Literature Program
 

Thursday, March 7 at 8:00 p.m.

FREE

Outriders Poetry Project presents

Carole Southwood

Abdoo: The Biography of a Piece of White Trash

(Outriders Poetry Project, 2018)

Reading & Book Signing

Carole Southwood studied creative writing in the University of Iowa Writing Program and the University at Buffalo, where she also earned her Ph.D. in English with a dissertation on Gertrude Stein. She has worked as a teacher and mentor at Daemen College and SUNY Empire State College. Her poems and stories have been featured in journals and anthologies and she has given frequent readings at Hallwalls, Just Buffalo, and elsewhere. For many years she hosted Empire State College's Appletree Reading Series. Her previous book, Listen and See: Twenty-Two Poems and a Story was published by Outriders in 2017.

Max Wickert co-founded the Outriders Poetry Project as a reading series in 1969 and turned it into a small press in 2009. Outriders authors include Ansie Baird, Jeremiah Rush Bowen, Gail Fischer, Ann Goldsmith, Judith Slater, David Landrey, Sam McGavern, Jerry McGuire, Edric Mesmer, Martin Pops, Jacob Schepers, and Linda Zisquit. This year the press celebrates its tenth anniversary with the publication of its fifteenth book, Carole Southwood's Abdoo: The Biography of a Piece of White Trash.

Outriders Poetry Project (including press).

Praise for Carole Southwood's Abdoo: The Biography of a Piece of White Trash:

"Some readers are too young to remember IBM Selectric typewriters with balls. This is necessary information. All else in Abdoo is bafflingly, gloriously simple—with delicious twists on the 'as-told-to' convention. It is part love story, meta-novel, social document, feminist parable, cautionary tale about race, goofy and sexy cock-and-bull story, tale of child-abuse, and a lot of other things. But you won't call it any of them, because all the people in it really exist and really engage your understanding, without any identity-politics grandstanding. Carole Southwood has no thesis to preach, no fine sentiments to parade, no profundity or cleverness to impress you with. She knows that truth is indeed stranger than fiction but does not need a sensational truth to convince you—this is not In Cold Blood or The Executioner's Song, but non-fiction fiction of a much finer sort—a story so true and so real that it would never work as a movie" (Max Wickert, Director, Outriders Poetry Project).

"Much like the work of Jennifer Egan, the story of Abdoo is one that makes me excited to be a reader and a writer, drinking in the complex relationship between the author and her subject while being inspired about the potential of language and storytelling to dig deep into some of the most difficult conversations we can have about ourselves and the places we live" (Amy Bass, author of One Goal and Those About Him Remained Silent).

"The beautiful complexity of Arab-American, African-American, and Italian-American life in mid-twentieth-century Niagara Falls shines through Isabel Abdoo's account of her ragtag life—and is exactly rendered by Carole Southwood, not an anthropologist, not a social scientist, but a poet, an involved colleague, a redeemer of lost things. There are set pieces in this text that could serve as classic models in university courses teaching local and family history. Southwood's description of George's Cigar Store is just about perfect: Abdoo remembering the tobacco cases, the candy cases, the cheap toy cases, and we go straight into the back room where there is a bleak toilet. Here's a photograph of little Abdoo with George, her unwilling and abusive father, and a stranger, out front of the Cigar Store. Little Abdoo is a Dickensian waif. She's Huckleberry Finn, already doomed, stuck between two oblivious men. An engrossing work. At the end—surprise!—the great metafictionist, Mr. Make Believe, Raymond Federman shows up. He has a story to tell. You'll hear his voice. In a sense, he threatens the entire enterprise of the text, Abdoo. How brave that is on Southwood's part, to risk her bona fides engaging this master of French cynicism. Be prepared for a rough landing" (Neil Schmitz, Professor of English, University at Buffalo).

Praise for Carole Southwood's Listen and See:

"If we 'listen,' we may 'see,' and what we see is movement—erratic, uncertain movement. In this stunning book, we come to realize that life IS movement, rendered here by Southwood's pulsating onomatopoeia.… Blind Oliver Olin, one of the characters 'moving and listening and moving' in the story would 'fly and ring and fly and slowly let out a peaceful sigh.'… He 'would listen and wonder.' So will you, dear reader, so will you." (David Landrey, author of Consciousness Suite).

"Delightful, full of play and love of language, a feast for the ear" (Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 2002).


Carole Southwood at Hallwalls, 1981–2019.

 
 
341 DELAWARE AVE.
BUFFALO, NY 14202
t: 716-854-1694
f: 716-854-1696

 
GALLERY HOURS:
Tues.—Fri. 11-6
Sat. 11-2
Sun. & Mon. closed

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from May. 10, 2019
through Jun. 28, 2019
 

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