Sunday, June 2, 2013

Holledge's 'Scattered' reviewed; Bourque's new book of poetry released

            Lafayette lawyer, author and director of the Acadian Museum in Erath Warren Perrin wrote me to recommend “The Scattered,” a new novel by Richard Holledge based on the life of Jambo LeBlanc who was deported from Grand Pré, Acadie (now Nova Scotia), who came to Louisiana in 1785.
             “There are many history books written about the Acadian deportation and plenty of information about the plight of the exiles in the British colonies,” Perrin wrote. “However, what was missing — until now — was the drama, the pain and the suffering handed out by the ruthless British dramatized by the horror of the ‘ethnic cleansing’ suffered by the Acadians through the life of Joseph ‘dit Jambo’ LeBlanc, the victim — and hero — of his book.  
            “Holledge succeeds best at describing not just the farmlands of Acadie, but also the actual mood of the Acadians under British occupation,” Perrin continues.  “Many of his characters react heroically, some cynically, all making for excellent reading. 
            “Holledge, a former newspaper editor with several UK national newspapers, including the Times and the Independent, does justice to the Grand Dérangement and honors our ancestors,” Perrin concludes.

Bourque’s latest
            Former Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque has compiled a new collection of poetry titled “Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie,” published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press. The book is divided into three sections, the first a diverse set of contemporary poems mostly set in Acadiana, the second a bridge that includes “Megan’s Guitar” and the third a 27-sonnet sequence that deals with the Acadian expulsion from Acadie, or the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
            There’s the horse race behind T-Maurice’s Dancehall, the rhythms of life celebrated in “Church Point Breakdown” and the brief but powerful poem about Karina titled simply “August 2005.” Other poems celebrate paintings and painters, the historical figures of 18th Century Acadie and everyday contemplations. For those looking for great examples of Bourque’s work, this new set of poetry is a gem.
            Bourque will kick off his “The Bayou Teche Reading Tour” for “Megan's Guitar” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Joie de Vivre Cafe in Breaux Bridge. Other sites will include Arnaudville, Loreauville, New Iberia and St. Martinville when the tour ends on Aug. 15 with a reading at the Acadian Memorial as part of National Acadian Day.   

Book News
            “Hell or High Water: How Cajun Fortitude Withstood Hurricanes Rita and Ike” by Ron Thibodeaux recently won two awards, a silver Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of Southern Regional Nonfiction and the National Grand Prize in Regional Nonfiction from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
            Yvette Landry’s children’s book “The Ghost Tree” has been selected as the Louisiana book for the National Book Festival’s Pavilion of the States to be held in Washington, D.C. Visitors to the pavilion can pick up a Discover Great Places through Reading brochure, which includes a map and a list of books, “Great Reads about Great Places,” with one title from each state.
            “Dirty Rice: A Season in the Evangeline League” and “Grand Coteau” by the UL Press were both named by ForeWord Reviews as finalists in their 2012 Book of the Year Awards. Finalists were selected from 1,300 entries covering 62 categories of books from independent and academic presses. “Dirty Rice,” a novel set in the midst of the Great Depression about minor league baseball in South Louisiana, is a finalist in the General Adult Fiction category. “Grand Coteau,” a photographic record of a unique, historic Louisiana town that spans 35 years, is a finalist in the Adult Non-Fiction Photography category. The winners will be announced at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago on June 28.

Writing classes
            Patrice Melnick will be offering a non-fiction writing class from June 6 through July 27 in Grand Coteau. Melnick is the author of “Po-boy Contraband: from Diagnosis Back to Life” and “Turning up the Volume.” She wrote the text for John Slaughter’s photography book, “Grand Coteau” and writes a monthly column for the Daily World called “Up on the Ridge,” about life in Grand Coteau. Melnick taught English and creative writing at Xavier University in New Orleans for 13 years, establishing the first creative writing minor at an historic black college or university. She also taught a literary nonfiction workshop in the low-residency MFA program at the University of New Orleans. For information, email or call (337) 254-9695.
            The 2013 WORD Up Youth Writing Camp for students in grades 4-12 will be 9 a.m. to noon July 22-26 at LSU-Eunice with instructors Chrissy Soileau and Jill Dover. The fee is $75. For registration information, visit
            An All-Day Self-Editing Workshop, sponsored by the South Louisiana Romance Writers of America with instructor Liz Pelletier, editor/co-owner of Entangled Publishing, will be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22 at Andrea’s Restaurant, 3100 19th St. in Metairie. The fee is $85 SOLA members, $90 members and includes a light breakfast and lunch, plus pitch times from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
For information, visit

Book events
            Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque will kick off his “The Bayou Teche Reading Tour” for “Megan's Guitar” at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at Joie de Vivre Cafe in Breaux Bridge.      
            Claire Manes will sign “Out of the Shadow of Leprosy” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at Octavia Books in New Orleans.
            Charlene Henry will give a lecture on “Dreams, Creativity and the Cajun Culture” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, in Oliver Hall on the UL-Lafayette campus as part of the Friends of the Humanities. The event is free.
            “Deep Blues: Human Soundscape for the Archetypal Journey” will be the presentation by Mark Winborn, a Jungian analyst from Memphis, at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 9, at  St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 400 Camelia Blvd. The event is sponsored by the C.G. Jung Society of Lafayette and based on Winborn’s recently published book, “Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey.” The presentation will explore the archetypal journey of the human psyche through an examination of the blues as a musical genre and be augmented by visual images, audio recordings and video.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at