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Room 220: Whirlwind of Poetry Events to Hit New Orleans this Week


by Nathan C. Martin of Room 220

I did my taxes last week, and the nice VITA fellow who helped me let me know that I had mis-checked a box on the prep form I filled out—under the question, “Do you live in an area affected by a natural disaster?” He told me to always check “Yes” in New Orleans, at least until they fix the levees. Or maybe he was talking about the hurricane-force barrage of poetry readings that’s going to hit New Orleans this week!

 

Granted, just about any night in town one can stumble upon some musty open-mic night where an ex-community-college professor huffs some breathy, over-inflected verse that describes the best second line he attended for a crowd of drunks and the bartender (or barista; whatever), but having three readings in a row of this caliber is as uncommon as a 10-year storm. Granted, they’re all a bit MFA-ish (or, very MFA-ish, since they all either take place at a university, involve university teachers, or both), but I guess you have to pick your poison.

 

The first is the best, the one not to miss! (in my very biased opinion). On Tuesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. Room 220 presents Andy Young and Jessica Henricksen for a celebration of the launch of their new books along with poet and Thermos co-editor Andy Stallings at the Antenna Gallery (3161 Burgundy St.). Find more details about the readers here and read an interview with Andy Stallings here. This will be the last Room 220 to take place at the Antenna Gallery’s current location, as we’re being kicked out at the end of the month so the landlady can put her yoga studio in the space. Two more spring Room 220 events will take place on May 3 and 8, at the Antenna Gallery Outdoor Auxiliary and the Community Book Center, respectively, and full programming will resume in the fall once Antenna has a new home. Stay tuned for details.

 

On Wednesday, April 18, at 8 p.m. at its Fine Arts Campus Gallery, the University of New Orleans celebrates Poetry Month by hosting Marthe Reed, who will read from her collection of work forthcoming from Moira Books. Reed, an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, is the author of two books, Gaze (Black Radish Books) and Tender Box: A Wunderkammer with drawings by Rikki Ducornet (Lavender Ink), along with three chapbooks. More information about her work is available here. A wine and cheese reception will follow the reading. The gallery is number 15 on this map of the UNO Lakefront Campus.

 

Finally, on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. on Tulane’s campus in room 200B of Norman Mayer Hall, Joseph Bradshaw and Ben Kopel will read their work. Bradshaw’s book, In the Common Dream of George Oppen, was released last spring by Shearsman Books. You can read a review of the book here, and listen to readings of a few of the poems here and here. He will be coming down from New York City, where he lives, to give the reading.

 

Kopel, who lives in New Orleans, released his book Victory last week. You can read an interview with him here. He will also read at Maple Street Bookshop, with poet C.A. Conrad, on Friday the 20th, but by that time you’ll probably be so goddamned sick of poetry readings that you’d rather weather a real tornado than sit through one more lyrical exposition on … whatever.




I can tell you fancy yourself

I can tell you fancy yourself very clever, but you write about writing in a way that makes me feel nauseous. Maybe if you didn't sound like such a pompous weasel people would be more inclined to come to the readings. (At least musty open-mics have attendants, no?)

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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