Apr 14

Rasmussen Wins the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry

The Minnesota Book Awards, presented annually by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, gave its top honor in poetry to Matt Rasmussen’s debut collection, Black Aperture. Winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and shortlisted for the National Book Award, Black Aperture explores the tragedy of a brother’s suicide in a collection that blurs the edge between grief and humor. Destructive and redemptive, Black Aperture opens to the complicated entanglements of mourning: damage and healing, sorrow and laughter, and torment balanced with moments of relief.

Created to increase awareness and readership of Minnesota authors, the Minnesota Book Awards held their 26th annual Book Awards gala earlier this month, with a record 960 guests in attendance and author John Moe as master of ceremonies. A full list of finalists and winners can be found on the website of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

Apr 14

LSU Press’s new copywriter and publicity coordinator talks about the journey from Louisiana to NY and back

When I got the call from Oxford University Press in 2010, I was in downtown Baton Rouge, chattering to my parents and a security guard about football. I went outside to take the call, and I accepted the job sitting on a stone ledge that overlooked the Louisiana State Capitol.

When I got the call from LSU last year, I was at work in mid-town Manhattan, nervously asking my brother-in-law, “Am I going to get this job? Am I getting this job? Is this happening?” I went into one of the conference rooms to take the call, and I accepted the job gazing out a window that looked out on the Empire State Building.*

See that?


I told all my New York friends that I was moving back to Louisiana after three years in the city, and after the expected expressions of grief, they all said, “It’s good for you. You always wanted to move back there.”

That’s true. I did.

MASH scrapWorking at LSU Press is a different, different beast to working at Oxford University Press. Water and oil, chalk and cheese, hamburgers and helium. I noticed the other day that I know the handwriting of almost everyone on staff at LSU Press. If you gave me a Memory board with head shots and handwriting samples from each of the staff members of LSU Press, I’m pretty sure I would crush it. People here leave notes on closed office doors—Kate’s in class now—and on each other’s desks—Sorry this is late! Can you rush it?—and on routing documents—Best blurb ever. I know who crosses Ts with the most enthusiasm, and who writes like that one friend you had in seventh grade whose main role was to serve as MASH transcriptionist at slumber parties. **

I could identify the handwriting of maybe two people at Oxford University Press, and one of them lived with me.

When I moved from New York back to my home town of Baton Rouge, I wanted the experience of working in a smaller, more personal press like LSU, in a job where I would be involved with the press’s full range of published books. I am not exaggerating when I say that I interacted almost exclusively with scholars of African history for a full six months after starting work at Oxford. At LSU Press, I work with Civil War scholars and novelists and sports historians and poets, all in the space of a single publishing season. I couldn’t tell you the names of the editor-in-chief for any single reference project at Oxford that I wasn’t working on myself. Here, I think I could get pretty close to a full listing of the authors and titles for our entire spring list, because I’m writing press releases and prize applications for all of them.

And honestly? Having said all that? The surprising thing isn’t the differences between my old job and my new one. The surprising thing is the similarities.

People who work in publishing believe in what we’re doing. We wouldn’t be working for pennies in a scarily threatened industry if we didn’t. My coworkers at Oxford would light up when they talked about the new ethnomusicology project coming down the pike. The acquisitions editors at LSU Press lean across the table at meetings about their books and say, Did you know about this? I didn’t! This hasn’t been written about before!

That’s what I always loved about academic publishing. Whether you’re working with a hundred authors a year or a thousand, whether you’re interacting with other departments once a day or once a year, the endeavors are exactly the same at the core: to put more knowledge out into the world.

I can’t imagine anything better.

*Okay, this is a slightly illusive parallel. I could probably have seen some segment of the Empire State Building if I had leaned really far in one direction. Actually I sat down at the conference table and accepted the job flipping anxiously through a style guide that happened to be in there.

**I never had a friend whose main role in my life was MASH transcriptionist at slumber parties. I am not Regina George.

Mar 14

New Orleans: The Underground Guide book launch party at All Ways Lounge

WHO: Michael Patrick Welch

WHAT: A dance-themed book launch party for New Orleans: The Underground GuideThe event will include  a live interview and performance by Trixie Minx plus Cherry Brown, sensual sword swallowing by Ri Dickulous, and the Gris Gris Strut dance troupe with backing band Lil Current Vocal Club.

WHEN: Saturday, March 15th at 9 PM

WHERE: All Ways Lounge & Theatre

Mar 14


We are moving on March 24th.

LSU Press and The Southern Review are moving their books and digital devices, personnel and PCs*, to a more centralized location on LSU’s campus. Please make sure that any mail for LSUP or The Southern Review’s editorial or administrative staff is sent to:


LSU Press / The Southern Review
3rd floor, Johnston Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

For couriers:

LSU Press / The Southern Review
3rd floor, Johnston Hall
Map location #139, Field House Drive
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

*The MACs are coming too, our book designers wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jan 14

Life as an LSU Press Social Media Intern

About eight months ago, I walked across the stage as the emcee called my name at LSU’s commencement ceremony. The only thought going through my mind at the time was “What now?” I continued to spend the next few weeks applying for jobs that I thought I was more than qualified for. You see, even though I had just graduated, I have been constantly employed since I the summer I turned thirteen. I figured I had a proven work ethic but, like most graduates, I ran into that frustrating question, “How am I supposed to gain specific experience if no one will hire me?” The first week of June, I found my answer. Internships.

I began interning for LSU Press as their lone Social Media intern. At first it seemed like a daunting task to manage multiple social media platforms. In the beginning months, I focused on making sure our social media was consistently updated in order to increase our social media presence and in hopes that the consistency would increase followers. I read countless book reviews, transformed them into poignant 140 character posts, and scheduled them to be “socialed.” Outside of my scheduled internship hours, I would attend book signings and fundraisers, such as “Bistro for a Cause,” in hopes of finding more social media fodder.

Blog Collage

As the homecoming season approached I planned our first-ever social media photo campaign  to promote the release of the updated Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU.. With the help of University Relations, I enlisted multiple LSU personalities and organizations, such as President F. King Alexander, Student Government President John Woodard, Todd Graves, LSU Cheerleaders, and Zeta Tau Alpha, to help build the hype around this fantastic Tiger tell-all. The tremendous exposure that the photo campaign offered inspired more social media campaigns to follow. In the past seven months, we have held three book giveaways (enter to win our current giveaway here:  Porter Shreve’s “The End of the Book”) and actively participated in University Press Week. Over all, this consistent activity has led to a 71 percent increase in our social media following.

Aside from the technical experience I have gained in the past few months, I’d like to share a few insights about internships in general. I have learned that as a social media intern, you will see a dramatic decrease in your level of interest when it comes to your personal social media accounts. My Facebook and Twitter have become something that I read and my Instagram has ceased production with the exception of the occasional post of my precious 3-year-old German shorthaired Pointer. Additionally, I have found that there is never a more appropriate time to ask questions or to explore your creativity than when you are an intern. Since I am only in the office a few hours every week, it is important that I feed my curiosity by asking questions in order to keep abreast with office happenings. Intern questions also offer a unique, unadjusted point of view that often leads to creative, fresh ideas. Finally, take your internship seriously. If you’ve accepted an internship, you’ve signed up to learn from your experiences.  It is important to realize that your internship is what you make of it and the wealth of knowledge you will gain is a real advantage.

Dec 13

What to get for the person who can’t fit one more book on their shelves and has no more free space on their e-reader?

We all know that LSU Press books and subscriptions to The Southern Review make great holiday gifts for readers, but what are you going to buy the person who can’t fit one more book on their shelves and has no more free space on their e-reader?

Gift a charitable, tax-deductible gift to LSU Press or The Southern Review in their honor! We’ll send your honoree(s) this beautiful handmade acknowledgment card:

acknowledgment card

How about having your honoree’s name printed in a book—every single copy of that book? With a minimum gift of $5,000, here’s what your acknowledgment would look like on the copyright page of an LSU Press book:

“This book is made possible in part by the generous support of
John and Jane Doe in honor of Joe Smith.”

Here are a few forthcoming books that can receive underwriting support:

Crosby Arboretum: A Sustainable Regional Landscape, Robert F. Brzuszek
The Red List: A Poem, Stephen Cushman
Cosmos: A Poem, James Applewhite
American Energy, Imperiled Coast: Oil and Gas Development in Louisiana’s Wetlands, Jason P. Theriot
Using Plants for Stormwater Management: A Green Infrastructure Guide for the Gulf South, Dana Nunez Brown
South Louisiana Endangered Cemeteries, Jessica H. Schexnayder and Mary H. Manhein
Pelican State: Louisiana Life and Culture edited by Wayne Parent and Ryan Orgera
Hurricane Katrina in Transatlantic Perspective edited by Romain D. Huret and Randy J. Sparks

We’ll be sure to send you and your honoree a copy of the book once it’s been published.

If your friend or loved one enjoys the very best of contemporary literature, consider a gift support to The Southern Review in his or her honor. Your generosity and honoree will be recognized in The Southern Review on the inside back cover:

tsr acknowledgment card

If you are looking for a very special way to honor a friend or loved one this holiday season that is not listed here, call Kris Elmore our associate director of development at 225.578.6416 or e-mail her at kelmor1@lsu.edu to brainstorm or discuss meaningful ways to give a charitable, tax-deductible gift to LSU Press or The Southern Review to honor someone in your life.


Nov 13

Louis D. Rubin Jr. (1923-2013)

LouisRubinIn the history of the literary side of LSU Press, there is no more influential and revered figure than Louis D. Rubin Jr., who died on November 16 at the age of 89.   The Press published many of his numerous books, beginning in 1953 with Thomas Wolfe: The Weather of His Youth.  But Louis also founded our influential and award-winning Southern Literary Studies series and served as its editor from 1963 to 1993.  Beyond that, he put the Press in touch with countless fiction writers and poets, scholars and nonfiction writers, students and readers, many of who became authors of books we published or helped us in other ways.  His contributions to LSU Press and to southern literature have been enormous—and for the Press’s literary programs, truly crucial.

Among the scholarly books he authored for us are The Curious Death of the Novel  (1967), Black Poetry in America (1974; co-authored with Blyden Jackson), William Elliot Shoots a Bear: Essays on the Southern Literary Imagination (1976), The Wary Fugitives: Four Poets of the Modern South (1978), and The Mockingbird in the Gum Tree: A Literary Gallimaufry (1990).  We published his novel Surfaces of a Diamond (1981) and reprinted his early novel The Golden Weather (1995).  Since his retirement, the Press has done two of his autobiographical books, An Honorable Estate (2001), about his years as a journalist, and My Father’s People: A Family of Southern Jews (2002).

Perhaps as significant a contribution to southern studies as his authored books are Louis’s edited or co-edited volumes.  The foremost of these is The History of Southern Literature (1985), for which he served as general editor and worked with several co-editors and dozens of other scholars who dealt with individual southern writers and particular themes.  Other notable edited works of his that we published include A Bibliographical Guide to the Study of Southern Literature (1969), The American South: Portrait of a Culture (1979), and Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary (1979; co-edited with Robert Bain and Joseph M. Flora).

Louis was also a publisher in his own right, most notably the founder of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, and his knowledge of the publishing industry often proved invaluable to LSU Press. In the mid-1990s he encouraged us to reprint well-known out-of-print southern fiction and facilitated our republication of such excellent works as his former student Lee Smith’s novel The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed and several of Ellizabeth Spencer’s novel s, including The Voice at the Back Door.  These books are part of a series of reprints called Voices of the South, and Louis helped us immensely with it.  He also occasionally recommended poets he thought highly of, such as Jane Gentry, author of the fine collection A Garden in Kentucky (1995) and later poet laureate of that state.

Rubin_coverIn 2002 The Southern Review published a “Writing in the South” issue in honor of Louis and centered on the various aspects of his work in the field, and it included memoirs by several of his friends, colleagues, and students.  And in 2006, in Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary, edited by Joseph Flora, Amber Vogel, and Bryan Giemza—in  effect a new edition of the biographical dictionary Louis co-edited in 1979—there inevitably appeared an entry on Louis himself, written by Michael Kreyling.  It began, “Louis Decimus Rubin, Jr., is the master builder of southern literature as a field of academic study.”  LSU Press is proud of our efforts to assist him in this endeavor for many years, and we will always consider him one of our greatest benefactors and friends.

Nov 13

Burl Noggle (1924-2013)

We at the Press are sad to note the passing of LSU Professor Emeritus of History Burl Noggle, an outstanding scholar in the field of twentieth-century American history and author of three books published by LSU Press.

A native of North Carolina, Professor Noggle received his Ph.D. in history from Duke University and then taught briefly at New Mexico State University before settling into his long career here at LSU. His Press books are Teapot Dome: Oil and Politics in the 1920s (1962); Working with History: The Historical Records Survey in Louisiana and the Nation, 1936-1942 (1981); and The Fleming Lectures: A Historiographical Essay (1992).

A former Press editor, John Easterly, now retired, fondly remembers Professor Noggle as a fine teacher whose course on the New Deal and World War II made a huge impression on him as an LSU undergrad. Among other things, in that 1968 class Noggle introduced him to James Agee and Walker Evans’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and to the New York Review of Books. Noggle’s reading always struck him as very wide, especially for its including literature. He discovered that Noggle used John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy of novels, for instance, in his course on America from the Progressive Era to the 1920s, and it became one of John’s favorite works of fiction.

Professor Noggle’s most wide-ranging book is Into the Twenties: The United States from Armistice to Normalcy (1974), and in the years just prior to its publication, students in his courses, John recalls, learned much about demobilization after World War I, President Woodrow Wilson’s struggles during that time, and the Red Scare—a fascinating, turbulent period that Noggle’s work did much to establish as a rich field for U.S. historians.
All of us at the Press are proud to be the publisher of three of his fine books and grateful to have had his friendship over these many years.

Nov 13

How do you get to a dance hall in Eunice?

One of the benefits of working for a press, like LSU Press, that publishes regional books is that it makes it very difficult to take for granted the cultural assets that surround us here in Louisiana. When you are charged with making sure each book finds a home—which is a quaint way of defining the ceaseless preoccupations of the marketing and sales department—it is a daily exercise to think through the meaning of a book’s subject, be that culinary, or musical traditions, historic places, a storied byway, a natural resource, or a slice of our literary heritage. The outcome of all that deep contemplation, aside from setting a price, print run, and discount, is always a striking realization of how immensely rich and varied Louisiana’s culture is, and moreover the difficulty inherent in drawing geographic lines around the origin of folklore in Acadiana or pinpointing the birth of a Cajun-French drinking song. In fact, it is the tradition of sharing—of communion—which is responsible for the pleasurable yet dizzying mix of influences that reveal themselves in nearly every regional title we’ve published.

So I am fascinated by the pursuit of accurately capturing a culture that is greater than the sum of its many disparate parts in something as finite as a book. When I get the chance I always ask our authors about this experience: How did you pull together this wonderful narrative or portfolio of images, and get to the heart of the story? How did you get to the truth about a Mardi Gras tradition when some of sources are oral histories that contradict each other? How did you find out about the dance hall in Eunice, Louisiana when there is no website or Facebook page for it? To be honest, these questions are as driven by the need to aim our marketing efforts in the right direction as my own curiosity, but on a broader level it takes into account the challenges of accessibility and very, very, subjective nature of how to define what is local.

None of the responses from these queried authors is the quite the same, but there is always a touch of journalistic integrity, a dogged quest for more information, and most of all an abiding respect for what they are researching–something short of scared but a thousand miles beyond seeing the matter as a commodity. They are, quite fittingly, driven by the desire to share as much as they can and explain it as accurately as possible, rather than forgoing the complexities of a story for the sake of commercialization.

I think it’s that approach, a balance between passion for a subject and a commitment to authenticity that makes our authors and our books so special, even vital. Perhaps it is the intersection of high academic standards and the privilege of being geographically close to so many valuable local resources that puts us in the best position to preserve regional culture and history—as it really is and not how it is most easily consumed.
From our fortunate position, I believe our books are not separate but part of that tradition of cultural communion. In staying true not only to the meaning of the culture that surrounds us, but to the custom of sharing, LSU Press and its titles serve as an extension of the heritage that we disseminate.


The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is celebrating University Press Week November 10-16. This week started back in the summer of 1978 when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed a University Press Week “in recognition of the impact, both here and abroad, of American university presses on culture and scholarship.”

In the spirit of partnership that pervades the university press community, LSU Press and 36 other presses are uniting for the AAUP’s second annual blog tour during University Press Week. This tour highlights the value of university presses and the contributions they make to scholarship and our society. Individual presses will blog on a different theme each day, including profiles of university press staff members, the future of scholarly communication, subject area spotlights, the importance of regional publishing, and the global reach of university presses.

See a complete University Press Week blog tour schedule at: http://bit.ly/HjQX7n

Oct 13

Clementine Hunter will be the focus of the next Ogden Museum book club meeting, Oct 29

Clementine Hunter, by Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead, will be the topic of discussion at the next Ogden Museum book club meeting on Tuesday, October 29th at 5:30 PM. Ogden Museum docent Maureen O’Dwyer will lead the book discussion.

This event is open exclusively to museum members. Find out more about the Ogden Museum and how you can become a member here.