I Pick My Hair Up #BlaPoWriMo #BlackHistoryMonth

afro by bruce mars
Photo Credit: Bruce Mars



According to May Sarton in Writings on Writing,

“A poem does not emerge off of a feeling alone. It is instead created when tension that is felt releases a stirring of words and images and  this kind of creativity could bring a sufferer from their grief.”

I picked my hair

Up before escaping to

the night to march;

it’s loose coils now untamed

hardened by picks,

up like antlers

up like storm clouds

Defiant against the system

Telling me to let go

and lay down and die out

I scream no! I protest no!

My hair will defy you and gravity

at the same damn time

My crown, my dark halo

an avenging angel to the


pale supremacy

over my people over their

people and the people’s people

I pick my hair up


Note**Thank you for reading. Nortina has opened BlaPoWriMo to us and wrote an amazing poem about Dark Girls too! Please visit her page. As Nortina says, “These blogs are not mean to discriminate, but to educate. You do not have to be black to participate.” 🙂



‘Rooted in the Earth’ Our Kinship with the Earth Explained #BlackHistory

rooted image

four halfheart

Purchase Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage

Dianne D. Glave

ISBN: 978-1-55652-766-1(paperback)

Cover Design: Rachel Madison


  • In the early 2000s, we heard about Michael Vick from “Bad Newz”, allowing dog fighting in his home and he was punished for it, spending up to 23 months in prison.
  • In 2014, the drinking water in Flint, Michigan changed. Due to insufficient water treatment, over 100,000 residents were exposed to water with high lead content. Flint is mostly made up of blacks, could that be the reason the situation was neglected?[source]
  • Finally, in 1978 there was a man-made toxic spill that spread across the North Carolina counties…in predominantly African American areas.

Is there any wonder that African Americans’ relationship to fauna and flora is pretty strained?

From our ancestors’ ability to pick off the boll weevils on cotton, to understanding the taste of soil and which is good for planting and then the brutal history we have with dogs and sharks vying for a taste of our dark meat.

Dianne D. Glave walks us through our African roots and the kinship we naturally have with the green earth and its waters.

When we pick up a Better Homes and Gardens magazine or watch gardening and design on television, it is not our black selves represented, when in fact enslaved black women tended to the gardens and then as free women. My own aunt knew a lot about natural herb remedies than I do.

Glave makes sure to educate us about the many clubs(such as the 4-H) dedicated to helping the youth learn about nature. Hampton Institute-now Hampton University, held majors which taught about vegetables, farming, and more.

What I gleaned from the book is that as African Americans, we have strong aversions(not all of us) to nature. Much of it may not be our fault. However there is so much good in nature. In the past, water was how we got here, on slave ships but water also offered freedom to marry as well and freedom from laws of the land. The woods we ran to and away from bloodthirsty hounds, yet it also symbolized escape.

This is a terrific book perfect for study of African American culture and how we relate to nature. A very interesting read indeed!

Stay tuned for more book reviews and remember that Black History is everyone’s history and all year long! 🙂

~The Write Web





When I Began to Read African American Horror #TheChocolateReadingExperience

CHOCOLATESThe Chocolate Reading Experience Presents…


Black Horror/Speculative/Fantasy Writers. My humble beginnings in reading their books, and where you can discover them too.

Instead of recreating information on black horror and sci/fi writers here on this blog, I will briefly tell you of how I came about reading them myself.

My first experience with horror books was pretty much like anyone else’s: R.L. Stine took front row seats along with my favorite “True Accounts” of ghost and alien stories I would buy during the school book fairs. Throw in the genius of Christopher Pike and that was pretty much my bookshelf growing up.

It never crossed my mind that black folks too, can write horror or science fiction. I knew we could write and that we are creative but I never really seen us in horror flicks unless we were dying after ten minutes of screen time, and the books I read in the genre did not have a black cast-at all. Pike and Stine are amazing writers, but where were all the black writers?

So around 2008(?), a kind librarian asked me if I have read Fledgling by Octavia Butler. I shook my head “no”. She pulled the book from the shelf and handed it to me. A white girl with red hair who knew more about black authors than I…

Ever since then, I became an Octavia Butler fan.

I read Fledgling and wanted more of her works. A black science fiction author- amazing! I filled up my days taking the bus to the nearest library, toting my blue Avon bag and once I checked out her books I’d place them in the bag and head back home happy.

I began with reading the Parable of the Sower series, Xenogenesis and I ordered Lilith’s Brood online. Amazing stuff since, finally the protagonist were black women trapped in new worlds and had powers. I needed much more…

Tananarive Due and her My Soul to Keep books kept me up at night and I eventually read Devil’s Wake and am currently reading one of her earlier books, The Between. Tananarive Due has a way of writing that steals your attention.

Recently, I reviewed Sycorax’s Daughters- an anthology of black women horror/speculative writers whose imagined works give new life and breath to Afrofuturism. There are many more African/African American writers who are genre benders and write wickedly great books. Every day I am amazed at the talent pouring out.

If you are seeking writers in the area of horror/speculative/science-fiction and fantasy, all you have to do is look or check out the links in this post which will eventually lead you to new black writers in the genre.

Thanks for reading and check back later for more exciting reviews within The Chocolate Reading Experience!

~The Write Web



Decoding Poetry: #BlaPoWriMo, ‘The Young Ones'(Poem)

assorted colors of threads by Tim Savage

Welcome back fellow bloggers! It is BlaPoWriMo time again and this time we are traveling to the Harlem Renaissance era.

Today’s poem to decode is by Sterling A. Brown. He has deveoted his life to the development of authentic black folk literature. He was also a poet, critic, and teacher at Howard University for 40 years.

The Young Ones(July 1938)

With cotton to the doorstep

No place to play.

No time: What with chopping cotton

All the day.


In the broken down car

They jounce up and down

Pretend to be steering

On the way to town.


It’s as far as they’ll get

For many a year;

Cotton brought them

And will keep them here.


The spare-ribbed yard dog

Has gone away;

The kids just as hungry,

Have to stay.


In the two-roomed shack

Their mammy is lying,

With a little new brother

On her arm crying.

-Sterling A. Brown

When I read this poem and then reread it a second time, I felt as if I am torn between two worlds. The speaker mentions “cotton to the doorstep”, “chopping cotton”, and “mammy”. With those terms, I feel as if the speaker is vacillating between slavery time and the reality of the young ones “jouncing up and down”

On a third perusal of the poem, I find that I am caught by the verse: “It’s as far as they’ll get/For many a year;/Cotton brought them/and will keep them here”

Isn’t that how we all remained here?

We enjoy the latest cars, technology and fashion- but do we think about what brought us here and what is keeping us here?

I don’t know, the poem is written so that every word is understood, yet I feel there is still something profound I am not realizing.


~The Write Web


Sycorax’s Daughters #BlackHistory #BlackHorrorWriters





Sycorax’s Daughters Edited by Kinitra Brooks, PhD., Linda D. Addison, and Susan Dorris, PhD. With a Forward by Walidah Imarisha-Various writers

Cedar Grove Publishing(2017)

Get Sycorax’s Daughters on Amazon today!

CHOCOLATESWelcome back to the Chocolate Reading Experience!

Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of the most thought provoking, horrifying, skin chilling works. It also lends to a deeper discussion about black writers in the area of science fiction and horror. That will definitely be another post.

Speaking of which, did you see the Kendrick Lamar and Sza video called “All the Stars” for the Black Panther movie? It had African Spritualism, Afrofuturism and more in that lovely motion picture!

Warning! Read slow! Sip on the words in this book or you will get lost!

For now, the question is. Who are Sycorax’s Daughters and her significance to the anthology?

For you Shakespeare fans, Sycorax was the silent but powerful witch in Shakespeare’s Tempest(1611). According to the book, she invoked fear in the white male characters. In fact, in Walidah’s powerful forward, the idea for this anthology, sprouted from the AstroBlacknessII conference a few months after the non indictment of Michael Brown’s murderer.

Sycorax’s Daughters is more than a collection of “horror” stories ladies and gents. The poetry is mind provoking and I swear some stories were so beyond me, my soul interpreted the matter before my brain could.

“In the morning you will erase her from existence. You will let the day’s drudgery make a meal of your heart. You will stroke your hardness, you will come in silence, consumed by dread.” (from Sycorax’s Daughters: The Malady of Need 2017).

I cannot select just one as my favorite because the 566 page tome had so many exciting stories! One in particular is called Cheaters by Tish Jackson. About a woman who just can’t stand cheaters and mysteriously, any cheater she has been with, is no longer in existence…

Another favorite, probably my absolute FAV is  the The Monster by Crystal Connor. What does a shape shifting monster, the KKK, and a lone military trained black woman with a pistol, have in common? Yeah, you got to read that one for yourself. It was so good I told my husband all about it. He was intrigued.

The anthology is a powerful testament to black women but to black culture as a whole. Using horror to reflect the pain and injustices we often go through is a creative bounty these writers possess.

I highly HIGHLY recommend reading Sycorax’s Daughters. In the meantime, I will be posting up thoughts on black culture, horror, and science fiction literature we should all be checking out.

~The Write Web




Without Shadows We Are But Ghosts, #BlaPoWriMo, #Slavery

curtain shadows by pedro figueras
Photo Credit: Pedro Figueras


A shadow is a dark area produced by a body coming between rays of light. Without the sun, we would not have shadows.

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the implanted pain of

Abel and the soiled happiness

Of forced religion-

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Carrying the blood of the dark, lynched angels

Forced from a land

To a land of aliens

Where weapons fire rapidly into the backs

Of skin, of babes, of moms, of dads…

Where the cat o’ nine tails

swish into the

Toned plump back of a “pagan”

Whipping the passion of Christ into

This Foreigner

Without the shadows we are ghosts

In bodies of burnt clay and high hair, wooly

As sheeps, puffed as clouds

Such strange beauty!

Scarred for life, the umbilical cord

Still hasn’t been cut

As we float and wallow

In shame and perpetual confusion:

How are we here? Why are we here?


Tough love passed down the placenta

And into the mitochondria of

New Mothers

Producing strong, built babes

Feeding from massa’s god

Without the shadows we are but ghosts

In bodies

Loaned to us from our Ancestors

~©Copyright Erica Jean Smith

*Check out more on BlaPoWriMo this month via Nortina’s blog!



Black Poetry Writing Month: Traveling through Time… Slavery

One of my blog buddies here, Nortina, has created BlaPoWriMo. Get those pens ready because we are traveling through time of Black History 🙂 I am excited!

Lovely Curses

February is finally here! Did anyone else think January was way too long?

…And too cold; it was definitely too cold!

If February is your month to reset your New Year’s goals (particularly your writing goals), here’s a suggestion for you…

Why not join a new writing challenge?

That’s right. Black Poetry Writing Month (BlaPoWriMo) has returned for a third year, and this time I hope to see lots more participation. 😉

For the uninitiated, BlaPoWriMo is a month-long writing challenge that combines the ambition of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) with the history, education, and self-reflection of Black History Month.

Over these three years, I’ve explored various themes for the challenge. During its inaugural run in 2016, I gave you daily prompts based on poems from some of my favorite black poets, and last year, we spent a fortnight writing black love poems.

This year, I want to take you on a…

View original post 657 more words