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 …

 

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Words and Music, the Gray Lady, the Radio, and some more publications

Peauxdunque, despite its moniker, is a bustling place these days!

First up, tomorrow the Words and Music writers’ conference, put on by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, kicks off at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. On the opening day, Thursday December 7, Tad Bartlett will chair a “Words and Music Writers Alliance” session at 3 p.m., featuring a remembrance of Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum, and readings of new works by Peauxdunquians Emily ChoateJ.Ed. MarstonAlex Johnson, and others. Please come join us, and stay for the rest of this excellent conference!

And last week featured two different recognitions of Peauxdunquians’ work by The New York Times! First, The New York Times Book Review featured a stellar review of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 11: True Stories from around the World, edited by Peauxdunquian Lavinia Spalding. “The latest book’s editor, Lavinia Spalding, hungry for travelers who ‘go with an open heart’ and have ‘the inclination to practice human kindness, a sincere intention to build pathways of understanding and a willingness to be transformed,’ read nearly 500 submissions before settling on the 31 stories that make up this diverse collection.” Then, the NYT featured “Kings of the Confederate Road,” the essay and photo feature collaboration by Tad Bartlett, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and L. Kasimu Harris published by The Bitter Southerner, in its weekly “What We’re Reading” round-up.

On the grand old wireless contraption known as the radio, Peauxdunquian poet (and historian!) Cassie Pruyn was featured on NPR’s The Reading Life, discussing her brand new, just released lyrical history book, Bayou St. John: A Brief History. Cassie will also be reading and signing her newest book at Octavia Books on Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m. (513 Octavia Street, NOLA).

Finally, there’s a slew of new publication news coming out of Peauxdunque for upcoming fiction and non-fiction: Tad‘s short story, “Porches,” will be published in January 2018 by Gris-Gris literary journal. Andrew Kooy has two upcoming publications: his short story “clap your hands” will run in an upcoming issue of Apex, and his nonfiction piece “George, WA” will run in the June 2018 issue of Bird’s Thumb. Finally, James Drew Jordan will see two of his stories–“The Man Who Played with Satchmo” and “Starland, Washington”–run in New South.

WHEW!

A scholar, an interviewer, and some BS; and some Yok, too

A lot happens when you neglect your website for too long. While I’ve been derelict in my duties, the citizens of the Peauxdunque nation have been busy out in the writing world.

First up, Emily Choate was named a 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholar for this year’s edition of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Great recognition for some great writing, including publications in ShenandoahThe Florida ReviewTupelo QuarterlyChapter 16Late Night LibraryYemassee, and elsewhere; and recent residency awards at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and The Hambidge Center, among others. And even greater recognition for the work that’s coming.

L. Kasimu Harris has been showing up everywhere lately. On the publication front, Kasimu has started a series of food essays at The Bitter Southerner. His first two installments are “The Fried Green Tomatoes” and “How Mentors Season Our Lives.” His photography is also featured in the show, “Race and Revolution: Still Separate – Still Unequal,” which opened at Smack Mellon in New York City on June 24. He was also part of a feature in The New York Times entitled “Hot Links and Red Drinks: The Rich Food Tradition of Juneteenth.” Also one of this year’s Louisianians of the Year, and featured on an almost-uncountable, weekly deluge of articles, podcasts, and shows, Kasimu has been a force!

And y’all know Maurice Carlos Ruffin hasn’t been sitting still, either. On July 12, Maurice has been tapped to interview and moderate a reading by Roxane Gay, and her new memoir, Hunger. Originally set to take place at Octavia Books, the response has been so great that it’s been moved to the JCC at 5342 St. Charles Avenue, at 7 p.m. Buy a book to get in, and you won’t regret it! Details and RSVP here.

Y’all, I know I’m leaving stuff out. These are just the highlights, and there’s already more exciting news in the hopper that I’ll save for next week. But I’ll leave you with this pleasant picture from Oxford, Mississippi, where Peauxdunquians Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, Emily Choate, April Blevins Pejic, Ben Saxton, Susan Vallee, Andrew Siegrist, Drew Jordan, Larry Wormington, and Amy Conner gathered as part of the 2017 Yokshop Writers’ Conference:

So much good Peauxdunquian publication news

A raft of new publications by Peauxdunque’s own have been launched recently, along with news of publications on the horizon:

  • First, Cassie Pruyn‘s Walt McDonald First Boo Prize-winning book of poems, Lena, is out now from Texas Tech University Press. Writes Rachel Mennies in the foreword, “Pruyn lets us feel what lovers feel–the magnetism, the physicality, the tenderness, the rage, the wondering–with language both musical and visceral.” Room 220 will host a book release for Cassie at Saturn Bar on May 11 at 7 p.m., featuring readings by Cassie and by Ben Aleshire.
  • Next up in publications just out, the incredible story, “Eufala,” by Emily Choate, is now out in the latest issue of Shenadoah:

My stepfather Des got famous, eventually. Fame of a particular stripe—for writing a handful of the most soul-throttling country songs of the seventies and eighties, for a drinking habit so dedicated that it verged on religious solemnity, and for the time my mother left him handcuffed to a tree, alone, for twenty-six hours.

The story of that ordeal was what mattered most. I heard Des tell it over and over—the heat of the day collapsing his throat, the sun moving across the sky, then the moon, then the sun again. At last the bending of sky and trees, ushering the visitation of fearsome beasts, heavenly creatures come to chasten and guide him.

If my mother were within earshot at this point in the story, she’d shrug off all the majesty: “It was the DTs.”

People ate that shit up.

We suspect y’all will eat up the rest of this story, as soon as you head over to Shenandoah to check it out.

  • Zach Bartlett will have a new story, “Excerpts from the Diary of Theodore Miro, Competitor on CryptoChefs Season 2,” out in Mad Scientist Journal, in December 2017.
  • Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s story, “Beg Borrow Steal,” will be included in the anthology Mojo Rising, out from Sartoris Press in September 2017.
  • Janis Turk‘s story, “Flight Path,” is in the anthology, Mending for Memory, out now by New Laurel Review Press.
  • And Tad Bartlett‘s novella, Marchers’ Season, will see the world in print and e-book in 2018, as the L.A.-based literary journal Storylandia will devote a full issue to 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!

Pruyn wins; Marston publishes; Bartlett reads

Three more great bits of news from Peauxdunque. Foremost, peaux-et Cassie Pruyn has had her poem, “Traveler’s Monologue,” selected as one of only fourteen poems in the 2016 Best of the Net! “Traveler’s Monologue” originally appeared in Issue 5 of Border Crossing. Many congratulations to Cassie.

Next, J.Ed. Marston had his flash fiction piece, “His Face in the Light,” accepted for publication by the great Bayou literary magazine. This is J.Ed.’s print fiction debut, and it’s a wonderful piece; we’re looking forward to publication, which you can keep up with on our Facebook page.

Finally, Tad Bartlett will be one of two featured writers reading from their work in the Monday Nights anthology, along with Casey Lefante, this Thursday, February 9, at the main branch of the Jefferson Parish Public Library (4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie). The reading will start at 7 p.m., featuring introductory comments by anthology editors Rick Barton and Joanna Leake, as well as appearances by other contributors to the anthology. Monday Nights will be available for sale.

J.Ed. (top left), Cassie (second row, left), and Tad (bottom row, middle), at the 2015 Peauxdunque Writers' Camp.

J.Ed. (top left), Cassie (second row, left), and Tad (bottom row, middle), at the 2015 Peauxdunque Writers’ Camp.

Kooy with a publication; Choate to read at W&M

The writers and artists of Peauxdunque are dedicated to fighting, protecting, and expressing the strength of humanity, the love of our complex natures and collective worth, and the true freedoms of a people together. And we will never stop. With that …

We are all very excited to learn that Andrew Kooy will have his creative nonfiction piece, “Masochistic Tendencies,” published in Barely South Review in an upcoming issue! We will post a link on our Facebook page when the piece goes live.

And TODAY, at the Words and Music Conference in New Orleans, Emily Choate will be a selected reader (at 4 p.m. at the Hotel Monteleone), reading from her novel-in-progress. Don’t miss it!

Words for Terri Sue: Wrap-up and photos

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

After the show: Nick Fox, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri Shrum, Tad Bartlett, Kelly Harris, Nicholas Mainieri, and April Blevins Pejic. Photo by L. Kasimu Harris.

Peauxdunque shared a beautiful evening of love and generosity and art (so much wonderful art) with its founding member, Terri Sue Shrum, and with a large cross-section of the New Orleans writing and reading community on August 30, at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. The event was our “Words for Terri Sue” benefit reading, to raise funds for Terri’s out-of-pocket cancer treatment expenses, and featured DJ’ing by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania); the New Orleans premier of Gian Smith‘s award-winning short film, “The Adulterer”; brilliant, touching, thought-provoking, and energetic readings by best-selling and award-winning writers M.O. Walsh, Kelly Harris, Bill Loehfelm, Nicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin; with the emcee duties handled with great spirit and skill by Nick Fox. The stage was also graced by Terri herself, with a tribute to all those who came out to make the night possible. We raised approximately $2,000 on the night, bringing our total fundraising for Terri over $11,000 in the past three months! And we’re not done, yet. Please visit our gofundme page for Terri, and keep your eye out for another fundraising effort in conjunction with the Words & Music Conference in November.

If you couldn’t make it (and even if you did), here’s a slideshow of photos taken by Peauxdunquian writer/photographer/renaissance-man, L. Kasimu Harris:

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Words for Terri Sue: Featuring Terri herself!

Terri side by sideTomorrow night, August 30, at Three Keys (Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet, 7 to 9 p.m.)! We’ll have music by DJ Sep, emcee’ing by Nick Fox, and readings by a star-studded writer cast of M.O. WalshKelly Harris-DeBerryBill LoehfelmGian SmithNicholas Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin. And now I can announce it officially that Terri Sue Shrum will be with us, too! She made a flight down from Atlanta, where she’s been undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and will join us for the benefit reading as we raise funds to assist with her out-of-pocket treatment expenses. Come early, stay late, and donate whatever you can. She’s a fantastic writer and fantastic friend, and tomorrow will be a good night. Three Keys asks that people RSVP here if they’re thinking of coming, so click that link and come join us!

Words for Terri Sue: Meet the writers, part 5

This Tuesday, August 30, a special coming together of the writing tribes (and those who love them, or at least dig them) will occur at Three Keys (at the Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet Street, NOLA), as six best-selling and award-winning writers will present work at a benefit reading for Peauxdunque founding member Terri Sue Shrum. In May, Terri was diagnosed with inoperable stage-4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Terri has begun chemotherapy treatments at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, and writers nationwide have come together to help with an active fund-raising campaign to help Terri with her out-of-pocket treatment-related expenses. From 7 to 9 p.m. on August 30, we’ll continue that, with tunes spun by DJ Sep (Giuseppe Catania) and an evening emcee’d by Nick Fox. Admission is free, and donations will be accepted at the door and throughout the evening; RSVP here.

Our fifth featured writer is Kelly Harris-DeBerry, poet, teacher, Artrepreneur, and founder of BrassyBrown.com. Most recently, her multi-media poetic essay, “Dear Naomi (and Black Girls Everywhere),” received national attention when it attracted more than 3,000 views. Kelly has poems in the current issue of Torch literary magazine and a podcast on About Place Journal‘s website on Congo Square: Sustaining the Sacred Post-Katrina. She has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Cave Canem. Kelly’s performance background and MFA degree in creative writing/arts therapy places her on the stage and page. Check her out next month at the Black Arts Movement Conference at Dillard University. Kelly will be joined onstage on August 30 by M.O. WalshBill LoehfelmGian SmithNick Mainieri, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

Kelly Harris-D