Friday, July 27, 2018

Bird Forgiveness Book Launch, Louisiana Style

Melinda Palacio

At Octavia Books in New Orleans
The crowd at Octavia Books

With so many choices for fun or relaxing activities during a hot weekday, where the weather in New Orleans threatens to reach a hundred degrees, it's best to do a little homework if you want to guarantee an audience of more than the friends you can count on one hand. Octavia Books, a beautiful, local independent bookstore did their homework, and so did I. Octavia sent weekly announcements to their readers in advance of the book launch and I made sure to give me publisher contacts for local newspaper and radio media for possible publicity before the reading. I was lucky to get a color announcement and write up in the Times-Picayune Nuestro Pueblo column and I had two radio interviews with local station, WWNO and WRBH, the radio for the blind. The result was a standing room only crowd with lots of my different groups coming together Bird Forgiveness book launch. There were Wonder Woman, Poets, Yoga folks, WNBA (Women's National Book Association) members, and lovers of the word, books, and Octavia Books. Bookstore owners Tom Lowenburg and Judith Lafitte have created a gorgeous haven of a bookstore and their events are always filled with plenty of comfortable chairs and wine. During Mardi Gras, I participated in the All Wonder Woman Walking Krewe. I've met some fabulous women in the group including friend, Marti, who is also in the WNBA, and Kay who works for the Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate. It's fun how some of my friends belong to overlapping organizations. Thank you to everyone who helped make the New Orleans launch a success. Thanks, again, to Octavia Books. 

My yoga teacher at Wild Lotus brought some fellow students and a friend whom she knew would enjoy my book. It turns out the friend is a regular book browser at Octavia Books; New Orleans is a small town in a big city. At the Wild Lotus Yoga studio, it happens to be Poetry Month. On Wednesday, I was a little late getting to class and I waited until the opening mediation was finished and I was pleasantly surprised to hear my yoga teacher read my poem, The Praying Tree. If I had been on time, she would have asked me to read it, as she did a few weeks ago, but it was really nice hearing her read my poem and interpret it and offer it as a mediation for the day. 
Partial View of Trinity's Organ Pipe.
I was thrilled to have a full house, even world renowned musician and organist at Trinity Episcopal church, Albinas Prizgintas came. One of my favorite activities in New Orleans is listening to the organ pipe concert and walking the labyrinth set up on the altar of the church. If you appreciate music, there's nothing more thrilling than hearing Bach or the Rolling Stones vibrate from the organ pipe throughout the massive church and through one's own body. Albinas plays an eclectic mix of classical, rock, and spiritual songs. Sometimes, I walk the labyrinth, but most of the time, I enjoy a quiet seated meditation. My yoga teacher plays a lot of rock n roll during her class. I've come to appreciate rock n roll as a spiritual practice. Next Tuesday, I will add my poetry to the music of the labyrinth at Trinity Episcopal Church. I don't know how it will all come together, but when Albinas asked if I might read a few poems interspersed between the organ for the labyrinth, I said, 'Yes'. 
Labyrinth at Trinity Episcopal
On Tuesday, there will be an additional stop to the Bird Forgiveness Tour at Trinity Artist Series,
Trinity Episcopal Church at 6pm, 1329 Jackson Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130.

Next week, the Bird Forgiveness Tour takes me to Cajun-Creole Country, where Louisiana Poet Laureate Emeritus, Darrell Bourque will introduce me (I'm honored to say the least). If you're anywhere near Lafayette next Friday, please come to the Teche Center for the Arts, 210 E. Bridge Street, Breaux Bridge, August 3, 6pm. 

At the end of August, I have the pleasure of returning to the La Palabra poetry series at Avenue 50 Studio, August 26 at 2pm, 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park, CA. 

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