Our Lady of the Nile

Malvern’s mysterious Mr. F—you might remember meeting him a few months ago?—has a review for you of Our Lady of the Nile by Rwandan author Scholastique Mukasonga. It’s a brilliant new novel from Archipelago Books, and it won the prestigious French Voices Grand Prize.

Our Lady of the NileOur Lady of the Nile takes place in a Catholic boarding school for young women in Rwanda, fifteen years before the genocide that killed over a million Tutsi people. It’s a brutal, often humorous tale, centering on the privileged girls attending the school and the conflicts that unravel within the institution and the students. Reminiscent of The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark and Lord of the Flies, with overtones of class and race issues, this is a quick, moving, and enjoyable read.

Sunday Delights at Malvern Books

Last Sunday we were thrilled to host an afternoon of poetry featuring the ridiculously talented D.R. Goodman, Cyrus Cassells, and Lisa Huffaker (below, left to right).

Goodman Cassells Huffaker

Lisa’s reading began with a distinctly feline theme: she read (in both English and French) Diane Furtney’s beautifully lush translation of Paul Verlaine’s “A Woman and Her Cat,” and then shared a cat-related poem of her own. As kitty enthusiasts, we can’t help but think that all readings should start this way…

Cyrus read some new poems set in Italy, his former home. Have a listen to the evocative “The Pines of the Villa Pamphili”—I guarantee it will make you long to take a stroll beneath the “colossal parasols” of Cyrus’ favorite Roman park.

D.R. read from her new collection, Greed: A Confession (Able Muse Press). I especially loved “The Face of Things,” which she introduced as addressing “the phenomenology of perception” or, for those of us who are not philosophy students, as “a sonnet about seeing a hummingbird in a tree.”

If you like what you hear, you’re in luck—we have another weekend treat coming up for you! On Saturday at 7pm we’re hosting a reading with Danielle Sellers, Ricardo Acevedo, and Greg Brownderville, so be sure to come by the bookstore to see this wonderful trio in person!

Meet The Malverns #11

A new year, a new Malvernite to meet! Say hello to Annar, an aspiring writer who is currently finishing up her degree at St. Edward’s University. We’re delighted to introduce her to you, and she, in turn, is delighted to introduce you to Roses by Rainer Maria Rilke…

RosesAs someone with a profound respect for the modernist era, it is absolutely thrilling to see Rilke’s final batch of poems flawlessly translated and accompanied by such beautiful art and design. This bilingual collection was published posthumously, and it is rare in that it was originally written in French (telling for the Austrian writer). Roses also poses as a great contrast to the dramatic and serious collection Duino Elegies. The poems in Roses are fluid, tinged with love, warmth, wonder, and extraordinary depth. Translator David Need goes above and beyond, providing phenomenal insight and commentary throughout the second half of the book—bringing us closer and closer to mapping the mind of Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rose, oh pure difference, joy
to be No-One’s sleep under so many

With that quote, I leave you with one final, haunting statement: the story goes, Rilke died from an infection due to a prick from gathering roses for one last amoureuse. Perfect, right?

Midwinter Mic Warmers

What a sensational Saturday night at Malvern Books! We were thrilled to once again team up with VSA Texas and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest to host the year’s first edition of Lion & Pirate open mic magnificence. Check out the footage below and offer up a hearty round of applause for these pirate-approved performances.

Musician Eric Clow from Dude Choir braved the stage sans keyboard and proved he’s truly multitalented by reading a haunting story called Sleep Treatment.

Nicole Cortichiato read an enthralling short story that featured a complex complex, shoe divorce, and a rather intriguing opening line: “The refrigerator is digesting my food. I hope it gets heartburn…”

We loved her December debut and were delighted when Carrington MacDuffie returned to the Malvern stage with her ukulele to treat us all to some beautiful music.

And Lion regular K.K. Marshall introduced us to a brand-new bear from her book, K.K And Her 13 Bears That Lived In A Two Story House! Thanks to everyone for getting our 2015 open mic series off to such a fantastic start, and we hope to see y’all next month.

An Evening with François Pointeau

Poetry Corner 2015 got off to a wonderful start on Wednesday night when host W. Joe Hoppe introduced us to the fascinating François Pointeau (pictured below).

François Pointeau

François was born in Rennes, France, but moved to the States with his family as a child. He first self-published his poetry collection, Beer Songs for the Lonely, in 2006, and then completely rewrote it in 2013-14. As well as writing poetry, he talks about it on the radio—he’s the producer and host of KOOP Radio’s Writing on the Air, where he interviews poets, writers, and storytellers of all types. (Have a listen: Wednesdays, 6pm, at 91.7FM.)

Check out the footage below to hear “Vacuum Dance,” learn about how the act of (secret) translation can be invaluable to poets, and find out why Baudelaire beats Rimbaud! And be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar for details of W. Joe’s upcoming guests.

Tremendous Trifectas at Malvern Books

We’ve been a very spoiled bookstore over the past few nights, with our lovely stage playing host to two trios of poetic perfection. On Friday night we welcomed poets Katy Chrisler, Stephanie Goehring, and Paula Cisewski. Katy’s poetry was greeted with a hearty howl from a young member of the audience (a howl of delight and anticipation, one assumes); Stephanie improved dramatically upon Craigslist Missed Connections during her reading; and Paula’s “The Clouds” gave us the best type of chills…

And this month’s Raw Paw reading was a little different… the Raw Paw crew are busy preparing a few new Mind Maze titles to release over the months ahead, so last night, rather than introducing a new chapbook, hosts Wade Martin and A.R Rogers introduced us to three wonderful poets instead: Carie Juettner, Tina Posner, and Jack Brannon… check out their brilliant readings below. And if you’re a fan of all things Paw, please note that from next month our Raw Paw events will be held on a Wednesday night.