from Nathan C. Martin and Friends.

By Cate Czarnecki There are lots of things to discover within the glossy pages of Phillip Collier’s newest book, Making New Orleans: Products Past and Present, many of which have already left an indelible impression on New Orleanians. The beautifully crafted oversized book is chock full of photos and advertisements of companies both active and extinct. [...]

campanella bourbon

By Jeri Hilt Richard Campanella’s newest book, Bourbon Street: A History, provides an impressive historiography of the street, from genesis to its present-day manifestation, and attempts to unpack the role that the “adaptive commodification of culture” has had on its longevity and success. Bourbon Street is described in the book as both a phenomenon and [...]

In this book, three white dudes tell you what "creole" is. (All images by Richard Sexton from "Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin American Sphere" published by the Historic New Orleans Collection.)

By Taylor Murrow In Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere, photographer Richard Sexton offers a visual essay of his travels in Haiti, Panama, Colombia, Cuba, and New Orleans, while essays penned by scholars Jay D. Edwards and John H. Lawrence offer historical perspectives on the origins of the term “creole” [...]

Prose at home. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne)

By Ari Braverman I was late telephoning Francine Prose. Thrilled by (and not a little nervous about) our impending conversation, I forgot that New York operates one full hour ahead of New Orleans. Thus I returned home from the store to a missed call from a 212 area code. Francine Prose had called—and left a [...]

Aside from presenting mostly mediocre stories, Storyville could also use a more original name.

By Taylor Murrow Storyville, for those who don’t know, was a regulated vice district (brothels, gambling, booze—the whole shebang) at the edge of the French Quarter in the early 20th century. It was shut down in 1917, but was memorialized in photographs by E.J. Bellocq and has made its footprint on the city’s cultural legacy. [...]

Lazar - immigrant

By Engram Wilkinson I’m waiting along Esplanade Avenue when Zachary Lazar motors up on his scooter. He unfastens his helmet, deploys a kick-stand, and after killing the engine uses the same key to open a compartment under the seat in which he stores the helmet. I’m told to wait before we talk in earnest because [...]

Some authors in the anthology (clockwise, from top left): George Washington Cable, Leona Queyrouze, Sherwood Anderson, Richard Ford, Hamilton Basso, Fatima Shaik, Tom Dent

By C.W. Cannon An ambitious new volume, N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature, collects short fiction and plays that reflect the city’s literary history, from Paul Louis LeBlanc de Villeneufve’s 18th-century play The Festival of the Young Corn, or The Heroism of Poucha-Houmma to Fatima Shaik’s 1987 short story “Climbing Monkey Hill,” with [...]

Roxane Gay

By Jamey Hatley I am not entirely convinced that Roxane Gay is a single entity. I intend to find out at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, where she will sit for panels and interviews on both Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23, at the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.; see links for times). Gay [...]

Portrait by Leon Alesi

By Christine P. Horn Bill Cotter’s new book, The Parallel Apartments, is a fascinating, harrowing, charming, and mortifying novel that spans decades and tracks a cast of nearly a dozen primary characters through wandering, interwoven escapades in Austin, Texas, where the author has lived and worked as a bookbinder and book dealer since 1997. The [...]


By Nathan C. Martin and Christopher Schaberg Timothy Morton, an author and intellectual whose work largely examines ecology through the lens of posthuman philosophy, will give a talk at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the Whitney Presentation Room in Thomas Hall on the campus of Loyola University New Orleans (6363 St. Charles Ave.). [...]

Salaam (photo by Alex Lear)

This article refers to a speech given by Kalamu ya Salaam as a keynote address during the conference “After Katrina: Transnational Perspectives on the Futures of the Gulf South,” which took place at Tulane University on November 15, 2013.  Click here to listen to Salaam’s speech By Nathan C. Martin It’s easy to drink the [...]

All images by Louviere + Vanessa, courtesy of Lavender Ink

The Oblivion Atlas By Michael Allen Zell, with images by Louviere + Vanessa (Lavender Ink) Reviewed by Derick Dupre The only time a movie moves is when a shutter keeps you from seeing the picture change. What you perceive as continuous motion is actually an illusion. Persistence of vision is a tricky theory, which is [...]

Momma Tried's creators, as Adam and Eve (cover photo: Alana Pryor Ackerman)

By Ari Braverman I really wanted to like Momma Tried. Honestly, I did. And part of me still does. So I’ll begin on a positive note and get to the rest in a minute. Here goes: I. They’ve made a beautiful-looking thing and put it into the world. Micah Learned and Theo Eliezer should be [...]

Kate Chopin's "An Embarrassing Position" adapted by Dan Shore and performed by the 9th Ward Opera Company at the Marigny Opera House. From left: Toni Skidmore, Dedrian Hogan, and Amanda McCarthy.

“Stray Leaves” is a monthly(ish) series of articles written by Michael Allen Zell that illuminate oddities and rarities from New Orleans’ literary history.  ”Stray Leaves,” in Zell’s words, is “a lifting up of stones and crowing about that found underneath, led by the guiding notion that we are standing on the shoulders of writers and books [...]

Portrait by Caroline White

By Clark Allen Susan Bernofsky hails from Louisiana and is an alumna of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Now living in New York, she is a German language translator, a teacher at the Columbia University School of the Arts, and she holds a chair at the PEN American Center. Room 220 caught [...]


By Derick Dupre Robert Stone’s visionary fiction has led readers across the globe, from Vietnam to Central America to Hollywood, and now to a small New England mill town in his first novel in ten years, Death of the Black-Haired Girl. But the journey started here in New Orleans, where Stone lived for some time [...]


Room 220 will host the New Orleans launch of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas at a Happy Hour Salon from 4 – 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the All Ways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.). More details here. Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas Edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker University [...]

Paul Killebrew

By Dan Rosenberg Poets, lovers, poetry lovers, poet lovers: Paul Killebrew and Robert Fernandez wax intelligent here on poetry, community, oily shininess, anthologies, and dangers not faced by America’s youth. They say kind things to each other, and throw down some engaging gauntlets. Like true poets, they cause problems joyfully. To hear more from both, [...]

Andy Stallings at the Hunter Deely Memorial Reading last year.

By Zach Savich Last fall, local poet and Tulane University instructor Andy Stallings launched the Poetry Exchange Project (PXP), an innovative program that connects Tulane students to readers and writers from across the country. This year’s PXP culminates with a conference at Tulane University on November 8-9. The 2013 PXP Symposium will feature readings from [...]

Book Lovers covers

By Derick Dupre Susan Larson has established herself as the most visible individual guide to literary New Orleans. A new edition of her compendium, The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans, has just been released, offering updates to its takes on New Orleans literary history, its resource lists, reading lists, and writer recommendations. It’s a guide [...]

OIl road

By Laura Borealis The path oil leads from the ground to the multitudinous pockets of daily life in which we use it more and more commonly involves trips down massive pipelines that stretch through every type of terrain, traverse national borders, and affect all that’s in the path of their construction. This month, the consistently [...]

New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, will present her work at an event beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Dixon Hall on Tulane University’s Campus. More on the event here. By Gahiji Barrow The New Jim Crow has captivated many Americans’ attention since [...]

CBC storefront

The Community Book Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend with a series of events that honor and support the institution and the men and women who have kept it a living, crucial part of New Orleans for three decades. As the following essay demonstrates, the Center is as valid as ever, even as [...]

All images by Gabriele Stabile from Refugee Hotel

Refugees granted asylum in the United States arrive through only a handful of cities. They often spend the first night in their new country at a hotel near the airport, where they rest and prepare for the next leg of their journey. Beginning in 2007, the first person some of these refugees would meet in [...]


Stray Leaves, a monthly(ish) column of New Orleans literary obscurities by Michael Allen Zell, is a lifting up of stones and crowing about that found underneath, led by the guiding notion that we are standing on the shoulders of writers and books that deserve their names and faces returned to the public. By Michael Allen [...]

The Uptown used branch of Maple Street Book Shop. Photo by Sink Stuart.

By Clark Allen By now I feel most literate adults have had some sort of discussion about the dynamic time in which we find ourselves in terms of reading—the way we read is changing, has changed, exponentially, magnificently. Not since the invention of the printing press has there been such an insane shove in accessibility [...]

FP FINAL iNdesign.indd

Fuck Poems: An Exceptional Anthology Edited by Vincent A. Cellucci (Lavender Ink) Reviewed by Erik Vande Stowe “The poets! They’ve destabilized/explored a concept previously unspoken. We are all so proud of them.” This is the general outline of the review. As the resolution increases, individual paragraphs come into focus and we learn that, by charting [...]

Heti - header

By Ari Braverman Sheila Heti’s third book, How Should a Person Be? is about Sheila. The character is a Toronto-based writer grappling with a play she can’t seem to finish, stuck in a marriage that stifles her. Enter Margaux, a peroxide-blonde painter who “looked at the same time like a little girl, a sexy woman, [...]

Image courtesy of the Marcus B. Christian Collection, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans (

Room 220 is pleased to present the first installment of “Stray Leaves,” a monthly(ish) series of articles written by Michael Allen Zell that illuminate oddities and rarities from New Orleans’ literary history.  ”Stray Leaves,” in Zell’s words, is “a lifting up of stones and crowing about that found underneath, led by the guiding notion that we [...]

Illustrations by Clark Allen

Inside Orleans Parish Prison—one of the worst jails in the country—an English class takes place, not to help inmates fulfill GED requirements, but simply to facilitate their study of literature and books. In this three-part series, Room 220‘s Ari Braverman explores the parts of the program that make it work—and make it worthwhile—from the founder [...]

Kushner - interview

By Nathan C. Martin Like any historical novel—even one set in recent history—Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers is a convergence of the past and the present, the time before now rendered with the help of research but intrinsically influenced by the contemporary moment that shapes the author’s daily life. And like many novels, The Flamethrowers is [...]

Clockwise, from top left: Anne Gisleson, Michael Jeffrey Lee, Mark Yakich, and Lara Naughton

Inside Orleans Parish Prison—one of the worst jails in the country—an English class takes place, not to help inmates fulfill GED requirements, but simply to facilitate their study of literature and books. In this three-part series, Room 220‘s Ari Braverman explores the parts of the program that make it work—and make it worthwhile—from the founder [...]

OPP English program director Nik De Dominic. Portrait by Aubrey Edwards

Inside Orleans Parish Prison—one of the worst jails in the country—an English class takes place, not to help inmates fulfill GED requirements, but simply to facilitate their study of literature and books. In this three-part series, Room 220‘s Ari Braverman explores the parts of the program that make it work—and make it worthwhile—from the founder [...]

Glassie - cover

By John Sebastian Athanasius Kircher, a seventeenth-century German Jesuit and self-styled “master of a hundred arts,” is credited with inventing the megaphone, a pre-cursor to the computer, and (perhaps) a cat piano. His intense curiosity about the world around him motivated him to pursue studies in fields as disparate as magnetism and magic, optics and acoustics, [...]

Portrait by Aubrey Edwards

By Nathan C. Martin Someone quipped at last weekend’s Tennessee Williams Festival that Nathaniel Rich’s new novel, Odds Against Tomorrow, was the best Katrina book set in New York City. This observation conceals a degree of truth beneath its corniness, since Rich—a New York native—began his novel about a hurricane hitting New York City six [...]

Images and captions below poached from Brook's website,

By Nick Jenisch Built as windows to the West, the cities of St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai each represent the “instant city” of their region—created by the will of a few, yet wielding an outsized influence on the modern development of their countries. In his recently released book, A History of Future Cities, New [...]

Cover for PERIQUE: PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHARLES MARTIN. All images by Martin from the book, courtesy of the Historic New Orleans Collection (

By Cate Czarnecki The historical background of perique—a tobacco varietal considered by many to be the strongest and most flavorful in the world—makes it one of the state’s more interesting, if lesser known, agricultural stories. Originally cultivated by an Acadian farmer named Pierre “Perique” Chent in the early 1800s, “le tabac de perique” involves the [...]

Portrait of Kavass (and animal) by Anthony Scarlati.

Veronica Kavass will present her new book, Artists in Love: From Picasso & Gilot to Christo & Jeanne-Claude, A Century of Creative and Romantic Partnerships, at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at the Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania St.) and at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Columns Hotel (3811 St. Charles [...]


By Kristina Robinson I’m an eighties baby. The Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday was signed into law by Ronald Reagan the year I was born. I’m also from New Orleans, Louisiana, one of the largest entry points in the nation for enslaved Africans, the private prison and incarceration capital of the world, and home to [...]

Solnit collage

Rebecca Solnit will give a live presentation titled “The Speed of Thoughts: Parades, Marches, Strolls, and Other Journeys Through Places and Ideas” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Nunemaker Hall at Loyola University New Orleans. The event is free and open to the public. By Nathan C. Martin I’m tempted to say that [...]

crone - cover

By Ari Braverman In Moira Crone’s new sci-fi parable, The Not Yet, coastal flooding has turned the Gulf South into a wild archipelago. The New Orleans Islands are mostly a playground for Heirs, the decadent ruling class whose lives have been artificially extended for centuries and revolve around entertainment and vapid ritual.  Naturals—or “Nats,” the [...]

Portrait by Dan Busta

By Clark Allen A few days after I read My Heart is an Idiot, a new collection of personal essays by writer, This American Life contributor, and Found magazine creator Davy Rothbart, something happened that got me thinking about it. I was at a bar with some friends. I don’t remember what sparked the conversation, [...]

Thomas Sayers Ellis. Still from a video by Rachel Eliza Griffiths (2012). All other photography (below) by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

By jewel bush When friend and fellow MelaNated Writers Collective member Kelly Harris suggested we bring poet, photographer, and word provocateur Thomas Sayers Ellis—cofounder of the Dark Room Collective—to New Orleans, I said: “Fuck yeah!” I jumped at the chance to hear TSE, the co-founder of the Dark Room Collective, read his work live: …  [...]

Barbra Nitke shoots herself while the band plays on in the background. All photographs from AMERICAN ECSTASY.

By Nathan C. Martin This interview is accompanied by images that show adult content. At one point toward the middle of American Ecstasy, a new memoir in words in pictures by Barbara Nitke about the 12 years she spent working as a set photographer on pornography shoots in New York in the 80s and 90s, [...]

Bogost's toast.

By Christopher Schaberg and Timothy Welsh Ian Bogost is among a group of contemporary posthumanist philosophers working in the realm of “object-oriented ontology” (OOO), which seeks to remove humans from the center of philosophical thought and value interactions between all objects—humans, as objects, included—equally. His recent book, Alien Phenomenology, Or What It’s Like to Be [...]

Ross - Jew

By Elizabeth Kaiser For his new book, Am I a Jew?, Theodore Ross set out on a multi-adventure odyssey to answer this complex yet fundamental question. He treats the reader to introspective telling of his childhood “double life” as a pretend non-Jew in rural Mississippi and a fake non-Christian in Manhattan, which is at turns [...]

Lawrence Powell (photos by Aubrey Edwards)

By Ari Braverman In New Orleans, light and warmth mean flowers bloom in the Garden District all year long, but summer heat makes garbage fester until the smell pervades the city. It was in this atmosphere that I spoke with Lawrence Powell, author of The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans. This city is characterized by [...]

Joseph Scott Morgan

By Wesley Stokes Joseph Scott Morgan worked for 17 years as a forensic death investigator for law enforcement agencies in New Orleans and Atlanta. In his new book, Blood Beneath My Feet: The Journey of a Southern Death Investigator, Morgan relates gruesome tales of true crime scene experiences while weaving in parallels from his own [...]

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T. Geronimo Johnson will read along with Khaled al-Berry and Lucy Fricke at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Melvin’s (2112 St. Claude Ave.) as part of the Room 220 LIVE PROSE reading series. Details here. By Kristina Robinson Hated it. Remember that phrase from “In Living Color,” the sketch comedy series of the [...]

Photo: Harold E. Edgerton

Carolyn Hembree will read live as part of the launch for her new book, Skinny, at 7 p.m. on September 13 at Lipstick & Lingerie Boutique in Arabi (7011 St. Claude Ave., entrance on Friscoville Avenue). By Taylor Murrow I associate Carolyn Hembree with the words “fever ribbons.” It’s a phrase I remember from seeing [...]

Daniel Wolff

By Jenga Mwendo Writer Daniel Wolff came to New Orleans five months after Hurricane Katrina with filmmaker Jonathan Demme, not knowing what they’d find. They were told the story was over, that all the “good shots” had already been taken. But it seemed to them that there was a great, ongoing fight for survival that [...]

Samuel Zemurray and Daniel Plainview -- who gets the treatment?

The Fish that Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King By Rich Cohen Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Reviewed by Nathan C. Martin Samuel Zemurray, former president of the United Fruit company and history’s most ambitious banana magnate, has a lot in common with Daniel Plainview, the antihero of P.T. Anderson’s 2007 [...]

Kristina Robinson and her son, Marley (photo: Aubrey Edwards)

On May 8, Room 220 hosted a discussion between philosopher Tamler Sommers and anti-death-penalty attorney Billy Sothern at the Community Book Center. They were to discuss the philosophy of punishment. I figured it would be heady, and criminal justice issues have a particular flavor and bite in this city, so since neither Tamler nor Billy [...]

What a nice fucking looking young man.

NOTE: SAM MCPHEETERS HAS CANCELED HIS TOUR. READ THE INTERVIEW ANYWAY. By Clark Allen Sam McPheeters is best known as the frontman for 90s hardcore bands Born Against and Men’s Recovery Project, and more recently Wrangler Brutes. He has put out a number of cult-classic zines, and in the past few years he has gained [...]

Little brother, big sister, Matt and Jackie Sumell

I’ve been exchanging emails with Matt and Jackie Sumell for over a month now, hammering out details of the reading Matt will headline this Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at the Antenna Gallery Outdoor Auxiliary (2116 St. Claude Ave.). Matt is coming from Los Angeles, and the idea to bring him out began in [...]

Susan Larson and the Pulitzer. Who takes home the unawarded medal? Portrait by Tracie Morris Schaefer.

By Cate Czarnecki Citing a failure to achieve consensus, the Pulitzer Prize committee declined to award a prize in the category of fiction this year for the first time since 1977. This decision has generated a lively debate within the American literary community over the impact of the prize—on authors as well as publishers—and its [...]

Andy Stallings (photo: Melissa Dickey)

By Erik Vande Stouwe Andy Stallings is a poet of the New Poetry. He writes in and out of the vertiginous accumulation of the Modernist influence. Consistent across the work I have read is an aggressive interrogation of language. This necessitates also a confrontation with sound, nation, and self. Stallings hails from Washington state and [...]

Portrait of Antonya Nelson by Marion Ettlinger

By Sara Slaughter Antonya Nelson is always the first to admit that she’s not good with plot. Her latest novel, Bound, begins with a car crash, and centers around characters who live in the same time and place as the serial killer known as BTK (Bind, Torture, and Kill). The action slowly escalates, but never quite [...]

Dean Paschal. Photo by Aubrey Edwards

By Pia Z. Ehrhardt Dean Paschal grew up in a small town in southwest Georgia called Albany. Upon sensing the twilight of his official childhood in the seventh grade, he began to read every children’s book he could get his hands on while they were still, by society’s regard, age-appropriate. He was an indiscriminate reader, [...]

Michael Jeffrey Lee (photo: Aubrey Edwards)

By Nathan C. Martin Michael J. Lee denies any connection between his work and the Southern Gothic tradition, despite characteristics in his stories that might suggest one. This is not only because he’s originally from California—which disqualifies him in the first place—but because he feels too perpetually unmoored to align with any regionalism. “My time [...]

Photo by Aubrey Edwards

By Michael Allen Zell Bill Zavatsky is a New York poet who has had two of his own books published since 1975. Why so few?  He’s been busy running SUN press and magazine for fifteen years, translating Surrealist poets, teaching, and playing jazz piano. Zavatsky graciously took time to answer a few questions last week [...]

All images from To Live in the South One has to Be a Scar Lover

By Nathan C. Martin Discussed in this essay: To Live in the South One Has to Be a Scar Lover by Maaike Gouwenberg and Joris Lindhout (eds.), published by 1646. A long and varied body of literature, film, and theory exists that addresses the United States from a European standpoint, and selections can often be [...]

Portrait of Andy Young by Andy Cook; book design by Sarah Grainer

By Nathan C. Martin Just as Room 220 was getting on its feet about a year ago, another breathtaking development of historical significance was taking place—the Egyptian revolution. One of the very first Room 220 posts was an interview I conducted with Andy Young and Khaled Hegazzi, co-editors of Meena Magazine, a bi-lingual literary journal [...]

Mark Yakich, right, indicates to Christopher Schaberg the angle at which airplanes approach Louis Armstrong Airport.

By Nathan C. Martin Mutual obsession can make strange bedfellows. For Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich, it made a multimedia publishing project. The two professors of English at Loyola University New Orleans share a common infatuation with flight and its cultural and psychological accoutrements. Yakich, an accomplished poet (and previous Room 220 interviewee), possesses a [...]


By Nathan C. Martin My bookshelf is full of books I’ve never read. Books are the only things I buy on impulse, and I rarely enter a bookstore I like without buying something. Not only that, but if I like a book I’ve read, I’ll often give it away to a friend. I also move [...]

John Jeremiah Sullivan (Portrait by Aubrey Edwards)

John Jeremiah Sullivan read as part of the final installment of the fall season of the Room 220 Live Prose at the Antenna Gallery reading series on Monday, November 21, 2011. He was joined by author Nathaniel Rich. Sullivan and Rich also read the following evening at Octavia Books. By Nathan C. Martin John Jeremiah [...]

Photography by Akasha Rabut

By Taylor Murrow In A Meaning for Wife (Ig Publishing), a man’s wife has died from an allergic reaction to cashews. Coping with her loss and his newfound role as a single dad, he travels to his childhood home to attend his twenty-year high school reunion. While there, he stays with his parents and is [...]

Lori Waselchuk. Portrait by Aubrey Edwards

By Aubrey Edwards Over 90 percent of the roughly 5,000 inmates in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola will die on its grounds, their sentences too long to live out. Warden Burl Cain and prison administrators have responded to the graying population by implementing a hospice program, through which inmates care for those who are [...]

Portait by Vicki Topaz, for

Short story aficionado Amy Hempel will judge the 2012 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival Fiction Contest (entries due Nov. 15!) and will appear as a participant in the festival, which takes place March 21 – 25. I had the pleasure of interviewing Hempel last year about her editorship of the 2010 New Stories from the South [...]


By Nathan C. Martin A few weeks ago I posted a flippant comment on Room 220 about how the narrative in Robert Olen Butler’s new novel, A Small Hotel, might in some ways resemble a real-life divorce he had gone through not long ago. Butler called me out on my erroneous post, saying I should [...]

Wilbert Rideau (photo: Akasha Rabut)

By Nik De Dominic

I meet Wilbert Rideau at a hotel on Rampart Street, across from Armstrong Park. It is a sunny day, the weather is cool. I recognize him and his wife, Dr. Linda Labranche. They met while Rideau was still an inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary—or “Angola”—where until 2005 he had been serving out a life sentence [...]


Pelican Bomb, an online comrade, has posted Part 2 of the two-part series I wrote about the publications of Loujon Press, a fine-press publisher based in the French Quarter in the 1960s. Loujon published two of Bukowski’s first books, four issues of its literary magazine, The Outsider, and two of Henry Miller’s books, which are [...]


By Nathan C. Martin Michael Kimball’s stylistic capacities dwarf those of most contemporary fiction writers, and he employs them with vigor to confront themes that authors have explored through the annals of literature—most explicitly: death. His first novel, The Way the Family Got Away, is a surreal and cerebral travelogue that follows a family fleeing [...]


By Nathan C. Martin Fifty years later, we’re still trying to piece together the phenomenon of the 60s—what elements were involved in that volatile time? And what can we learn from its triumphs and failures? The further we move from that point in history, the better our understanding of the context in which it occurred [...]


I wrote a piece for Pelican Bomb about Loujon Press in terms of its aesthetic achievements (and failures) as a fine-press/artistic publisher. Here’s an excerpt: The short-lived but mighty Loujon Press has become a legend among New Orleans literary circles. Admired for its publication of prominent writers at the tail end of the Beat Generation [...]

Thomas Beller at the 2011 AWP Conference: Photo by Vince Passaro

By Nathan C. Martin Open City magazine launched when I was seven years old. It ceased publication in February after a 20-year run. In his elegy to the magazine in the Wall Street Journal, editor Thomas Beller, who is now an assistant professor at Tulane, wrote about the thirty-somethings who approached him at the last [...]


The dynamic of an author interview can be radically altered if it’s conducted by a person the author knows well—most often for the better. This conversation between authors Pia Z. Ehrhardt and Dylan Landis takes that dynamic to another level, since they’re mutually inquiring about each other’s works. Each occasionally tries to out-humble or out-flatter [...]


Octavia Books owner Tom Lowenburg has taken the closing of the Borders Books on St. Charles as an impetus to invite the book-buying community to join an open discussion on what we want from our local independent bookstores. As a space that functions as a business, an event space, and a venue where people and [...]

Remaining Residents Struggle In Storm-Ravaged Gulf Coast

Photo by Mario Tama The new issue of the New Orleans Review features a strong essay by Brad Richard on the issues a poet faces when writing about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The disaster prompted an engorged number of poems, essays, books, and stories, and the essay, excerpted here, explains why some of them [...]


By Taylor Murrow Endlessly fascinated and inspired by the magnetic world of fairy tales, Kate Bernheimer has dedicated her life and career to preserving the art form through her own literature and editorship. She has published novels, children’s books, and short story collections (the most recent of which is Horse, Flower, Bird), in addition to [...]

Protesters and Pro-Mubarak thugs clash in Cairo — Photo: Al Jazeera

By Nathan C. Martin It’s 10 p.m. in New Orleans as I write this, and the sun is coming up on Cairo. After a day and a night of being shot at and beaten by police—attacks that have killed several and injured hundreds—protesters remain in Tahrir Square, demanding the end of President Mubarak’s 30-year regime. [...]


By Taylor Murrow By the time he was in his twenties, Tony O’Neill had traveled from his home in the UK to Los Angeles, playing music with bands like Kenickie and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. He was on tour, living the life in the States, and even met a girl and married her. This sounds [...]


By Nathan C. Martin Walker Percy is modern New Orleans’ literary behemoth. Though his influence is unlikely to eclipse Tennessee Williams’, and it’s possible John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces rivals even The Moviegoer‘s fame, no local writer from the last half of the 20th century produced a body of work that matches Percy’s. [...]

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 [...]


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.


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 [...]