Sunday, April 13, 2014

Celebrate National Poetry Month with great events!

Ava Leavell Haymon
            It’s National Poetry Month and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.              For one, two Louisiana poet laureates will be spotlighted in the nation’s capital this week. Ava Leavell Haymon, current Louisiana poet laureate, and Julie Kane, immediate past poet laureate, will discuss their writing process and read from their work from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event is being sponsored by the American Women Writers National Museum and Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library.
            Poets Wendy Taylor Carlisle and Toby Daspit will offer a special evening of literary readings beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at Carpe Diem! Gelato – Espresso Bar in downtown Lafayette.
            Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks and is the author of “Discount Fireworks” and “Reading Berryman to the Dog” (Jacaranda Press). She has won The Bernice Blackgrove Award for Excellence, The Lipscomb Award from Centenary College, a Passager Poetry Contest Award, and has been eleven times nominated for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Web. Carlisle’s chapbook, “Persephone on the Metro,” is now available from MadHat Press. You can read more about Carlile at 
Toby Daspit
            Daspit, the self-proclaimed “Bard of the Blue Dog Cafe,” is associate professor of education and co-director of UL’s National Writing Project of Acadiana. Daspit is a frequent reader in the Acadiana and New Orleans poetry scenes and conducts poetry workshops in area schools. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies including The Quarterly, Never Bundle Review, di-vêrsé-city and The Maple Leaf Rag. He is the author of the chapbook “Anatomy of a Ghost and other poems not about you” and was a featured poet for the 2010 Festival of Words in Grand Coteau. His most recent chapbook, “Bar Coasters,” was published in 2013 by Yellow Flag Press.
            The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Clare Martin at or 962-5886.
            The St. Martinville’s Sr. High School Poetry Society, along with the City of St. Martinville and the St. Martin Parish Library, invite the public to join them for an evening of Poetry on the Square beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Members of the Society will perform original poetry and rotate among several downtown venues, including Clambeaugh’s Restaurant, Le Petit Paris Café, the Cultural Heritage Center, Maison Duchamp and the Acadian Memorial. Drinks will be served at Clambeaugh’s and other refreshments at the Acadian Memorial.
            A new monthly spoken word has been organized for Opelousas literi. The event, followed by an open mic, will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Java Square, 103 Landry St. in Opelousas, and be hosted by Maureen Little, a member of National Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Coming up in May will be a spoken word night for teens.

Accalia and the Swamp Monster
            Kelli Scott Kelley has created a heroine’s journey through a southern landscape similar to Louisiana, accented by her haunting artwork uniquely created on fabric in “Accalia and the Swamp Monster,” published by LSU Press. The book borrows from Roman mythology, Jungian analysis and fairy tales and is based on Kelley’s autobiography and dreams, plus offers essays on the story by Jungian analyst Constance Romero of Mandeville and art historian Sarah Bonner of the University of Cumbria. Kelley is an associate professor at the LSU School of Art and her work is featured in the permanent collections of the Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler, Texas, the LSU Museum of Art and the Eugenia Summer Gallery in Columbus, Miss. She will discuss the book at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Old U.S. Mint in New Orleans, a free public event presented by the Louisiana State Museum.

Yeah, You Write
            The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance presents “Yeah, You Write – a word rebellion,” readings by prize-winning and best-selling authors as well as local writers at 7 p.m. Friday at Café Istanbul, 2372 St. Claude Ave. at the New Orleans Healing Center. Authors include Joseph Boyden, past winner of the Giller Prize and the 2014 winner of Canada Reads for his newest novel “The Orenda;” Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, authors of “The Tilted World;” Benjamin Percy, author of “Red Moon” and winner of the Pushcart Prize; award-winning and New York Times best-selling author John Barry, author of “Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty,” a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and winner of the New England Society Book Award; New Orleans writer and founder of the MelaNated Writers Collective jewel bush; Emilie Staat, winner of the Faulkner-Wisdom Gold Medal for the Essay; and poet Cassie Pruyn, finalist for the Indiana Review 1/2K Prize. Nick Fox will be master of ceremonies, music will be provided by DJ Sep and projected images will be offered by writer and photographer L. Kasimu Harris.
            There will be a $5 cover charge at the door.
            The Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, founded in 2007 by Amy Serrano and under the auspices of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, is composed of poets, fiction writers, songwriters, filmmakers, non-fiction writers and visual artists. For information, visit

Book events
            Georgia Pellegrini will sign copies of her new book, “Modern Pioneering,” from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Paul Michael Company. On hand will be refreshments from Social Southern Table & Bar, The Lab Handcrafted Coffees & Comforts and Charley G's.

            Sam Irwin will sign “Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at Crawfish Town in Henderson.
            Journalist and local history author Jim Bradshaw will speak on “The Civil War in Acadiana, 1863” at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Dupré Library’s Ernest Gaines Center Hallway on the UL campus. A Q&A will follow the talk.
            Gregory Alexander will be the guest speaker at Chris Smith’s Monday night Fiction Writers Group at 7 p.m. Monday at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. Alexander will be discussing the evolution of his novel, “The Holy Mark,” from short story to novel. 
            Dianne de Las Casas will sign her latest children’s book, “Cinderellaphant,” at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. She will offer an interactive storytime reading, followed by a drawing lesson with the illustrator, Stefan Jolet. 
            Kid Chef Eliana will sign copies of her books, “Cool Kids Cook: Louisiana” and “Cool Kids Cook: Fresh & Fit” at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. Eliana is an award-winning cookbook author, award-winning radio show host, and celebrity chef whose mission is to inspire kids to eat and cook good food with fresh, local ingredients.
            The Vermilion Parish Library will host an Easter Egg Hunt and party at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Abbeville and at 3:30 p.m. in Gueydan. The program is free and open to children age 10 or younger.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, 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