Monthly Archives: September 2013

An excerpt from “Diddy-Wah-Diddy”

On the publisher’s page here:

Art in my new novel

A nice shout-out from the artist who illustrated my new one, Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite. 

My new chapbook

Now available: The Travels of Cocoa Poem Lorry (Leaf Garden Press), a prose chapbook. A steal at $4.

You can order it here:
or just tell me you want one.
Peace and gratitude,

— Corey


From Adak to Lahore,
Zimapan to Mogadore,
Or wherever C. P. Lorry
Steps ashore,
Starving readers rise to cry,
“More, more, more!”
–John Pritchard, author of Junior Ray and Sailing to Alluvium

A happy-making blurb


A happy-making blurb for my forthcoming poetry collection, The Catastrophe of my Personality (Blue Hour Press, 2014):


“Corey Mesler’s spare, well-crafted poems guide us through such a range of emotions, from despair to humor, from loss to gladness, in moments of love, of self-awareness, where the interior life and the exterior world meet. We follow him as we follow a dear friend, in these poems which are both highly personal and artistically poised.”


John Bensko, author of The Waterman’s Children, and the Yale Series of Younger Poetry Award winning Green Soldiers




3 new poems



…here in the inaugural issue of Up the River:


Thanks for reading,


A new full-length poetry collection


This morning (9/14/13) I had my new full-length poetry collection, The Catastrophe of my Personality, accepted by Blue Hour Press. It will be released in 2014.

This is a happy making thing.

My Beale Street Novel, its Arrival



Diddy-Wah-DiddyFriends, please help me celebrate the publication of my new book, Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite, (Ampersand Books, $16.95) which is now available through my own dear bookstore, Burke’s Book Store. This collage-novel is special to me. It took me a long, long time to write. How can you help me celebrate? At least two ways. Buy a copy (or more—they make great gifts, especially for anyone interested in Memphis music and Memphis history). And/or show up when I read from and sign it the first Thursday in November.


You can also help me celebrate by coming to my house and dancing with me.


Below are some of the wonderful blurbs the book received. Arthur Flowers compared me to Coltrane. Warren Zanes to Michael Ondaatje. This is egregious hyperbole but much appreciated.


Copies can be purchased signed or inscribed or naked as the day they were born. You can drop by the store for it or buy it from the bookstore website, here:






Plugs for Diddy-Wah-Diddy:




Diddy-wah-Diddy is an outlaw work, riffing connections faster than the eye can follow or the mind can see, a narrative shapeshifter at work and play, coming off like some literary Coltrane, dancing through waves of cascading metaphors and narrative riffs, voices and visions, startling conjunctions and intuitive revelations. Literature doing what it does best, forging a new way of seeing – a profound meditation on the human condition wrapped in a wild blue jazz solo.  With Diddy-wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler’s unique voice has found its fruition in a narrative tour de force.  Him and his work both stone cold literary outlaws. Memphis on the cutting edge.  Representing.”


Arthur Flowers, author of Another Good Loving Blues and De Mojo Blues




“They say–they used to say–that anything can happen on Beale Street.  Here it does.”


Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces and Mystery Train: Images of American in Rock and Roll Music 




 “Corey Mesler writes riotous prose–fluid and lush and crazy. It’s verbally rich and witty–half literary, half hoodoo. Imagine James Joyce on Beale Street with Elvis. Or something like that. Wacky but poignant!”


Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret and Shiloh and Other Stories






“With a playful, bebop narration, Corey Mesler transports the reader to the original Beale Street, where the heroes are musicians, bartenders, hustlers and strippers. Their dreams for a better life lead them to both love and betrayal, to angels and demons. And throughout, Mesler’s prose gives the stories such a distinct rhythm—a sense of drumming, melody, and passion—that you literally hear the music.”


Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue




“The fevered dream of a Beale Street that could have been…or maybe was. Club BingoBango is the center of the known universe, with celebrities and local toughs and beautiful, dangerous women. Mesler has spun a tale of intrigue and delight.”


Willie Bearden, author of Memphis Blues: Birthplace of a Tradition and writer/director of the film, One Came Home




“Corey Mesler has cornered and captured the Memphis that has always interested me the most, the Memphis that’s inextricably tangled up in its own mythology. And he’s done it in such a way that we leave with the essential truth: Memphis is a phantasm, an accumulation of stories, most certainly a ghost town. As Michael Ondaatje gave us the New Orleans of Buddy Bolden, Mesler brings us to that other American city of song and throws us into its theater of strangeness, its lust and languor, its rage and bite. Not content to leave the mythic characters of Memphis under layers of sediment, Mesler brings them out, onto the streets, into the night again.”


Warren Zanes, author of Dusty in Memphis, and former Vice-President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


“In Diddy-Wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler has tapped into a Mesler beyond Mesler.  It’s got his signature virtuoso brand of linguistic pyrotechnics, of course, but the inspiration of place seems to have catapulted him right out of whatever limitations he may have had.  And he had very few limitations.  So the thing is some kind of heady elixir, a marvelous entertainment, a streamlined invention that soars despite its heavy cargo of bedrock emotion. Mesler is some original man of letters.”


Steve Stern, author of The Book of Mischief and the Jewish Book Award winner for The Wedding Jester