Lisa Pasold

Happy birthday, Mister Faulkner!

Faulkner's birthday in the Crescent City: real mint juleps in traditional silver cups, a perfect sunset, and Napoleon's deathmask in the next room

(Of course, nothing in New Orleans is entirely what it seems, and this mask might actually be the face of Bony's friend who sometimes pretended to be the fallen emperor. It is accompanied by the emperor's handkerchief. which is somehow so much sadder, so fragile and starched and old, more tragically human than the overlarge paperweight of the deathmask.)

 

William Faulkner lived in this city for barely 16 months, but his relationship with the place was as formative as Hemingway's with Paris. He invented himself various times over--and routinely stole other people's stories to make his own life more interesting. And it was here that he really became a writer. He was often quiet, often dishonest, and often disreputable. Anita Loos (author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and one of my personal heroines) was introduced to him with the warning 'don't expect much of Bill, he has a silver plate in his head, you know.' 

 

Faulkner did not have a plate in his head--this was just one of his many invented personas. He did drink rather a lot. And apparently his favourite cocktail was a mint julep. So that is what we raise in toast to his fabulous convoluted sentences and tremendous story-telling.

any bright horse - 1st review

"The narrator meditates on the ebb and flow of motion and stillness, and the disorientation involved in returning home... Pasold acknowledges Don McKay and Daphne Marlatt as influences: both have an affinity for nature imagery and graceful ease in poetically conveying human experiences. Pasold carries on their traditions with distinction, craft and beauty."

- Quill & Quire review for ANY BRIGHT HORSE

 

 

when the new book gets reviewed, it is stressful.

 

when the new book gets reviewed by Quill & Quire in the July/August issue, it is even more stressful.

 

when the new book gets reviewed by Quill & Quire in their July/August issue and I am out of the country & can't get a copy, it is even more super-extra-stressful.

 

but the review is good! break out the champagne! the review is really great. i should probably send critic Shannon Webb-Campbell a glass of Veuve-Clicquot, but i don't know her. she might not like champagne.

 

(the whole review is here )

 

 AND... happy Bastille Day!

The Goldmine

Ottawa poet/editor/publisher rob mclennan hit New Orleans to read with his lady Christine McNair and with Stephen Brockwell at the atmospheric Goldmine. Of course, it is New Orleans, so most venues are pretty damn atmospheric...but the Goldmine is the home of 17 Poets! hosted by Dave Brinks & Megan Burns--for a perfect description of the recent Canuck-invasion soiree, see rob's blog here.

 

The Goldmine always makes me think of Dawson City, because really the place could only exist here in New Orleans or in Dawson. There's a fissure in the floor that runs down past the performance/reading area, a fissure that surely leads to a gold seam deep in the swampland of Crescent City. And whenever any poet reads a poem about death (and poets, well, they often read poems about death)--whenever that happens, one of the old pinball or video machines in the front part of the bar gurgles and bings to itself, in a secret game-thought about obsolescence and poetic survival.

Big Bridge 15th anniversary issue

The latest issue of Big Bridge is now online & I'm thrilled to be included alongside Paris-based poets like Alice Notley & Jennifer K. Dick. Check out my work (excerpted from any bright horsehere

ANY BRIGHT HORSE debuts in Calgary

My first reading from the new book! I was at the April 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Festival (founded by kick-ass poet & performer Sheri-D Wilson). 

Back in New Orleans

thunderstorms across a city that smells of jasmine flowers, crawfish, mules & mud. living on Bourbon Street (no lie), and reading Vincent A. Cellucci's AN EASY PLACE / TO DIE. because this city rings, an old cracked bell/belle:

 

“This book is a journey through the bookended history of poetry localized in the most magical place in America. The poems are eager to turn you on to death. Not erotically. Nor religiously. Nor philosophically. Simply. May they ease you as they ease me. We are all death’s children and we’ve yet to stop squirming but poetry is our grandmothers’ whiskey dipped pacifier. Poems are also words living on a page. Simple moments when the world rings instead of your cell.” - Cellucci

 

John Kliphan & The Live Poets Society

John Kliphan is one of the reasons I'm a poet in Paris, and I'm going to miss him. John died last month, here in the city he loved. The Live Poets Society, founded, curated, and directed by John, was the longest-running reading series of its kind in Paris. Through Live Poets, we were given the chance to meet once a month--always in an excellent pub--to listen to new work, hear old favourites, and talk about poetry. For John, poetry was something very much alive and spoken; he used to explain patiently that Live Poets wasn't a Society you could buy a membership for...you simply became part of it by showing up, by listening, and by reading your work. He always (ALWAYS) wore a black beret.

 

John was one of the first people who ever invited me to be "a featured reader" and he actually paid his poets for their work, which was (and remains) a radical concept. He believed that poetry was valid, necessary, and completely normal, rather like breathing--a lesson which I continue to appreciate. I was lucky to read with John a few times, and I'm honoured to be part of his memorial reading on March 4. 

Here's John Kliphan's poem for Chet Baker, from his collection, Chain Songs:

Chet

I don't want to die

I just want to go in the back room

For a while

 

Mysterious Passages - walking in Paris

what kind of noise exactly does a lobster make while walking along Italian marble mosaics? in honour of Gerard de Nerval, a pet lobster featured as a character today in the story-walk through the 19th-century arcades between Passages Jouffroy & the Palais-Royal...

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

after the beignets have disappeared - the tell-tale icing sugar trails out of the Cafe du Monde and into the night

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