31
Oct 14

Start and Finish Your Holiday Shopping at Season’s Readings

Join LSU Press and The Southern Review for Holiday Book + Journal Sale
Meet Local Authors and Support Louisiana’s Non-Profit Publisher
Friday, November 21, 2014, 4:30–6:30 p.m., LSU Faculty Club

Music fans, food lovers, art aficionados, architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, fiction and poetry readers—check off everyone on your holiday shopping list in one evening at LSU Press + The Southern Review’s holiday book and journal sale. This year’s Season’s Readings, on Friday, November 21, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Faculty Club, boasts a wide array of great titles, more than a dozen local authors, and free gift wrapping.

Special guests will be in attendance to sign copies of LSU Press books:

The Next Elvis’s Barbara Sims
The Louisiana Field Guide editors Ryan Orgera and Wayne Parent
The War of 1812, Conflict and Deception’s Ronald Drez
Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Leavell Haymon
Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues’s John Wirt
Accalia and the Swamp Monster’s Kelli Scott Kelley
Louisiana Saturday Night’s Alex V. Cook
“The Bone Lady” Mary Manhein
African American Foreign Correspondents’s Jinx Broussard
The Architecture of LSU’s J. Michael Desmond
Treasures of LSU editor Laura F. Lindsay
Best of LSU Fiction editors Nolde Alexius and Judy Kahn

Many other LSU Press titles and issues of The Southern Review will be available for sale. New releases as well as favorites like A Confederacy of Dunces, Fonville Winans’ Louisiana, and Louisiana Aviation will be discounted 20 percent, and gift wrapping will be free.

The LSU Faculty Club is located at the corner of Highland Road and Raphael Semmes, across Highland from the LSU Union. For more information on Season’s Readings please contact LSU Press at 225.578.8282 or visit www.lsupress.org. Presented with support from the LSU Barnes & Noble.


30
Oct 14

The stories behind the songs

Join us tonight, 30 October, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, for a music-themed book festival to kick off the Louisiana Festival of Books. LSU Press authors Barbara Barnes Sims (author of The Next Elvis), John Wirt (author of Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues), and Alex Cook (author of Louisiana Saturday Night) will be at Lagniappe Records to sign their books. You’ll get to meet our authors and receive 20% off books and records! This event is free and open to the public.

In the run-up to the Lagniappe signing, our own Alex Cook put together a Spotify playlist for his book. Here it is–enjoy!

A lot of driving went into writing Louisiana Saturday Night, and driving always means music to me. Some of these selections like J. Paul Jr or Joe Falcon were about getting me in the mood for the music I was about to witness at some far-off location. Songs like “Whipping Post” just open up a time-tunnel that can get a weary driver down a lonely highway home in one piece. Most of these were happenstance: the CD my frequent traveling companion Clarke Gernon was into at the moment. One I was into. I’d just seen Calexico play at JazzFest and couldn’t get “Not Even Stevie Nicks…” out of my head for a month.

One selection holds a particular memory: I was on some St. Landry Parish backroad, totally lost, listening to K-BON out of Rayne, La. and the announcer was talking about the time he got to meet Charles Mann at some festival appearance. he brought his grandson up to meet him as well and the pride and admiration in that moment was palpable; it filled the dark car with light. You’d have thought he was talking about meeting Elvis or Muhammad Ali or something. I never really liked the original Dire Staits version of “Walk of Life’ but in Charles Mann’s flattened delivery over an accordion shuffle, “the song about the sweet lovin’ woman/the song about the knife” – the whole of that song came clear and I understood something profound about swamp pop and Louisiana music in general. It is important because it is peculiar in nature and bizarrely extant in the face of the monoculture, but it is special because the people of Louisiana make it special.


09
Sep 14

Enter to win a free copy of Tough Day for the Army by John Warner

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tough Day for the Army by John Warner

Tough Day for the Army

by John Warner

Giveaway ends September 19, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


02
Sep 14

Back to School: The College Board Desegregates the SATs

It’s September, and school is back in session! In honor of the end of summer and the start of another school year, we’ve asked Jan Bates Wheeler to swing by the blog and tell us the remarkable story of the desegregation of the College Board and its partner, Educational Testing Services.

In 1960, the College Board and its testing partner, Educational Testing Services (ETS), unexpectedly became participants in the movement to desegregate schools. Many southern black students wishing to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) complained that they were treated disrespectfully at the white high schools that administered the tests. Moreover, some were turned away altogether, left with no SAT scores to report to admissions offices. The injustice of this insidious barrier to higher education for the growing number of black students in the South wishing to enroll in college motivated the two organizations. “Standardized testing” meant that all those being tested should receive the same, fair treatment.

Working through the College Board’s newly established Southern Regional Office, the College Board and ETS desegregated SAT centers in the Deep South before the schools themselves integrated. The actual work of negotiating for desegregated testing fell on two College Board employees, Ben Cameron and Ben Gibson, both white southern liberals. For nearly four years, they traveled, separately, around Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, dropping in unannounced at hundreds of high schools to convince white school officials to allow black students into their segregated schools and treat them respectfully. State laws, local customs, and white supremacist organizations dictated otherwise. Consequently, Cameron and Gibson often faced open hostility and sometimes even the possibility of violence toward themselves and anyone whose cooperation they won. Their quiet, persistent strategy, reinforced by a contingency plan hatched with the Department of Defense that established test centers at military bases, eventually succeeded. Significantly, they accomplished most of their work prior to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which accelerated the pace of school desegregation.

Cameron and Gibson’s story, told through their candid reports and records of conversations with individual school officials, offers a unique perspective on school desegregation. Their responsibility placed them in the unusual position of advocating for school desegregation as part of their jobs. Their writings, apparently untouched for nearly fifty years, reveal the dedication required to reach a goal many thought unachievable. The College Board had charged the Southern Regional Office with expanding its programs throughout the South. Insisting on desegregated SAT test centers placed the College Board squarely in opposition to prevailing laws, customs, and attitudes—an unenviable and ill-advised position for any nascent business venture—and added a financial risk to their already daunting task.

In order to minimize the risk to all concerned, Cameron and Gibson pledged not to publicize their efforts in any way. Even years after they completed their work, the two men refused to write about their campaign for fear of compromising the safety of the school officials and military base commanders who had helped them. Their legitimate concern kept this story largely untold until now.

Remarkably, throughout their campaign the two men consistently treated everyone with respect, no matter how offensive some school officials became. At one point, following an unsuccessful meeting with a South Carolina superintendent, Cameron took follow-up telephone calls from the official almost daily for three weeks, patiently “listenin’ ” and talkin’” until he achieved a desegregated center. Cameron and Gibson agreed that they would never leave an adversary “in a bad mood,” no matter what. Their ability to remain civil and even friendly in situations where widely divergent views collided stands in sharp contrast to today’s polarized exchanges. I admire the courage, dedication, patience, and powers of persuasion of Cameron and Gibson. Had they wanted to retreat and wait for school desegregation to solve their testing center problem, their superiors at the College Board would have acquiesced. Instead, the two men persisted.

Having found this “lost” story while looking for material for my dissertation, I felt responsible for sharing it. Besides contributing a minor chapter to an important period of U.S. history, Cameron and Gibson offer valuable lessons through the low-key, personal approach they brought to a difficult situation. As we reflect on important milestones in the Civil Rights movement, we might remember especially its characteristics of persistence, non-violence, and civility, exemplified by the SAT desegregation project, and consider the approach we ourselves might take in pursuing similar injustices.

Jan Bates Wheeler is associate director for Accreditation in the Office of Academic Planning at the University of Georgia, and the author of A Campaign of Quiet Persuasion: How the College Board Desegregated SAT® Test Centers in the Deep South, 1960-1965. This piece appeared for the first time at UGA’s Research Magazine, and it is reused here by permission.


18
Aug 14

Louisiana Dog Day Morning

In the dog days of summer after the fresh-split firewood reeking with the sweet acerbity of tannin is stacked in a neat pile close by the house, we become crepuscular. Like certain amphibians striving to maintain a proper balance of body fluid and temperature, we venture forth into the out-of-doors only in the twilight hours of dawn and dusk, leaving behind our artificial cocoons of refrigerated and dehumidified air. Even the cicadas are now out of sorts, droning about their business at mid-day when a pregnant cloud passes in front of the sun. In the first slow light of morning we sip strong coffee on the back porch facing east and the hardwood forest where the birdsong rises. The cardinal calls first; then the liquid flute of the wood thrush sounds from the understory.

Jefferson Island Sunset

Thoreau wrote of the wood thrush song, “Whenever a man hears it he is young, and Nature is in her spring; wherever he hears it, it is a new world and a free country, and the gates of Heaven are not shut against him.” This cousin of the bluebird is now tracking the declining hours of daylight with a mysterious sundial embedded deep within his brain. On a night in mid-August he will flush at a silent alarm and begin a nocturnal journey that will end for the season in the coastal lowlands of Central America. As for the cardinal, he suffers not from innate wanderlust and with his kind will still be around to serve as Christmas ornaments in the vanishing dogwood trees of Union Parish. With coffee cups almost empty, we are surprised this morning by the running-late possum that peeks over the edge of the porch on his routine check of the bird feeders. We all conclude that in spite of the bidding thrush and Thoreau’s doggerel to the contrary, it is time to seek shelter again until the evening respite.

Kelby Ouchley was a biologist and manager of national wildlife refuges for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for more than thirty years. He and his wife Amy live in the woods near Rocky Branch, Louisiana, in a cypress house surrounded by white oaks and black hickories. He is the author of Bayou-Diversity: Nature and People in the Louisiana Bayou Country.


12
Aug 14

Greetings from Tori Gill, Associate Director of Development

Greetings! My name is Tori Gill and I am the newly hired Associate Director of Development for LSU Press and The Southern Review. A month into my tenure, I am enthusiastic about the future of development here! My predecessor did a fantastic job in this role and I look forward to building on her successes.

gill1

As we embark on the new fiscal year I am excited about engaging with our current supporters and recruiting additional literary enthusiasts. Over the next couple of months you will be hearing about ways you can participate in our upcoming Annual Fund appeal. Please take a moment to see how you can join us in supporting LSU Press and The Southern Review as your essential gifts help us build our legacy of the best scholarly and creative writing.

I am pleased to announce that this year we plan to launch an exclusive benefit for our closest supporters: a membership card that will include discounts on all LSU Press books and The Southern Review when you buy at our scheduled events. Be on the lookout for a sneak peek at the card and information on how you can get involved.

In the latest edition of Cornerstone, our very own Leslie Green and her parents, Drs. Ed & Linda Green were featured with their generous endowment to honor Leslie’s 10-year work anniversary. The James Dudley Wells Memorial Endowment, named in memory of Leslie’s late older brother, will help support the publication of The Southern Review. Take a look at the article, entitled, “Cover to Cover.”

gill2

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to further our mission and help sustain great writing, please give me a call at 225-578-6416 or send me an email at vgill2@lsu.edu. Thank you in advance for your support and friendship!

 


08
Aug 14

LSU Press Marketing Department Seeks Interns!

Interested in academic publishing? Want to learn more about the marketing of academic and trade books to a wider audience? Apply for our Fall 2014 marketing internship!

The marketing intern assists in generating awareness and interest of LSU Press’s award-winning list of trade and academic books. Candidates should have strong communication and organizational skills, experience in customer service, and an interest in public relations, advertising, and sales. This six-month internship requires a minimum of two to three days a week for increments of three to four hours. Additional time can be earned off site. The internship is unpaid, but hours are flexible and portions of the workload can be suited to interest. This position provides valuable experience in the rapidly changing world of publishing and grants interns access to industry and media contacts across the country. Please send resume and letter of intent to erolfs@lsu.edu.


04
Aug 14

Of Poets & Pets

Fred Chappell’s new collection, Familiars, prompts LSU Press to reflect on poets and their feline companions

Today at LSU Press, we’re celebrating the release of Fred Chappell’s newest poetry collection, Familiars. Chappell salutes the literary cats of decades past—George Herriman’s happy-go-lucky Krazy Kat, Don Marquis’s grande dame mehitabel—and the imagined cats who claim as their companions the characters from Chappell’s own past poems. The cats in Familiars are alert and affectionate, equal parts cherished friends and unknowable mysteries. Learn more, or buy your copy, at our website!

In honor of Familiars, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cat poems to share with you. First up, head over to the Soma Review to read Margaret Atwood’s strange and understated poem “Our Cat Enters Heaven,” in which a cat has a matter-of-fact conversation with the Almighty about the perks of being dead.

Meow, said our cat.
Meow, said God. Actually it was more like a roar.
I always thought you were a cat, said our cat, but I wasn’t sure.

(We’d like to imagine that the God in this poem appears to Margaret Atwood’s cat in a form not dissimilar to our beloved Mike the Tiger.)

Next check out DonMarquis.com for their excerpts from Don Marquis’s unforgettable duo Archy (a literary cockroach) and his friend Mehitabel (an alley cat with the motto Toujours gai). The world first met Mehitabel in “Mehitabel Was Once Cleopatra,” but we particularly enjoyed learning more about her in “The Song of Mehitabel”:

mehitabel . . . claims
that formerly her spirit
was incarnated in the body
of cleopatra
that was a long time ago
and one must not be
surprised if mehitabel
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners

As a publisher of French history, we can’t omit Baudelaire’s “Le Chat,” which you can read in French and in four different English translations at Fleurdumals.org. We are slightly partial to Lewis Piaget Shanks’s translation, who maintains the rhyme scheme and assumes the cat’s female:

she prowls around my shadowy brain

as though it were her dwelling-place

— a great soft beast of charming ways,

meowling in a mellow strain

Of course, no list of literary cats would be complete without a mention of T. S. Eliot, whose Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats formed the basis of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats (don’t judge us, we love it). Over on Brainpickings.org, the always-wonderful Maria Popova has posted a SoundCloud recording of T. S. Eliot reading “The Naming of Cats.” Eliot reads his poem like the fussy poet grandpa you never knew you wanted.

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,

And that is the name that you never will guess;

The name that no human research can discover –

But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.

Finally, we have the newest addition to the canon of cats immortalized in verse: Fred Chappell’s Familiars. Below is an excerpt from “After Hours,” a poem about Nora, the library cat.

Midnight in the main branch library,

The hour when Nora makes her faithful rounds,

Tasting smells, investigating sounds

That could mean threats to the security

Of the stiff wisdom of laborious sages

Who sputtered ink on all these frowsty pages.

 

She’s velvet black and melts into the blacks

That lie in oblongs on the lobby floor,

Thrown by streetlight through the windowed door.

They pave the way to the darkness of the stacks

Wherein she enters now with stealthy tread

Among the dog-eared Read and crisp Unread.

Want to read more? Buy your copy of Familiars today!


30
Jun 14

The Enduring Legacy of Musician Huey “Piano” Smith

As one journalist who covered Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues wrote, people may not have heard of Huey, a rock ’n’ roll pioneer and classic rhythm-and-blues artist from New Orleans, yet they certainly have heard his songs.

Those songs include Huey’s 1958 hit “Don’t You Just Know It,” recently featured in a pair of TV commercials, one for an athletic shoe and another for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game. Transcending the decades, Huey’s music stays fun, joyful, infectious. And he’s been a major influence upon generations of songwriters and musicians.

In 2011, Paul Simon told the U.K.’s RadioTimes about the love he developed for music from Louisiana during his youth in New York City. “I didn’t know it was from Louisiana,” Simon said. “But I loved Fats Domino. I loved Huey ‘Piano’ Smith. I liked Frankie Ford.”

Art Garfunkel, Simon’s partner in the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, loved Huey’s music, too. In a 2014 story that appeared on the U.S.-based MusicRadar website, Garfunkel listed Huey’s “Sea Cruise” at No. 5 among the 10 songs that changed his life. “‘Won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise?’” Garfunkel quoted. “Nothing rocked quite like this record. For me, it was the door opening to rock ’n’ roll. … I also love Huey ‘Piano’ Smith’s ‘Don’t You Just Know.’ It makes you wanna get up and dance.”

In 2011, punk-rock pioneer Sylvain Sylvain, guitarist with the New York Dolls, told the U.K’s The Observer newspaper much the same about “Don’t You Just Know It”: “This is the one I remember knocking me sideways as a little kid,” Sylvain said. “That rocking piano, the dance beat, the audience participation. I was just hooked.”

In 1999, following The Lovin’ Spoonful’s nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John Sebastian, front man for that 1960s vocal group from New York City, told MTV that he and his Spoonful bandmates were “students” of such rock ’n’ roll pioneers as Fats Domino and Phil Spector, both of whom are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Huey Smith, who is not in the Hall of Fame. Sebastian referred to all three men as “the professors.”

In 1992, Robbie Robertson of The Band — that quintessential roots-rock music band that also featured Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel — spoke of his fascination for New Orleans music to then-Crescent City resident John Sinclair for a story in Bomb magazine. Robertson’s lifelong interest in New Orleans music began when he was a 14-year-old novice musician in Toronto, playing in a Huey “Piano” Smith wannabe band called Little Caesar and the Consuls. The leader of the group wanted to be Huey Smith, Robertson recalled. “We played this music,” Robertson remembered, “that made me think, wait a minute, there’s something going on here — there is something about this whole thing that’s different and unique. There’s this mystery, there’s this fun, there is this thing you can’t quite put a finger on.”

John Wirt is the author of the first biography of Smith, Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues.

This summer, LSU Press is “Made in Louisiana”! Through July 4th, read local and you will receive 35% off Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues and hundreds of other titles by Louisiana authors. Learn more at our website, where you can use offer code 04LALOVE at checkout.


27
Jun 14

Recipe: Pralines

This recipe comes to you from Cynthia Nobles, author of The Delta Queen Cookbook, in honor of our Made in Louisiana sale. Until July 4th, shop books by Louisiana authors or about Louisiana and receive 35% off and free shipping, using the offer code 04LALOVE. And stay tuned every day this week for more authentic Louisiana recipes!

Pralines
Makes 24-36, depending on size. Recipe is by Cynthia Nobles.

Pralines originated in France, where legend has it that the personal chef of sugar industrialist Marshal du Plessis-Praslin (1598-1675) created a sugar-coated almond confection that was named for his boss. It is believed that Ursuline nuns brought the recipe to New Orleans in 1727 and substituted native pecans for almonds. The praline, also known as pecan candy, was popular with both early Acadians and New Orleans Creoles. In Old New Orleans, street vendors selling pecan pralines were called “pralinieres.”

Ingredients

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp butter
3 cups pecan halves

Instructions

  1. Cover a hard surface with parchment paper.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, white sugar, milk, salt, and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat, without stirring, until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 F. (Recipe works best using a candy thermometer).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter. When butter is melted, add pecans and stir until creamy and cloudy, and pecans are suspended in the mixture.
  4. Using a tablespoon, quickly drop candies onto parchment paper. Cool completely. Can be stored 2 weeks in an airtight container.