Jul 13

Anna Journey Examines Personal and Imagined History in Vulgar Remedies

Poet’s Second Collection Available from LSU Press in August 2013

Anna Journey is the author If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting, selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships in poetry from Yaddo and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“I think Anna Journey’s poetry is really magical.”—David Lynch, director of Blue Velvet and creator of Twin Peaks

“Anna Journey, in her new book of poems, Vulgar Remedies, creates an alchemical self whose shimmering limbic/alembic lyrics distill the mysterious terrors of childhood, the dangerous passions of adults, into her own honey-dusk ‘voodun’: protective, purified to gold. Poetry is always a time machine: here we are invisible travelers to a bewitched past, a beautifully occluded future. These poems are erotic, vertiginous, revelatory, their dazzling lyric force reflecting profound hermetic life.”—Carol Muske-Dukes, author of Twin Cities

 “Anna Journey’s second collection of poems is wonderful and brings something precise and wild out of a vivid night, an imagery that finds its own necessary music, like sudden isolated birdsongs at dawn. The multiplying shadows of the mind are made exterior here, surprisingly illustrated with anecdotal thought. And Dante no longer concludes that all lovers are martyrs. I’m so happy to have this work in my life.”—Norman Dubie, author of The Volcano

August 2013

88 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2


Paper $17.95

LSU Press Paperback Original

Jul 13

David Kirby Dramatizes the Artistic Mind in Latest Poetry Collection

Inspired by the carpenter’s biscuit joint—a seamless, undetectable fit between pieces of wood—David Kirby’s latest collection dramatizes the artistic mind as a hidden connection that links the mundane with the remarkable. Even in our most ordinary actions, Kirby shows, there lies a wealth of creative inspiration: “the poem that is written every day if we’re there / to read it.”

Well known for his garrulous and comic musings, Kirby follows a wandering yet calculated path. In “What’s the Plan, Artists?” a girl yawning in a picture gallery leads to meditations on subjects as diverse as musical composition, the less-than-beautiful human figure, and “the simple pleasures / of living.” The Biscuit Joint traverses seemingly random thoughts so methodically that the journey from beginning to end always proves satisfying and surprising.

David Kirby is the author of numerous books, including The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award, and Talking about Movies with Jesus, winner of the 2011 L. E. Phillabaum Poetry Prize. The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, he is a recipient of National Endowment of the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships, among other honors.

“The world that Kirby takes into his imagination and the one that arises from it merge to become a creation like no other, something like the world we inhabit but funnier and more full of wonder and terror.”—Philip Levine

“[Kirby] is a poet who peels away the layers of our skin to show us who we are: our weaknesses, our strengths, and our hilarious obsessions.”—Micah Zevin, New Pages

August 2013

64 pages 6 x 9

Cloth 978-0-8071-5106-8, $50.00

Paper 978-0-8071-5107-5, $16.95

Apr 13

Cary Holladay Publishes Sixth Book of Fiction

“A book of short stories is not usually what you would call a page turner, but Cary Holladay’s Horse People may be an exception. You gallop along breathlessly—not because you are aiming for the finish line, but because the writing is so wonderful you keep going, enthralled, never wanting this gorgeous prose to end.” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Shiloh and The Girl in the Blue Beret

Set in the pastoral horse country of Rapidan, Virginia, the stories in Cary Holladay’s Horse People chronicle the lives of the Fenton family through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. At the center of these interconnected stories is Nelle, a northern debutante who marries into the Fenton family and establishes herself as their stern and combative matriarch.

Nelle’s arrival in Virginia sets up the familial conflict: The Fentons, though well-respected millers and horse-breeders, remain yeoman farmers, whereas Nelle grew up in a wealthy, urban environment. Her high-brow sensibility creates animosity within her new family and fosters resentment among the rural poor. Headstrong and contentious, Nelle relies on an almost supernatural connection with horses to escape the hostility that surrounds her. As Nelle ages and experiences the sweeping cultural changes and hardships of early twentieth-century America, she comes to symbolize everything she once challenged in this community. Through these multi-generational stories, Holladay draws on the folklore and history of her native Virginia and examines the cultural, racial, gender, and economic tensions that pervaded the entire nation.

Cary Holladay is the author of two novels and three story collections. Her writing has appeared in New Stories from the South, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, and Tin House. She has received fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the NEA. She and her husband, writer John Bensko, teach at the University of Memphis.

February 18, 2013
200 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN 978-0-8071-5094-8
Paper $23.00

Mar 13

New Cookbook Equips Kitchens from New Orleans to New York with Seasonal Louisiana Cuisine

Louisiana’s identity is inextricably tied to its famous foods; gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and étouffée are among the delicious dishes that locals cherish and visitors remember. But Louisiana’s traditional cuisine has undergone a recent revision, incorporating more local ingredients and focusing on healthier cooking styles. In The Fresh Table, locavore and native New Orleanian Helana Brigman shares over one hundred recipes that reflect these changes while taking advantage of the state’s year-round growing season. Her book offers staples of Louisiana fare—seafood, sausage, tomatoes, peppers, and plenty of spices—pairing these elements with advice about stocking one’s pantry, useful substitutions for ingredients, and online resources for out-of-state cooks. Brigman equips every kitchen from New Orleans to New York with information about how to serve Louisiana cuisine all year round.

With each season The Fresh Table provides an irresistible selection of recipes like Petite Crab Cakes with Cajun Dipping Sauce, Rosemary Pumpkin Soup served in a baked pumpkin, Fig Prosciutto Salad with Goat Cheese and Spinach, Grilled Sausage with Blackened Summer Squash, Blueberry Balsamic Gelato, and Watermelon Juice with Basil. Brigman introduces each recipe with a personal story that adds the last ingredient required for any Louisiana dish—a connection with and appreciation for one’s community.

Helana Brigman is the creator of the blog Clearly Delicious, winner of the 2011 Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge from Marx Foods. A food writer, photographer, and cook, she writes the “Fresh Ideas” column for the Baton Rouge Advocate and her work has appeared in Louisiana Cookin’. Her daily recipes can be found at clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com.

March 2013
256 pages, 7 x 8, 37 color photos
Cloth $34.95, ebook available

Feb 13

Author of Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Her Art shares insight into the celebrated artist’s personality

An often-repeated story about Clementine Hunter is she did not like people. Far from the truth, the reality was she did not like certain people, but she overwhelmingly liked kids and visitors who came to learn and listen.

The best example is one I witnessed on a Tuesday afternoon when I made my weekly visit down Cane River from Natchitoches.

As I was driving up, I saw Clementine sticking her head in a car window talking to the driver. She stepped back and the car drove off.

When I got out, Clementine walked over to my car, and I asked, “Who was that?”

She grinned and said, “They wanted to know where Clementine Hunter lived, and I told them just up the road.”

Later, I took two friends from Baton Rouge, Diana and Paul Burns, out to visit the artist, and Diana told Clementine she had just had a little boy they named Reed. Clementine asked questions about the newborn kid and then gave the Burns a fresh painting as a present for Reed.

The artist liked sincere and honest visitors. The loud and boisterous types were not welcome guests. These are the ones who would be the source of stories about Clementine Hunter not liking visitors.

We have all experienced the phenomenon of something becoming true once it is in print.

Having collected an extensive archive of over 1,200 printed stories, articles, and memorabilia related to Clementine Hunter, I have struggled to correct erroneous “facts” that have been published or retold over the years.

An impetus for Art Shiver and me to write the Hunter biography for LSU Press was to put in print a researched and documented version of what all happened at Melrose, not only with Clementine and her art but also with the other stories of Melrose and its visitors that continue to be told.

You can hear more stories about Clementine and learn about her work at a book signing and lecture on February 21 at 6 p.m. at the Old Governor’s Mansion hosted by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana. Authors Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead will also be signing on February 22 at 5 p.m. at the LSU Barnes & Noble.

Feb 13

Its Ghostly Workshop Searches for Truth across Time and Place

“Intellectual travelogue merges with literary tour in these intricate creations and re-creations.”—Betty Adcock, author of Intervale: New and Selected Poems 

“A compelling convergence of the near and the far, Its Ghostly Workshop offers a version of the particular that yields a haunting enormity, and a glimpse of coherence amid our machinations and lush debris.”—Scott Cairns, author of Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected

From the Mediterranean to the American West, the poems in Ron Smith’s new collection move across time and place to seek reliable truths through personal observation. Beyond his own experiences Smith draws from the lives of notable and diverse figures—Edward Teller, Edgar Allan Poe, Mickey Mantle, Ezra Pound, Robert Penn Warren, Jesse Owens, Leni Riefenstahl, and many others.

Its Ghostly Workshop probes the fallibility of philosophy while strengthening the quest for certainty. Wondering and weighing, these are poems capable of conviction as well as doubt. Like the city of Rome, the subject at the book’s center, Its Ghostly Workshop aims to rewire us, to “virus” us, to “rush” us “with visionary blazes, cascades / of memory, incandescent logic.”

Ron Smith, author of the poetry collections Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery and Moon Road, is the poetry editor for Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature. Winner of the Carole Weinstein Prize and other poetry awards, he holds the George Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching and serves as Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Richmond.

March 11, 2013
88 pages, 6 x 9
Paper $16.95
LSU Press Paperback Original

Jan 13

The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition

One of the first women’s organizations to mask in a Mardi Gras parade, the Million Dollar Baby Dolls redefined the New Orleans carnival tradition. Tracing their origins from Storyville brothels and dance halls to their re-emergence in post-Katrina New Orleans, author Kim Marie Vaz uncovers the history of the “raddy-walking, shake-dancing, cigar-smoking, money-flinging” ladies who strutted their way into a predominantly male establishment.

The Baby Dolls formed around 1912 as an organization for African American women who used their profits from working in New Orleans’s red-light district to compete with other Black prostitutes on Mardi Gras. Part of this event involved the tradition of masking, in which carnival groups create a collective identity through costuming. Their baby doll costumes—short satin dresses, stockings with garters, and bonnets—set against a bold and provocative public behavior not only exploited stereotypes but also empowered and made visible an otherwise marginalized female demographic.

Vaz follows the Baby Doll phenomenon through one hundred years with photos, articles, and interviews and concludes with the birth of contemporary groups such as Antoinette K-Doe’s Ernie K-Doe Baby Dolls, the New Orleans Society of Dance’s Baby Doll Ladies, and the Tremé Million Dollar Baby Dolls. Her book emphasizes these organizations’ crucial contribution to Louisiana’s cultural history.

Kim Marie Vaz is the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of education at Xavier University of Louisiana. Her area of research is the use of expressive arts as a response to large-group social trauma.

January 18, 2013
216 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 37 halftones
Paper $22.95, ebook available
LSU Press Paperback Original

Dec 12

Kelby Ouchley on the Gift of the Written Word

OUCHLEY AND PAGANS RETIREMENTOne day in late November 1864 just before the battle at Franklin, Tennessee a hungry lieutenant of the 1st Florida Volunteers crawled around on his hands and knees in a dark, recently captured blockhouse searching for something to eat. He felt a promising object and took it out into the light for a better look. In recalling the event he said, “It was a big flat ear but I had no appetite.” Henry W. Reddick could not have imagined that his Civil War memoir recounting this incident and many other trials would shape a great great grandson’s life 150 years later.

As a precocious reader I have long been enthralled with the written word. When I was about nine years old I began to hear family rumors that one of my distant grandfathers had actually written a book, an amazing thing to contemplate. This instigated my persistent inquiries until an aunt presented me with a mimeographed copy of Seventy-Seven Years in Dixie. She duplicated it from the family’s only remaining original edition, a tattered softback with a red paper cover. I still have it. An enchanted document, it induces new questions every time I read it. Without a doubt, the book with its provenance fertilized my nascent interest in history.

So, after retiring from a career as a biologist during which most of my writing was “governmentese,” I came back to Grandpa Reddick’s work along with thousands of other Civil War diaries, journals and letters. I gleaned them for natural history anecdotes and compiled a manuscript that became Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: An Environmental Reference Guide. Broader research even resulted in a novel: Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between.

I have a young grandson. Should one of his future grandchildren discover my books someday, I hope that he or she is moved, even if in a small way, to burrow deeper into the joys of the written word and to consider the possible inspiration of their own creations.

Dec 12

What’s your reason to support the LSU Press?

Happy Holidays from LSU Press! As we enter this season of celebration and giving, the Press staff is feeling quite festive. Inspired by the generous giving of gold rings and French hens in “The 12 days of Christmas,” here are 12 fun reasons to support LSU Press this holiday season:

1. You like backing winners. We have Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, Lincoln Prize winners–the list goes on.

2. You are weary of a 140-character world. Sometimes, it’s nice to read something that actually says something meaningful.

3. If we don’t publish reliable information about the rich cultural assets and achievements of Louisiana and the Gulf South, who will?

4. You are always looking for a good investment. We rely on income from book sales, subsidiary rights, licenses, grants, and your support to keep good books coming!

5. We are proud to be part of LSU, and you understand our need for financial security, endowments and annual giving… just like LSU’s schools and colleges.

6. You want to see us grow and publish new voices and more books from a wider variety of genres.

7. You like the best of the best, and you agree that we have outstanding authors, both respected scholars and great local writers.

8. You appreciate our commitment to publishing excellence.

9. You love a good deal and want to help us keep our book prices affordable for all.

10. Our books have enduring and lasting value, and you want to continue reading them for years to come.

11. You love and hate Ignatius…

12. Giving is so easy! Click here to give to LSU Press.

For your tax purposes, be sure to donate before December 31 so your gift can be receipted in 2012.

What’s your reason to support the LSU Press?

Dec 12

The Louisiana Scalawags Provides First In-Depth Analysis of White Southern Republicans’ Role in Louisiana during Reconstruction

During the Civil War and Reconstruction, the pejorative term “scalawag” referred to white southerners loyal to the Republican Party. With the onset of the federal occupation of New Orleans in 1862, scalawags challenged the restoration of the antebellum political and social orders. Derided as opportunists, uneducated “poor white trash,” Union sympathizers, and race traitors, scalawags remain largely misunderstood even today. In The Louisiana Scalawags, Frank J. Wetta offers the first in-depth analysis of these men and their struggle over the future of Louisiana. A significant assessment of the interplay of politics, race, and terrorism during Reconstruction, this study answers an array of questions about the origin and demise of the scalawags, and debunks much of the negative mythology surrounding them.

Contrary to popular thought, the southern white Republicans counted among their ranks men of genuine accomplishment and talent. They worked in fields as varied as law, business, medicine, journalism, and planting, and many held government positions as city officials, judges, parish officeholders, and state legislators in the antebellum years. Wetta demonstrates that a strong sense of nationalism often motivated the men, no matter their origins.

Louisiana’s scalawags grew most active and influential during the early stages of Reconstruction, when they led in founding the state’s Republican Party. The vast majority of white Louisianans, however, rejected the scalawags’ appeal to form an alliance with the freedmen in a biracial political party. Eventually, the influence of the scalawags succumbed to persistent terrorism, corruption, and competition from the white carpetbaggers and their black Republican allies. By then, the state’s Republican Party consisted of white political leaders without any significant white constituency. According to Wetta, these weaknesses, as well as ineffective federal intervention in response to a Democratic Party insurgency, caused the Republican Party to collapse and Reconstruction to fail in Louisiana.

Frank J. Wetta is Senior Fellow at the Center for History, Politics, and Policy in the department of history at Kean University. He is a former Leverhulme British Commonwealth, United States Visiting Fellow in American Studies at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom.

January 2, 2013
256 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, 1 halftone
ISBN 978-0-8071-5078-8
Cloth $42.50