It’s good to see the New Orleans calendar so full. Having just returned from traveling in the Middle East, the chance to attend a book launch and commemoration of the Tahrir Square revolution this past week was an inspiration: Andy Young’s new book, The People is Singular, published by Press Street, is a beautiful collection of work inspired by the uprisings, with Young’s poems accompanied by Salwa Rashad’s photographs. The launch event was at Cafe Istanbul, a space hosted by New Orleans poet Chuck Perkins; an interview with Young about the book is online at Room 220.

Parades aside, much to look forward to this Carnival season. Next Friday night, February 3rd, I’ll be reading at the New Orleans Museum of Art, at an event hosted by NOMA and good friends Artfully Aware. More details are available here and here; the evening looks to be truly spectacular, with nearly every form of art represented. A brief description of the event notes that

Visitors can interact with professional writers and artists from A Studio in the Woods, catch a literary reading organized by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, listen to original poetry and prose read by students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, view photography that reflects the Sierra Club’s local environmental efforts, hear speakers from the Young Leadership Council and watch short films selected by FosterBear Films that explore the vital role of the arts in society. One Million Bones, a hands-on art initiative that raises genocide awareness, will exhibit an installation that contains thousands of handmade bones.

Though Twelfth Night has come and gone, to my mind the start of Mardi Gras actually takes place with the annual Krewe du Vieux parade, rolling next Saturday night, the 4th. Earlier that afternoon, the Latter Library Poetry Buffet series continues as well, with Beverly Rainbolt, Kelly Harris, and Hannah Baker Saltmarsh reading, and the week following, on February 9th, the 17 Poets reading series launches its spring season at the Gold Mine Saloon, with a reading by Bill Lavender of his new book, Memory Wing.

Les bon temps roulent.