My heart goes out to the readers who love Pat Parker and what she did for the written word and the culture.

For a generation of people who had to live in the business end of progressive macho and radical politics-the poor and working-class women who acted too much like…

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 a superstar, establishing a template for Wilbur and modern…

He was the first person my age to tell me to grow up. I was 17 and hadn’t lived in the neighborhood for two years, but would come back to do dirt every chance I could. When my mother was working, I would take the same bus I took when…

On the 50th Anniversary of Pieces Of A Man, a personal reflection of what Gil Scott Heron and the record meant to the smartest black music expert I ever knew: my grandmother.

My grandmother, Rosa Mae Johnson, obtained half a century’s worth of knowledge about black music from her years…

There are sublime moments in Robert Lowell’s most famous book. There is also more than enough manipulative dreck.

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…

DMX 1970–2021

The reason I have a short fuse about writers and rappers lying about “the trap” was that my father was in a lot of them. A ghetto celebrity in Tacoma and a successful businessman before he became a basehead, he used the connections he developed, to scam money…

The Brilliance of Saul Bellow’s novella outlives the later rages of its creator.

Seize The Day, Saul Bellow’s novella about a failure desperate to find humanity separate from financial success is a masterpiece that outlives the demons of its creator. Published in 1956, it remains a stylistic tour de force…

Robert Lashley

Writer. Author. Former Jack Straw and Artist Trust Fellow. The baddest ghetto nerd on the planet.

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