2005-03-17 14:24:51 UTC
Ahmos Zu-Bolton II, poet, bookstore owner
Thursday, March 17, 2005
By Michael Perlstein, Staff writer
Ahmos Zu-Bolton II, poet, educator, literary critic and longtime owner
of Copastetic Community Book Center, died March 8 of cancer at Veterans
Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was 58.
Mr. Zu-Bolton was born in Poplarville, Miss., raised in DeRidder and
lived in New Orleans for more than 16 years. His Marigny Street
bookstore and cultural center was a longtime gathering spot for writers,
artists and community activists of all stripes. While the bookstore
often struggled financially, Zu-Bolton maintained it as a rich oasis of
cultural events that included poetry slams, storytelling workshops,
speakeasies, theater productions and children's events.
Mr. Zu-Bolton's collections of poetry include "Ain't No Spring Chicken"
and "A Niggerd Amen." His work has been featured in many anthologies,
journals and literary magazines, including Essence, New Orleans Review,
Yardbird Reader, Callaloo and Obsidian.
Mr. Zu-Bolton often referred to his artistic style as "neo-urban
folklore." As a literary ambassador and frequent lecturer on the
"writer-in-residence" circuit, he brought theater festivals and poetry
series to cities from Galveston, Texas, to Washington.
"He was very interested in crossing cultural and racial boundaries with
his work," said local poet and Newcomb University visiting scholar Lee
Grue. "He was all about community. His bookstore was a true neighborhood
bookstore that brought together many different types of people and artists."
A graduate of G.W. Carver High School in DeRidder, Mr. Zu-Bolton
attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge before being drafted
into the Army for a four-year tour of duty in Vietnam. After the war, he
received a bachelor's degree at California Polytech, and a master of
fine arts in creative writing from the University of Iowa. He was the
recipient of the Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment
for the Arts and the Louisiana Endowment for the Arts.
As an educator, Mr. Zu-Bolton taught at Xavier University, Tulane
University, Delgado Community College, University of Missouri at
Columbia and Charles Gayarre Elementary School.
He is survived by his wife, Ywenboui Zu-Bolton of Columbia, Mo.; a
daughter, Amber Easter Gautier Zu-Bolton; three stepchildren, Simon,
Allynthia and Candance Zu-Bolton of Columbia; four brothers; James
Zu-Bolton of Philadelphia, Marvin Zu-Bolton of DeRidder, Sol Zu-Bolton
of Dallas and Ravis Zu-Bolton of Mossville; and three sisters, Eartha
Simon, Emma Malachi and Sachinko Hickman, all of DeRidder.
A memorial service will be held today at 7 p.m. at Community Book
Center, 2523 Bayou Road in New Orleans.