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Nasty Water: Collected New Orleans Poems

by James Nolan

 

About the Book:

James Nolan describes this collection of his New Orleans poems as an “autobiography of place,” for which he selected fifty poems written over a span of fifty years focused on his native city. Rarely are readers offered a retrospective of both the lyrics and narratives inspired by a writer’s singular hometown, and this book is a companion volume to Nolan’s recent Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy. Some of these poems are arias, such as “Nasty Water,” while others are portraits of a Creole childhood, elegies about family members, jazz riffs on local culture, and commemorations of historic events, from Martin Luther King’s assassination through Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill. Yet these lyrical, often revealing meditations on New Orleans are always tuned to music. Because this is how New Orleanians best celebrate the joys and survive the tribulations of life in their city: by telling stories and singing.

About the Author:

James Nolan, a fifth-generation New Orleans native, is a widely published fiction writer, poet, essayist, and translator. His eleventh book, Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy, won the 2018 Next-Generation Indie Book Award for Best Memoir. His fiction includes You Don’t Know Me: New and Selected Stories (winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers Gold Medal in Southern Fiction), the novel Higher Ground (awarded a Faulkner/Wisdom Gold Medal), and Perpetual Care: Stories. He has been the recipient of an N.E.A. grant and two Fulbright fellowships, and has taught at universities in San Francisco, Florida, Barcelona, Madrid, and Beijing, as well as in New Orleans.  

Praise for Nasty Water:

“The phrasing, the line, the music, the narrative thread—the jump & drag & soul of them—the body in them: these poems are what’s in Armstrong’s horn, in Holiday’s throat when they sing ‘Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?’”

- Darrell Bourque, Louisiana Poet Laureate 2007-2011

 “Wow, what a collection. No other poet gets and sings the ‘shimmering mirage’ of New Orleans like James Nolan. Nasty Water places him in a league with our best-loved musicians.”

- Julie Kane, Louisiana Poet Laureate 2011-2013

Nasty Water is home brew, moonshine-magical, and leaves all your senses tingling. Drink it to dance with James Nolan through the rich tragicomedy of New Orleans.”                                                                          

- Peter Cooley, Louisiana Poet Laureate 2015-2017

“Out of the nasty water of memory, James Nolan pulls a lifetime of stunning images, each shining with its own story. This is also the history of New Orleans, with its music and destruction. No other poet has captured the contradictory essence of this city—and of today’s America—as vividly as he does.”

- Peter Meinke, Florida Poet Laureate

“This serpent-in-the-mud-and-flowers of a book is the twin autobiography of a place and of a poet. Call it a chalice of nasty water: what you find here is soul, the streaking light of an embrace only poetry delivers.”

            - Andrei Codrescu, author of New Orleans, Mon Amour

ISBN: 978-946160-35-5

On Sale Date: October 9, 2018

Price: $14.95

Page count: 94

Format: Softcover

$14.95
978-946160-35-5

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