Last week, editor Barbara Epler and I were in New Orleans, where we were meeting (and wining and dining) booksellers at the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute — sort of like Book Expo America minus all the glitz and carnival barking. While we were there, we took some time to find Faulkner House Books, a store in the heart of the French Quarter (with a very cool Pirate's Alley address) where owner Joe DeSalvo, along with his wife Rosemary, specializes in all things literarily New Orleans. Faulkner wrote his first novel in the same building, hence the name, but Joe also knows plenty about Walker Percy and our favorite former New Orleans resident — Tennessee Williams. In addition to new and rare editions of our books, they also possess some correspondence between Tennessee and various friends, directors, actors, and our founder James Laughlin, along with the wonderful framed photograph you see below, which sits nestled between shelves of poetry.
After we chatted with Joe and Rosemary for a while, Joe brought us around the corner to show us the building where Tennessee lived while he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire. In the picture below, it's the large loft room on the top floor, and Joe told us that a restaurant used to occupy the second floor, and they gave him all of his meals. It being New Orleans, there's a plaque on the building (also pictured).
I couldn't resist asking Joe if he knew where Tennessee had liked to do his drinking. Although one locale is now gone forever, he did point us to the Napolean House a few blocks away from the store on Chartres. The bar's name, in case you're wondering, comes from the original owner's offer to house Napolean there if he ended up in exile in the Americas. Their house speciality is a Pimm's Cup, which you see below sitting on their bar. A delicious drink. Alas, no one-armed hustler to be found.
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We also stopped in a wonderful used and antique bookstore called Crescent City Books. Not only did I find a rare copy of one of our New Directions quarterlies, I found this playbill for a Hanna Theater production of A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Elia Kazan and starring Anthony Quinn!
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And then, on the way back to the hotel and all of the hubbub, I passed this little store, and couldn't resist taking a picture. Tennessee's legacy knows no boundaries.
ND editor Michael Barron interviewed Elaine Lustig for Bomb's blog. Read it here.
May 2013 News from New Directions
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Rebecca Ariel Porte, in a beautiful essay written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, dicusses Susan Howe's Sorting Facts: Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker, addressing Chris Marker's films, as well. Definitely worth a read — here.
Writing for Bookslut, Christopher Merkel reviews the 65th anniversary edition of the classic modernist text. Read it here.