Sunday, May 25, 2014

First installment in Louisiana Cajun and Creole Poetry series focuses on Amede Ardoin

             Former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and 2014 Louisiana Writer Award winner Darrell Bourque has just published a collection of inverted sonnets titled “If You Abandon Me, Comment Je Vas Faire: An Amédé Ardoin Songbook,” the first installment of The Louisiana Series of Cajun and Creole Poetry (La Série de Louisiane de Poésie des Acadiens et Créoles) with Yellow Flag Press.
            In this chapbook Bourque explores the life of Creole musician Amédé Ardoin, born in 1898 in St. Landry Parish and who pioneered Creole music. Ardoin was incarcerated at the mental institution in Pineville after being beaten in a racial assault sometime late in his life. He died on Nov. 3, 1942. Legendary Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee, his friend with whom he played and recorded, called Amédé Ardoin une chanson vivant, a living song.
            A portion of Bourque’s book will go toward creating a public commemorative marker placed in Ardoin’s community to honor his life and contribution to the Cajun and Creole culture.
            Bourque is professor emeritus of English at UL-Lafayette and is the author of several books including “Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie.”

New releases
            Gary L. Stewart of Baton Rouge, vice president of Delta Tech Service of Louisiana, details searching for his father after being contacted by his birth mother and discovering startling news in “The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching For My Father ... And Finding The Zodiac Killer.” Writing with Susan Mustafa, Stewart alleges that his father is the Zodiac Killer, believed to have killed at least five people in Northern California in 1968 and 1969, murders that were never solved.
            John Gery, a  Research Professor of English and Seraphia D. Leyda Teaching Fellow at UNO, has published a collection of poems titled “Have At You Now!” Gery directs the Ezra Pound Center for Literature in Brunnenburg, Italy, and lives in New Orleans with his wife, poet Biljana Obradović, and their son, Petar. "The poems in John Gery's ‘Have at You Now!’ are acted upon with the same verve and wit and parry and heart as that scene from Hamlet from which the title is taken,” said Lafayette poet Darrell Bourque. “These are the poems of a huge imagination and a huge intellect whose observations are at once as capable of being as fully engaged in the philosophical as in the familial. John Gery is a powerful traveler poet who counters experience with thought, form with idea, technique with delivery. Gery is one of the best poets writing today and I go to him repeatedly for guidance and direction. Have at You Now! is nothing short of a master class in how to make poems that matter."
            “Cast of Characters,” a selection of George Gurtner's New Orleans magazine columns of the same name, is expected to be released this month by Louisiana publisher Margaret Media. Dubbed “local color in and around the Big Easy,” it features more than 60 people — with photos — who make New Orleans home.
            Young Adult novelist Ruta Sepetys sets her latest novel, “Out of the Easy,” in 1950 New Orleans. Seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, which makes her want to flee the city. A mysterious death in the Quarter, however, leaves her tangled in an investigation.
            Michael Patrick Welch offers a look into New Orleans non-traditional side in “New Orleans: The Underground Guide.” Contents include where to get naked, how to make the most of Mardi Gras according to banjo player Geoff Douville, what to order from the Slavic menu at Siberia and where to find the New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival, among much more. Welch is the author of several books and has contributed to New Orleans publications as well as Salon, Columbia Journalism Review, McSweeney's, Oxford American, and Vice magazine.

Book events
            Ronlyn Domingue will read from and sign “The Chronicle of Secret Riven,” the Keeper of Tales Trilogy Book Two, at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. Domingue is the author of “The Mercyof Thin Air” and “The Mapmaker’s War.”

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