Posts Tagged ‘American Library Association’

K Lit

This is an  eye-opening bibliography of Katrina lit, prepared for the ginormous American Library Association’s conference set to take place in June. I’ve read a lot of the titles listed  but was unaware that there were things like k-themed kids’ books and Harlequin romances out there. Makes sense, though. My own collection of Katrina lit is two-to-one DIY vs. commercial, and that ratio is accidental. I need emotional information, and the most vital K lit  just happens to be that which does an end run around traditional publishing.

Question: Is this generally true for lit that responds to tragedy?

Anyway, my eccentric supplement to the ALA list:

A Howling in the Wires: An Anthology of Writings from Postdiluvian New Orleans edited by Sam Jasper and Mark Folse of  Gallatin & Toulouse Press in 2010. A collection of immediate voices–mainly blog posts with errors preserved, plus a few poems and essays, but all produced as the storm bore down and in the months after. Don’t expect screaming or wailing, and don’t expect somber reflection. This book is all about intelligence and urgency and communication.


Saints Before the Storm; A Solo for New Orleans, in Black & White is Jason Ellison’s 2009 collection of photographs from August 2005, taken days before Katrina hit. To me this is the best document of the unaware city, cleared-eyed and unsentimental, despite the romantic tinge of the title.



Spoiled is Tom Varisco’s collection of post-K refrigerator photos. The owners curbed the rotten things and decorated them with messages for looters, the gummint, and Katrina herself.




Robert Smallwood’s The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina recounts his experience staying put in the French Quarter through the storm and after–he mainly drank his way through it, and there’s quite a bit here that strains credulity. Plus, he comes off like an ass hat. BUT I can’t deny that the google-maps-street-view feeling of his narrative is riveting.



This one’s tricky. The Rude Pundit, aka Lee Papa, excerpted some choice bits of Katrina commentary from his blog for his new book, The Rude Pundit’s Almanack, but he left a lot of his sporadic “Fucked New Orleans” series uncollected.  If you want to read truly ruuude and smart writing about  wrecked social policy in New Orleans, google “Rude Pundit” plus “Fucked New Orleans.” If you try the search function on his site, use the whole phrase. A general search of “fucked” will probably retrieve every post since 2003.

Read Full Post »