Poems, politics, and the flamenco guitar

Peauxdunque keeps going out in the world, y’all, in so many ways.

Tomorrow night, Nordette Adams will be in the line-up of poets reading at the Why There Are Words event at Octavia Books, from 6 to 8 p.m.! Poets will be presenting works on the theme of “Grace,” and Nordette will be part of a line-up em-ceed by Liz Green and also featuring Tom Andes, Jessie Morgan Owens, Brad Richard, Josie Ann Scanlan, and Rodrigo Toscano.

Anne Babson adds to her publications list with the publication of poems in 2 Bridges Review, which will publish Anne’s poem “What They Don’t Tell the Young”; and in Australia’s The Blend International, which will publish Anne’s poems, “Buenos Aires 1952” and “Ansterdam.”

On from poets to politics, Amy Conner‘s political essay, “All Life is Sacred–Except Yours,” was published earlier this month by both PolitiZoom and 360 News Digest.

And Lavinia Spalding‘s long-form travel essay, “Meet the Revolutionary Women Strumming their Way into the World of Flamenco Guitar,” about the tocaoras in Spain, has been published in Afar.

A publication, a coordination, and a professoration

I know, it’s not a word, but the news in Peauxdunque will not be stopped by the mere limitations of language!

We’ll start big and work BIGger:

(1) Peauxdunque’s Larry Wormington (editor-in-chief of the Peauxdunque Review), has learned that his short story, “Last Known Tomorrow,” will be published by Redivider. The Boston-based literary magazine has previously published such luminaries as George Singleton and Billy Collins (and Maurice Carlos Ruffin), and Larry’s gives them good company.

(2) Kelly Harris DeBerry has been selected by Poets & Writers as their Literary Outreach Coordinator for New Orleans. P&W says of this new program, “As part of a pilot project funded by the Hearst Foundations, Literary Outreach Coordinators will be equal parts community organizers and local correspondents, responsible for increasing awareness of Poets & Writers’ tools and resources for writers with a special focus on the availability of grants through our Readings & Workshops Program. With extensive support from Poets & Writers, Outreach Coordinators will have a unique opportunity to strengthen the literary community and help writers in their city.

(3) And (trumpets, fanfare), Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been named by LSU as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing! He will begin teaching in LSU’s MFA program this fall. We’re excited for him, and for his future students.

Publications and readings and nominations, oh my

Back in January we started off a new Peauxdunque year with an expanded cast of characters and the publication of Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow. Since then, I’ve been mainly delinquent in sharing the TONS of good news about Peauxdunque publications and readings and prize nominations. So, first a picture of that long-ago January meeting, and then on to the good news:

 

The publication news:

Where to begin? Well, big news, Maurice sold his second book to Random House/One World, a collection of his searing short stories titled The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You. We’ll, of course, report on details such as the publication date as soon as we know, because you won’t want to miss this. Also, Maurice’s novel, We Cast a Shadow, is now in its second printing.

New Peauxdunque poet Anne Babson has had her poem “Altarpiece Diptych” accepted for publication by Canadian journal QWERTY. Her poem “My Afternoon with Laura Ingalls” will be in the next issue of Silk Road Review. Anne’s review of Melinda Palacio’s Bird Forgiveness is in the current Louisiana Literature. And her play Reenactment is in the latest issue of Review Americana.

Lavinia Spalding had her beautiful creative nonfiction piece “The Cabin” published by LongreadsEmilie Staat’s essay, “The Passenger,” was published in Gris-GrisSusan Vallee will have a piece profiling We Cast a Shadow in the upcoming arts and culture issue of VIE Magazine. And Tad Bartlett’s short story, “Elysian Fields,” was published in the April 2019 issue of New Limestone Review.

Upcoming readings:

Cassie Pruyn will be reading on April 30 at the main branch of the East Jefferson Parish Public Library with Ben Morris, Brad Richard, Elizabeth Gross, Ben Aleshire, and Esme Franklin. A week before, on April 23, Anne Babson will be reading at the same location on a bill with Melinda PalacioAllison Pellegrin, and Paris Tate.

Maurice Ruffin will be reading at the Argenta Reading Series in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 25. This weekend (right now) he’s participating as the keynote speaker at the Muse and the Marketplace conference in Boston.

Prizes/nominations

A little tardy in announcing these, but Peauxdunque’s Larry Wormington received a Pushcart nomination from Elm Leaves Journal for his story “Balloon Animals“; and Tad Bartlett and Maurice Ruffin both received Pushcart nominations from members of the Pushcart Board of Contributing Editors for work they published in 2018.

Big writing conference weekend: Peauxdunquians appearing coast-to-coast!

It’s that time of year again, when writers across the land flock to spring conferences for that necessary writing recharge. This week and coming weekend, two of the biggest gatherings of writers will happen in Portland, Oregon at the 2019 AWP Conference, and in New Orleans at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Peauxdunquians populate panels and readings at both, so we’re all in luck, from the South Coast to the West Coast.

At AWP, Peauxdunquian Maurice Carlos Ruffin will be almost everywhere at once. On Friday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m., Maurice will be part of the panel, “Unspoken Intimacies: On Male Friendship, Romance, and Everything in Between,” in room B113 on Level 1 of the Oregon Convention Center. On Saturday, March 30, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Maurice will be part of the Krewe de Louisiane & Friends reading put on by Lavender Ink and River Writers, at the Big Legrowlski at 812 NW Couch Street (this reading will also feature one of the poets in the imminently released Issue 1 of The Peauxdunque Review, Christopher Romaguera). Then, somehow managing simultaneous appearance, on March 30, 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Maurice will be part of the panel, “Match Game: How to Find and Work with Your Agent,” in Oregon Ballroom 203 on Level 2 of the Oregon Convention Center. Finally, on March 30, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Maurice will be part of the reading for the SEI Library Grand Re-Opening at the Center for Self-Enhancement at 3920 N. Kirby Avenue.

At the Tennessee Williams Festival, Anne Babson will moderate the panel, “Poets on Craft and Inspiration,” on Sunday, March 31, 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., in the Royal Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone. Tad Bartlett will be on the panel, “How to Start and Maintain a Writers’ Group,” on Thursday, March 28, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., at the Historic New Orleans Collection (533 Royal Street). And Claudia Gray will moderate the panel, “Writing Young Adult Fiction: It’s Not Just for Teenagers,” on Saturday, March 30, 11:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m., at Muriel’s Jackson Square.

And, of course, at both conferences there will be almost-countless Peauxdunquians roaming around in attendance. And there will be so many friends of Peauxdunque on panels and in readings that I dare not try to start listing them all, for fear of forgetting one (but just a sample, because I can’t help myself: at Tennessee Williams Fest, we are looking forward to bumping brains and elbows with great friends George Bishop, Bryan Camp, Nancy DixonAbram HimelsteinSusan LarsonDaniel Jose OlderHannah PittardBrad RichardNathaniel Rich, and Bryan Washington; we can’t even begin to list all the friends at AWP).

Mostly, though, we can’t wait to see YOU (yes, you), as we grow in community with all the writers around us.

Maurice’s book release party, and more Peauxdunquian publications and events!

The wait for the publication release of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s We Cast a Shadow is almost over! In eight more days, on January 29, all those pre-ordered copies will hit folks’ mailboxes, and the shiny covers will hit bookstore shelves, and the release party will rock the Three Keys venue at the Ace Hotel in downtown New Orleans. So far, We Cast a Shadow has made “must read” and “most anticipated” lists put out by Barnes and Noble, Garden and Gun, New York Magazine’s Vulture Magazine, Fodor’s Go List, Book Riot, Southern Independent Booksellers’ Association, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan, LitHub, Augusta Chronicla, HuffPost, L.A. Times, BuzzFeed, The Millions, A/V Club, Parade Magazine, Poets and Writers, Nylon, PopSugar, Bookbub, Writers Bone, and Read It Forward. Starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, with more to come! So come celebrate with Maurice and Peauxdunque and everyone else in New Orleans from 6 to 9 p.m. at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel, January 29!

And more good Peauxdunque publication news abounds. Lavinia Spalding has had a beautiful non-fiction piece about life and love and eviction in a cabin in Utah accepted by Longreads, which will run later this month or in February. And Emilie Staat‘s essay, “The Passenger,” was just published in the latest issue of Gris-Gris.

In addition, writer and photographer L. Kasimu Harris has four new shows that include his photography opening in the next few weeks:Dandy Lion (Re)Articulated Black Masculinity  is now on view, from January 18 to April 8, at the Hammonds House in Atlanta. Harris will debut three photographs for the (Per)Sister: Incarcerated Women of Louisiana exhibition at the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, opening on January 19 and on view until July 6. Truth, By Any Means Necessary is a solo exhibition of Harris’s work at Grambling State University’s Dunbar Gallery. This exhibition opens January 29 and runs until February 26. And four photos from Harris’s War on the Benighted Series continue to travel with the Race & Revolution: Still Separate, Still Unequal exhibition, from January 29 to April 6 at the Woskob Family Gallery of Penn State University.

We’re official.

So here we are, the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, at 11 years old. All this time, we’ve been an unofficially confederated tribe of writers, teetering sometimes on the abyss and soaring most times toward a deep blue, wide open sky; but in the eyes of the government and all things official, invisible, non-existent. We didn’t mind that, really.

But, we interact with the world, and now we’re starting to interact with the world in official, financial sorts of ways, particularly with the advent of the Peauxdunque Review. Yesterday, we received a kind letter from the IRS, accepting the application for the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, which we have incorporated under the laws of the realm (read: Louisiana), for 501(c)(3) non-profit status. We are a thing now, that will continue.

We will persist, like Queen Terri Sue’s tattoo. We’ve always felt a responsibility toward our mission, in our hearts and in our souls, but now that responsibility will be in our tax returns and pocketbooks, as well. Raise a toast of strong coffee to us, to everlasting officialdom and the eternal predictability of death and taxes.

Words and Music Conference, 2018: Rebirth of a Great Writers’ Conference!

The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance is proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 edition of the annual writers’ conference: Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans, which will be held this year from Thursday, November 15, through Sunday, November 18!

After twenty years of running the conference, at the end of 2017 the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society transferred the conference to local literacy-advocacy organization, One Book One New Orleans (“OBONO”). Fitting in with OBONO’s mission of increasing access to literacy and literature in under-served populations, OBONO has overhauled Words and Music to put a focus on increasing accessibility to the great conference programming. The first part of this is to change the venue from the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter, with its difficult and expensive parking situation (and other premium-prices amenities), a few blocks away in New Orleans’ Central Business District at the Pere Marquette Hotel, with easier parking and continued great access to the city in a great set of conference facilities. The second part of this was a complete overhaul of pricing for the conference. Now attendees can peruse the schedule and get access just to individual panels (at $10/panel), individual days of the schedule (at $40/day, or $75 for a two-day pass; Sunday is just $20), all-panel passes for the full conference at only $125, individual Literature & Lunch events at great venues and with stellar panelists from $25 to $50 depending on the event, great evening events and parties from $10 to $50, or an all-inclusive/all-events/all-panels pass of $400. Way more flexible, and far cheaper, than the conference had been in the past. And now, for the first time, all registration and ticketing is available online through Eventbrite.

This is a new edition, a rebirth, for an established literary institution, and should usher in a whole new generation of literary talent and support. This year’s theme is “Voices of New Orleans, Voices of the World,” taking cognizance of New Orleans’ tricentennial this year to celebrate New Orleans’ contributions to literature, music, and food.

And the scheduling approach is all new from the ground-up, too! The lineup includes programming pursuant to a generous grant from PEN America to produce a track of programming called “Black Justice and Joy.” Curated by Kelly Harris DeBerry, this programming will focus on celebrating African-American contributions to the arts in New Orleans and taking an honest look at the problems facing the African-American community from a literary perspective.Throughout the schedule you’ll see some Peauxdunquians, and many friends of Peauxdunque, among the faculty/panelists, which we’re super-stoked about:

Thursday, 11/15: 8:25 a.m., Opening Remarks (Dr. Megan Holt); 8:30-9:45 a.m., Over the Airwaves:  Intersecting Audio, Storytelling, and the Creative Arts in New Orleans (Moderator David Benedetto; Panelists Susan Larson, Hal Clark, Camille Roane, Laine Kaplin-Levenson); 10:00-11:15 a.m., Publishing with a University Press (Moderator Abram Himelstein, UNO Press; Panelists Johnnie Bernard, David Armand, Jack Bedell); 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Literature & Lunch–The Family Table: Passing on Traditions of Food and Foodways (Venue Dooky Chase) (Moderator Elizabeth Williams; Panelists Leah Chase, Justin Nystrom, Isaac Toups,  Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy); 2:30-4:00 p.m., Altars, Shrines, and Literary Remembrance (Facilitator Kristina K. Robinson); 4:15-5:45 p.m., City of a Million Dreams:  A Conversation with Jason Berry and Dr. Michael White (Interviewer Dr. TR Johnson; Speakers Jason Berry; Dr. Michael White); 7:30-8:30 p.m., Make it Funky and Feminine: A Conversation with DJ Soul Sister (Interviewer Kelly Harris-DeBerry; Speaker Melissa A. Weber, AKA DJ Soul Sister); Late-Night Welcome Party following interview.

Friday, 11/16: 8:30-10:00 a.m., Keeping the Tradition Alive:  New Orleans Culture Bearers (Moderator Ben Sandmel; Panelists Kim Vaz-Deville, Eric Waters, Rachel Brenulin, Big Chief Victor Harris, Merline Kimble); 10:15-11:15 a.m., Sweet Spots:  In-Between Spaces in New Orleans (Moderator Barbara Ewell; Panelists Beth Willinger, John Klingman, John Clark); 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Poets and Po’Boys (Venue The Dragonfly Poetry and Performance Ritual Space) (Poets Alison Pelegrin, James Nolan, Christopher Romaguera, Shaina Monet); 1:45-2:50 p.m., It’s a Family Affair:  Intergenerational Connections to the Arts (Panelists Peter Cooley, Nicole Cooley, and others TBA); 3:00-4:15 p.m., Casting a Shadow: Writing while Working My Day Job (Interviewer Kelly Harris; Speaker Maurice Carlos Ruffin); 6:30-9:30 p.m., Words & Music Dinner and Awards Ceremony (Venue Cafe Reconcile), A Tribute to Mrs. Herreast Harrison.

Saturday, 11/17: 8:30-10:30 a.m., Children’s Programming–Free Community Session; 10:00-11:00 a.m., KNOW New Orleans (Speaker Freddi Williams Evans); 9:15-10:30 a.m., How To Write a Query Letter (Author and Editor Johnnie Bernhard walks you through this all-important step in publishing); 10:00-10:45 a.m., New Orleans’ Next Generation of Literary Voices (Speakers Students from 826 NOLA (formerly Big Class)); 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Don’t Read the Comments Section: NOLA Black Journalist talk Race, Fake News and Surviving the Industry (Venue Drink Lab NOLA (upstairs from Victory)) (Moderator David T. Baker); 1:15 p.m., Short film by Kelly Harris-DeBerry1:30-2:45 p.m., Black Dance in Louisiana: From Africa to Twerking (Speaker Greer Mendy); 3:00-4:15 p.m., Words & Music Writing Competition Reading; 4:30-5:45 p.m., TBA; 9:00 p.m., Late Night Literature:  Poetry Tribute to Aretha Franklin (Venue Whiskey and Sticks).

Sunday, 11/18: 8:30-9:45 a.m., Hot Off the Press (Moderator Alysha Rooks; Panelists Michael Allen Zell, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Rein Fertel, Jerika Marchan); 10:00-11:15 a.m., Literacy as a Tool to Combat Incarceration (Moderator Charmel Gaulden; Panelists Dr. Jerry Ward, Representative from Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners,  Representative from CEEAS, Sarah Omojola); 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., Literature and Lunch–Vengeance (Venue Ashe Power House), Reading by Zachary Lazar, Performance by The Graduates, Closing Remarks by  Dr. Megan Holt.

We here in Peauxdunque hope we see a lot of old friends and meet a lot of new ones at the conference, in the panels, at the lunches and evening events, and out having drinks in between!

Winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions in the 2018 Words and Music Writing Competition

Through our literary journal arm, The Peauxdunque Review, we here in Peauxdunque are excited and proud to help administer the Words and Music Writing Competition for the Words and Music Writers’ Conference in New Orleans (held this year from November 15th through 18th). Last week, we announced on The Peauxdunque Review‘s Twitter and Facebook feeds the winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions in the five categories of the competition (short story, creative nonfiction, poetry, short story by public high school students, and “Beyond the Bars” for incarcerated juveniles). Today we have posted that information to The Peauxdunque Review‘s website, complete with photos and bios of the winners and runners-up and comments about the winning entries by the final-round judges. Check it out!

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More information about specific Peauxdunque involvement in this year’s Words and Music Writers’ Conference will be cross-posted here in the next few days, but you can go to the conference website for a full schedule.

Peauxdunque everywhere

It is I, keeper of the Peauxdunque website, long delinquent in my duties here. Part of my excuse is very good, as we here in the land of Peauxdunque have been busy working on Issue 1 of the Peauxdunque Review and, in the course of that, administering the 2018 Words and Music Writing Competition. The Review is on track to come out in December 2018, with a fabulous line-up of writers and writings in Issue 1, alongside some brilliant in-house-generated, soon-to-be-regular-feature columns. The Competition has resulted in a slate of winners and runners-up that we will announce this week, who are already populating the production schedule for Issue 2 of the Review (slated for late spring/early summer of 2019). But enough about that! You’re here to hear about what’s new for Peauxdunquians, and there is plenty:

  • First up, Peauxdunquian writer and photographer-extraordinaire L. Kasimu Harris, who just recently completed a summer-long run as a featured artist in the NOMA “Changing Course” show, last week published an incisive column about how the new Southern photography show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art is providing a long-necessary disruption of the white-male-centric curation of the art-photography world. Read it here (and now), from The Bitter Southerner (“How the Ogden Museum is Desegregating Southern Photography”).
  • Next, Peauxdunque travel writer Lavinia Spalding will be appearing at Garden District Book Shop this Tuesday, October 16, to interview Apricot Irving and discuss Apricot’s memoir, The Gospel of Trees. Lavinia is the series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, author of Writing Away, and co-author of With a Measure of Grace and This Immeasurable Place. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Post Road, and numerous travel magazines and anthologies.
  • While on the subject of things happening this coming week, there’s all of the everything happening for founding Peauxdunquer Maurice Carlos Ruffin in advance of the January release of his debut novel from One World/Random House, We Cast a Shadow (pre-order at that link).
    • First, this Wednesday, October 17, Maurice will be presenting at the main (Loyola Ave.) branch of the New Orleans Public Library on “New Orleans 300: Ancestral Suits,” delving into he life of Patrina, Wild Queen of the Red Hawk Hunters, the first woman to lead a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. He’ll also read from various works, including the upcoming novel.
    • The next day, Thursday October 18, Maurice will be at Garden District Book Shop interviewing Kiese Laymon on Kiese’s New Orleans stop on the book tour for the critically lauded memoir, Heavy. A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS.
    • Next up for Maurice will be a busy Thursday, October 25; at noon that day he will be reading from the new novel at the Delgado Reading Series, then at 7 that evening he will be featured alongside Rita Bullwinkel at the Dogfish Reading Series.
    • The next week, on Tuesday, October 30, Maurice will be in Brooklyn, featured alongside Fatimah Asghar at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, again reading from the new novel.
    • All of this, as we said up top, is in advance of the release of We Cast a Shadow. The novel recently received a starred/boxed review from Publishers Weekly! Go read that, then you can register at Good Reads for an advance-copy giveaway.
  • WHEW. That was a lot. but we’re not done …
  • Peauxdunquian James (Drew) Jordan, recently moved to Georgia for the creative writing Ph.D. program at Georgia State, has recently learned that his story, “Residue,” will be published by venerable journal Quarterly West, and will be out later this month!
  • And Peauxdunque’s Tad Bartlett has recently had two works published. His novella, Marchers’ Season, is the sole featured work in Issue 26 of Storylandia, available from amazon.com here. And Tad’s short story, “When Czechoslovakia Was Still a Country,” has been included in the relaunch issue of Green Briar Review, just released yesterday.

Peauxdunquians continue to travel and write in search of the Word and all its magic. Emily Choate has recently completed a residency at the Hambidge Center in Georgia, and continues to write insightful and beautifully rendered reviews at Chapter16.orgDenise Moore continues to work her writing and words in the improv world with the improv comedy group Black Girl Giggles, who just recently appeared at the Diversity in Comedy Festival in Los Angeles. And Tom Carson, as always, who thought he could rid himself of us by moving out to California, continues to pound home the cultural and political harrows of the day with razor wit and grace.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I might remember all the things I forgot …