ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
17 Poets Reading Series at the GOLD MINE SALOON
701 Dauphine Street (504) 586-0745) (in the French Quarter) www.17poets.com
All features are Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. followed by OPEN MIC Admission is Free.
Books by Bob Kaufman
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Gina Ferrara and Jimmy Ross
Thursday, October 9, 8:00 p.m.
featuring readings & book signings by poets
(+ Birthday Roast & Celebration for Jimmy Ross and Gina Ferrara)
followed by Open Mic
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Gina Ferrara is a fifth generation New Orleanian. Her poems have been featured in numerous journals and anthologies including Poetry East, Callaloo and the Briar Cliff Review. Her chapbook, The Size of Sparrows, was published by Finishing Line Press in December of 2006. She was awarded a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation to study and travel abroad and is using the grant to travel to Ireland. She is an educator who is a central force in the New Orleans poetry scene and has poems forthcoming for publication in YAWP: a Journal of Art & Poetry, Le Mage (number four). Her newest collection of poems, Ethereal Avalanche, is forthcoming from Trembling Pillow Press, January 2009.
Jimmy Ross is a poet, playwright and fiction writer. He has been long recognized as one of New Orleans’ finest satirists. Ross’ collection If Bricks Were Books was published by Think Tank press in 2003. Over the past two years, he has served as Open Mic Moderator for 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series. Ross is also a world-renowned scrabblist champion.
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Anselm Hollo and Jennifer Dunbar Dorn
Thursday, October 16, 8:00 p.m.
featuring readings & book signings by poets
Anselm Hollo is a poet, translator and essayist. He is the author of more than thirty books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence: Selected Poems 19652000 (Coffee House, 2001). Other titles include Maya, Pick up the House, Corvus, Guests of Space. His work has been widely anthologized and translated into Finnish, French, German, Swedish and Hungarian. He is recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry, grants from The Fund for Poetry, and the Government of Finlands Distinguished Foreign Translators Award. Authors whose works he has translated include Paul Klee, Bertolt Brecht, Jean Genet, Paavo Haavikko and Mirkka Rekola. He teaches poetry and translation workshops and courses in literary studies at Naropa University.
Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, poet, essayist, journalist, editor and filmmaker, was born in England and was part of the swinging London scene in the 60’s, later marrying American poet Ed Dorn when he was a guest lecturer at Essex University, and with whom she collaborated, publishing the newspaper of ideas, Rolling Stock. Dorn has taught in the Film Studies program at Colorado University. Some of her short films/visual poems include Portrait of an Old Man (1978), Chautauqua (1981), In the Morning (1981), and Vulnerable Window (1982). Dorn’s most recent collection of poems, Galactic Runaway was published by Limberlost, 2007.
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Ed Sanders, Bernadette Mayer and Philip Good
Thursday, October 23, 8:00 p.m.
featuring poetry readings & book signings by poets
Ed SandersInvestigative poetics pioneer, freedom fighter, founder & editor of Woodstock Journal, Gugenheim Fellowship recipient, American Book Award winner, and author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, his recent publication of verse, Poems for New Orleans, is a book-length sequence on the history, past and present (Katrina and post-Katrina) of the great city. Paris Records has released a version with music produced by Mark Bingham.
Poems for New Orleans by Edward Sanders, paperback, 128 pages (North Atlantic, 2008) / CD featuring Ed Sanders lyrics & songs produced by Michael Minzer & Mark Bingham in New Orleans at Piety Street Studios (Paris Records, 2007).
Bernadette Mayer’s poetry has been praised by John Ashbery as “magnificent.” Michael Lally called her, “One of the most original writers of her generation.” Throughout the 1980s she was the Director of the Poetry Project in New York City and she has taught there and at the New School, and also at Naropa Institute Summer Writing Program. She is the author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, the most recent being Poetry State Forest published by New Directions, 2008.
Philip GoodPoet, editor of Blue Smoke, producer of Tsatsawassa Records, and author of Drunken Bee Poems and Coffee Poems, he has published his works most recently in YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art, Big Bridge, and Exqusite Corpse. His recent work in-progress, Untitled Works, will be released by Trembling Pillow in 2009.
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Thaddeus Conti, Brendan Lorber and Tracey Mctague
Thursday, October 30, 8:00 p.m.
featuring readings & book signings by poets
Thaddeus Contipoet, artisthas been a vital force in the New Orleans poetry community for more than a decade. His legendary poetic coinages like shamanibalistic, antiquasi fornitado” and “catastasis” have become an essential part of the ever-growing lexicon of New Orleans’ speak. Conti’s visual works have shown in galleries and coffee house throughout New Orleans, and his poems have appeared recently in Mustachioed, Simpatico Poets, and YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art. Thaddeus Conti’s book-length collection of drawings & poems, aepoetics, will be released by Lavender Ink in October 2008.
Brendan Lorber is the editor of LUNGFULL! magazine. He can be found in the secret laboratory of his Brooklyn farmhouse all night cooking up such chapbooks as The Address Book (1999), Your Secret (2001), Dash (2003) and, with Jen Robinson, Dictionary of Useful Phrases (2000). He’s the cocreator, with Tracey McTague, of Book of the New Now (2002). A longer book, Welcome Overboard, is in the works. He has artwork, poems & essays in journals from Fence to The Chicago Tribune, and has been translated a number of times.
Tracey McTague lives at the geographic apex of Brooklyn on Battle Hill where she curates a reading series of the same name and cooks up covers for the Poetry Project Newsletter. She is a writer and visual artist whose work includes a number of chapbooks. She is also cocreator of Book of the New Now. She vandalizes private property on a regular basis.
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Joseph Bienvenu, David Rowe, and Thaddeus Conti
Including a Silent Auction of Drawings, Photographs, Broadsides and Books
the Release of Joseph Bienvenunew book from Verna Press Pool Hall Quartet***
A BENEFIT for VERNA PRESS
(publisher Peter Anderson)
Thursday May 29, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.
David Rowe has ROWEd crew in prep school, worked in a salmon ROwE house up in Alaska, lived (lord knows) on skid ROWe, and currently knows his way around the ROWE brand jukeboxes of New Orleans. His work has appeared in such literary journals as Exquisite Corpse, North American Review, YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art, and Burning Bush (Ireland).
Jospeh Bienvenu lives in New Orleans and teaches English and Latin at a local high school. He is the creator and editor of the online literary magazine Mustachioed, and his poetry has appeared in many online and print publications, including Cranky, the Tiny, H_ngm_n, Gutcult, The Hat, Glitterpony and Can We Have Our Ball Back. He is currently working on a translation of Catullus’s poems, some of which have appeared in a recent issue of Fascicle. His chapbook Pool Hall Quartet is forthcoming from Verna Press.
Peter Anderson operates Verna Press out of his studio and performance space “The Beauty Shop” in New Orleans. He is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico and a graduate of the University of New Mexico. He is a poet and a letter press printer. He served as an apprentice at Red Dragonfly Press under the poet and printer Scott King.
Thaddeus Conti: Gender: Male Status: Engaged Age: 32 Sign: Scorpio City: NEW ORLEANS Thaddeus Conti has 4 friends. He is also a poet and muralist. His drawings are currently on display at the Fuel Cafe gallery on Magazine Street. His poetry and art have been featured in various places including the online literary magazine Mustachioed and YAWP: a Journal of Art & Poetry.
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Kristin Prevallet, Tonya Foster, Tisa Bryant and Marjorie Kanter
April 3 –– Poetry Readings with Visiting Poets:
was born in Denver and has lived in New York (City and State) for the past 15 years. She attended the University of Colorado and the University at Buffalo. She was an editor of the magazine apex of the M and has edited several books, including Fire Brackled Bones: A Helen Adam Source-book (forthcoming, National Poetry Foundation, Spring ’06). Along with Bob Holman, Anne Waldman, and Alan Gilbert she founded Study Abroad on the Bowery: A Certificate Program in Applied Poetics at the Bowery Poetry Club. She is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Perturbation, My Sister (First Intensity, 1998) and Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation and Image-Text Projects (Skanky Possum, 2003). She teaches at Naropa Universitys Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Bard College, and The New School and has given lectures and readings throughout the United States and Europe.
is the author of poetry, fiction, and essays that have been published in a variety of journals from Callaloo to The Hat to Western Humanities Review. She is the author of A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna Press) and co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art. She is currently completing a cross-genre piece on New Orleans, and Monkey Talk, an inter-genre piece about race, paranoia, and surveillance. She teaches at Cooper Union and Bard College.
Born on an Arizona air force base during the Viet Nam War, bussed as as a working-class child to affluent schools during Bostons notorious school-desegregation era, poet, writer and radical cineaste Tisa Bryant makes work that often traverses the boundaries of genre, culture and history. Just as her chapbook, Tzimmes (A+Bend Press, 2000) collages concerns of breast cancer, Barbados genealogy research and a film by Yvonne Rainer, her new book, Unexplained Presence (Leon Works, 2007), is a collection of original, hybrid essays that remix narratives from Eurocentric film, literature and visual arts and zoom in on the black presences operating within them. Her work has appeared in a number of places, including The Believer, 1913: A Journal of Forms, Sustainable Aircraft, XCP: Cross-Cultural Poetics, and with the paintings of visual artist Laylah Ali. She has also served as a juror for the San Francisco International Film Arts Foundation, and Framelines Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Tisa is currently working on a fiction that meditates on identity, visual culture and the lost films of auteur Justine Cable. She teaches at St. Johns University, Queens, lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and is a founding editor/publisher of the hardcover annual, The Encyclopedia Project.
Marjorie Kanter I displace the air as I walk
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1943, Ms. Kanter has resided in Spain since 1986, both in Madrid and Tarifa, with extended stays in Morocco and the Dominican Republic. Ms. Kanter brings to her creative writing her extensive experience as a Bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist, and her experiences and introspections while living in different cultures. Ms. Kanters first book of short literary pieces/poems was published in 2004 by Ediciones La Espiral Escrita. Her latest book, I Displace the Air as I Walk (Ediciones La Espiral Escrita 2006) is a collection of short stories culled from her journals over the past 18 years through her travels.
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A Poetry Reading by California Poet Laureate
An exclusive limited edition BROADSIDE poem (signed & numbered) by Al Young has been commissioned to celebrate this occasion; and will be available for sale at the event. The broadside is designed & produced by printmaker Peter Anderson for Trembling Pillow Press.
Books by Al Young
Born May 31, 1939 at Ocean Springs, Mississippi on the Gulf Coast near Biloxi, Al Young grew up in the rural South of villages and small towns, and in urban, industrial Detroit. From 1957-1960 he attended the University of Michigan, where he co-edited Generation, the campus literary magazine. In 1961 he emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Settling at first in Berkeley, he held a variety of colorful jobs (folksinger, lab aide, disk jockey, medical photographer, clerk typist, employment counselor) before graduating with honors from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Spanish. His marriage in 1963 to technical writer and editor Arline Young was blessed with one child: their son Michael, born in 1971. From 1969-1976 he was Edward B. Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford near Palo Alto, where he lived and worked for three decades. In the Y2K year 2000 he returned to Berkeley, where he continues to freelance.
Young has taught poetry, fiction writing and American literature at U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, Bowling Green State University, Foothill College, the Colorado College, Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, the University of Arkansas, San José State University, where he was appointed the 2002 Lurie Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, and Charles University in the Czech Republic under the auspices of the Prague Summer Programs. In the spring of 2003 he taught poetry at Davidson College (Davidson, NC), where he was McGee Professor in Writing. In the fall of 2003, as the first Coffey Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, he taught a poetry workshop. From 2003-2006 he served on the faculty of Cave Canems summer workshop retreats for African American poets.
His honors include Wallace Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, two American Book Awards, two Pushcart Prizes, two New York Times Notable Book of the year citations, an Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship, the Stephen Henderson Achievement Award for Poetry, Radio Pacificas KPFA Peace Prize, the Glenna Luschei Distinguished Poetry Fellowship, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. Youngs many books include novels, collections of poetry, essays, memoirs and anthologies. His work has appeared in Paris Review, Ploughshares, Essence, the New York Times, Chicago Review, Seattle Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, Chelsea, Rolling Stone, Gathering of the Tribes, the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, and the Oxford Anthology of African American Literature.
In the 1970s he wrote film scripts for producer Joseph Strick, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. In the 1980s and 90s, as a cultural ambassador for the United States Information Agency, he traveled throughout South Asia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. In 2001 he traveled to the Persian Gulf to lecture on American and African American literature and culture in Kuwait and in Bahrain for the U.S. Department of State. Subsequent lecture tours took him to Southern Italy in 2004, and to Italy in 2005. His poetry and prose have been translated into Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German, Urdu, Korean, and other languages. Blending story, recitation and song, Young often performs with musicians. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Poet Laureate of California. Al Young’s website is here: http://alyoung.org/ Stagger Lee & Billy
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“To Utter Is to Alter” 60th Birthday Celebration for Poet NIYI OSUNDARE”
Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.
Books by Niyi Osundare
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Many people of the New Orleans community will gather to honor poet Niyi Osundare in celebration of his 60th birthday, including short presentations by Jerry W. Ward Jr., Dave Brinks, Bill Lavender, Mona Lisa Saloy, Rodger Kamenetz, Gina Ferrara, Michael Ford, Brett Evans and Kysha Brown.
Traditional African Songs performed by Zion Trinity vocalist Sula / Rhythm & Percussion performed by Eric B of Bamboula 2000
Commissioned portrait of Niyi Osundare by painter Joshua Walsh
Niyi Osundare, who was born in Nigeria in 1947 and is currently a professor of English literature at the University of New Orleans, is considered the greatest living Nigerian poet.
He has always been a vehement champion of the right to free speech and is a strong believer in the power of words, saying, “to utter is to alter”. Osundare is renowned for his commitment to socially relevant art and artistic activism and has written several open letters to the President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, whom Osundare has often publicly criticised.
Osundare believes that there is no choice for the African poet but to be political:
“You cannot keep quiet about the situation in the kind of countries we find ourselves in, in Africa. When you wake up and there is no running water, when you have a massive power outage for days and nights, no food on the table, no hospital for the sick, no peace of mind; when the image of the ruler you see everywhere is that of a dictator with a gun in his hand; and, on the international level, when you live in a world in which your continent is consigned to the margin, a world in which the colour of your skin is a constant disadvantage, everywhere you go – then there is no other way than to write about this, in an attempt to change the situation for the better.”
In 1997, he accepted a teaching and research post at the University of New Orleans.
Osundare is one of Africa’s finest literary scholars. He is the author of many books of poetry, plays and essays. He has received the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Prize and the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, as well as the Fonlon/Nichols award for “excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to Human Rights in Africa”. His works have been translated into half a dozen languages.
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Brenda Marie Osbey
Thursday, March 8, 8:00 p.m.
Brenda Marie Osbey, Louisiana’s Poet Laureate ,will give a reading this Thursday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m. at The Gold Mine, 701 Dauphine St. in the historic French Quarter. Ms. Osbey is the author of four volumes of poems, Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983, rptd., University Press of Virginia 1985), In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988), Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991) and All Saints: New & Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997), winner of the American Book Award. Her essays on New Orleans appear in The American Voice, The Georgia Review and Creative Nonfiction.
Brenda Marie Osbey is a native of New Orleans, where she lives and works as a full-time writer, and is currently Louisiana’s celebrated poet laureate.
Brenda Marie Osbey received the B.A. from Dillard University, the M.A. from the University of Kentucky, and also attended the Université Paul Valéry at Montpélliér, France. She has taught French and English at Dillard University in New Orleans, African American and Third World literatures at the University of California at Los Angeles, African American literature and creative writing at Loyola University, and was visiting writer-in-residence at Tulane University.
these women mean business
burn their hair only on the ends
and spit tobacco
in the reverends hedges
they call themselves
and wear bare feet in public
daring fathers and brothers
to come down on the banqette
and i have seen them dancing
along the interstate in mid-january
we call them madhouses
but it is only that we fear
i know their secrets
only through having learned them
the hardest way
my name is felicity
i live inside the city
i am telling only
as much as you can bear
the bahalia women are coming
from round st. james
carrying the bamba-root
in their hands
believe on those hands
and they will see you through seasons
of drought and flood
believe on these hands
and you will cross the grandy-water
journey with me and see what i see
first you hear the leaves
hitting the ground
moving along the streets
with an undercurrent of rhythm
moving to your bloodbeat
and the sounds of your hands
just before you see them
there is their confounded
the sound of those root ends
against their tambourines
but no one really hears them coming
just the thud of those bare feet
against the broken surfaces
of the banqette
the low rumbling of song
and then bahalia
you can never say you hear them
it is like that
it is not tonight i will find the path
i am ready, damballah
but the way is barred
a slender woman in red skirts
tignon and golden hoops through her ears
young and smooth
and jerking to the sound
of old blood
and thin-skinned men
walking on th graves of the old ones
i am ready, oh spirit
but the way is dark
and like rising from a dream
they are gone
and like a vision they never leave you
standing in my sidelight
you can see them
women so far gone
that their walking is dance
madhouses so grey
against the other houses and churches
that you pretend for now
you do not see them
and never did
but when you make the final journey
and stand at the crossing
seeking the barred footing
it was i who first showed you
and remember my name
it was felicity who told you
how to exit one madhouse
and enter the other.
The Head of Louis Congo Weeps
By Brenda Marie Osbey
olurun bon die mystere
here am i at the crossroads of death and life
i look out across a standing water
to the land of the dead–mpemba-
where I can not enter whole
o mbanza kongo
where are you now?
i look and look
but i do not see
o mbanza kongo
i search but i can not find out
the streets of my ancestors
nor any relative to receive me
o holy mountain
high ground of my striving
source of every drop of blood upon my severed hands
what is to become of me
wasting in some petit farmer’s field
burnt almost to ash
o sacred mountain
is this the doing of my two hands
and where are they now
olurun bon die mystere
how am i fallen
now that my head is mounted on high?
Amazon Review of All Saints: New & Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997)
“you might say i have / this peculiar fascination / with the dead,” admits Brenda Marie Osbey in All Saints, her American Book Award-winning collection of poems. As a New Orleans native speaking through historical Creole characters, she celebrates the ways the dead maintain a living presence in New Orleans, whether in their above-ground tombs, in religious hoodoo ancestor worship, or in bricks from an old slave factory in the Treme fauborga New Orleans usage for “neighborhood,” as Osbey’s extensive glossary explains. The glossary, like Eliot’s notes on “The Wasteland,” stands as an interesting document itself; using it isn’t necessary to understand the poem, however. Spoken by characters from throughout New Orleans history, the poems understandably vary in tone and appeal.
Osbey’s style is accessible. Idiosyncrasies such as the absence of capital letters fade into the background once a reader tunes in to the poems’ compelling dramatic situations: a desperate dialogue with Coffin Street’s prophetic Mother Catherine, a prayer from San Malo for his maroon colony, an heartfelt open letter about the evening news to singer Nina Simone. Like Jonathan Swift’s “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot” and other formal verse satires, Osbey’s poems stack their grievances and observations on top of each other until, near the end, the tone breaks and she utters terribly moving truths”the night is a bastard gleaming”before cooling down. Osbey’s book details family relationships, community life, and the struggle for redemption.
This struggle is laid bare in “The Head of Luis Congo,” a sequential poem about the beheading of Congo, a free black man hired in 1726 as keeper of the road along Bayou St. John, a route favored by escaping slaves. The poem’s interplay between confession and braggadocio is a testament to Osbey’s skill as a storyteller; the reader damns and pities Congo simultaneously. The book’s title refers to the New Orleans custom of whitewashing tombs on All Saints’ Day, and at her best, Osbey gives us a chance to observe how life and death intertwine.Edward Skoog
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featuring Lee Meitzen Grue and Chuck Perkins
Thursday, March 1, 8:00 p.m.
Poet Lee Meitzen Grue was part of The Quorum Club, the legendary coffee house on edge of the French Quarter during the sixties. There she began doing jazz and poetry together at that time, along with flute player Eluard Burt. The recently available CD Live! On Frenchmen Street is a representative collection of her many great collaborations between poetry and jazz.
Lee is also the founder of the New Orleans Poetry Forum and editor of The New Laurel Review. Her work has been published in numerous journals, magazines & anthologies throughout the states and abroad, including an interview in Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature.
Today Lee is one of the great mentors for poets in the New Orleans community, helping to promote and produce art events celebrating many disciplines, and by encouraging bold experimentation and collaboration between artists throughout the community with her workshops.
Lee’s collections include French Quarter Poems, In the Sweet Balance of the Flesh (Plain View Press), Goodbye Silver, Silver Cloud (Plain View Press), and Three Poets in New Orleans (Xavier Review Press). She has received an NEA grant for fiction and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize, and is a Senior Editor with Knopf.
In addition, Lee presents her work regularly as a visiting writer at college programs throughout the states, and performs internationally.
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Chuck Perkins’ poetry comes from the heart. Part charisma, part street, part working man’s voice, part everyman reaching for the stars, Perkins’ voice signifies American history in the making with fresh memories won from the civil rights movement, and hopes still to be fulfilled as America grows into its future.
Perkins is a native of New Orleans, a former U.S. Marine, and was at one time a transplantee to the industrial north of Illinois and Wisconsin where he began raising his young family. But he also kept strong ties to New Orleans, and eventually returned there, bringing his family to live near his blood relatives.
Long a favorite of audiences at Chicago’s renowned Green Mill Lounge, Perkins has consistently been featured at equally respected poetry venues across the city and the region. He even MC’d the 1999 National Poetry Slams at the Chicago Theater before thousands of guests.
Perkins’ engagement with poetry was not at first by design. Perkins shares a particular, important quality with other performance poets in his generation: the passion to discover, learn, improve, and come back better than before. He has taken the path from open mic to the open road, and he’s won the path. http://voices.e-poets.net/PerkinsC/home.shtml http://voices.e-poets.net/PerkinsC/poem-NewOrleans.shtml
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John Gery was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1953, and grew up in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He earned degrees from Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and Stanford University. His four published collections of poetry include Charlemagne: A Song of Gestures (Plumbers Ink, 1983), which received the Plumbers Ink Poetry Award; The Enemies of Leisure (Story Line, 1995), honored by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 1995 and awarded a 1995-96 Critics Choice Award from the San Francisco Review of Books and Todays First Edition television series; American Ghost: Selected Poems (Raska Skola, 1999; Cross-Cultural, 1999), a bilingual English-Serbian collection translated by Biljana D. Obradovic, which received the European Award of the Circle Franz Kafka in Prague; and Davenports Version (Portals Press, 2003), a book-length narrative poem about the Civil War in New Orleans. Gerys fifth volume of poetry, A Gallery of Ghosts, is forthcoming from Story Line Press. He has also published two chapbooks, The Burning of New Orleans (Amelia, 1988), winner of the Charles William Duke Long Poem Award, and Three Poems (LeStat, 1989).
Gerys other books include his major critical study, Nuclear Annihilation and Contemporary American Poetry: Ways of Nothingness (University Press of Florida, 1996), and For the House of Torkom (Cross-Cultural Communications, 1999), co-translated with Vahe Baladouni, a bilingual volume of the prose poems of Armenian poet Hmayyag Shems.
Gerys poetry, criticism, and reviews have appeared in journals throughout the country, including American Literature, Callaloo, CEA Critic, Chicago Review, Contemporary Literature, George Washington Review, Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Louisiana Literature, New Orleans Review, New Virginia Review, Notre Dame Review, Paris Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, South Central Review, Southwest Review, and Verse. His poems and prose have been translated into Serbian, Romanian, Chinese, Farsi, and Bengali. For his work, he has received, among other awards, a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Artist Fellowship from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, two Deep South Writers Poetry Awards, a Wesleyan University Summer Poetry Fellowship, and the Academy of American Poets Poetry Award. In Spring 2006, he was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, and for Spring 2007 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to the Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade (Serbia).
A Research Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, Gery has also taught at Stanford, San Jose State, and the University of Iowa, and he has twice been a Poet in Residence at Bucknell University. Since 1990 he has served as the founding Director of the Ezra Pound Center for Literature at Brunnenburg, Italy. Currently, he is compiling a collection of poetry, Have at You Now!, and his critical projects involve American poetry at the turn of the twenty-first century, parody, and cultural identity. He is also writing a walking guide to Ezra Pounds Venice.
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Originally from Yugoslavia, Biljana Obradovic has lived in Greece, and India besides the US. She has a BA in English Language and Literature from Belgrade University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Ph.D. in English with a creative dissertation from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Her first collection of poems, Frozen Embraces, a bilingual edition (Belgrade, Center of Emigrants from Serbia, 1997), won the Rastko Petrovic Award for the Best Book of 1998. Her second collection of poetry is entitled Le Riche Monde, a bilingual edition (Belgrade, Raka kola, 1999).
Obradovics poems also appear in Three Poets in New Orleans (New Orleans, Xavier Review Press, January 2000). In addition to her own poetry, her other works include a Serbian translation of John Gery’s American Ghosts: Selected Poems, a bilingual edition (Belgrade, Raka kola, 1999), Fives: Fifty Poems by Serbian and American Poets, A Bilingual Anthology, as editor and translator (Co-published by Contact Line, Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, NY, Summer 2002), and forthcoming a selection of poems by Stanley Kunitz into Serbian, The Long Boat as editor and translator (Co-published by Association of Writers of Serbia, Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, NY, fall 2003).
Obradovics work has appeared in such magazines as Poetry East, Bloomsbury Review, Prairie Schooner, The Plum Review and Knjizevne Novine. She reviews books for World Literature Today and others. She received the Masaryk Academy of Arts Medal for Artistic Achievements, October 20, 2000, Prague, Czech Republic.
She is a Member of the Association of Writers of Serbia and Assistant Professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans. Her current project includes a book of translations into English of Desanka Maksimovic’s poetry and her own manuscript of poems entitled Little Disruptions.
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P r o f e s s o r A R T U R O My Name is New Orleans
a poet and fiction writer from New Orleans, is a Spoken Word artist, educator, performer, editor and speechwriter who received a Master of Arts degree in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. degree in English/Journalism from the Sate University of New York-College at New Paltz. Pfister, one of the original Broadside poets of the 1960s, has collaborated on a medley of projects with a melange of artists including painters, musicians, photographers, dancers, singers, fire eaters, waiters, cab drivers, and other members of the Great Miscellaneous. –Thursday, November 9, 8:00PM (Doors Open @ 7:00pm)
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Moira Crone, novelist & short story writer
THURSDAY, SEPT 21, 2006, 8:00PM
Moira Crone was raised in the tobacco country of Eastern North Carolina and received degrees from Smith College and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her works include story collections Dream State, and The Winnebago Mysteries, as well as a novel, A Period of Confinement.
Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Mademoiselle, Boston Sunday Globe, and Image, and has been selected among the Year’s Best four times for inclusion in New Stories From The South, from Algonquin.
She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College at Harvard, and the Louisiana Board of Regents. She won the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Short Story Prize in 1992, and the Faulkner/Wisdom Award for Novella in 2004. Her book What Gets Into Us is due out in 2006. Her short novel, The Ice Garden, was featured in the Spring 2006 edition of Triquarterly. The former director of the creative writing program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, she has taught at LSU for twenty years. She lives in New Orleans, is married to author Rodger Kamenetz, and is the mother of two daughters, Anya and Kezia Kamenetz.
In What Gets Into Us, the new collection of short stories by Moira Crone, a curious child discovers that some believe “the gods who made this world didnt make it right, and they are terribly sorry about it.” A nine-year-old girl is the only one who realizes that her mother’s mental illness has put the familys survival at stake. A shy African American woman confronts evil directly in a terrifying act of love. A teenage orphan replaces a wayward son in a privileged but unhappy family. A young carpenter decides that if his baby is going to be born right, he will have to commit a crime, and build the world anew.
Crone has the lyric touch of a poet and the visionary spirit of a mystic, conjuring images that are both disturbing and startlingly beautiful Phoebe Kate Foster
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poet, essayist, editor
THURSDAY, SEPT 14, 2006, 8:00PM
Jerry W. Ward, Jr., author of Trouble the Water: 250 years of African-American Poetry, is one of New Orleans’ most celebrated poets. He is a distinguished professor of English and African American World Studies at Dillard University. He is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on Richard Wright. Since returning to New Orleans after the storm, Dr. Ward has resumed work on two pre-Katrina projects: The Richard Wright Encyclopedia and the Cambridge History of African American Literature. Recent projects include The Katrina Papers: a journal of visions, epiphanies, trauma & recovery.
Selections from THE KATRINA PAPERS by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
September 30, 2005
Life is a wave. You move up. You move sideways and down. It is about motion. You rush and ebb, flow and flood and ebb again and repeat the variations. Accounting for your lifetime persuades you to descend into the mathematics of nonsense. How many seconds have you been alive without counting the aliveness in your mothers womb?
There are 3600 seconds in one hour. And 86,400 seconds in one day. Ignore leap years and time adjustments, and you find a year is made up of 31,536,000 seconds. One decade is 315,360,000 seconds. At age 60, you had endured and prevailed for 18,921,600,000 seconds. The cells in your body are keenly aware of this magnitude. They complain of pain and shriveling. The cells in the skin family have it worst of all. They are constantly losing neighbors and relatives at a faster rate than their sisters and brothers below the surface.
Perhaps something similar happens to the sea, to the portions that have to deal with sunlight and wind and the portions that commune only with themselves in the cold that light never visits or violates. And heres the killer. It took Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita and 18,984,672,000 seconds for you to discover a fact that is at once fantastic and quintessentially untrue. Such games does the mind in misery play.
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***followed by OPEN MIC***
NOTE: B.Y.O.M. ( Bring Your Own Meat ) — As part of a “new” tradition Dave B will have the B-B-Q Grill going from 7:00 – 8:00pm, so bring your own steaks, sausages, fish, or whatever favorite edibles you like, and he’ll cook ’em to order!
The GOLD MINE SALOON is located at 701 DAUPHINE STREET (at the corner of Dauphine & St. Peter) in the FRENCH QUARTER.
For more information please call 504-586-0745, or go to: http://www.17poets.com/.
DOORS OPEN AT 7:00PM featuring new Art installations. Admission is FREE.
“It’s events like these that cement New Orleans’ position as the literary center – not just of the South – but of the universe. No Matter what Oxford thinks. – Chris Rose, Times-Picayune
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A brilliant line-up of poets & artists
are scheduled to appear Thursday, August 31, 2006
Andrei Codrescu Andrei Codrescu is an award winning poet, translator, editor of Exquisite Corpse, best-selling novelist, correspondent for both NPR and ABC News’ Nightline, and MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. His numerous books include Wakefield (Algonquin, 2004) and It Was Today (Coffee House, 2003). “This transplanted Transylvanian with the bateau-mouche moustache always manages to create a craving for the subversivesomething that is much needed in these days of ‘friendly fascism.'” Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Internationally-acclaimed poet, playwright, essayist and professor, Niyi Osundare (University of New Orleans) has won numerous awards for his work and is a leading scholar of poetics in Nigeria. A believer in poetry-as-performance, he draws audience participation and often accompanies his verse with music. Some of his many books include: A Thread in the Loom: Essays on African Literature and Culture, Pages from the Book of the Sun: New and Selected Poems, The Word is an Egg and Horses of Memory. “One hasnt become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating.” Niyi Osundare
Rodger Kamenetz Rodger Kamenetz is a poet, essayist, and thinker who is internationally known for his work in Jewish-Buddhist dialogue. He is professor of literature and director of the Jewish Studies Program at Louisiana State University. He is the author of eight books, including The Jew in the Lotus, The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems, and Stalking Elijah which won the National Jewish Book Award for 1997 in the category of Jewish Thought. He has written for The New York Times and Moment Magazine. “Kamenetz is a master at infusing seemingly plain words with resonance and depth, with subtle textures and playful ironies, and he is wonderfully open to a whole gamut of human emotions, from the sublime to the soiled and abject.” P. David Hornik
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THURSDAY, AUG 24, 2006, 8:00PM
Daniel Kerwick is a playwright, a poet, and also editor of SYMPATICO PRESS, which produces one-of-a-kind books celebrating the great works of New Orleans artists and poets. Danny has traveled extensively, giving readings, lectures and presentations on “Undergound Publishing,” “The Role of Community in the Avante-Garde,” and “Contemporary Poetics: Symbiosis of the Word & Its Practitioner.” Mr. Kerwick’s own work has been published in journals throughout the country. Most recently his work will be featured in the upcoming issue of YAWP: a Journal of Poetry and Art, Issue 3 “Who’s Your Dada?”
The excerpt below is from YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art, Issue 2 “The Bohemeth Cometh” April 2005, electronically transmitted with permission from Trembling Pillow Press.
books piled perpendicular
beneath wooly mammoth atlas
a river runs north thru glacial spittoon
does leather armchair unearthed
come with tobacco stained scholar
the speculation is golden
on given days
the striations betray
happy hour ruminations
but today man
the smoke plumes a shill
try the widows peak
an empty reservoir
the deserted crosswalk
is it a crime to think
history is bulls whip
and lambs wool
contemplate the man and woman
in a composite she says not
he wanders in a gene pool
full of jello and dead carp
there are ignition changes to consider
books shelves tumble
intuition takes over
the blank page
a line scattered
The GOLD MINE SALOON is located at 701 DAUPHINE STREET (at the corner of Dauphine & St. Peter) in the FRENCH QUARTER. For more information please call 504-586-0745, or go to: www.17Poets.com.DOORS OPEN AT 7:00PM featuring new Art installations. Admission is FREE.
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THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2006, 8:00PM
Gordon Walmsley is a New Orleanian who currently lives in Copenhagen, is in New Orleans to conduct a series of “Poetry Heals” workshops for the general public. Walmsley was born (1949) and raised in New Orleans. He was graduated from Princeton University (German Literature) and has lived for the past twenty or so years in Copenhagen, with his Danish wife of many years. He returns regularly to New Orleans. Mr. Walmsley was deeply moved by his last visit to New Orleans a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina and vowed to return “to help in the way I can, by giving poetry workshops as a way of working through the Katrina experience. You might call them Poetry Heals Workshops”. Walmsley is the author of four books of poems. His poems have appeared in various international journals, most recently in the Sarajevo magazine Album (in Serbo-Croatian). A fifth collection of poems, entitled Touchstones, a Journey Through Poems in Xenophobic Times, will be published next year by the distinguished Irish publisher of poetry Salmon Publishing.
In addition to writing poetry Walmsley has recently edited and translated (from Swedish, Danish and Norwegian) Fire and Ice, an Anthology of Nine Poets from Scandinavia and the North. He is a member of the Danish Writers of Poetry and Fiction. A Selection of his poetry appears below.
Apocalypse New Orleans, awash in broken melodies, Bucktown’s levee nearly did you in, the lake bleeding-in to reveal you. Thus you have become apocalyptic, for apocalypse means laying bare what was hidden. And as in any apocalypse a mirror is held up to every single one of us. I imagine sharks coming in for the dead or an alligator’s eyes bobbing the waters of Bayou St. John. All that was hidden rising to the surface. Scrutiny from the Cotswolds to the China Sea. And what in you is brought to light may change this stumbling nation. We who were born of you always knew there was a beast sleeping heavily below. We could sometimes hear it breathing at night or sense its faint smell when the wind was wrong. We knew too, only the lake’s blood could rouse it and free us from its dreaming so that then we could be led to the intimate place of mirrors.
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Mona Lisa Saloy and Jean-Mark Sens
THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2006, 8:00PM featuring poets
Mona Lisa Saloy — is currently a visiting associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Washington for the 2006 academic year. She has been unable to return to her position as associate professor of English and Director of creative writing at Dillard University in New Orleans due to extensive flood damage to her home since Hurricane Katrina. Mona Lisa Saloy is widely recognized as an expert and scholar on the legendary New Orleans born Beat poet Bob Kaufman. Her works have been featured in several journals, magazines and anthologies, including: Callaloo, Double Dealer Redux, Louisian Cultural Vistas, The Southern Review and Xavier Review. Her recent collection of poetry is Red Bean and Ricely Yours (Truman State University Press 2005). She is the winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2005.
Born in France and educated in Paris, he has taught English at Rust College, the University of Mississippi and the University of South Carolina. He currently lives in Thibodaux, Louisiana where he is Collection Department Librarian at Nicholls State University. Jean-Mark Sens also teaches at the John Folse Culinary Institute. His recent collection of poetry is Appetite (Red Hen Press 2004). Jean Mark Sens’ works have appeared in several magazines in the U.S. and Canada, including Fiddlehead, Free Verse, Grain, Queen’s Quarterly, Terra Incognita, Whiskey Island and Xavier Review.
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Will Read in New Orleans
8 p.m., Sunday, March 27, 2005 at The Gold Mine701 Dauphine Street in the French Quarter
Yusef Komunyakaa — born 1947 and raised in Bogalusa, Louisiana, served in Vietnam as an information specialist, saw combat, and received the Bronze Star. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he also received master’s degrees from the University of California, Irvine, and Colorado State University.
After teaching at the University of New Orleans, Komunyakaa was a professor at Indiana University for over ten years, and, in the fall of 1997, he began teaching at Princeton University.
Komunyakaa is professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing at Princeton University
Wesleyan has published six of his ten books, including the Pulitzer prize-winning Neon Vernacular (1993), which also won the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award from the Claremont Graduate School, Magic City (1992), and Dien Cai Dau (1988).
In 1991, he won the Thomas Forcade award, in 1993 was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, in 1994 received the William Faulkner Prize from the University of Rennes in France, and in 1997 he was awarded the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine and the Hanes Poetry Prize.
Pulitzer prize-winning poet (1994) Yusef Komunyakaa is a unique figure in American poetry and the author of more than twelve poetry volumes. Komunyakaa’s poetry is celebrated for its short lines, its simple vernacular, its jazzy feel, and its rootedness in the poet’s experience as a black of the American South, and as a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. In 1999, Yusef Komunyakaa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, In addition to his many publications and poetry collections, he is co-editor (with Sascha Feinstein) of two volumes of “The Jazz Poetry Anthology” from Indiana University Press. Yusef Komunyakaa’s poems have aptly been described as “razor-sharp pieces that tell us more about our culture than any news broadcast,” Toi Derrcote, focusing on the poet’s aesthetic, has written that “Komunyakaa’s poetry is about art, about how it alters reality, how it changes the past, and how it is both a desperate and a redemptive act” and
Komunyakaa has claimed that “language is what can liberate or imprison the human psyche” and that “we are responsible for our lives and the words we use.”
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In the pantheon of poetic stereotypes–the vitriolic, passionate drunkard is one; the wry, acerbic loner another–Mr. Komunyakaa . . . is more the dreamy intellectual, a Worthsworthian type whose worldly, philosophic mind might be stirred by something as homely and personal as a walk in a field of daffodils. — Bruce Weber in The New York Times . . . a remarkable set of 132 four-quatrain poems that erase distinctions between nature, humanity and the divine . . . Life in its spectacular variations inspires quirky ruminations on such earthly creatures as slime molds and hyenas, and such mythological beings as the centaur and Janus, the two-faced god.” Kirkus Reviews said that “Here Komunyakaa comes across as a poet of both the small and the grand, a visionary who considers Eros and maggots with equal insight. –Booklist on Talking Dirty to the Gods Yusef Komunyakaa is a poet of the human heart in all its joys and horrors, fiercely present as it pounds away at the center of every human being’s consciousness. He enlarges our idea of what poetry is, challenging us to go beyond our own narrow definitions.—The Washington Post Book World on Thieves of Paradise
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Lee Meitzen Grue editor of The New Laurel Review, is the author of Trains and Other Intrusions: Poems; French Quarter Poems; In The Sweet Balance of The Flesh; and Goodbye, Silver, Silver Cloud, a collection of New Orleans stories. In 1984 she received an NEA grant for fiction and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize. In 2000, her spoken word CD On Frenchmen Street (Louisiana Music Factory) was released with Eluard Burt on flute and keyboard and Roger Poche on bass.
Her translations can be found in the New Orleans Review: An Other South, Experimental Writing in the South, Part II. Grue has translated the work of Mexican poet David Huerta as part of Bridging The Gulf, an exchange of four Mexico City poets and four New Orleans poets.
first posted 20 March 2005
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Charles C. Mann
Im a big fan of Charles Manns previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Its exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that its anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, Im proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, globalized entity.
Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple. We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 9 November 2007