Thursday, March 26, 2009

Post-Katrina Blues

This book is a journey of discovery, best to be swept along, to linger, absorb...It’s not something to force in a rush through read. This is a book that should be read by spontaneous inclination not assignment.

I’ve had a difficult time reviewing this book. I thought my resistance was due to the fact that Mac is a friend--which naturally creates a conflict because this writer’s duty is to the reader and this author is my friend. It was the job-like assignment of agreeing to write a review that made this reading and assessment so difficult.

This is not a book to be wolfed down like a BK’s more akin to tabouleh.

It is a book of revelation(s).

If you've ever been to New Orleans I imagine that, like me, you fell in love with this enchantress. Mac Mckinney's book, Post Katrina Blues, gives you an opportunity to reconnect with New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Mac utilizes poetry, photographs and prose to graciously escort his guests on a guided tour with commentary of what is happening and NOT HAPPENING in the recovery effort that is the legacy of the Bush Administration. The legacy that turned the USA upside down so that it's the most vulnerable who pay the costs and the wealthy elites who get the handouts.

Get in the car with Mac traveling along the gulf coast. Mac says:
In many of these towns the casual observer does not see a lot of the hurricane damage. It is hidden. The layout of Ocean Springs weaves in and out of coastline and bayous, and much of the lingering damage is obscured by tree lines, swamps, and winding roads. You have to take the time to look.
Mac shows the:
Front-steps going nowhere,
floors without walls, pillars without ceilings
jar the eye
Walls without windows, windows without glass, houses without houses; loosely speaking.....
The Bob Cat hoe is digging up the street-
that's all the city cares about; fixing the plumbing and wiring.
Everything else can go to hell. The streetlights go on, don't they?
It was rare during my read to be jolted from the Katrina journey but there were moments when this occurred. I was almost angry when I saw one metaphor repeated.....I was “okay” with the imagery of a shark circling once but when I reencountered the shark I would prefer an alligator metaphor which seemed more appropriate for this realm. It was difficult for me to keep my reviewer hat on....I preferred being swept along wearing my reading glasses.

I had to revisit certain poetry selections. On the first read I might have an adverse reaction. It would take an additional reading (or two...) for me to appreciate the craft that Mac developed by writing “...a monstrous five-act drama in iambic pentameter about King Phillip the Fair and the Knights Templars.” Since I’ve never spent a lot of time dealing with poetic drama I was surprised at how Mac’s gumbo of poetry, prose, and photos could stir me up so much.
Mac uses poetry and photos to create vivid snapshots while prose provides the necessary context. It’s a creative endeavor that brings the rich blues heritage of the NOLA region into a book format.

Join us this Saturday afternoon, March 28, at Barnes and Noble Bookstore at TCC, in MacArthur Center, 300 Monticello Ave, downtown Norfolk. Mac will be doing a book-signing from 2 to 4. For further info, call the store at: 625-3459.

If you want to know what occurred and is occurring in NOLA and along the gulf coast this is a golden opportunity.


Mac said...
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Mac said...

Thanks for the kind review, Star, I appreciate it deeply.

If anyone is wondering how to get a hold of the book, here are the weblinks:

Here is the URL to go right to the “add to cart” link:

but there is also one that goes to my bio, which has the above link as well: