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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 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.

Carry Me Home at deVille Books January 9, 2009

Posted by The Typist in books, Hurricane Katrina, literature, New Orleans, NOLA.
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Carry Me Home is now available at deVille Books, 134 Carondelet Street, New Orleans.

I am working to place the book locally in advance of it hitting Bowker’s Books in Print and the wholesale and major on-line channels (which it should by the end of January).

If you don’t shop on-line, watch this space (and the banner ad at right) for locations carrying the book. And you can always get it here.

Also, here is a link to an on-line reading I gave of a piece as originally published on Wet Bank Guide done for WTUL-FM’s Community Gumbo show in September, 2006. (Thanks, Schroeder).

In The Brown Zone with Mother Cabrini