Sunday, April 23, 2017

Two great poetry events happening this week

It’s National Poetry Month and we have two great events to announce.

First up is former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque reading poems from his most recent publication, “Where I Waited,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chicory’s Coffee & Café in Grand Coteau, part of the Festival of Words literary organization. Bourque will be joined by Bernice Murry of Grand Coteau, offering oral history of the area to be videotaped and placed in the Cajun and Creole Archives at the Center for Louisiana Studies in the “Grand Coteau Voices” collection. Bourque is professor emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he directed the interdisciplinary humanities program and served as the first Friends of the Humanities professor. He is a founding member of Narrative4, an international story exchange program, a member of the board at the Ernest J. Gaines Center at ULL and a former Louisiana Poet Laureate. “Where I Waited” is his 10th work. The chapbook “if you abandon me, comment je vas faire: An Amédé Ardoin Songbook” is the best-selling book in Yellow Flag Press history, now in its ninth printing. Bourque recently won the 2016 James William River Prize in Louisiana Studies from the UL Center for Louisiana Studies. The prize selection committee cited Bourque’s “longstanding commitment to and leadership in the realm of preserving and expanding our understanding of Louisiana through poetry.”

Guests to Wednesday’s event are welcome to bring their own poems, songs or stories for the open mic. This free, community event is suitable for all ages. For more information, call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email festivalwords@gmail.com

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book will host its seventh annual “Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets” program with current Louisiana Poet Laureate Peter Cooley from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Seminar Center of the State Library, 701 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge. Cooley has invited poets across the state to participate in readings of their work, including Jack Bedell, Gina Ferrara, John Gery, Clare Martin, Biljana Obradovic, Andrea Panzeca, Mona Lisa Saloy and John Warner Smith, as well as previous Louisiana poet laureates Bourque and Julie Kane. Attendees are not required to register for this free event but are invited to bring brown bag lunches.

The Louisiana Center for the Book was established in the State Library of Louisiana in 1994 to stimulate public interest in reading, books and libraries. For more information, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

New releases
John L. Carr, the University of Louisiana at Monroe Kitty DeGree Endowed Professorship in biology and the curator of the ULM Museum of Natural History, and Jeff Boundy, a herpetologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, has published “Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana: An Identification and Reference Guide” by LSU Press. The book describes 139 native amphibians and reptiles, along with eight non-native species now found in the state.

The Southern Review’s spring 2017 issue is out and features an academic visiting Oxford to write on the films of Hitchcock in Robert Hahn’s “The Poisoner,” a trafficker in Singapore bringing “soccer players” from Nigeria in Iheoma Nwachukwu’s “Urban Gorilla” and Nicholas Mainieri’s “Port of Embarkation,” which imagines troops on the brink of the Mexican-American War. Nonfiction includes Sandra Gail Lambert’s assessment of her own declining mobility in “Etymology” and poetry includes R.T. Smith, a writer featured in the recent “Best American Poetry,” who takes readers to the Civil War through the eyes of a still-life painter. And there’s much more. The spring issue is now available for purchase online at http://thesouthernreview.org.

New Orleans native Tina DeSalvo has published “Out-lanta: a Second Chance Novella” as part of the Magnolias and Moonshine Series. De Salvo, who now lives in Cajun Conuntry, sets her book in in Atlanta when heroine Ania Darska runs out of her wedding right into the car of Luke Marcelle, who is sightseeing with his elderly Cajun matriarch friend, Tanté Izzy, and her niece, Ruby. The series features 20 New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors telling Southern love stories.

Joseph Willie has published “Blood in the Woods,” inspired by true events that occurred in his hometown of Hammond. Willie is a soldier currently stationed at Fort Polk.

Book Day
Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, a day to support your local independent bookstore. How about visiting Jen Sincero, author of “You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” at 2 p.m. today or Jon McCarthy, author of “Hard Roll: A Paramedic’s Perspective of Life and Death in New Orleans,” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Bookshop in New Orleans? Or meeting award-winning children’s book author David Wiesner, who will sign his latest, “Fish Girl,” at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Square Books Jr. in Oxford, Miss. Octavia Books of New Orleans is hosting Joan Nathan, author of numerous cookbooks, including “Jewish Cooking in America” and “The New American Cooking,” both of which won the James Beard Award and the IACP Award for best cookbook of the year. Nathan will sign her latest, “King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Jewish Community Center of New Orleans, appearing with James Beard Award-winning New Orleans chef Alon Shaya.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.