Noted critic and editor Arthur Krystal will deliver the Flora Plonsky Levy Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Oliver Hall Auditorium (Room 112) on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. Krystal’s talk will center on the friendship of Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling, two major literary and cultural figures of the mid-20th century, who for 40 years taught together at Columbia University. The title of the lecture is “Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling — An Improbable Friendship.”
Krystal received a master’s in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 1970. He took a class with Barzun and in time they became friends. At Barzun’s request, Krystal edited “The Culture We Deserve” and later “A Company of Readers,” which reprints 45 of the essays that Barzun, W. H. Auden and Trilling wrote for The Readers’ Subscription Book Club, which they founded in 1951.
Krystal has written for the Times Literary Supplement, the American Scholar, Harper’s, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other publications. His profile of Barzun appeared in the New Yorker in 2007, on the occasion of Barzun’s 100th birthday. Krystal’s own books include four collections of essays, including his most recent “This Thing We Call Literature.”
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In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book is announcing the sixth annual Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets program. Louisiana Poet Laureate Peter Cooley will host the event from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Seminar Center at the State Library of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. Cooley has invited poets from throughout the state to participate in readings of their work. Those included are Jack Bedell, Darrell Bourque, Mary Katherine Brake, Gina Ferrara, Lara Glenum, Kelly Harris, Julie Kane, Donney Rose and John Warner Smith. Registration is not required for this free event, and attendees are invited to bring brown bag lunches.
In other poetry news, the inaugural New Orleans Poetry Festival will take Friday through Sunday in New Orleans. For information, visit www.lavenderink.org/poetryfest.
Author Alex V. Cook dissects diners, restaurants serving those amazing plate lunch specials and Bayou State roadside eaters in his latest book, “Seat Yourself: The Best of South Louisiana’s Local Diners, Lunch Houses, and Roadside Stops,” published by LSU Press. It’s not all about boudin and smothered chicken, although there are plenty of those delicious dishes to go around. The lineup is as varied as the dishes, pizza and beer at Fleur de Lis Pizza of Baton Rouge, veal Parmesan and mac and cheese at Rocky and Carlo’s of Chalmette, pies and ham sandwiches at Lea’s Lunchroom in Lecompte and so much more. If you want a guide to those out-of-the-way places along with a few sterling well-known spots south of Alexandria, Cook gives his personal take on some of Louisiana’s best.
Lynn Shurr of New Iberia will release in soft cover and ebook “A Will of Her Own” on Saturday by Wild Rose Press. Main character Kara Shafer gives up on her college crush, Will Collier, and runs off with a rock band when their leader declares her his muse. While Kara endures a rocky marriage on the road to fame, she wonders if Will’s life has turned out as he planned. Does he ever think of the girl who wanted him so badly in college? For information, visit www.lynnshurr.com.
Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “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 also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.