Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fence Mother's Day Special

Fence Books is offering a great deal on a poetry anthology written about mothering, child rearing, etc. Great deal with a great line up of contributors such as: ann lauterbach, mina loy, bernadette mayer, thylias moss, hoa nguyen, alice notley, sharon olds, alicia ostriker, maureen owen, and so on.

From the Fence Email:

"Today's the day to get the perfect gift for any mother, mother-to-be, past mother, grandmother, or actually anyone who's ever been born. It's Not for Mothers Only, and we're so eager for it be read that we're offering it for $10. If you order the book today, we can guarantee its arrival at the destination of your choice by May 9.

The picture on the cover of the silhouette of a woman in a state of extreme pregnancy, with an image of a fetus kind of drifting outside of her inside a box with a dotted line around it, indicates that this is pregnancy/birth/parenting of mind and spirit--not necessarily biological and sometimes immanent. Introductions are by editors Catherine Wagner and Rebecca Wolff."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Counterpath Press: New Book from Laynie Browne

Laynie Brown has a new book out and it's an homage to an amazing Mayer book. See below the info. fresh from Counterpath Press.

Browne's book The Scented Fox (Wave books, 2006) was chosen by Alice Notley in the National Poetry Series. It's one of my favorite poetry books and I used to read parts of it to Mina at night before bed. It's a blend of lyrical poetry and prose. Another favorite of mine that is also reminiscent of Mayer's experiments in form is Daily Sonnets, also from Counterpath Press, 2007.

Here's a review for The Scented Fox where the reviewer says the poems are like vicodin. I sure did enjoy them but they didn't make me feel all itchy and rashy...well, that's just me being allergic to vicodin and all.

From Counterpath Press Email:

"The Desires of Letters, by Laynie Browne (ISBN 978-1933996-19-6)

'Motherhood and housewifery and other worldly concerns of the female artist-provider ride rampant here in this bustling exploding book of prose & poem meditations. One of our best writers does it again' (Anne Waldman). Prose, verse, letters, and plays, The Desires of Letters is a passionate commentary on writing, mothering, and the navigation of politics, community, and imagination. An homage to Bernadette Mayer's The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, the book begins at the onset of the 2003 Iraq war and becomes 'transformative . . . [in] its negotiation of the global and the domestic, beauty made bittersweet with annoyance and exhaustion, all that advice about how to raise a child and write at the same time' (Juliana Spahr)."

Learn more about the author:

Interview with Laynie Browne

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poets and Writers Presents Local Workshop: May 1

Valentine Pierce sent me a link to an upcoming event next weekend at the Bywater branch library. I think her workshop is invaluable for writers, poets who want to learn and improve on their performances. 17 Poets! has been running open mics since 2003, and Dave and I have heard too-many-to-count performances over the years during the open mic section that have varied from stunning to painful. Delivery and execution is a skill, and it's part of the process of completing the actual work of writing the poem. There are some really common sense tools that even seasoned readers often forget to employ that would make their readings more engaging.

Pictured: Valentine Pierce, 2005, reading at the 17 Poets! recording for the PBS News Hours with Jim Lehrer

During the Summer Writing Program at Naropa University, Bobbie Louise Hawkins would give a talk every year to students about stage performance. It was a wonderful compedium of tips and tactics that she learned in her many years as a performer and as an audience member at Naropa.

I can remember our first open mic night back in 2003 at the Gold Mine Saloon. We had just a handful of participants that came out for that first venture, but we did have an interesting character come in and strip down to his birthday suit in order to recite. Dave tactfully pointed out that we don't have a license in the Quarter for that kind of performance, and the young man put his underwear on and preceded to sing some quite lovely English ballads. I think his nudity had something to do with the pastoral. But case in point, know where your reading and how your performance will go over before you disrobe.

Valentine's Blog is under places to look: Backpocketpoet. Her book Geometry of the Heart was published by Portals Press.

Special Poetry Event Funded by Poets & Writers, Inc.

N.O. Public Library
Alvar Branch:
913 Alvar St, New Orleans, LA 70117

May 1, 12 - 2 p.m.

Valentine Pierce presents "Stand Up, Look Up, Speak Up: How to Present Your Poetry in Public"
Poets are encouraged to bring a poem for reading.
Reading is limited to 12 poets/1 poem (2–4 minutes in length).
Please call 504.596-2667 by April 26, 2010 to sign-up.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Congrats to Moose!

Big Easy Award Winners:

Raymond “Moose” Jackson, ArtSpot Productions, Mondo Bizarro
Pictured: R. Moose Jackson playing at the 17 Poets! Reading Series
Loup Garou was an amazing play. I'm thrilled that Moose received recognition in his first foray into playwriting. I'm shocked that Kathy Randels and Nick Slie who were nominated for Best Producer and Best Lead Actor were not also awarded. Dave and I went to go see this play out in the heart of City Park when I was about 8 months pregnant. They provided seating, but I brought my own since sitting for two hours at that point could get pretty uncomfortable.
This is exactly how a play should be written, produced and presented to an audience. I was quite certain at one point that Nick Slie, who plays the lead character, the loup garou, was going to blow us all up with a gas tank and a flame thrower. The set for this play was unbelievable and what made it even more fun was the unintentional audience, say a guy walking his dog in the background who had no idea why this guy was running around baying at the moon for a captive audience.
Whenever I'm watching something so visually and vocally stunning; I feel like an infant when they get overstimulated and they need to turn away. It's like you want it to be over, because your brain can't process it all at once and you don't want it to end, because it's so good.
I feel this way about chocolate, peanut butter and milk sometimes as well. But you can have that anytime, and we can only hope the powers that be will bring back the loup garou for our viewing pleasure.

Jazz/ Poetry Month: Celebrating Day One Jazz Fest

It was a wet day for opening Jazz Fest this year, but I heard on WWOZ Wednesday night this version of Theodore Roethke's Poem The Waking recorded by Kurt Elling. It's really beautiful, and The Waking was one of those first poems I remember reading in school and falling in love with the way the words worked.

From NPR's website links to some poetry inspired jazz including the Elling recording:

"April is Jazz Appreciation Month, as well as National Poetry Month. This week's Take Five celebrates both art forms in the same place. "

Read and Hear More

I also heard on George Ingmire's show on Wed. that Henry Butler's documentary The Music's Gonna Get You Through is going to be on PBS this Sunday. I might have to double DVR Treme and this as I've been falling asleep so early thanks to Issa's three hour feeding schedule.

And when is John Sinclair gonna be on Treme reading some poetry?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Seventh Birthday Poem

Mina turned seven in November.

Here is her birthday poem. It's for me really, not her.

Seventh Birthday

what is more painful than loss
the distinct knowledge of that which you held
in the palm
cradled newborn head
reaching far beyond your fingers
by this time there is no stopping it
the world too will end
child limbs that wrangle outside
your longest reach
writing on a poem that's already been written
be careful, dear love, these days
arch out final moments of smallest bodies
rush headfirst into a decade of making
smiles and conversations
yet to be designed
foolishly we think our paradise is out there
not slipping forever past our fingertips
the friction of our lives hurtling
before the vaccuum descends

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Panel on Carville, LA at the Tenn Williams Fest

So, a few weeks ago I went to the panel on Carville, LA at the Tenn. Williams Fest. They had James Carville, Marcia Gaudet, Neil White, and Jose Ramirez talking about their experiences and books revolving around the National Leprosarium that was built in Carville, LA. I've linked to the author's books above, because they are all really good reads. I've been writing about Carville since 2005 and stopped literally because of Hurricane Katrina. I wrote the book Memorial and Sight Lines instead. But I went back to the Carville book because the Federal government built the morgue to identify bodies found in the floodwaters in Carville, LA. There is a poem in Memorial and Sight Lines that references this morgue.

At this point I have done a ton of research on Hansen's Disease and the history of the leprosarium, but it was wonderful to hear the panelists speak. Primarily, Ramirez's story is touching as a patient at the hospital during the sixties. In his talk, you could still hear his discomfort with the L word (leprosy) and his need to impart the incredible stigma associated with this disease.

Ironically, while all the panelists were cognizant of the stigma and even told stories about the patients' reactions to terms such as "being treated like a leper," an audience member still stood up and asked if there were any more patients in Carville at the "leper colony." I could see all the panelists cringe when the words came over the microphone. Neil White deftly referred to the center by its name as a hospital for the research of Hansen's Disease.

Here are some highlights from my notes:
Ramirez: "There is a great deal to be learned from being institutionalized."

Neil White who was actually a federal prisoner at the hospital during the short time that both patients and federal prisoners were housed on the grounds: talked about the eclectic convergence of patients, prisoners, staff, doctors, guards, etc. A unique mixture not to be seen again.

Armadillo statue on the desk; research center in New Iberia. (Nine-banded armadillo is a carrier of HD, symbol of HD research)

James Carville talked about the sterilization of the mail coming out of Carville. Stamps falling off the Stars.*

(*The Star was a periodical written at Carville.)

Ramirez spoke about the scars in the soul vs. physical scars as well as the impact on his mother and mothers in general who either could not protect their children or who were diagnosed with HD and had their children taken from them.

Gaudet referenced Whitman's "I saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing" talking about the large oak near the hospital

No constitutional lawsuits were ever brought by patients who were stripped of their civil liberties while at Carville.

A audience member who as a nurse had never seen a patient with HD prompted Ramirez to mention that most physicians receive 10 minutes of training in regards to HD. Each panelists' repsonse to the nurse was that she proabably had comes across a patient with HD, she just didn't know it, or they were misdiagnosed.

Coca Cola didn't want to supply the glass bottles to the hospital because they might be returned, so they refused return shipments. Patients boycotted Coke for Pepsi and began to use the Coke bottles that couldn't be returned to line the flower beds and walkways. Neil White referenced a patient saying: Coca Cola bottles still a Coca Cola bottle, it's just found a new purpose.

******Sorry for any typos; Issa insists that I hold her and type one-handed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Love Poems

I like poems that use multiple choice answers and syllabi. I want to write poems with more charts and graphs.

ELENA GEORGIOU's In-Class Assignment*

Text below from Tarpaulin Sky:

Speaking of graphs:

Here is a cool one from Diagram 10.1 on suicidal poets and their controls:

From the site's description:

A total of 158 poems by poets who committed suicide were analyzed for differences in language between early (written within 2-3 years of the poet's first recorded poem), middle (written 2-5 years halfway between their earliest and final poems), and late (written within 1 year of suicide) poems....
In general, the results indicate that certain features of poetry may be associated with suicide. Most intriuging was the combined linguistic evidence to support a social integration approach. That is, the suicide group's poetry contained more first-person singular self-references throughout their careers.
The suicide group used a significantly higher percentage of sexual words throughout all phases of their careers.

Allison Cobb: Green-Wood

Been reading, and have read, Alllison Cobb's Green-Wood, (Factory Books, 2010):

This is a photo I took in Green-Wood when Dave and I went up there to read in the church on the grounds. There is Tracey McTague, amazing MC, for the Green-wood Reading.

Here is an online excerpt from Cobb's text:

This is an amazing book with some interesting parallels for me.

I live next to a Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans.
Tracey McTague of Lungfull Magazine , among other amazing things, invited Dave and me to read at the Brooklyn Green-Wood Cemetery in 2007. On this fabulous night of poetry among the gravestones and history, Tracey first told me that she and Brendan were pregnant with their little girl Aurora.
I am slightly obsessed with funeral rituals and the dead, so the context of the book is appealing to me.
But more importantly, it is a long poem filled with tons of cerebral facts and bits of informtation from the listing of trees to herbicides and Emerson digging up his dead wife. I love this.
Jacket Magazine,Issue 40, just published my article on Bernadette Mayer's Midwinter Day, another long poem that is fond of lists and various tidbits of info. to tickle your brain.

So, everyone should immediately read this book. And visit Greenwood cemetery as well. Both book and place are amazing.
Baby Issa would like me to stop going on about this and pick her up now.

One last thing:

Monday, April 19, 2010

NOMA Event: Patti Smith

From the NOMA Website:

On Thursday, April 22nd, the night before JazzFest opens in New Orleans , artist and musician Patti Smith will present a talk at NOMA entitled "On Photography" at 6:00 pm in the Museum's Stern Auditorium. Her talk will accompany the opening of an exhibition of forty-five photographs by Smith, donated by the artist to the museum in 2009 and 2010.

Patti Smith is an interdisciplinary artist of the highest order. She has excelled in the diverse fields of poetry, prose, music, drawing, film and photography. Her friendship and artistic relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was recently documented in her best-selling memoir Just Kids. Copies of the book will be on hand in the Museum Shop for Smith to sign following her talk.The source of inspiration for much of Patti Smith's poetry and music has often been key figures of French culture, including Arthur Rimbaud, Nicole Stéphane, Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud and RenŽ Daumal, so we find many of the inspirational photographs Smith has taken derive from her frequent Parisian and French sojourns.

Patti Smith: A Donation to NOMA will be on view in the 2nd floor Contemporary Art Galleries from April 22 until July 3. The artist will present a talk entitled "On Photography" on Thursday, April 22, at 6 p.m. in the Stern Auditorium.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Solid Quarter Submissions

I'm opening submissions for Solid Quarter Magazine once again.

Solid Quarter features the work of four poets focusing on long poems or serial poems.

Work that you think is too long to be accepted elsewhere!

Please send your work to the email attached as a word .doc with the subject:
Solid Quarter Submission

This will be issue 3. Contributors will receive issues and are invited to attend the reading at the Gold Mine Saloon 17 Poets! Reading Series

17 Poets! reading Series

THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2010 @ 8:00 p.m.
17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series hosts a reading featuring poet RAYMOND "MOOSE" JACKSON and fiction writer JENNIFER STEWART.

Ms. Stewart is a 2006 graduate of UNO's Low-Residency MFA in poetry. She currently works for the Low-Residency Program as the Coordinator of the Study Abroad Programs in Writing. She earned her undergraduate degree, a BA in History and English, at Emory & Henry College in 2001. Publications include Florida English, Sentence, Poets' Corner - Fieralingue, Exquisite Corpse, and Big Bridge. Ms, Stewart lives in New Orleans, writes in coffee shops, and in her spare time, teaches people how to bend funny ways.

When it comes to poetry, Mr. Jackson is considered one of New Orleans' most favorite sons. He is the author of Illusion Fields and most recently Bitter Ink. Jackson is a consummate world traveler of the earth's byways, railways, and highways. In the fall 2009, he astounded audiences with his play Loup Garou produced by Art Spot Productions. As a professional human being, Jackson is arguably second to none. His poems have appeared in dozens of publications including YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art, Big Bridge, and Exquisite Corpse.
Visit for more info.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Favorite Poem by Michael Ford

Read my New Favorite Poem by Michael Ford published by SoandSo:

Lizzie Borden, What's all the fuss about?

Go ahead and read all the work. This new online publication has some stunning words.

Summer Brenner (PM Press) nominated for award

See a review I did for her nominated book here at Gently Read Lit and vote below:

Just go online to and vote for:

* Best New Voice - Summer Brenner, /I-5: A Novel of Crime, Transport and Sex /
* Best Cover - /I-5//: A Novel of Crime, Transport and Sex/
* Best Publisher/Imprint - PM Press / Switchblade

PM Press' New Releases Include:
* Benjamin Whitmer - /Pike/ ("This is what noir is, what it can be when it stops playing nice--blunt force drama stripped down to the bone, then made to dance across the page." --Stephen Graham Jones )

* Michael Harris - /Chieu Hoi Saloon/ ("Mike Harris' novel has all the brave force and arresting power of Celine and Dostoevsky in its descent into the depths of human anguish and that peculiar gallantry of the moral soul..." --John Shannon.)