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:

Catching up with Peauxdunque

There have been a ton of great developments for the writers in the land of Peauxdunque over the last couple months, so before we get too far behind, here’s the news:

Emily Choate‘s great short story, “Eufala,” has been accepted for publication by Shenandoah, the sixty-seven-year-old journal that has published the likes of e e cummings, Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, James Merrill, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner. and Flannery O’Connor. Emily’s work will fit right in!

Peauxdunque writers have also aimed their pens at the current political times, with topical publications by Kelly Harris (“Resistance Must be Personal,” on after i was dead); Maurice Carlos Ruffin (“Talking in New Orleans in the Age of Trump,” a podcast republication of Maurice’s LitHub essay from last November, on the Racist Sandwich blog; and “The Effects of White Supremacy Are Non-Transferable,” on LitHub); and Alex Johnson (“Election Elegy 2016: A Carpenter’s Prayer on a Walnut Bed in the Woods,” on Flagpole), in addition to Tom Carson‘s regular cultural and political insights, which have moved from his old post at GQ to his new digs at Playboy (see, for example, his most recent essay, “Alternative Facts Will Rule the White House: Let’s Not Take the Bait“).

In other publication news, Maurice’s gentrification essay, “Transition in New Orleans,” has been published by Room 220; and his new critical take on Confederacy of Dunces, his essay “Ignatius in the New New Orleans,” was published by Louisiana Cultural Vistas. Also, Cassie Pruyn had her essay, “Report From the Field: Speaking Into Silences,” published at VIDA Review.

In awards-season news, the slightly old but huge news is that Maurice’s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” published in 2014 by The Iowa Review, made the list of 100 “Other Distinguished Short Stories” listed at the back of the 2016 Best American Short Stories, guest edited by Junot Diaz. Maurice also has two of his 2016 publications nominated for a Pushcart Prize, his short story “Children of New Orleans,” published in AGNI, and his essay, “Fine Dining in New Orleans.” His two Pushcart nominations join Tad Bartlett‘s nomination for his essay, “My Time With You,” published in 2016 by Chautauqua Literary Journal. AGNI also noted that Maurice’s essay, “Stanislavski in the Ghetto,” was one of its Top 5 blog posts for 2016. And, finally, L. Kasimu Harris‘s photography and writing work has been recognized with his naming as one of eight “Louisianians of the Year” by Louisiana Life.

2016 “Bests”: Maurice Carlos Ruffin and L. Kasimu Harris

Two Peauxdunquians have work honored in compilations of “Best” writing from 2015. L. Kasimu Harris‘s essay, “Ya-ka-mein: Old Sober,” which originally appeared on Edible New Orleans, will be reprinted in Best Food Writing 2016, edited by Holly Hughes. And Maurice Carlos Ruffin‘s short story, “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” which appeared originally in volume 44, no. 3 of the Iowa Review (and won the 2014 Iowa Review Fiction Prize), is noted on the list of “Notable Fiction” in Best American Short Stories 2016!

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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Another “Yeah, You Write” in the books

The second installment in the “Yeah, You Write” word rebellion series let loose at Cafe Istanbul last night. Many people came together to fill the room and make the night a success, with readings and remarks from John M. BarryCassie Pruynjewel bushBenjamin PercyJoseph BoydenEmilie Staat, and Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. Emcee Nick Fox moved the night along, regaling the audience with the exploits of the readers, while the photographs of L. Kasimu Harris and the innovative turntable work of DJ Seppe punctuated every point of the show.

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Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly came bearing gifts of moonshine, and read from the dramatic inundation scene from The Tilted World. Ben Percy’s dynamic reading from Red Moon was preceded appropriately enough by his horror-rendition of a line from the childhood classic, Good Night, Moon. Joseph Boyden came in from far travels and despite illness to utterly transfix the room with a chapter from his soon-to-be-released-in-the-U.S.-novel, The Orenda. jewel bush punched the lights out with her boxing-themed, coming-of-age-in-a-rough-world short story. And Peauxdunque’s own Emilie Staat and Cassie Pruyn brought intense and passionate memoir and poetry to the stage.

Leading them all off was John Barry and his reading from Rising Tide, followed by his remarks on the attempts of the oil and gas industry to rise above the law in Louisiana’s fight to protect itself from the increased storm risks caused by the industry’s destruction of wetlands (everyone, that message for the legislators was “Don’t let politics kill the flood authority’s independence,” and “Let the courts decide the fate of the levees lawsuit, not the legislature, because no one should be above the law,” and those legislators were Raymond Garofalo, Christopher Leopold, Neil Abramson, and Nick Lorusso).

A huge shout-out to the folks at Cafe Istanbul, without whom the night would not have been a success. Cafe Istanbul is clearly a vital heartbeat in the revival of New Orleans’ many communities, including its artists and writers. Also, many thanks to the good folks at Garden District Book Shop, who came through on short notice with the books that sold to the enthusiastic audience, making the night a further success.

Tonight

Can you believe it? Tonight. The Second coming of the original “Yeah, You Write!” event. It’s more than a reading, more than a photo exhibit, more than a dance party, more than a night out on the most incredible town this side of the moon. It’s all of that.

It started as a vision, something slightly more than a whim. One night in late summer in 2011, Maurice and Emilie and Terri and I sat around and talked about it, put it into words: To put great writers on great stages, put them on the pedestals on which we put our musicians and other artists, take them out of the usual context, fete them. When it first translated into something real two and a half years ago, I was a bit in disbelief we pulled it off. And now we have the audacity to do it a second time, with the help and guidance of a host of new Peauxdunquians (April, Denise, Sabrina, and Kasimu) with another slate of amazing writers and artists. I’m still flabbergasted, and extremely grateful that all these great folks said “Yes,” then and now. These are my literary heroes, and many of them I feel lucky to call my friends now, too. We’re so happy to share them with you. Beth Ann Fennelly,Tom Franklin, John BarryJoseph Boyden, Ben Percyjewel bushEmilie StaatCassie Pruyn. Photos by the always amazing L Kasimu Harris. Tunes by the gifted DJ Seppe. Emcee’d by the extraordinary Nick Fox. We’ll see you tonight. 7:00 at Cafe Istanbul.

peauxdunque postcard final

The return of ‘Yeah, You Write!’

We’re excited to announce that our original event series, Yeah, You Write,” is back! Last time we billed it as a “literary concert”; this time it’s a full-on “word rebellion.” Back in October 2011, Peauxdunque launched its series of putting top writers on top stages, with our original event at Tipitina’s. This time around, on the night of April 18, 2014, we’ll feature writers, images, and music on the stage at Cafe Istanbul, at 2372 St. Claude Avenue.

MC Nick Fox, with Amanda Boyden, Gian Smith, Terri Stoor, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, and Bill Loehfelm, October 2011

MC Nick Fox, with Amanda Boyden, Gian Smith, Terri Stoor, Kelly Harris-DeBerry, Mat Johnson, and Bill Loehfelm, October 2011

This year’s slate of writers includes best-selling and prize-winning authors Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, who will be reading from their new collaborative work, The Tilted World; Joseph Boyden, winner of the Giller Prize, whose new novel, The Orenda, has already been winning awards and praise in Canada and which will be released in the United States in May; John Barry, whose seminal work on the great 1927 flood, Rising Tide, informed much of The Tilted World, and who is currently front and center in a fight to stop a new great flood as southeast Louisiana washes away; Benjamin Percy, whose most recent novel, Red Moon, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, IndieNext Pick, Amazon “Top Ten Best Books of May,” CNN’s Top Ten Books of May, iBookstore Editor’s Choice, and an Entertainment Weekly “Must List” selection; insightful local essayist and writer jewel bush, founder of the MelaNated Writers Collective; Emilie Staat, winner of the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Gold Medal for the essay; and stellar local poet Cassie Pruyn, finalist in the most recent Indiana Review 1/2K Prize.

Music for the event will be provided by DJ Sep, and the event will feature the projected images of writer/photographer L. Kasimu Harris. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., with the words set to start flowing at 7:30. $5 cover charge at the door.

A busy start to 2014 in Peauxdunque

There’ve been lots of doings in the land of Peauxdunque to begin 2014.

Susan Kagan has inked a book deal with Left Hand Press for her book, Avoiding a Perilous Path: Basic Wiccan Ethics, a book examining every mundane aspect of ethical behavior in a Wiccan’s life, from birth to death and all the epiphanies and drudgeries in between. Publication will be no later than early 2015.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin has learned that his short story, “Catch What You Can,” will be published this May in issue 11.2 of Redivider.

New Peauxdunquian Geoff Munsterman has been all over the place, presenting readings from his new collection, Because the Stars Shine Through It, including at the AllWays Lounge, at the “Meet the Authors of Lavender Ink” event at Faulkner House Books, and as a featured author, along with Maurice, at the upcoming Pine Street Salon hosted by Rodger Kamenetz and Moira Crone.

Tad Bartlett learned in January that his short story, “Superpowerless,” received an Honorable Mention designation in the November 2013 Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers.

Emily Choate continued her great series with Chapter 16, posting a review of Charles McNair’s Pickett’s Charge, his first book since his Pulitzer-nominated Land O’ Goshen nineteen years ago.

Tom Carson continues to write his insightful film and cultural criticism for The American Prospect and GQ, including his touching obituary in GQ for Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And L. Kasimu Harris had a successful solo exhibition of his photography at the Bellocq lounge, titled “Dreams Do Come True.” Proving the truth of that title, Kasimu also emcee’d the “Haute & Handmade” event, a showcase of Southern costume couture, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on January 24.

MORE TO COME!