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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Michael Gizzi

Michael Gizzi (1949-2010)

"Description ends at death.
A Robotic realm of light bears this out:
tears don't fall in outer space."

-from New Depths of Deadpan, (Burning Deck, 2009)

Michael Gizzi reading at the Gold Mine Saloon, 2004.
Here Michael read at Penn Sound:
Michael gave me the nicest compliment at Crossiant D'or in the French Quarter. In the middle of a conversation, he just leaned over and said, "You are an accomplished young woman." And for some reason, on that day, in that moment, his saying that filled a little empty spot in my heart that I had barely known was there. Sometimes the people who should say these things to us don't for whatever reason, and when we least expect it, someone else steps in and fills those shoes.
Thank you, Michael

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Andrei Codrescu Reading and Book Signing at the Gold Mine Saturday

17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series presents an evening with poet ANDREI CODRESCU signing & reading from his new book The Poetry Lesson (Princeton) at the Gold Mine Saloon this coming Saturday at 7:00 p.m., September 25, 2010, admission is free.

The Poetry Lesson is pure Andrei Codrescu: irreverent, unconventional, brilliant, and always funny. Codrescu takes readers into the strange classroom and even stranger mind of a poet ... as he introduces his students to THE TOOLS OF POETRY (a list that includes a goatskin dream notebook, hypnosis, and cable TV) and THE TEN MUSES OF POETRY (mishearing, misunderstanding, mistranslating...), and assigns each student a tutelary "Ghost-Companion" poet... From arguing that Allen Ginsberg wasn't actually gay to telling about the time William Burroughs's funeral procession stopped at McDonald's, The Poetry Lesson is a thoroughly entertaining portrait of an inimitable poet, teacher, and storyteller.

Andrei Codrescu is an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, and NPR commentator. He edits the online journal Exquisite Corpse and taught literature and creative writing at Louisiana State University for twenty-five years before retiring in 2009 as the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English. His recent work includes The Poetry Lesson (Princeton), The Posthuman Dada Guide (Princeton), and a collaborative book of poesy with Ruxandra Cesereanu Forgiven Submarine (Black Widow Press).

Cobb Review in Rain Taxi, SO and SO Magazine and Romanian Stories

My review of Allison Cobb's book, Green-Wood, is in the new print issue of Rain Taxi.

Also, I have a poem in the new issue of So and So Magazine: Yeah!

The other poems in this issue are stunning.

The new issues of Solid Quarter should be done very soon.

Last night was the first night of our 1001 Story-Telling Festival with our guests from Romania. The crowd turn out was awesome and the performances were great. Just a quick reminder that books from some of our performers can be ordered from Black Widow Press:

Forgiven Submarine by Andrei Codrescu and Ruxandra Cesereanu. Translated by Andrei Codrescu
Also available in translation: Crusader Woman by Romanian poet Ruxandra Cesereanu. Translated by the poet Adam Sorkin with an introduction by Andrei Codrescu.
Explore many great books in translation over at the Black Widow Press website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Two nights of Creole Arabesque & Transylvanian-Moldavian Fascination
Gold Mine Saloon, 701 Dauphine St in the French Quarter

Wednesday, September 22, 8:00 p.m.
featuring guest writers & poets Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Bogdan Odagescu, Marius Conkan, Bill Lavender, R. Moose Jackson, Jonathan Kline and DeWitt Brinson

Thursday, September 23, 8:00 p.m.
featuring guest writers & poets Andrei Codrescu, Ruxandra Cesereanu, Corin Braga, Dave Brinks, Jessica Faust-Spitzfaden, Kip Cairo, and James Nolan.

EVENT PROLOGUE: Sheherezade, the medieval storyteller, told stories for 1001 nights in order to save her life from the cruel sultan Sharyar, who married a virgin every night and had her killed next morning. Only Sheherezade’s stories could stop him from his murderous insanity. The 1001 Nights Storytelling Festival and its participants are out to prove that the 21st century is the new Oral Century. They believe that New Orleans and Transylvania are the places where Sheherezade 2 is going to offer a new model for survival through storytelling. The events will center entirely on the human voice and imagination.

The Transylvanians will unveil sequels to the 1001 Nights in English translation, some of them interpreted by New Orleans actors, surprise musicians and dancers, while the New Orleanians will unveil accounts of unmerciful fabulosity.

Also featured in this festival — A meeting of Two-Continent Imaginations: Corin Braga, founder of The Center For Imagination Studies from Cluj, Transylvania, and Confessor Emeritus of Abomination and founder of The New Orleans School for the Imagination Dave Brinks joined by collaborateurs Andrei Codrescu and Bill Lavender.

F R I D A Y , S E P T E M B E R 2 4 2 P M

After the Wednesday and Thursday night readings the Gold Mine:

•AN ENCOUNTER between the Center for Imagination Studies from TRANSYLVANIA and its founder Corin Braga, and the NEW ORLEANS School for the Imagination, represented by Dave Brinks, Andrei Codrescu, and Bill Lavender.

•A writing workshop on collaborative poetry will precede the discussions.

TRAC building, Room 103

Directions: Take Elysian Fields toward Lake Ponchartrain. Turn left on Leon C. Simon, go to thenext traffic light (St. Anthony Street) and turn right. Turn into first parking lot on the left. TRAC is the3-story building at the end of the parking lot. Park in a spot marked by white lines only; retrieve yourparking pass and put it on your dashboard.

S P O N S O R E D B Y :UNO Press
For more info, or if you get lost, call 504 813 9891

This festival is made possible by the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York and the Gold Mine Saloon, in collaboration with the University of New Orleans (UNO) – UNO Press and the Division of International Education.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

17 Poets! Reading Series Resumes on Sept. 16th

17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series is excited to be back at the Gold Mine Saloon after a brief summer hiatus. So much to celebrate in these coming weeks and months, but first...

We engage in a passionate, soulful night of sincerity and expression to honor & bless the Gulf, its creatures, and its peoples!

"A CEREMONIAL COMMUNITY BLESSING for the GULF REGION" featuring: Works by contributing artists of The New Orleans Photo Alliance, A Drum Circle Ceremony (bring yours!) led by poet Dave Brinks, tasty morsels of Alligator-Crawfish JAMBALAYA for everyone; as well as word offerings by writers & social activists SUSAN PREVOST, NEELY SHUJA, JAMES NOLAN et al...followed by OPEN MIC hosted by Jimmy Ross.

Additionally, I invite everyone to join me in offering respects to one of the finest professional human beings I've ever known: New Orleans poet, brother and friend PAUL CHASSE (1966 - 2008) who left us so unexpectedly two years ago this week on Sept 12; and whose unprecedented bardic presence and strength of spirit shall forever reside within us as a undying source of inspiration, blissed and blessed!

(oil by Joshua Walsh)

Visit for more information about the series and the open mic.

Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics

Seriously, Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, where have you been all my life.
This journal rocks, and I am biased because I happen to adore prose poems/ poetic prose. Doubly amazing, the Sentence Feature in issue 7 is Contemporary American Indian Prose Poetry with poems by Sherman Alexie, Sara Marie Ortiz, Orlando White, LeAnne Howe, Susan Deer Cloud, and more to just name a few.
The feature section has a wonderful introduction by Dean Rader exploring the link between prose poetics and oral tradition, esp. in relation to American Indian Poetics. The rest of this journal is just as wonderful with a rich range of styles and voices that keep you wanting to read this thick tome. This is 300 pgs of great writing for 12.00 bucks from Firewheel Editions.
Order below:
I just ordered this book, Had Slaves by Catherine Sasanov from Firewheel as they had sections in #7 Issue of Sentence. Here's a brief description of it from the website:
"Two words, stumbled across while going through family papers, upended everything poet Catherine Sasanov thought she knew about her Missouri ancestors. Using extensive research and imaginative speculation, Sasanov not only constructs fragments of what might have been the lives of the central figures in this tragic drama—the eleven men, women and children held in bondage by her great-great-great-grandfather and his family—but also offers a larger view of American slavery and the artifacts and attitudes that are its ongoing legacy."
In the excerpts in Sentence, one of the things I like about these poems are the titles. Here is an example "Line Drawing of Ex-Slave, James Cannefax, Consisting of Ink Lifted from Newsprint, Probate Files, Census Pages, Historical Gossip, a Cemetery Map, and One Ripped Watercolor." The poem then tries to assemble these disparate pieces so that a collage emerges of the character. I like the scientific catalogue of where the facts are coming from, and the idea that we are being given the medium before viewing the "painting" in its entirety.
Morton Marcus has two poems in Sentence, "Pears" and "Navel" which both present an image, and then the writer turns and turns and turns the image until its inside out and upside down. Marcus does this with great effect. "The Guitars" by Ray Gonzalez is another one of my favorites; it literally catalogs famous guitar players and the weird incidences involving their instruments; it's both fascinating and macabre as he places these instruments in the room where "Eric Clapton's four-year-old son fell out of a 49th floor apartment to his death..." All of these tales swirl around these guitars that are part of these musicians like an extra limb.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Nicole Peyrafitte in New Orleans: A Poet's Response

Check out all the awesome updates/repairs/ renovations nearing completion at the building, beautiful photo taken by Nicole Peyrafitte. Read her amazing blog entry about her trip to New Orleans. I love to see the city from other people's points of view. Check out all her amazing food recipes as well:

Here is the meal she was gracious enough to feast us with while here:
Quail with a fig sauce, fresh figs, pasta with black bacon and green bean medley.

"Fast Food" Nicole Style as she calls it.


Just got in the mail two new books for review, one is from one of the editors of a press I am liking very much right now. Counterpath press is putting out some beautiful poetry books. This book is by one of its two editors, Julie Carr, and is put out by CoffeeHouse Press as a winner of the National Poetry Series award. It's titled "Sarah-Of Fragments and Lines" and is yet another book I have been reading lately that is in part about mothering and conception, etc. So far, it's stunning. I can only read parts of it at a time as it speaks about loss, mothers, death, love, much to take in and such breathtaking phrases.

New Poetry in New Orleans:
Just got word from Verna Press that their newest book of poems is out:

Unsolicited Poems
by David Rowe

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Protect our Coastline Benefit at Gold Mine Saloon

Poet Christine Hume

Shot by Christine Hume
Counterpath Press, 2010

I've been reading this amazing new book by poet Christine Hume. Doubly interesting to me as it uses as subject matter the experience of mothering.
There are tons of reviews online about the book, so I just wanted to point out one aspect that I find most interesting. The beginning section of the book, about 12 pages, opens with a series of questions and answers, presumably between a mother figure and her fetus. The book revolves around images of darkness, night, moons, and internal/ external dichotomies. In this opening sequence, the questions are straightforward, generic while the answers seem to emanate from an abstract, surreal plane. The mother/ baby call and response is complicated by this interesting twist on the voice and tone of the answer. The answers play with the idea of the other, separate but also part of, as well as the other who is listening but at the same time made in translation. The answers come from within, but are they truly other than the mother/ Language begins to mimic biology. Hume attempts to give voice to the singular experience of the fetus to know the mother from the inside, to know the mother's voice and language internally, an experience lost to us in memory but still somewhere in the nexus of our brains.

What is interesting to me outside of this poem called "Incubatory" in this text is an earlier published version of this poem which appeared in Not For Mothers Only (Fence Books), an amazing collection of poems on mothering. In the collection, Hume titles this poem "Hatch" and changes the order of some of the questions as well as the answers. The poems feel the same but they have slight differences. Some words are added while others are excised. The biggest difference is that the opening question is changed. "Incubatory" opens with the question: "Are you comfortable?" which is always an enigmatic way to begin a book. I think it's interesting to see how poets rearrange and continue to edit their work. I wonder what decisions prompted Hume to make these changes, further readings by other trusted friends and poets or maybe her own sitting with the text. My favorite exchange is the question: "Can you hear the sound of my voice?" And the texts have two different responses, with the poem from the book Shot elaborating more on the image of the trap "I place ears like traps on the amniotic shores", is added in "Incubatory", the fetus lays traps and seems to be hunting what the mother gives in sounds.

Christine Hume at Counterpath Press

Also by Hume, if you can find it, is this beautiful book made by Ugly Duckling. This book comes with a CD and explores that first sense developed in utero: hearing. Ugly Duckling makes such exquisite books.

I also just got Karen Weiser's To Light Out, another book examining the crazy situation of inhabiting and making another human being in your body. I adore the cover art on this book. Check it out:

Issa is now fully mobile and is making her way under the computer as I type this in an attempt to pull the plug.