ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Sonia wear glasses but her third eye is uncovered / Psychic lashes bat at new earth




Books by Sonia Sanchez

Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (1999) /  Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems (1998) 

 Does Your House Have Lions? (1995) / Wounded in the House of a Friend (1995)  /  Under a Soprano Sky (1987) / Homegirls & Handgrenades (1984)

I've Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems (1978) /   A Blues Book for Black Magical Women (1973) / We a BaddDDD People (1970)

 Homecoming (1969)  / A Sound Investment and Other Stories (1979)   /    The Adventure of Fat Head, Small Head, and Square Head (1973)

It's a New Day: Poems for Young Brothas and Sistuhs (1971)  / We Be Word Sorcerers: Twenty-five Stories by Black Americans (1973) 

 Living At The Epicenter (Morse Poetry Prize) (1995)

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Baring My Soul

By Stacey Tolbert

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Sonia's Song

By Stacey Tolbert


Sonia write like red clay

Red bone rhymer make me want to create

She read like she know me/we been birthed

out of Yemoja and white cloth some million

years ago…alphabet streams

we travel same universoul rhythms

Her drum beat like tree grown from smart roots

Ancient roots

Now roots

Then roots

Sonia wear glasses but her third eye is uncovered

Psychic lashes bat at new earth

Sonia make me want to write

and poet

and write

and poet

She move like cloud with heels

Jazz on her soul





Sonia make me want to write like red clay

Get deep down and dirty

Blood be okay cuz “we”

The griots got

Secret covenant

Promise to write

And poet

And write

And poet  

Anastacia Tolbert Table

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Poet, Activist, Sonia Sanchez Reading Toni Cade Bambara

Sonia Sanchez: Shake Loose Memories  / Sonia Sanchez speaks about Shake Loose Memories

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Sonia Sanchez on the State of Black Books I'm usually reading five or six different books at a time. I'm reading Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. I remember when Ngugi was writing this book because I was writing the first part of my memoir at the same time. The joy of this memoir is simply that he talks about his views as a boy during World War II. So we get a wonderful sense of who he is as a young man.

I'm reading the biography—the only biography—of John Oliver Killens [John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard], a great novelist who died too early, too young. I make sure all of my students read him. I'm also reading Isabel Allende's new book, The Island Beneath the Sea (La isla bajo el mar). I just love Isabel and what she writes and the musicality of her work. I just got in the mail yesterday Nairobi Heat, a detective novel by Mukoma wa Ngugi, Ngugi's son, that I can't wait to start reading.

And I'm reading the manuscript for this new anthology on rap, so I'm immersing myself in Chuck D, Rakim and Talib Kweli. I'm so happy this book is happening and that they asked me to write a blurb for it because they said I was one of the older people who support young rappers. And I do. I get up in the morning now and I play Rakim's "Casualties of War" to remind myself about the dead bodies that come home every day because of the two wars we are involved in.—TheRoot 

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)






update 1 January 2012




Home   Anastacia Tolbert Table  Guest Poets  

Related files  Kool Aid   Elvis at the dinner party   Breaking Down  Anatacia's Lament  Baring My Soul   Fantasy Island   Sisters Who Hate Fast Food  Sonia's Song  What's Goin On  First Tour of Duty and Other Poems

 Greetings from Japan   Sonia Sanchez: Poet & Educator     Sonia Sanchez and Ten Grandmothers  Wounded in the House of a Friend  (Marvin X Review)