by Lisa Edge
Geographically, the Puget Sound region is well known for its beautiful landscapes. There’s no shortage of stunning views from majestic mountains to expansive bodies of waters leading to the Pacific Ocean. The other gem of the area is the vibrant community of prolific writers. Charles Johnson is one of many accomplished authors who have impacted the literary world. Johnson is the kind of artist who keeps a notebook handy, so he’s always prepared to write down thoughts and ideas to be polished and used later.
The University of Washington professor emeritus has published more than two dozen books over the years. He’s also a screenwriter, essayist, and cartoonist. But he may be most well-known for his historical novel Middle Passage, which won the National Book Award in 1990. One of his most recent projects was guest editing the June issue of the Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR). It’s the first time the review has focused solely on Black literature. The anthology features new works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and art. It’s available for purchase now for $16. In this Q&A, Johnson talks about being a part of the milestone and much more.
Continue reading Charles Johnson Talks Editing an Anthology, New Works, and His Book ‘Middle Passage’
by M. Anthony Davis
Last night, Seattle Arts & Lectures in partnership with the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas hosted a virtual lecture with Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham to promote their co-edited new book Black Futures.
The lecture itself was a robust conversation about the writers’ journey curating this eclectic anthology and their experiences stepping into the realm of being editors for the first time. As a writer myself, it was especially interesting to hear about the dynamics of being on the opposite side of pressing due dates and having to tackle tasks like heavy cuts to pieces submitted by contributors.
Continue reading ‘Black Futures’: A Timeless Capture of What It Means to Be Black and Alive
by Beverly Aarons
Crumbling brick buildings litter a once thriving business district. Two-story homes blackened with soot sit boarded up and abandoned. Children find pipes and needles in sandboxes. Twenty students share five books in a freezing classroom … no heat. No food tonight, just too expensive. No new shoes — wear your older sibling’s pair and line the holes with newsprint. This is America: Late ‘70s and ‘80s. To be clear, this is America’s urban ghettos: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, even Seattle. One generation earlier, much of Black America fled the vicious Jim Crow south seeking safety and opportunity in the north only to find itself pinned into economic wastelands with no capital and little opportunity for growth. And it is within this context that hip hop was born. During my interview with Daudi Abe, a Seattle Central College professor and the author of Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle, he shared his thoughts on hip hop and its political and cultural impact.
Abe, who was born and raised in Seattle, teaches a class on the history of hip hop at Seattle Central College. Most of his students are in their late teens and early 20s, and they have a hard time understanding the context from which hip hop was born, he said. But context is key to understanding why hip hop survived and thrived while other music genres such as disco faded into history.
Continue reading Seattle Author Daudi Abe Explores Hip Hop’s Political Roots and Seattle Rappers’ Cultural Influence
by Mari Kim, Ph.D.
24 Ways to Move More: Monthly Inspiration for Health and Movement is South End author Nicole Tsong’s third book. The Seattle Times’ “Fit for Life” columnist has created a manual of sorts, with photography by Ericka Schultz, written from the vantage point of a supportive energy coach calling for us all to find work/life balance. Tsong challenges us to embrace more movement by exploring two new movements each month for a year. Her starting place for us is simple: We can do more than we think we can. With that she plants a mustard seed of change as she releases a volume put together to “make movement fun and inspiring again.”
Continue reading Beyond Pandemic and Hibernation: Moving Into 2021 With Nicole Tsong
by Anne Liu Kellor
Who cares about gardens and landscape design right now, in a time of widespread grief and despair?
Let me reframe that question.
Who cares about a story of resilience, racism, community, cross-cultural connection, place, and poetry?
Continue reading Book Review: Spirited Stone, Lessons from Kubota’s Garden