( A Homeboy's Notes On Art And Culture)

robert lashley

robert lashley
Bellingham, Washington,
July 16
A semi finalist for the PEN/Rosenthal fellowship, Robert lashley often performs at Northwest spoken word venues and has helped Bellingham, where he lives, develop one of the nation's finest poetry slam scenes. He has had poems published in such Journals as Feminete, No Regrets, and Your Hands, Your Mouth. His poetry was also featured in "Many Trails To The Summit", an anthology of Northwest form and Lyric poetry. His full length book, Songs My City Taught Me, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009.


Robert lashley's Links
If there is enough Papa scholarship-which is what Hemingway’s Boat, Paul Hendrickson’s non fiction book, aims to be-to fill a small public library, then a lot of shelves would be redundant. There would be no decimal system but wood carved signs splattered in red paint, with disclaimers be/… Read full post »
JULY 9, 2013 6:54PM

Native Yeezus

Sixty years before Yeezus, Kanye West’s sixth solo album, another Chicago artist released a contreversial work, one with a lot of paralells. Published 12 years after Native Son, Richard Wright’s The Outsider had less to do with his earlier gifts as a novelist and/… Read full post »

JUNE 7, 2013 4:40AM

On Inez Andrews.

My Grandmother had over two thousand records, eight tracks and cassette tapes. Though a fan of the Allman brothers and the occasional Hall And Oates single, her record collection ran as a history of black music in America before hip hop; ranging from Louis… Read full post »
JUNE 5, 2013 3:32PM



(It is 7:00 in the morning. There is a cake in the middle of the desk. There are two small plates next to AJ and HELEN, who are playing Dominoes. On the table is a white folder with the Resume that she had copied at Kinko’s the nightRead full post »














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JUNE 5, 2013 3:17PM

A Right Spirit: Act Three.



The Same scene, a day after. Betty is sitting down in the front table. She has a suitcase and a big bag. It is suggested that the money she got from her mother is on the table.  She is talking to her mother, who isRead full post »

JUNE 5, 2013 3:11PM

A Right Spirit: Act Two








It is early in the evening the next day. BETTY WILSON is sitting over the recliner. She is wearing a smith’s t shirt,  jeans, and a discount store leather jacket.  Freddie is at the desk. TheRead full post »

JUNE 5, 2013 3:08PM

A Right Spirit: Act One.









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by Robert Lowell
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007

Like the poetry and the genre he created, Robert Lowell’s Life Studies is torn by its polarities. Published in 1959, the book is considered to be the birth of confessional poetry, shocking readers with dishy personal observations and a language… Read full post »
Things of this World
by Richard Wilbur

The spectacular poems of Richard Wilbur’s Things of this World will last long after his pleasant pastoral ballads have faded from memory. Published in 1956, the collection of form and structured free verse centered on the New England countryside made him… Read full post »
APRIL 23, 2013 6:43PM

Go Tell It On The Mountain At 60

 Rereading Go Tell It On The Mountain, James Baldwin's most recognizable work of fiction, I kept going back to a paragraph in Toni Morrison's Eulogy of him; a part of a speech that exists as a work of literature in itself. 

"You made American English honest - genuinely international. YouRead full post »

DECEMBER 10, 2011 5:12AM

Just Where Was The Love?


( trigger warning)


What's wrong with Soul Music? I have a theory, and it doesn't have anything to do with how stupid and evil young black people are.


Fifteen years ago, Bill Clinton signed The 1996 Telecommunicatio… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2011 3:58AM

Why Questlove Screwed Up


Here’s what Jimmy Fallon and Questlove would have done if they had spines. They would have had Michelle Bachmann on, but have big Freeda and Katey Red-avatars of New Orleans’ Sissy Bounce music scene-to jam with the band in between breaks. Since Fallon has an affinity… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 9, 2011 3:00AM

Invisible Man: Joe Frazier (1944-2011)

The feelings I have for Joe Frazier are personal. My grandfather, Uncle Moe, Uncle Herman, and Uncle Milton were all proud men from Mississippi and Alabama. They were dark, scrappy, steel tough, with a dignity and a decorum that got them through unendurable pain. And they were Frazier men. As a… Read full post »

The street outside the Tacoma Art Place is a pastiche of history on top of history. The remade apartment complex above the building sits diagonally across a set of dilapidated building more than 50 years old. Under those rooms, three trendy Pho restaurants nestle the pawn shop where addicts like my… Read full post »

Professor Ward.




First, A mea culpa. I should have emphasized how Wright evolved in the mid to late 50's, his emphatic dismissal of Hemingway's perversely macho portrait's of Spain, his empathy for the… Read full post »

APRIL 18, 2011 3:47AM

Review F.A.M.E, Chris Brown

In F.A.M.E, his 4th studio album, Chris Brown desperately tries to put back up a curtain. Slipping into his familiar veneer of club tracks, Michael Jackson samples, and disneyfied bad boy platitudes; Brown begs his fans to love him as they did before. Over and over the themes repeat,with more thanRead full post »

JANUARY 7, 2011 4:30AM

On The Book Of Rhymes

The problems with Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop?  Where do I start?  That the only references to female MC's are 2 sentences about Lauryn Hill,  and one reference to Mc Lyte,  Roxanne Shante,  Sha rock,  and Jean Grae? That there ar/Read full post »

This kind of dark, dense human symbology( in which social scientists use the examples of a few to make broad, sweeping statements on many) not only does absolutely nothing constructive for race relations, it's spits in the face of people w… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 11, 2010 4:36AM

Tyler Perry's Churchtainment Heart of Darkness

Let me begin this review of Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls with a personal statement: I have 15 people (relatives, close friends, writers) in my inner circle with strong thoughts about Tyler Perry. Six of them swear by him, nine of them hate his guts. Though I stand firmly in the lat/Read full post »

Although Slumberland, Paul Beatty’s third novel, is set in Berlin, it has none of the aesthetics one thinks of when they talk about African American Expatriate fiction. The Protagonist, Eugene Sowell (AKA DJ Darky) is a witty, sardonic cad who spins records around Berlin and has none of the pai… Read full post »

MAY 15, 2009 11:08PM

Writers Notebook: Sista Souljah.

Midnight, Sista Souljah’s new novel, embodies both the ugliness and narcotic like appeal of black nationalism. It’s hero, a 14year old killer/ex drug runner/gang lieutenant, functions mostly as a cipher for Souljah’s opinions on racism, islam, the role of women and “the jew&rd… Read full post »


As a black man in America, I can tell you ugly stories of racism, but subtle and no so subtle. I can tell you stories that happened to me as recently as last week. I will not, however, sacrifice my perso… Read full post »

There are several reasons he hasn’t gone away quite yet, why, as I was convalescing from wisdom teeth on my grandaddy’s couch, he was topic A among aunties, friends, and cousins. There have been  several great female soul singers in the past 25 years, from Chaka Khan,…

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If you could find a primary reason for soul music’s appeal, it would be in how much it derives from history and myth. The contrasting, esoteric concepts surrounding the black church have created a million interpersonal storylines that read like newfound greek mythology; with dramatic theRead full post »