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Poet Bill Lavender and his Lavender Ink press: Maybe your poet friends haven’t told you yet, but April is National Poetry Month. The East Bank Regional Library in Metairie (4747 West Napoleon Ave) invited New Orleans poet and publisher Bill Lavender to populate their calendar with weekly poetry events throughout April. Lavender’s own book imprint, Lavender Ink, founded in 1995, has published almost all the readers at all of the library’s upcoming events. “I started Lavender Ink because I thought there was not an outlet in New Orleans for the Southern avant-garde- really, there were not any outlets for the southern avant-garde,” explains Lavender, who serves as the imprint’s director, editor-in-chief, and sole-proprietor. “All the avant-garde imprints operated out of the north,” he says, “and they were not really interested in the southern idiom.”
Faubourg Marigny Art and Books : remains the funkiest spot on all of Frenchmen Street. Just outside you’ll find an impressive collection of antique postcards, decades-old Mardi Gras baubles and posters, an old cordless telephone, a black, Hello Kitty baseball hat, and a photo-smart printer, still in its box. Also there are books – strewn about in a way that makes them tough to catalog but fascinating to sift through.
That’s just outside the shop.
The joke goes that, inside, Otis Fennell usually sells hard-to-find books – though these days he keeps things a little better organized. “That’s a major change for me; I have it cataloged for the first time to sharpen the focus on the books I have to make it easier for people to find and buy them,” chuckles Fennell, who theoretically knows where in his store you can find everything from the latest New Orleans titles (a sharply up-to-date collection), to your favorite early edition classic literature, your favorite 70s coffee table photography book, or your favorite 80s gay magazines.