Cover Story: Leafing through the Atlanta literary scene

Start the season off right with this motto, inspired by the Atlanta Poets Group: "If Jacques Lacan can, then anybody can!" On Aug. 19 at Eyedrum, the experimental poets group presents Word and Praxis: Jacques Lacan, a discussion with Emory's Adrian Johnston about the infamously impenetrable French psychoanalyst's relevance to art. APG will also continue its bimonthly Language Harm series Sept. 15 and Nov. 17. ... Count the hills with Peace Corps volunteer Sarah Erdman, who will read from and discuss her Nine Hills to Nambonkaha at the Carter Center library on Aug. 20. Her book chronicles the impact of AIDS, poverty and oppression on one African town. ... Outwrite throws a release party Aug. 25 for the Adodi Muse, a minor deity that turns out to be an LLC of black, gay spoken word artists with a new CD, Ain't Got Sense Enuf to Be 'Shamed. Outwrite will also host Dirty Girl Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, whose new book, Playing with Boys, follows the exploits of three Latina friends in L.A. on Sept. 21. ?

Local poet Robert Giannetti will kick off the 2004-2005 Poetry at Callanwolde series Sept. 8 with readings from Drawn from the Creek. ... A librarian's naughty dream? Nine days, three book festivals. The Southeastern Booksellers Association holds its conference, SEBA 2004, Sept. 10-12 at the Cobb Galleria. The Atlanta Book Festival has readings and signings and workshops (oh my) all over Atlanta, Sept. 10-19. And The Chattahoochee Review presents The Southeastern Literary Magazine and Small Press Festival, Sept. 17-18, with more readings and panels and workshops (oh stop). ... George Singleton tackles the big questions of Southern life and literature (not really) in Why Dogs Chase Cars, which he will read from at the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum on Sept. 16. Other authors who will never go hungry again include Linda Bloodworth Thomason, who is Liberating Paris on Sept. 22; Gail Collins, Sept. 28, who will speak on America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines (she'll also be at Agnes Scott College on Sept. 29.); and Jay Parini, who will speak on our Southern uber-writer in One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner. ?

Sure, some other reading series may nab one, even two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, but the Georgia Center for the Book at the DeKalb County Public Library has three of them coming to the Carter Center library this fall. Gordon S. Wood will speak Aug. 27 on his book The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. Because there's more than one way to Americanize a man, Richard Rhodes will follow on Oct. 24 with John James Audubon: The Making of An American. (Shocking revelation No. 1: Audubon's middle name was James!). David Herbert Donald wraps up the series Nov. 11 with the Log Cabin Justice League in We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends. ?

Ever wonder what those Shakespearean monkeys could have written if properly caffeinated? Check out the new monthly slam at Java Monkey, hosted by Ayodele Heath. Beginning Oct. 10, the slam will be held every second Sunday with an eye toward gathering a team to go national and throw shit at those NYC posers. ... The Georgia Poetry Society continues its monthly open mic nights at the Georgia Tech Barnes & Noble, Sept. 3, Oct. 1. ... Thomas Lux presents the Poetry at Tech series, including readings by British poets Naomi Jaffa, Dean Parkin and Neil Rollinson (Sept. 28); Mary Karr, Kurtis Lamkin and Gerald Stern (Oct. 21); and Georgia poets Blake Leland, Sharan Strange and Ralph Tejeda Wilson (Nov. 18). ... J.S. van Buskirk continues her bimonthly-when-she-gets-around-to-it Info Demo, an evening of experimental and often playful ways with language, Oct. 14 at Eyedrum. ?

Waiting for more Ha Jin? He'll be at the Decatur Library Oct. 18 to discuss his new novel, War Trash, about a captured Chinese soldier in 1951 Korea. ... A Cappella Books is cooking the books American style with a Nov. 12 party for Southern food writer John T. Edge and his two-fer publication of Fried Chicken: An American Story and Apple Pie. Details are still being worked out, but plan on some bluegrass and good eats.

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