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Defender Picks


What’s So Tremendous About Comfort?

A Review of Laura Mullen’s Complicated Grief

Laura Mullen’s writing, especially her emphasis on genre hybridity, urges readers to face emotional and intellectual discomfort by committing to the (perceived) challenges of reading contemporary poetry and prose.

Today in NOLA: 4.12.16

Get your umbrellas and wellies out because there are plenty of reasons to brave the rain tonight ranging from a book launch to alt-rock. For lagniappe, Rebirth, Stanton Moore, and Smoking Time Jazz Club are all playing regular shows. On this day in 1861, Louisiana General PGT Beauregard began the Civil War with the first shots on Fort Sumner. Now, more to do this rainy Tueday.

The asking is never idle

A review of Carolyn Hembree’s "Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague"

“Inside the iris of time, the iridescent dreaming kicks in. Turn off that stupid damn machine,” writes C.D. Wright in her 1999 collection Deepstep Come Shining. Carolyn Hembree’s latest collection, Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague, positions itself, to borrow Wright’s language, as both an iridescent dream and the noisy machine that threatens to disturb it. Seventeen years have passed since Wright hallucinatorily imagined, or re-imagined, the American South, but Hembree’s Chevy rattles through Southern space-time into clarities best framed as questions. “Why do we remember the past and not the future?” Hembree asks. Travelling inside the iris of time, outside of this plague, can the center, or even our seatbelts, hold?

Spring and Smoke

ROOM 220′s Picks for the Best Panels and Other Events at the 2016 Tennessee Williams Festival

One of the highlights of New Orleans’ literary calendar, the Tennessee Williams Festival (March 30 – April 3) is celebrating its thirtieth year of festivities in 2016. Over its three decades, the festival has faithfully brought acclaimed poets, writers and playwrights from across the country down to the French Quarter, at once celebrating the rich legacy of its namesake scribe and championing new and established voices in American letters.

Room 220: Adam Weinstein

"Every one of these pieces is absolutely sincere"

I first met Adam Weinstein in Tuscaloosa, that notorious Alabama town with the famous athletics program. Adam and I had come seeking Master in Fine Arts degrees in creative writing, along with several other lost souls. We received good instruction and did pretty well. Actually we became excellent friends, and, except for one night, when we had a shockingly violent wrestling match in my car, managed a great deal of kindness toward one another.

Room 220: Rickey Laurentiis

"We Need to be Able to See Each Others’ Wounds"

Rickey Laurentiis was named one of the top ten debut poets of 2015 by Poets & Writers Magazine and one of 31 contemporary poets to read by Buzzfeed. His poems have appeared in several journals, including Boston Review, Callaloo, Feminist Studies, Fence, Indiana Review, jubilat, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Oxford American and Poetry.

Reading: Laura Mullen & Afton Wilky

by Sara Slaughter for Room 220

The University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop will host a reading by Laura Mullen & Afton Wilky at 8p.m. tonight (3.09), at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Campus, Liberal Arts Building, Room 197. The reading will be followed by a Q&A, book signing, and brief reception. The event is supported in part by Poets & Writers.

Room 220: Anya Groner

"To make this inscrutable thing understandable"

Anya Groner’s work has appeared in GuernicaThe Rumpus, The AtlanticThe New York Times, and elsewhere. Her projects include a recently produced chapbook of poetry and a novel-in-progress called The Trouble With Girls. She has published everything from essays to poetry, but her work frequently deals with the contentious relationships between young people, especially sisters. She pulls these relationships apart in a way that only a real-life twin could and creates characters that seem both real and surprising.

Room 220

Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio on SOUFFLES-ANFAS

For Room 220

A decade after Morocco gained independence from France, which colonized the nation from 1912 – 1956, a group of Moroccan poets, artists, and intellectuals launched a pair of journals that became critical venues for avant-garde art and writing, leftist politics, and transnational dialogs between writers and activists from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. 

Local Literati Rack Up Honors

By Sara Slaughter for Room 220

Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward, an associate professor of English at Tulane University, has been named one of two winners of the Strauss Living prize for literary excellence.

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