The Reading Room

“The Reading Room,” a regular feature of 
the A-Line: a journal of progressive thought, will highlight fiction and non-fiction of note in this salon-style series. We encourage you to return to this section of the journal regularly to select from exciting content.

Image Credit: Gopal Dagnogo, Chairs and sneakers, 2018, 180 x 180cm, Courtesy of the artist
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Cringe and other poems

Cringe
That’s how the earth wore you, bent,
Crushed by the sky, too,
As if the blue
Had always been too
Heavy with rain, scent
And chance, but not the chance […]

Image Credit: Arthur Jafa, Micah, 2017, (2004), Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Sufficient Knowledge

Look carefully, describe what you see. Choose a landscape provoking interest. Mull that carefully again and again. Concoct an assumption: what       have you pursued, how does it work? Gather evidence, examine its relevance. Calibrate each fragment’s adequacy. Dissatisfied, pursue a new assumption. If clarity seems possible, push […]

Image Credit: Nanette Carter, Cantilevered #42 (Teetering), 2018, oils on Mylar, 1' x 1' 9.75"
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Introduction to Furious Flower Profile

Introduction I am excited to introduce the readers of the A-Line: a journal of progressive thought to the work of the Furious Flower Poetry Center. Furious Flower, the very name speaks to the literary activism and agency that birthed the nation’s first academic center dedicated to African American poetry. Our […]

Image Credit: Virgie Ezelle Patton, Black 'm-Oceans: Close Quarters, (1985-2012), Oil on Canvas, 48 x 38, Courtesy of Ezelle-Patton Family Collection
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Dis/Place and other poems

Dis/Place In this place, we swear and sing and hail and honk. This is a noisy little island, loud in color, exuberant in sound. We paint our houses the colors of flamingoes and goldfish, vivid indigoes, mints, saffron and coral. Even the sunsets are washes of hasty undiluted color, quick […]

Image Credit: Gopal Dagnogo, End of an era n 4, 2016, 150 x 150cm, Courtesy of the artist
Arts & Culture / Convergence / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

from Defining Moments Montage

Betty Jean Owens, an African American woman who was raped by four white men—Patrick Gene Scarborough, David Erwin Beagles, Ollie Odell Stoutamire, and William Ted Collinsworth– in Tallahassee, Fl; May, 1959. The trial was a landmark case, covered at the time by the BBC and international news outlets. This was […]

Image Credit: Virgie Ezelle Patton, In Senegal, Women of Color, (1980s), Watercolor on Paper, 24 x 32, Courtesy of the Ted Sherron Collection
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Stay Lit and other poems

Stay Lit The day after Charlottesville was lit with tiki torches, not lit like parties making night shine like Hennessey, but lit like crosses or a man’s eyes before rope tightens. I found myself with no tears available, all rage exhausted. I walked to my kitchen and concentrated on tearing […]

Image Credit: Derek Fordjour, Alpha Physical Culture Club of Harlem, 2018, Acrylic, charcoal, oil pastel and foil on newspaper mounted on canvas, 64 x 52 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Still Life with Rick James Braids, Red Dream Book and Velvet Jesus

I’m a leaning tower of 8-track tapes, Dust-sparkled in the living room sun, Gleaming against burnt coffee table Ash before an altar of plastic slipcovers, A 72-inch of James Brown singles—Say it Loud, I’m black and I’m proud—Baby- Baby-baby baby-bay-beh screams crackling Static into the air, ricocheting off     […]

Image Credit: David Shrobe, Suitcased Brown, 2017, oil, acrylic, graphite, paper, fabric and mixed media on vintage suitcase suspended, 39 x 25 x 5 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Specter and other poems

Specter Sometimes I dream him but he is not beating me with his words telling me how to fix my hair my clothes, my laugh, telling me not to touch him. He merely hovers on the edge of everything, reminding me I am not good enough, and in the midnight […]

Legend of a Jade
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Legend of a Jade

When she first found the bird, she wondered how a dead thing could flaunt such silk feathers. She even started to prod it with her gaze, then her finger— newly lacquered red with a bleeding brush. She asked the air, but how this thing reach here? It just drop so […]

Image Credit: Derek Fordjour, Numbers, 2018, Acrylic, charcoal, oil pastel and foil on newspaper mounted on canvas, 72 x 48 inches, Courtesy of the artist
Arts & Culture / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

Nat’s Vision and other poems

Nat’s Vision in the garden black flowers growing like trees uninterested by the wind and like towers of shadowed bone and in the arcade the white death a funeral of shawls and dresses all strung like carnival lights and lanterns that reflected into themselves an infinite fire where moths found […]