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!