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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Protect our Coastline Benefit was Awesome!

Michael Fedor has an amazing array of photos from the event on his FB page that capture just how much fun we all had dancing to Rockin' Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters, and Cyril Neville and Gayneille Neville. It was awesome. The art auction went great. We had a lot more items then we anticipated. The readings were beautiful. The two sets the band played were jumping, and the tribute Cyril paid to our dearly missed friend and mentor, Eluard Burt, was poignant and touching.

I woke up depressed August 29th and couldn't stop watching the news footage of where we were five years ago. By the time, we went to set up for the benefit, I was ready to put it all behind me and look forward. And by the time Rockin' Dopsie and the band got going, I was ready to dance and celebrate being in a city that five years ago nearly washed away and some months after that, a city that people and politicians were saying shouldn't be rebuilt. It's surreal, here we were five years out, dancing our funky butts off at the Gold Mine in a place that almost wasn't anymore and trying to save our waters and our way of life still. You can't write or make up this shit. We have to dance like our lives depend on it and we have to fight for everything we love; but I will always put my money on New Orleans' people. We are the most resilient city in the nation at this point.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported Protect our Coastline. Thanks to all our sponsors. Thanks to all the poets, artists, musicians and friends who made this possible. This is just the beginning.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Howling Success: Book Launch Reading for A Howling in the Wires

Dave, Nicole Peyrafitte, and I had a tremendous evening attending the book release for the collection: A Howling in the Wires edited by Sam Jasper and Mark Folse. The collection covers blogs, poems and stories in response to Hurricane Katrina and the failing of the federal levees in New Orleans. Here's a few photo shots of the readers.

Valentine Pierce got the night off to a tremendous start with her poem "Reluctant Migrants," a poem full of hard truths and moments of levity and joy for all things New Orleans.

Editor and Contributor Mark Folse is seen here reading r. moose jackson's poem "o'neil's lament" since Moose is out and about promoting and staging the great play he wrote: Loup Garou. The poem speaks to the ghosts and the lost of this city as well as to those of us still, "upright" but not "alright."

Toward the end of the reading, after some hard tears and many more laughs; Dr. Jerry Ward took the stage to remind us of the importance of making history with our stories. As always, a true spiritual mentor and beacon of wise words, he cautioned us to take care with our words as we are the ones who must manifest this history, not the news media or those who would generalize and stereotype us.

What a beautiful night and what a beautiful archive of those terrifying and life changing moments in our lives.
To learn more about and purchase this collection, visit

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Silent Art Auction Preview for Protect Our Coastline Benefit

Here is just a preview of the great art up for Auction at the Gold Mine Saloon, August 29th, 5PM
701 Dauphine St. All proceeds benefit

For a schedule of performances, visit or

Signed/ Framed George Rodrigue Saints Blue Dog

Signed/ Numbered/ Framed 1992 Jazz Fest Poster, Irma Thomas

Also: 1997 Numbered/ Framed Jazz Fest Poster Signed by The Neville Brothers

Mixed Media Art Collage by Tracey McTague

Acrylic on Wood/ Board (2 Pieces) by Tasha Robbins

Also Pieces by New Orleans Artist Dr. Bob and New York Artist Nicole Peyrafitte as well as several jewelry pieces from Renaissance

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blake at NOMA, Ladyfest, Remembering Katrina at Tulane

NOMA's Book Club is doing a special William Blake reading this week.

Friday, 27th August, 11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Special Event. Poetry Reading - The Poetry and Prose of William Blake. - Bring your favorite literary work by William Blake to read aloud and share with the rest of the group. Does your poem remind you of art in NOMA's collection? If so, why? We will meet in the library at 11:30 a.m. and head up to the galleries at 12:00 p.m.

Poet Gina Ferrara sent me this email about the upcoming Ladyfest:

"roselyn leonard, who is coordinating ladyfest, asked me to contact some lady poets to read for poetry day of lady fest. lady fest is a festival that takes place in early november. it celebrates the immeasureable talent of female artists, poets, musicians and dancers in our community. it runs from wednesday, november 3rd thru sunday, november 7th. roselyn has marked saturday, november 6th as poetry day for the festival. basically, each poet will read for fifteen minutes. the readings are from 12noon to 6pm. the poetry reading will take place at the Love Lost Lounge, 2529 Dauphine (on the corner at Franklin) Also, the event is in dire need of someone who can function as an emcee. if anyone would like to emcee or know of someone who can emcee, please email me. pass this email along to any poet i might have admitted."

You can comment below if interested and I can pass it on to Gina.

Also upcoming poetry events:

August 29 · 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Kendall Cram Room, Lavin-Bernick Center Tulane University

Nicole Cooley, Peter Cooley, Yusef Komunyakaa, Kay Murphy, Brenda Marie Osbey, Alison Pelegrin, Brad Richard, and Martha Serpas, with Alice Quinn. Co-sponsored by the English Department, Tulane University. Admission is free.

You can hit this poetry reading and then head downtown to the Gold Mine Saloon, ( to hear even more poetry, dance, eat and maybe win an art auction, all for a good cause. 5PM-11Pm, 701 Dauphine

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What We Need to Revist this Katrina Anniversary

The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery
by Dr. Jerry Ward, Jr.

Published by UNO Press (2007)
ISBN: 0972814337
233 pgs, paperback
Cover Art: Herbert Kearney

This journal begins on Sept. 2, 2005 and ends August 29, 2006 containing a year of the author's struggles, defeats, and triumphs in the face of the destruction of his city and home. In a larger and more poignant sense, Dr. Ward tackles the destruction of one's faith in the face of disaster, a faith beyond the borders of religious ideals, it's a simple faith in the way that the world should work, in the way that the day should hold its shape. There are so many beautiful insights, so many heartbreaking truths laid bare on the page. The journal is a gumbo, a composite of the professor in his academic world, a man breaking bread with his friend, an African-Amercian responding to the coded speak of those who hold forth in the recovery of New Orleans. Dr. Ward pours it all in: the suffocating days exiled in the shelter, the catalogue of things lost to water, the anger, the depression, the weight of trying to move forward into the next actual entry in the journal's progression. In there as well lies the keen eye poised on literature and what it teaches us; Dr. Ward shares peer reviews, colleague emails, letters of recommendations and advice to young teachers. His schedule to appear and speak, to grant interviews and to be present civically in this tumultuous year is admirable and exhausting. There is a return again and again to the body, its need to slow down, and the mind, which cannot sit still long enough to let the sorrow seep in. Dr. Ward tends to his "post-Katrina" heart in the journal, aware of the tenuous thread anchoring him to the city and to the life he can lead within its recovery. He repsonds with the poet's declaration: "I elect... to exploit language and my own emotions" (38). This will be difficult to read if you were here, if you too have a post-Katrina heart. You will feel it in your skin, be it color or non colored, the prickly anxiety and fear that shadowed that first year back. You will be forced to recall the smells of your moldy possessions, the loss of your home, the sounds of the empty streets, the joy of each returning business and neighbor, the frustration of insurance contacts and FEMA paperwork, the endless lines, and the falling asleep truly not knowing what the next day would bring. You will be taking a strange boat like the one on the cover, "all mothers are boats," is its name, and you will be rowing toward an island where we keep these things tucked away for they never truly leave us. The mother in this case is your city, your survival; she weeps for you even as she turns her back. "The perpetual wonderment of tragedy is that we do not tire of looking into its fractured surface to see ourselves as we really are" (150).

Dr. Jerry Ward, Jr will be reading with us on August 29th, 5PM for our fundraiser at the Gold Mine Saloon. Visit for full schedule.

Here is a veritable treasure trove of everything Jerry Ward kept here at ChickenBones: A Journal

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August 29th, All Hands on Deck Benefit with Art Auction

Here are some of the great pieces on the wall for our silent art auction August 29th, 5PM at the Gold Mine Saloon to benefit:
Framed/ Signed George Rodrigue Saints Blue Dog
Framed/Numbered and Signed 1997 Jazz Fest Poster signed by the Neville Brothers
Framed/ Numbered/ Signed 1992 Jazz Fest Poster signed by Irma Thomas
Come on out and join us for a great cause and enjoy poetry, music, art and food.
Visit 17poets. com or for a full schedule

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Appropriation" is boring to debate!

I can't believe the amount of energy being expended on this discussion about whether it is ethically right to borrow other people's words to create poetry.

How much poetry would we have to strike from the record if we decided people should only write what they have experienced firsthand?

That's what poetry is: using your imagination, speaking in, of, and about others, telling and retelling of stories. etc///oh, this is so boring to me to relate. I can't believe people debate this junk.

You know what's on the other side of that fence: censoring words. Telling poets what they can't say and what they can't use. There is nothing ethical about poetry. At the end of the day, all that should matter is what he made: was it beautiful, was it worthy, did the effort and energy amount to something that was more than the sum of the parts before...

What is this convoluted idea that we have a right to our stories? How did these poems help or hurt anyone who experienced Katrina? My guess is that they didn't do either, because it's poetry, not FEMA, not the Army Corps of Engineers, not insurance companies, not contractors putting in Chinese drywall. It's poetry. So, give me a break. I lost my home in Katrina. I have a story about my experience in the disaster. Does it bother me when people not from here try to tell it as if they were and get it all wrong? Sure, but I don't go around telling people what they can and cannot write. If the writing sucks, it'll come out in the end. Let it be noted that neither Young or McDaniel are from New Orleans. And neither Young nor McDaniel were the sole artists producing oral history projects following Katrina or writing poems in response to Katrina. Let it be noted that the Poetryfoundation and the national eye remains more focused on work coming from outside of New Orleans rather than trying to find out about poets and oral historians actually from New Orleans who are doing the work here.

Really, it's all a scam between these two to draw attention to their own egos. This discussion doesn't help any of us still trying to put the pieces of our lives together after the storm. So, FU poetryfoundation and your stupid article.

Here's where you can go, if you would like to be bored to death:
Reflections on found poetry and the creative process

Here's where you could go to actually make a difference:

“Poetry is never going to directly induce that level of change (nor should it, lest it become indistinguishable from those authorities it ought to upset), but it can remind people, and teach them to realize in practice, that things can be made—literally made—different, and differently.”

-Raymond McDaniel

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010 @ 5:00 p.m.
701 Dauphine Street, 504-586-0745

The Saintsations from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters w/ special guest Cyril Neville perform at 7:00 p.m.

Artist George Rodrigue Silent Auction of Blue Dog/Saints Art from 5:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Celebrity Bartender WWL Tv Sportscaster Juan Kincaid from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

La Voix de Nola Poetique feat. Dave Brinks, Megan Burns, Lee Meitzen Grue, Nicole Peyrafitte, Jerry Ward Jr. perform at 5:30 p.m.

Food by WoW Cafe & Wingery (uptown location)

15 $ donation, All Proceeds benefit

Every donation HELPS our Louisiana Fisherman and the Barrier Island Restoration Project!

For More info, visit:

NEW ORLEANS: WHAT CAN’T BE LOST Book Launch: August 22

New Orleans: What Can't Be Lost 88 Stories and Traditions from the Sacred City
Lee Barclay, Editor

Photographs by Christopher Porché West

Book Synopsis

The eighty-eight stories and traditions in New Orleans: What Can't Be Lost are the piano keys in a love song to the city. Alongside Christopher Porché West's alluring black-and-white photographs, New Orleans' culture bearers pay tribute to the city they call home. From Storyville to the Super Bowl, from cover to cover are found Pulitzer Prize-winning writers--four of them gathered on these pages; Creole chefs; float and costume designers; a break-acrobat flipping forward over tourists lying on the pavement like matchsticks across from Jackson Square; Black Mardi Gras Indians; parade captains; musicians; protectors of the city's historic landmarks; writers of its poems and articles and novels and plays; and those who pass down traditions in the performance of New Orleans culture.

Here is a link to the index of contributors:

Dave's Essay is entitled:
Here Lies a Great Leviathaness by Dave Brinks, p57

BOOK LAUNCH at d.b.a.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
4:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m.
Music by the Free Agents Brass Band
Food by Lil Dizzy’s Café
618 Frenchmen Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Also on Thursday, August 26th:

Book signing at 3 Ring Circus Arts Education Center's THE BIG TOP
Thursday, August 26, 2010
8:30 p.m.—10:30 p.m.
Music by Monk Boudreaux
Performances by the Pussyfooters
1638 Clio Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
For a full list of readings:
Join them on Facebook.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Poster for Upcoming Gulf Benefit

You can see the larger version online:

Upcoming Book Release: August 26, 2010

Gallatin & Toulouse Press announces the publication of A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writings from Postdiluvian New Orleans. This collection combines the vivid post-Katrina experiences captured by internet-based “bloggers” from New Orleans–individuals who don’t think of themselves as writers but who were writing powerfully in the months after 8-29–with the work of traditional writers. Some of those, like novelist Dedra Johnson and poet Robin Kemp, share their most immediate reactions from their own blogs. The book deliberately blurs the line between formats and focuses on cataloging some of the best-written and most powerful reactions of the people who experienced Katrina.

Editors Sam Jasper and Mark Folse are writers who turned to the Internet to chronicle their own experiences and reactions to Katrina and found in the months after 8-29 they were part of a larger community sharing the public and very private events of the period. The book will be published late August, 2010. A launch party and reading is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny.

Contributors include cookbook author and travel-and-sailing writer Troy Gilbert, poet Valentine Pierce, Professor Jerry Ward of Dillard University and poet/playwright Raymond “Moose” Jackson together with the work of bloggers who are by day engineers, teachers, geologists, computer programmers, bankers, and social workers but in their spare time writers of talent whose only prior outlet has been their Internet-based blogs. These works were edited minimally for basic spelling and grammar, mistakes easily made writing first hand accounts created under great duress, in an attempt to preserve the original “howl” of people who experienced these events first hand.
All of the above graciously lifted from Mark Folse's blog:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poetry, Art, Music, Food: Celebrate and Raise Money for the Gulf

Save the Date!

Due to the overwhelming response, we are moving our event to August 29th, 2010, 5PM.

The Gold Mine Saloon and 17 Poets! are proud to be sponsoring an All-Hands-On-Deck Benefit August 29th, 5PM to benefit the nonprofit:

This benefit will feature perfomances by local artists, a silent art auction including art by George Rodrigue, musical guest Rockin' Dopsie, Jr and the Zydeco Twisters as well as an array of food, drink, and community spirit.

Please join us on August 29th at 5PM in the French Quarter. Drop me an email if you would like to help promote and/ or volunteer to help at this event.

Thanks!Megan Burns
Gold Mine Saloon
701 Dauphine St., corner of Dauphine and St. Peter

17 Poets! Reading Series

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Reading Tonight at Latter Library!

Indigenous and Endangered:
An Evening of Louisiana Poetry
A Language of Conservation Program
Darrell Bourque,
Louisiana Poet Laureate

Dave Brinks Rodger Kamenetz
Megan Burns Brad Richard
Gina Ferrara Jerry Ward
Kelly Harris

The Language of Conservation is an initiative of Poets House in partnership
with the Audubon Nature Institute, the New Orleans Public
Library and a consortium of zoos and libraries nationwide. It is made
possible by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum
and Library Services.

Wednesday, August 4
7-9 pm
Latter Library
5120 St. Charles Ave.

We will have Trembling Pillow Press books for sale as well as our own books: