Po Man’s Child

{Warning: This review mentions a sexual practice some readers may find offensive or troubling. Also, suicide, self-mutilation, and drug addiction.} It has been said the sins of the parents sometimes come to rest on the back of the children; that in order to shake free of past tragedies, one must fully face them and accept the lessons they aim to teach. Based on my reading of Po Man’s Child by Marci Blackman, I understand the validity of dealing with family Read More …

First Bloom-Stories of Blossoming Black Lesbian Love

  Love is such a complex emotion it sometimes defies explanation. It can inspire someone to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone. For others, it prompts contortions to avoid causing pain or discomfort to those who they care about. It can make someone run toward a burning building or walk away from a life of comfort. First Bloom-Stories of Blossoming Black Lesbian Love is a collection of stories edited by Saydeah E. Howard that provides literary examples of all the Read More …

Happiness, Like Water

I love short story collections. They offer readers a chance to walk a mile in so many different shoes. Each story is an opportunity to be someone different, and experience reality through the eyes of a character completely opposite in every way imaginable. The mark of a great collection is one where no matter how many characters dwell within its pages or the scenarios they experience, the reader can see herself or understand their choices. Happiness, Like Water flows with Read More …

The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni

April is National Poetry Month so it would seem appropriate to sing the praise of Nikki Giovanni. The force behind classics such as Ego Tripping, Cotton Candy on A Rainy Day, and I Wrote a Good Omelet earned her place in the poetry pantheon many times over. While her poetry creates and celebrates wonderful what ifs, her prose addresses a world of what is. The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni is a collection of essays pulled from three of her Read More …

Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology

I still don’t know how they pulled it off. A white lesbian and a black gay male selected a book written for, about, and written primarily by black lesbian writers to teach for an honors class at a North Carolina university in the early 1990s. No matter what method they utilized to incorporate Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology into the curriculum, I am tremendously grateful. Their selection opened my eyes to a new level of thought and creativity presented Read More …

The Gilda Stories

Vampires in literature are often portrayed as pale male creatures lurking on the edge of society seeking to seduce and destroy. It is rare to find a novel that reflects vampires of color, vampires who are women, or vampires who are same gender loving. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez is a well-written exception. The series of vignettes focus on a black immortal journeying across centuries gaining perspective on life and how to live. The book opens with The Girl Read More …

Jam on the Vine

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett is a tasty literary history lesson of black migration, race reporting, and the joy of finding love and purpose in life. Barnett tells the story of Ivoe Williams, an inquisitive black girl growing up in Texas in the late 1800s to a Muslim mother and African American father. Her world is wide open and her quick mind leads her to attend college where she finds her first love— journalism. It is during her Read More …