More in the Bitter South, plus a Texas guidebook

Peauxdunquian Alex Johnson has joined the ranks of contributing writers at The Bitter Southerner, with his feature interview published yesterday with Georgia Congressman John Lewis and Congressman Lewis’s collaborator on the March trilogy of graphic memoirs, Andrew Aydin: “Good Trouble.” A deep and fascinating dive into the life of Congressman Lewis and the creative process behind March.

Also, Janis Turk‘s latest guidebook, Frommer’s complete guide to Texas, is also now out. So everyone take a trip through the bitter South to Texas; Peauxdunque will have you well-equipped!

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin talk with Alex Johnson; photo by Willis Bretz for The Bitter Southerner

Advertisements

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.

New publications from Zach Bartlett and Janis Turk

Two more Peauxdunquians are piling on the publication credits. The fiction podcast, Gallery of Curiosities, is picking up a story by Zach Bartlett. And The New Laurel Review will be publishing the short story, “Flight Path,” by Janis Turk! We’ll post links and more on our Facebook page as those stories become available.

Awards, books, and articles (and a seminar, too!)

Lots of great Peauxdunque news lately, all of it of the exclamation-point variety:

Awards and books!

We’re excited to announce that founding (Founding Founding) Peauxdunqian Amy Serrano‘s poetry collection, Of Fiery Places and Sacred Spaces, was officially released on April 15, and you can purchase a copy right here, on Amy’s website. While there, you can also read more about her exciting new multi-media arts initiative focused on city self-definition (beginning in Miami), This Is Who We Are. Look for Amy soon at a curated reading in Chicago. More information as the details come in.

We’re also very excited that globe-trotting Peauxdunquian Janis Turk‘s essay, “Feeling Up the Map,” won second place for travel writing from the New York Travel Festival. Also, Janis’s photography is featured in the cookbook Come In We’re Closed, which has been nominated for a James Beard Award.

We’re grateful to count both Amy and Janis among the citizens of Peauxdunque!

Don’t forget, Peauxdunquian Tad Bartlett will be among tonight’s readers at the UNO Gold Room reading.

On a rise over a holler

Writers Camp is where Peauxdunque repairs at the beginning of every year, to reflect on the past year and recharge for the coming one. Usually an overnight to a place appropriately called Hopedale, 2013 saw us take a whole weekend instead. Gathering from all points Peauxdunquian, eating at a place (appropriately) called Dreamland on the way up, taking roads northward pointing, dwindling steadily in lanes and traffic until it was dark, twenty degrees, on a one-lane, moss-covered track at the bottom of a holler, next to a brook, icy water over rocks, and the GPS saying, “You’ve come as close to your destination as you can travel by car. You must now exit the car and walk.” Up a rise that felt like a mountain but surely wasn’t, until all the travelers were together. Susan Kagan, who had secured the hilltop retreat from a good soul; Emily Choate over from Nashville; J.Ed. Marston over from Chattanooga-way; Janis Turk flown all the way up from San Antonio; and Denise MooreTerri StoorMaurice Ruffin, and Tad Bartlett the long drive up from New Orleans. At a place not near any other places, nameless, now called, appropriately, Peauxdunque, Tennessee.

Late into the night, twice, a whole day in the middle, and a far-too-short morning on the end, plus the long hours of driving up and back, there was solid talk about writing and reading and words. There were plans discussed, theses, novels, stories, essays. We took time to be silent and to write, to wander the hillside over fresh snow and under old stars. Below is a slideshow of some photos from our time, taken by Terri, Maurice, Emily, and Tad. We invite all to share; but I particularly invite Peauxdunquians to come back and view them and remember the times in Tennessee over the next year, when you’re feeling momentarily adrift. One more year, then we’ll do it all again.

Peauxdunque reads at Words and Music

Yesterday, November 28, six Peauxdunquians read from their fiction and nonfiction, and a seventh was the emcee, during a session of the 2012 Words and Music Conference at the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. The emcee for the event was Peauxdunque’s own Terri Stoor, who was the 2011 gold medal winner in the short story category of the Faulkner-Wisdom writing competition, awarded by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society in conjunction with the Words and Music Conference.

Terri Shrum Stoor emcees the Writers Alliance reading at the 2012 Words and Music Conference

The first reader was this year’s gold medal winner in the essay category of the Faulkner-Wisdom competition, Peauxdunquian Emilie Staat, who read from her beautiful winning essay, “Tango Face”:

Emilie was followed by Tad Bartlett, who read an excerpt from “Addressing You,” his short story that was a finalist in the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom competition:

J.Ed. Marston then read an excerpt from “The Truth Project,” a novel he collaboratively wrote with Tad, and that was on the short list for finalists in the novel category of the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom competition:

Next up was Sara Paul, who read an excerpt from her historical fiction about a young scientist moving into New Orleans to conduct some experiments at the turn of the last century:

Maurice Carlos Ruffin followed, reading an excerpt from his current novel project, from a narrator looking back on the former city of New Orleans:

Rounding out the afternoon’s reading was Janis Turk, who brought the “music” into the Words and Music Conference with her reading of a minute in the day of New Orleans:

Great readings by all, and Peauxdunque looks forward to the final four days of an excellent conference!

Another Peauxdunque publication, and a reading

Peauxdunquian Emily Choate‘s story “Thunder Sometimes, Never Bells” will be published in an upcoming issue of The Florida Review! “Thunder Sometimes” was previously named to the short list for finalists in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom writing competition. A beautiful story; we’ll update when the issue is available.

A host of Peauxdunquians–Tad Bartlett, J.Ed. Marston, Sara Paul, Matt Robinson, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Emilie Staat, Terri Shrum Stoor, and Janis Turk–have been invited to read from recent work during the Words & Music Conference in New Orleans on November 28, at 3 p.m. The reading will be in the Second Floor Black Box Room at the U.S. Mint, 500 Esplanade Avenue.

Successful 2012 Writers’ Camp

Nine of the 2011 members of Peauxdunque convened in Hopedale for the annual Writers’ Camp. Two drinks were invented. Writing was read and challenged. Stars were counted. Pelicans, too. Goals and process discussed. Food cooked and consumed. Hangovers created and cured. And now, after that, let it be a new year. Peauxdunquian Bryan Block captured much of it in the following video and photo montage:

Untitled from Bryan Block on Vimeo.

New Orleans word scene getting noticed

Undeniably, the New Orleans word world is a vital part of our culture, contributing to the rebirth of a great American city and adding its flavor to a national literary mix. Peauxdunque strives to be a dynamic part of that role, from our support and encouragement of our member writers to our production of the Yeah You Write reading series. New Orleans poet Kelly Harris recently published an excellent post to the Poets & Writers blog on the many doings in the New Orleans literary universe, including our own.

An inextricably intertwined adjunct of the New Orleans writing world is the innovative and burgeoning filmmaking scene here. Peauxdunque is lucky to count two of the best filmmakers in New Orleans among our ranks, Amy Serrano and Helen Krieger. At the recently concluded New Orleans Film Festival, Helen‘s award-winning feature film, Flood Streets, garnered critical and popular raves, and was chosen for the premier encore screening slot at the end of the festival.

Last week’s Words and Music Conference, hosted by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society and with the guiding hand of Peauxdunque’s Amy Serrano in her role as Chairperson of the Pan American Connections Committee, brought international human rights advocate and former Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission Armando Valladares to provide a keynote speech on the power of writers and words to be the vanguard in the fight against global oppression and inequity. Words and Music also brought in national literary lights Nilo Cruz, Justin Torres, Robert Olen Butler, Oscar Hijuelos, Andrew Lam, Elise Blackwell, Roy Blount, Jr., Tom Carson, and Paula McLain, along with our own New Orleans greats, John Biguenet, Rodger Kamenetz, James NolanMoira Crone, and others. Joined by a faculty of nationally prominent agents and publishers ranging from Bix Six publishers through the agile and innovative crop of new generation publishers, brilliant discussions and readings ensued, probing the current and future states of writing, storytelling, and publishing. New Orleans literary crusader Mark Folse captured the vibe well in his posts on Odd Words and on the nola.com NOLA Vie report.

As covered in Mark’s reports, the Peauxdunque gang was glad to play a part in Words and Music. Terri Stoor, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, J.Ed. Marston, and Tad Bartlett presented poetry, fiction, and essays on the conference theme during the Wednesday afternoon session in the Cabildo. Also, Terri Stoor was the winner of the gold medal in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition’s short story category, while Maurice Carlos Ruffin was a finalist in the short story category and Tad Bartlett and J.Ed. Marston were semi-finalists in that category. In the novel category, Sabrina Canfield had a manuscript on the long list for finalists, and Tad and J.Ed. had a co-authored manuscript on the long list for finalists. In the novel-in-progress cateogry, Sabrina had a manuscript make the short list for finalists. In the essay category, Terri was the second runner-up, and Sabrina had an essay on the short list for finalists. Tad and J.Ed. each also had poems make the finalist list in the poetry category. In addition, a gang of Peauxdunquians volunteered to help staff several conference events, including Bryan Block, Dana Glass, Susan Kagan, Emilie Staat, Sabrina Canfield, Janis Turk, and Helen Krieger.