NOLA BOOK AND LITERARY NEWS

from Nathan C. Martin and Friends.
Photographs by Alex Harris from "Why We Are Here"
Photographs by Alex Harris from "Why We Are Here"

Alabama-born Edward O. Wilson is arguably the most important naturalist of the last half of the 20th century, and his research, writing, and advocacy have dramatically shaped the conversation around the natural sciences and conservation in the 21st. He is the recipient of the National Medal of Science in the United States and the prestigious Craaford Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, as well as two Pulitzer Prizes and many other awards. He is the author of numerous books, including Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, which applied evolutionary biology to human social interaction and was as controversial when it was released in 1975 as it was utterly groundbreaking.

Wilson’s ability to convey complex scientific thought in readable—often beautiful—language is in large part responsible for his widespread notoriety. In a 2001 profile of Wilson in the Guardian, novelist Ian McEwan said, “Frankly, I do not know of another working scientist whose prose is better than his. He can be witty, scathing, and inspirational by turns. He is a superb celebrator of science in all its manifestations, as well as being a scourge of bogus, post-modernist, relativist pseudo-science, and so-called New Age thinking.”

Wilson has partnered with photographer Alex Harris for a new publication, Why We Are Here: Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City, which explores Mobile, Alabama, the time Wilson spent there as a youth, and the social and natural trajectories of the city and its surroundings. Wilson and Harris will present their work at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at Dixon Hall on Tulane University’s campus (sadly, this is the same night as Henry Rollins’ appearance in Baton Rouge as part of his 50-state ‘Capitalism’ tour, for which most of the Room 220 staff already has tickets).

Wilson has emphasized time and again in books and interviews the importance of his childhood experiences—both in Alabama and elsewhere, as he moved around with his vagabond dad—on his becoming a naturalist. He credits a fishing accident that left him partially blind in one eye as a youth for his focus on creatures he could hold between his fingers and examine up close. It was an account of his fascination with ants, Wilson’s favorite subject, that inspired Alex Harris to reach out to Wilson and propose they collaborate on a book about Mobile, a city that is small enough to be captured through a lens yet old enough to have experienced a full epic cycle of tragedy and rebirth.

Harris was kind enough to share some images from the book with Room 220. And the TED Talk people were kind enough to put a video of Wilson online, along with an embed code.

Hand-in-Glove Conference Guide

Hand in Glove Conference Guide
Essay by Amy Mackie, edited by Bob Snead, designed by Erik Keisewetter

This beautiful book, designed and printed by Erik Kiesewetter of Constance for the Hand-in-Glove Conference, includes a guide to all of the conference happenings Oct 17-20, 2013, an informative map of the artist run spaces on and around St. Claude Ave, and an extensive essay by Amy Mackie about the history of self organized contemporary art [...]

Photo by Sophie Lvoff in WE'RE PREGNANT

We’re Pregnant
Words by Nathan Martin. Photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano.

We’re Pregnant is a chapbook of short fiction by Room 220 editor Nathan C. Martin along with photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano. The book contains three of Martin’s short stories—which explore in morbid fashion anxieties related to sex, disease, marriage, and childbirth—with images inspired by the stories from each of the photographers.

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The People Is Singular
Poems by Andy Young and Photographs by Salwa Rashad

The People Is Singular, by local poet Andy Young and Egyptian photographer Salwa Rashad, is a personal response to the Egyptian Revolution. Rashad’s vision includes everyday people—Muslims and Christians, young and old, the foregrounded and the peripheral. Her perspective is from inside the events as they unfolded. Andy Young, a New Orleans poet married to [...]

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Curtain Optional
by Brad and Jim Richard

In both poetry and prose, Brad Richard explores the influence of his father’s work on his own, as well as the experience of growing up as the son of an artist while becoming an artist himself. Jim Richard is a professor of painting at the University of New Orleans and has exhibited at the Solomon [...]

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How to Rebuild a City
Edited by Anne Gisleson & Tristan Thompson w/ design and artistic direction by Catherine Burke

Beautifully designed, sometimes fun, always informative, How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a work in Progress, is a reflection of the many ways that New Orleanians have realized our way towards recovery, actively and creatively engaging with our communities.

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Bitter Ink
by Brian Zeigler & Raymond “Moose” Jackson

BBoth originally from Detroit, cousins Brian Zeigler and Raymond “Moose” Jackson began collaborating while Brian was harboring Moose in Vermont during Katrina evacuation. While their doodling proclivities may have made them rustbelt exiles from the rest of their autoworker family, together they produce seductive aphorisms of wit and weirdness that provoke, confound and celebrate a [...]