“Tom Piazza’s writing is filled with energy, and with tender, insightful words for the brilliant and irascible, from Jimmy Martin to Norman Mailer. Time and time again, Piazza identifies the unlikely, precious connections between recent events, art, letters, and music; through his words, these byways of popular culture provide an unexpected measure of the times.”
“This cat is a dynamo!”
Please join us for an evening with author Tom Piazza who will read and sign his new book, DEVIL SENT THE RAIN: Music and Writing in Desperate America. In his first nonfiction book since the post-Katrina classic Why New Orleans Matters, the acclaimed novelist, journalist, and cultural critic delivers a collection of writings on his passions—literature, music, New Orleans, and America itself—in a desperate time.
Split into three sections, Devil Sent the Rain, forms a narrative arc of the cultural character of America over the last fifteen years. Part One contains searching and unorthodox looks at iconic American musicians, including Bob Dylan, Jimmie Rodgers, Charley Patton, Carl Perkins, and others. In Part Two, Piazza turns his lens on his adopted hometown New Orleans, post-Katrina, in articles that are by turns deeply touching and achingly funny. Part Three finds Piazza taking stock of the tumult of these years in a brilliant meditation on fiction and its relation to what is sometimes called “real life.”
Piazza’s subjects include:
- Reverend Willie Morganfield: A cousin of Muddy Waters who explains the line between the sacred and the secular in “Sacred and Profane in Clarksdale”
- The wild, Promethean bluegrass singer Jimmy Martin, in Tom’s legendary, award-winning profile “True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass”
- Charlie Chan: the stoic, subversive film hero whose character offers a model of wisdom in the face of post-flood chaos
- Norman Mailer, in a discussion of new journalism and national character in “Citizen Mailer”
- The heroes of the blues, in Piazza’s Grammy Award-winning essay written for the box set “Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues”
“This book is my most personal — an autobiography in the form of an essay collection.” - Tom Piazza, from Times-Picayune interview by Chris Waddington, "Storm Trouper: Tom Piazza Takes Center Stage in His New Writing Collection." Click here to read.
Tom Piazza is the author of City of Refuge, winner of the Willie Morris Award for Best Novel; the post-Katrina classic Why New Orleans Matters; the novel My Cold War, winner of the Faulkner Society Award; and the short story collection Blues and Trouble, which won the James Michener Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he is also well known as a music writer, winning a Grammy for his album notes for “Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues.” He is a writer for the HBO dramatic series “TREME.”
Tom Piazzas sharp intelligence, insight, and passion fuel this new collection of writings on music, literature, New Orleans, and America itself in desperate times.
In the aftermath of Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. Now what will become of New Orleans in the years ahead? What do this proud, battered city and its people mean to America and the world?
In City of Refuge, a heart-wrenching novel from Tom Piazza, the author of the award-winning Why New Orleans Matters, two New Orleans families one black and one white confront Hurricane Katrina, a storm that will change the course of their lives.
A sharp, searching novel of an American son and the family he left behind 埦rom a writer of rare breadth and human insight.
My Cold War is a critically acclaimed debut novel of extraordinary depth and range : the story of a man's alienation and attempts at reconnection with his family, and a rich exploration of the thorny implications of American popular culture.
Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a career that spanned half a century and culminated with Martin's induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor. Always an enigmatic figure, Martin was as famous for his temper as he was for his talent.