Posts in Essays and Reviews
“Being Bare: A Review of Carmen Winant’s My Birth”

A pregnant woman, naked, leans back in a chair. Her arm is lifted behind her head, her face buried in her elbow, as she concentrates on her breathing. Her husband crouches beside her, his fingers cradling her ballooned lower belly, dipping just above her exposed vagina. She heaves, he heaves, a seemingly simultaneous labour, as the next chapter of their life crowns its head from the space between her legs.

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Home on Earth - Review of Tracy K. Smith's "Wade in The Water"

Wade in the Waters is Tracy K. Smith’s fourth collection of poetry, and it follows her 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning Life on Mars. In Life on Mars, Smith travels away from earth and its troubles to mourn, meditate and maybe to reconcile the loss of anchor. In this collection, she floats back only to find that the troubles and trespass she has left behind remain waiting for her reckoning.

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Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon’ Gives Graphic Details About Slavery’s Last Victims

Zora Neale Hurston’s “Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo” provides eye opening detail about the last years of Africans captured into slavery. Many books have been written about slave ships, plantations, and sale of human lives in exchange for money and goods, but Hurston manages to give more description to an already disturbing story of the dehumanization of African people.

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Review of Hank Willis Thomas’s “What We Ask Is Simple”

An anxiety has steadily grown alongside the maturing of visual culture in late-capitalist societies over how an image can not only stand out from the countless others competing for attention across advertising, entertainment, and art but how it can also break loose of the cultural baggage that comes with its content. This second concern centers around what the French call signifiance, which describes the extratextual meaning that can attach itself to language that allows a repurposing to take place. What was once an early sign of winter (“snowflake”) can become a descriptor for an entire generation and these linguistic mutations can now take root faster than ever thanks to the multimedia onslaught provided by social media and smartphones.

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The Static Cling of Poverty: Review of Rachel Kushners "The Mars Room"

In 1974, President Nixon performed at the Grand Ole Opry. First, he praised the audience’s values which, he boasted, were America’s values. According to the much-investigated Richard M., country was a musical representation of America’s soul. Next, he banged-out a clumsy piano rendition of “God Bless America.” Immediately following Nixon’s performative version of the United States, the Grand Ole stage came to life with act after act, a long line of country and redneck musicians, one after another singing of revenge, drugs, affairs, divorce, booze, despair, poverty, rootlessness, ruthless bosses, and prison.

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Joy Out of Fire Exhibit Celebrates Maya Angelou, Women of Color and Empowerment

Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker and Lorraine Hansberry are just a few of the women of color featured in Firelei Baez’s “Joy Out of Fire” exhibit saluting Afro-Caribbean / Afro-Latina women at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. The exhibit was created by Baez and a partnership with the Studio Museum Harlem organized by Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator.

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Gabrielle Union Lands Breakout Action Role in Thriller Breaking In

Throwing weapons and breaking glass are just a few of the things Shaun Russell does to rescue her children in the action thriller Breaking In. Gabrielle Union who plays Shaun takes on money seeking intruders using her wit and household weapons. Union, known for romantic comedy movies and the hit BET show, Being Mary Jane, takes on a new role requiring her to transition her drama techniques into physical warfare to defeat the burglars taking over her house.

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Coping with Loss

Responsibility: The quality, state, or fact of being responsible. One that a person
is responsible for.

Responsibility in the context of which my role was defined as a sister and a friend
while my brother neared the end of his life was profoundly meaningful to me.
Although the challenge of this role was incredibly daunting as well as critical at
times, I was honored to share in the responsibility that ultimately led him toward
eternal peace.

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Avengers: Infinity War Brings Black Panther Back to the Big Screen with Confusing Ending

Comic book and Sci-Fi lovers get to see Marvel Comics characters unite to save the universe in the epic action movie, Avengers: Infinity War. The nail biting thriller will keep movie goers on the edge of their seats while watching amazing fight scenes and battleground action on the big screen. 

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Essays and Reviews, Film & TheatreMonica LinkMonica Link, Avengers, Comic book and Sci-Fi lovers get to see Marvel Comics characters unite to save the universe in the epic action movie, Avengers: Infinity War. The nail biting thriller will keep movie goers on the edge of their seats while watching amazing fight scenes and battleground action on the big screen. Black Panther fans get to return to Wakanda since a lot of fighting takes place there under the leadership of King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). The beautiful landscape of the technology driven African empire plays an important role in Avengers. The supporting cast from Black Panther will also make appearances in the film. Avengers doesn’t have the glamour and smooth storyline of Black Panther, but the movie stays in its lane of being a collaborative superhero effort. Avengers actors keep a complicated storyline interesting for most of the movie. The producers chose to add a lot of characters to Avengers which is great in the end but in the early scenes of the movie it's tough to figure out the backstory of a lot of its characters. Devout Marvel comic fans will have no problem with this, but if you’re new to the comics or have only seen a few, avoid going for that popcorn refill so you don’t miss any of the story. In addition to T’Challa - who shows up slightly later in the film, Tony Stark Aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) have huge roles in organizing and executing the mission of the Avengers. Peter Parker aka Spiderman (Tom Holland) adds comedy and a fresh young take on the classic Marvel character. Award winning actor Don Cheadle also takes on the role of War Machine pilot James Rhodes, formerly Iron Man’s sidekick. Thanos (Josh Brolin) quickly becomes the most hated villain of all time with his tactics to dominate and acquire the infinity stones throughout the film. Avengers, with a more than two hour running time has its high and low moments. There are scenes that go too long and a few long breaks with no big action scenes. There was a lot of details and graphics packed in Avengers with its estimated $316 million budget. Costume designs stay true to its flagship characters. Judianna Makovsky, known for leading costume design for the Harry Potter and Hunger Games movies, created well crafted costumes, keeping the superheroes true to character with a modern look. The film’s music was creative with original action sequence instrumental music by Alan Silvestri. There is a lot of outrage and speculation about how the movie ends, but I won’t spoil too much. There are a lot of characters that die or disappear or die and disappear. It’s difficult to say because Marvel made Avengers very confusing at the end. The theater was quiet when the movie ended. There’s not much to say when you can’t figure out if your favorite characters have been killed. There is no doubt that Marvel will need to fix the end of Avengers: Infinity War by making a sequel to explain what happened and how the comic book franchise will move on from it. There is much debate online and tons of conspiracy theories, but the fact remains is that Avengers is worth seeing at the very least to chime in on the conversation and figure out the next chapter for the many superheroes in the film. Text REMOVE TAGS Monica LinkAvengers CATEGORIES Essays and ReviewsFilm & Theatre Comments Off No comments allowed, Steve Cannon, A Gathering of the Tribes, Film Reviews
The Poet Physician

             I’m sitting at the nurse’s station cleaning my glasses with an alcohol prep pad. Looking though the newly cleaned lenses, I’m dismayed to find that not only are my scrubs wrinkled but there’s a brown smudge on my pant leg. What is that—betadine? Peanut butter from when my kids hugged me goodbye this morning? 

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TNC Eights Years in Power

Is it possible for the U.S. to transcend its racist history? The title of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ most recent book – We Were Eight Years in Power – suggests a lost moment, a fumbled opportunity encapsulated in Obama’s presidency. The book itself is more complex (and its criticism of the first black President more stringent) than some of its critics would suggest, but the unspoken message is that racism is an indelible stain, and that whatever dreams of racial harmony Obama might have engendered have been inevitably crushed under the mighty hammer of white supremacy.

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Review of Patrick E. Horrigan, Pennsylvania Station (Amherst, MA: Lethe Press, 2018)

Patrick E. Horrigan, in his new book Pennsylvania Station, weaves together two, carefully articulated, grand themes, one of which would have been enough to tackle, more than enough,  for your average novelist.

Patrick E. Horrigan, in his new book Pennsylvania Station, weaves together two, carefully articulated, grand themes, one of which would have been enough to tackle, more than enough,  for your average novelist.

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If Kendrick Lamar keeps this up, he may just be this generation’s Duke Ellington.

Kendrick Lamar’s recent award of the Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album Damn. is as much of a cultural watershed moment as Duke Ellington’s infamous Carnegie Hall debut in 1943. At this pivotal point in Ellington’s career, he had already cemented his status as one of the most accomplished and prolific musicians of his generation. With hits such as “Black and Tan Fantasy,” “Mood Indigo,” “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing),” “Take the A Train,” and many others, Ellington was sonically redefining black music while serving as one of the central sirens of a burgeoning, modern black subjectivity.

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Byron Allen Produced “Chappaquiddick” Breathes New Life Into Kennedy Scandal

          There are scenes that speak to Sen. Kennedy’s inadequacies from being the brother of a former President and a popular politician. Sen. Kennedy also had a strained relationship with his father.

The reenactment of the car being pulled the car out of the river and the reaction of the diver and the town sheriff show the shock of the town and how political power and selfishness can collide with society. 

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Danny Shot’s WORKS Works

He retired, didn't quit his day job, one of the first second third generation immigrant youth pining for space, for more road, aspirations for a better life, "making it in America." The promised land, New Jersey, Springsteen, Patti Smith, WC Williams, Ginsberg, Eliot Katz & Jack Wiler, myriads more, all legends, where the ordinary is extra and the Average is Whitman's Divine Average.

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It was 4:15 – fifteen minutes after I said I’d be there to pick her up, and I wasn’t even in my car yet. Geez! The phone rang.  It was my sister. “Can’t talk now, I’ll need to call you back. Mom’s waiting and…”  

“Uh, yeah! She’s called me three times wondering if you’d forgotten her at the church,” she said tersely.

“Gotta go.”  The only reason I was stuck with this job was because my sister, Laura, was at home taking care of two sick kids. As I approached the intersection, a block from the church, I noticed an elderly woman in front of me. She was perfectly still. 

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BRONZE AGE REDUX: On Debt, Clean Slates And What The Ancients Have To Teach Us

One of the most compelling sequences in the Oscar-winning Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s indictment of Wall Street’s role in the 2008 global financial meltdown, involved not the banker culprits but their supporting cast. These were the Ivy League accomplices. Ferguson mightily skewered these economists for the cover they gave the sub-prime Hamptons dwelling wise guys whose rescue turned out to be a pretext for one of the largest reverse-Robin Hood wealth transfers in history.

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A Review of Michael Simanga's "No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom"

In the spirit of Marvin Gaye, one of several artists honored in No One Can Be at Peace Unless They Have Freedom, this volume is Michael Simanga’s What’s Going On book. It is an urgent and majestic mix of inner-city-blues-what’s-going-on-save-the-children--mercy-mercy-me-right-on-wholy-holy sensibilities remastered for our times.

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David Bowie is... Exhibit Review

The “David Bowie is” exhibit transforms the life of a music legend into a display of colorful
artistry set to the backdrop of the singers greatest hit music at the Brooklyn Museum. The Bowie
exhibit is unique in its style serving as a tribute to David Bowie and his diverse music.

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