Drew Jordan and Maurice Ruffin with publications and news

From founding members to our newest members, the folks of Peauxdunque keep it up with the good news, publications and otherwise.

James A. (Drew) Jordan will have his short story, “Those Old Burning Ships,” published in Issue 102 of The Greensboro Review. He also had his short story, “The Light Bearer,” named a finalist in the Jan./Feb. 2017 Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. Drew will complete his MFA at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop next month, and this fall will begin in the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, expanding Peauxdunque to a seventh state!

Founding Peauxdunqian Maurice Carlos Ruffin has just published his experimental short, “You Can Run,” in the second issue of Arkansas International. A thrilling read, so click that link and have at it.

Peaux-ets at the 2017 New Orleans Poetry Festival

The New Orleans Poetry Festival will take place from April 20 through 23, at the New Orleans Healing Center and Cafe Istanbul (2372 St. Claude Avenue, NOLA), and Peauxdunque poets will be featured among the poets and presenters. (Indeed, unrequited Peauxdunquian Benjamin Morris is a coordinator of the 2017 NOPF).

Kelly Harris will be featured twice during the NOPF. On Friday, April 21, at 3:30 p.m., she will be on the “Mystic Female: Black Women Poets Read” panel, along with Kwoya Fagin Maples and Jacqueline Allen Trimble. Then at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, Kelly will be in the lineup for the Saturday Night Feature Reading at Cafe Istanbul, along with Rodrigo Toscano and Lee Herrick. (Kelly will also be on the faculty of the Saturday workshop at the New Orleans Youth Poetry Festival on April 22).

Cassie Pruyn will be part of the “Small Press Readings III” presentation at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, in Cafe Istanbul, along with Sarah Anne Cox, Jeff Grieneisen, and Biljana D. Obradović.

Come out and celebrate poetry and small presses for the whole festival!

New publications by Zach and Worm; plus a Claudia Gray book release

More publications news from Peauxdunque-land:

  • Larry Wormington has had his short story, “Balloon Animals,” accepted for publication by Elm Leaves Journal, out of Buffalo, New York. ELJ has been in production since 1948 and is edited by Pushcart Prize-winning author, Kim Chinquee.
  • Zach Bartlett‘s story, “Stop Making Your Words Fancy,” will be published in The J.J. Outré Review. It should be out in late April.

Also, Peauxdunquian Amy Vincent, publishing as Claudia Gray, will have her new YA sci-fi adventure, Defy the Stars, released today. A release event will be held tonight at Octavia Books at 513 Octavia Street (NOLA), with a reception from 5 to ~6 and a reading and signing starting close to 6. There will be cupcakes and wine! As Claudia Gray, Amy is the author of the bestselling Evernight series, Fateful, the Spellcaster trilogy, and the Firebird trilogy. She is also the author the young adult Star Wars novels Lost Stars and the forthcoming Bloodline. Kirkus gave Defy the Stars a starred review, calling it a “[n]uanced philosophical discussions of religion, terrorism, and morality advise and direct the high-stakes action, informing the beautiful, realistic ending. Intelligent and thoughtful, a highly relevant far-off speculative adventure.”

Kooy in Stockholm!

Peauxdunquian Andrew Kooy has had his short story, “Perfection,” accepted for publication by the Stockholm Review of Literature. Some would say Andrew’s Viking-like good looks would make him a natural fit for such Scandinavian dreams, but this is, indeed, Andrew’s first European publication. When SRL‘s new issue goes live with Andrew’s story next week, we’ll post the link to our Facebook page.

Andrew Kooy at Hopedale Writers’ Camp, March 2017

Peauxdunque at the Tennessee Williams Festival

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will be happening this weekend, March 22-26. Two of Peauxdunque’s own will be among the star-studded cast of writers among the Festival’s packed list of panels. At 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, Maurice Carlos Ruffin will moderate “A Conversation About Race: Finding Strength for the Struggle in Great Writing,” a panel featuring Jericho Brown, Kiese Laymon, Bernice McFadden, and Kalamu ya Salaam. At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24, Maurice and Tad Bartlett will join Kia GroomBill Loehfelm, and Trisha Rezende on the panel, “Can You Imagine a Better Place to Write? The Artistic Allure of New Orleans,” moderated by Carolyn Hembree, part of the UNO Panel Series at the Festival.

Tad Bartlett and Maurice Ruffin, Hopedale, La., March 19, 2017

Maurice Ruffin’s novel acquired by One World

Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s debut novel, We Cast a Shadow, has been acquired at auction by Victory Matsui at One World, Chris Jackson‘s imprint at Random House. Maurice was represented in the deal by P.J. Mark, of Janklow & Nesbit. We Cast a Shadow, set in a near-future Southern city, follows a black father who, desperate to save his bi-racial son from a world bent on erasing him, becomes obsessed with an experimental medical procedure to turn his son white. We Cast a Shadow is a family story that shines a million-watt light onto the American psyche and questions how far we will go to protect the ones we love.

Chris Jackson, formerly an executive editor at Spiegel & Grau, has also edited works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Edwidge Danticat, Jay-Z, and Beyonce, among many other luminaries. We Cast a Shadow is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2019.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Long live the Queen, Terri Sue

1459799_10152807263765907_2858705993901463190_nEarly in the morning on February 15, 2017, Terri Sue Shrum, fiercely loving mother of three, strong and protective friend, and incredible voice and writer of the lives of the realest people among us, passed away in her sleep from the effects of pancreatic cancer. She was at the home of her brother, Jude, who with Terri’s family was tireless in his care of Terri. Terri’s family were like her friends, and she held her friends close like family. And, for our purposes, here, it is worth noting that she was the undisputed Queen of Peauxdunque, and always will be. Long live the Queen.

Terri Sue was among the founding members of Peauxdunque, gathered initially together in a French Quarter alley by Amy Serrano in November (some say it was October–regardless, it was cold) 2007. Terri has been a constant. Writers’ groups typically have a life span much shorter than ten years, but it was Terri who pushed us to realize what we could be, who underscored our importance to each other. And when things could have fallen apart at one of the many speed bumps along the way, it was Terri who got the tattoo. And who can let a group die once someone has permanently marked themselves with it? Not us.

terri-tattooTerri was no happy-go-lucky friend and writing comrade, but she demanded nothing but the deepest dedication on both fronts, and offered nothing but the truest loyalty on both fronts as well. And as a writer she was beautiful and muscular and visceral and smart and tender. In 2011, Terri’s story, “Bellyful of Sparrow,” won the gold medal in the short story category of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition. Judging the short story category was Harper Collins editor Michael Signorelli, who said of Terri’s story:

“A Bellyful of Sparrow” balances the horror of life with the humor. The mute, immobile, terminally ill narrator wryly observes the life around him, while also inspiring unexpected attention from friends and family. But what could be a dirge is instead quietly mirthful. The story upends expectation and strikes for the elusive territory between bemusement and solemnity. And carried by the strength of its naturally engaging prose-voice, it succeeds.

Bellyful of Sparrow” was subsequently published in Missouri Review. Terri was also the first Peauxdunque member to be featured along with other notable writers in our semi-annual Yeah, You Write reading series; here is an interview we ran with her then.

In 2012, Terri’s essay, “Bird Dog,” was the winner of the Writers@Work essay competition. Contest judge Steve Almond had this to say about Terri’s work:

The prose is lyric, graceful, and fearless. And the evocation of place and character is astonishing. The events in question happened years ago, and the author brings her wisdom to bear, but never sentimentalizes herself or her father. (I held off on choosing this as the winner for a long time, simply because it’s only 1000 words, and I felt like I could have spent another 5000 with this author.)

Bird Dog” was subsequently published in QuarterlyWest. Here is a video of her reading “Bird Dog.”

Out of all of her publications and prizes, though, and there were others, my favorite–and I know one of the ones she was proudest of, was a quiet small little essay she wrote and had published in the Tampa Bay Times Sunday Journal, “Easier to Share Tradition than Words of Wisdom.” It was an essay about being a mother to her children, the thing she was most invested in, and about which I’ll most remember her.

Here are a ton of pictures of Terri in her role as Queen of Peauxdunque, with love:

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