from Nathan C. Martin and Friends.

M’Bilia Meekers reads with accompaniment at the Columns Hotel; Room 220 editors refrain from editorializing for fear of seeming creepy; Meekers will perform at the next Black Widow Salon.

The Black Widow Salon continues its monthly literary event series at Crescent City Books in February with a group of “emerging” local writers: Christopher Hellwig, Jenna Mae, M’Bilia Meekers, and Ingrid Norton. The reading takes place on Monday, Feb. 6, from 7 – 9 p.m. (230 Chartres Street).

Presumably an event designed to acquaint the broader reading public with a new set of voices, most of these writers already enjoy a bit of acclaim, either around town or elsewhere.

Christopher Hellwig is former editor of The Black Warrior Review and has published widely in high-brow (if mid-prominence) literary journals. Room 220 featured this selection that appeared in The New Orleans Review. Hellwig read as one part of The Brothers Goat, with Michael J. Lee, last fall at the Antenna Gallery with Michael Martone.

M’Bilia Meekers, a Lusher graduate and current Tulane student, is on the verge of becoming a local poetry sensation, having read as part of the Faulkner Society’s annual festival, the Artfully Aware event last Friday at the New Orleans Museum of Art, as well as at the Columns Hotel and the New Orleans Public Library, along with garnering a not-insignificant hodgepodge of awards. Her range of subjects encompasses her little brother’s penchant for candy (set within the context of Nagin’s “Chocolate City”) as well as—channeling Lucile Clifton—the sexual superiority of black women (see video above).

Jenna Mae is the writer least familiar to Room 220, but she’s published in places like Big Bridge and formerly hosted poetry readings at Fair Grinds Coffee Shop.

Ingrid Norton is relatively new to town, but comes skating in on a series of long-form narrative nonfiction articles published by the Los Angeles Review of Books, including this one based on the year she just spent in Detroit. Her journalism has also been published by Open Letters Monthly (including her review of Ned Sublete’s The Year Before the Flood), the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Dissent. She recently completed a story for Good Magazine about young African-American go-getters in New Orleans, including author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.

The Black Widow Salon series is a welcome addition to French Quarter literary life. Past events have featured renowned local photographer Josephine Sacabo, whose work is tied tightly to her love of poetry, and Cripple Creek Theater Company playwright Andrew Vaughn. While a couple of its upcoming events feature dusty old and barely remembered poets one would expect to find at the 17 Poets! series at the Goldmine Saloon (no offense to Bill Zavatsky or Ruth Weiss), Room 220 looks forward to hearing UNO professor David Rutledge discuss his work on Nabokov in May.

Michael Zell, the Black Widow Salon’s mastermind, likes to remind people that Monday’s event will start promptly at 7:15 p.m.


Hand-in-Glove Conference Guide

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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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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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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 [...]