starting with a kick off party tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm at 17 Poets, the poetry series he runs every Thursday at the Goldmine Saloon.

Here’s the announcement email: “This event is dedicated to the living memory of jazz flautist ELUARD BURT and poet PAUL CHASSE. The presentation will feature a reading and book signing by Dave Brinks; plus lots of tasty eats, including BROCATO’S famous cannolis. Special guest performances by New Orleans’ musicians include Peter Nu on steel drums (www.poetryprocess.com) and Matthew Shilling on bansuri, Indian bamboo flute (www.matthewschilling.com). Complimentary on-site Massage Therapist/Therapy provided by Spa by the Park. Followed by Open Mic emceed by poet JIMMY ROSS. ”

Brinks will also appear in the coming week at Maple Street Bookstore from 1-2:30 on Oct. 17; at the Maple Street Bar poetry series on Oct. 18 at 3 pm; at Octavia Books Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. and somewhere in Metairie you can find on your own if you must. If you missed the interview in the Oct. 7 Picayune-Item by all means go have a look.

I’ve read the first book of the series; have in fact tried to study it closely. The Onus Opus (um, no don’t do that) is a complex poetry sequence including a unique stanza form based on the hexagrams of the I’Ching and and an over all structure tied to Mayan cosmology, a mix that produces a surrealist experience that does not merely erupt from the unconscious but is,in the context of the structure he has erected, as rational as fractals.

Unpeeling this onion all the way is not for the faint of heart but the lines are frequently taken directly from the streets of New Orleans, as familiar as the cracks and holes you instinctively step over on a street your frequently cross. You can take the poems as a pleasing pack of surrealist postcards from New Orleans, or as a puzzle to spend hours taking apart and marveling at the complexity of, and enjoy the experience in either case. You can find a sample from the first book with the invaluable Notes on the Text here.

§ Stephen Elliott, author of HAPPY BABY, is coming to New Orleans to promote his new book THE ADDERALL DIARIES, which is just out and kicking up a storm. He’ll will read and sign Tuesday, October 20th, at Antenna Gallery in Bywater at 7 pm

Elliott’s writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Erotica and Best Sex Writing 2006. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. He is the editor of The Rumpus.

So of course I went out this weekend and bought the book (on the recommendation of two people who’s opinions I value who called him out to me). Like any good true crime book it is both disturbing and fascinating, a combination guaranteed to keep you reading to the end. And for someone who spends a good bit of my writing time here as a diarist or memoirist or whatever we can think to call this intersection of writing, my own life and the internet, I find it fascinating. His powerful first person presence in the story challenges the boundary between journalist and diarist in a way I haven’t encountered since Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe. This endorsement of the book should not be considered, however, an invitation to pinch my nipples until they bleed. (If this idea disturbs you, I suggest you skip this book, as among the author’s proclivities is sadomasochism. The book is not pornographically explicit, but honest enough to make your skin crawl every now and then.)

§ Another great link courtesy of Ray Shea, “Why Don’t Aspiring Writers Read More Literary Magazines?” from Bookish.Us. This piece shamed me into subscribing to a year of the journal Sentence rather than just ordering a sample copy. And frankly, if they published samples on the web, would I have really ordered a sample copy? Everyone cries Gutenberg is dead but if we don’t buy newspapers and we don’t subscribe to journals or magazines that publish fiction and poetry, can we entirely blame the corporate buccaneers?

§ I no longer remember how I stumbled into a UNO graduate thesis on poetry and the web (the author manages to not include their name), but it is worth the visit just for an interesting list of poetry blogs that nicely compliments the Poems and Poetics list (if you clicked that last link to read some of Caveat Onus. If you didn’t do that I’ll wait here until you’re done).

I disagree with a lot of what the author says about blogs and blogging (may in fact write up a post in response) but the list looks promising from my first pass through, and it led me to Loss Glazier’s DIGITAL POETICS: THE MAKING OF E-POETRIES. This book promises to explore “the relationship between web “pages” and book technology, and the way in which certain kinds of web constructions are in and of themselves a type of writing.” Damn, now I have to buy another book. I may have to start skipping lunch.

§ A reminder: Moose Jackson’s poem/play Loup Garou, which explores the deep interconnectedness between land and culture in Louisiana, continues it’s outdoor run 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.

§ Another late add: Ned Sublett signs his memoir of New Orleans before the Federal Flood in ‘The Year Before the Flood, ‘ Thursday (tonight) , 7:30 p.m., Faubourg Marigny Art and Books.

§ This weekend is the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, which looks interesting, but I’m not headed up there. There’s just too much else going on, and I’m a little miffed that I submitted a copy of my book for consideration for their panel on self-published authors, and got back not so much as a post-card. You would think these people know how the rejection process works. This is one I’m skipping.

§ Fellow Mid-Citian Barb Johnson will be among those reading at the Louisiana Book Festival, but I plan to catch her at Garden District Books Oct. 21 Check out this excerpt from her novel in progress.

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy November 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Words fail me sometimes. One night’s worth of sleep in the last two days courtesy of the Counting House. Some days I am not sure if a better use of the newspaper is to read, or to wrap a lead pipe and beat my head with. The latter would sometimes be less painful. Maybe I should get a job with one of the city’s sanitation vendors, and let the robotic arms do all the heavy work.

Thankfully others have words for me when I have none. If this poem doesn’t cheer you up, I recommend sitting on the porch reading Bukowski and drinking absinthe until you can just make it in to set the alarm and collapse into bed. Sadly, I’ll probably be shepherding another technical conference call from hell tonight instead. We can all rest in the grave.

Dry Loaf
By Wallace Stevens

It is equal to living in a tragic land
To live in a tragic time.
Regard now the sloping, mountainous rocks
And the river that batters its way over stones,
Regard the hovels of those that live in this land.

That was what I painted behind the loaf,
The rocks not even touched by snow,
The pines along the river, and the dry men blown
Brown as the bread, thinking of birds
Flying from burning countries and brown sand shores

Birds that came like dirty water in waves
Flowing over the rocks, flowing over the sky,
As if the sky was a current that bore then along,
Spreading them as waves spread flat on the shore,
One after another washing the mountains bare.

It was the battering of drums I heard
It was hunger, it was the hungry that cried
And the waves, the waves were soldiers moving
Marching and marching in a tragic time
Below me, on the asphalt, under the trees.

It was solders went marching over the rocks
And still the birds came, came in watery flocks,
Because it was spring and the birds had to come.
No doubt that solders had to be marching
and that drums had to be rolling, rolling, rolling.

Creole Beat June 27, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I finally gave up on ever getting to see the library’s copy of Cranial Guitar, Selected Poems by Bob Kaughman. It has been “in cataloging” for so long I have decided that “in cataloging” is a euphamism like “passed on”. “Cranial Guitar, preceded in cataloging by…”. His earlier books, like all those of another famous New Orleans-linked poet Everette Maddox, arevlocked away safely in the library’s Louisiana Collection where I don’t think I am welcome to bring my lunch in while I read.

I couldn’t find a copy to buy in town, either, and was forced to go to Amazon. While Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, he is still a New Orleans-born boy and you would think someone might carry a copy. (Same for Maddox, a man who is forever linked with New Orleans). The poetry shelf of Maple Leaf Bookstore, one of my favorite haunts long ago, sits half empty and neglected the last few times I went by. I think I need to go bookstore shopping.

While the New Orleans-born Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, here is a poem about Louisiana from that collection.

Early Loves
By Bob Kaufman

Slippery driftwood, icebreaking mudpacks.
Garfish, mothers of cajun whores,
Laughing blood noises, at comic shrimps.
Gliding on leaves of sunken trees.

Dying love, hidden in misty Bayous
Red love, turning black, brown,
Dead in the belly, brittle womb
Of some laughing crab.

A father. Whose, mine?
Floating on seaweed rugs.
To that pearl tomb, shining
Beneath my bayou’s floor.

Dead, and dead,
And you dead too.

No more arm twisting,
Heart twisting laughter.
Dead moss, colors of sorrow.

Later in hot arms, hers,
Between sweaty lovemakings.
Crying will wet moss swamps,
Hidden beneath her arms.

Tears will wash her dirty murdered soul.
God will be called to atone for his sins.

Considered America’s foremost surrealist poet and considered America’s Rimbaud by the French (who have all of his papers in a library), much of what he writes takes more than a few readings, and some bits might take a lifetime to decode, so I best sign off and get started. I think I may have to post up Reel Three of Golden Sardine, an incredible bit of writing about “the Deathbed of the last Buffalo in Nebraska” and the bloody conquest of the West.


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.

Tales of Grave Ulysses February 28, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, quotes, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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….O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gilbraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

— James Joyce’s Ulysses

Soon it will be June and where then shall we meet, and who shall read? I have never done a Bloomsday and have always wanted to. The last hereabouts looks to have been June 2005 and then, well, you know. So, who’s in?


P.S.–It’s hard to see online, but this has a NoLa Rising tag painted down the left side.