The Year of James Baldwin Now in Full Classic Literary Swing (part 1)

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

Photo of author James Baldwin by Dmitri Kasterine

                                  Author James Baldwin in St. Paul de Vence, France, 1976. (photograph by Dmitri Kasterine)

“It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within. And yet, the terror within is far truer and far more powerful than any of our labels: the labels change, the terror is constant.” –James Baldwin, from the essay Nothing Personal

Members of New York City’s cultural arts community made a rare kind of decision earlier this year and the results of that decision continue to generate exceptional events and responses. They–– as in Columbia University School of the Arts, Harlem Stage, and New York Live Arts–– elected to observe The Year of James Baldwin from April 2014 until June 2015 in honor of the late iconoclastic African-American author’s 90th birthday August 2, 2014.

Long before he…

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Calligraphy of Intimacy: World Poetry Day 2014 – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

Mixed media digital art construction by Jaanika Talts.Untitled Photographed Painting by Jaanika Talts shared by the artist on Facebook.(All rights reserved by the artist)

One need not, after all, call oneself an artist in order to embrace either the beauty that roses give to the world or the genius that one’s love does. (Aberjhani)


When viewing a recent untitled painting by Dublin artist Jaanika Talts a strange thought came to me. It was this: Between the elegant reach of an artist’s color-stained fingers toward her canvas and the haunted explosion of a soldier’s bullet inside his brother’s chest, somewhere a terrified soul is seeking shelter inside the warmth of a stranger’s voice, or an infant is squealing at the incomprehensible delight of discovering it is alive.

As I said, it was a strange thought.

Talts’ painting depicts a cluster of multi-colored roses in different stages of blossoming, nestled against the…

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Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization test (pt. 2 of 2)

“If the society suffers a loss of soul, a loss of daimonic inspiration, of angel and genius, then before starting off in search of them, why not ask what might be driving them away?” –James Hillman, The Soul’s Code

 The Text and Meaning Series that has been running since August 2013 has focused on influential books, essays, documents, and orations of the past to explore and discuss their significance today. In a very real sense the series has been an extended exercise in reclaiming universal values lost to earlier forms of guerrilla decontextualization.

Such values have included: taking stands against apparent injustice, the achievement of self-empowerment through education and personal faith, and endeavoring to develop individual character based on a sense of individual integrity. To date, there have been six articles published in the Text and Meaning Series:

1. Text and Meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
2. Text and Meaning in Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
3. Text and Meaning in Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”
4. Text and Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus
5. Text and Meaning in Robert Frost’s “Dedication for John F. Kennedy”
6. Text and Meaning in the Life of Nelson Mandela

The series is not a stroll through nostalgia. It serves as one important tool for extracting important lost lessons of history, in the form of awareness-raising observations, from the intentional or unintentional sabotage executed through guerrilla decontextualization.

Among the articles scheduled for posting in 2014 is an exposition on the poetry and art of a human rights activist whose life was nearly destroyed by a controversial court ruling that almost placed him in prison for a quarter of a century. Another is slated to examine a landmark anniversary in America’s ongoing struggle to define, defend, and exercise democracy.

To Be or Not To Be Aware

One disconcerting goal of guerrilla decontextualization has always been the disempowerment of an individual or organization. A primary method for accomplishing the desired disempowerment has generally been a deliberate distortion of truth. The individual might have been a noted woman doctor struggling to improve women’s healthcare options but somehow portrayed as an “anti-traditionalist” attempting to destroy “the family as we know it.” Or an organization such as the Black Panther Party, attempting to feed, educate, and protect children in its communities when no one else was doing so, is depicted as a gang of gun-wielding thugs threatening to overthrow the U.S. government.

You can read this full article by Aberjhani by clicking this link: Putting Text and Meaning to the Guerrilla Decontextualization test (pt. 2 of 2) – National African-American Art |

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Honoring the Life and Legacy of Amiri Baraka

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

The Great Author Amiri Baraka (photo by Lynda Koolish)

Amiri Baraka with poems and mic in hand. (photo by Lynda Koolish)

This story was first published as part 2 of the article “Two Literary Laureates Celebrated: Herta Muller and Amiri Baraka.” It is presented now to honor the life and legacy of the great African-American literary powerhouse Amiri Baraka (Oct 7, 1934-Jan 9, 2014).

While his was not among the names short-listed for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Amiri Baraka has long been lionized for his tell-tale intellectually precise yet poetic analysis of U.S. culture and his fire-brand style of political truth-telling.

A playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer and performance artist all wrapped into one, the Newark-born Baraka attended Rutgers and Howard Universities and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He launched his writing career under the name LeRoi Jones with the 1958 play, A Good Girl is Hard to Find, produced in…

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The Journey Continues and the Rainbow Shines On – from The Journey and the Rainbow

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

New cover for forthcoming collection of quotes titled Journey through the Power of the Rainbow.

“…We are living in an era in which billions of people are grappling to promote communication, tolerance, and understanding over the more destructive forces of war, terrorism, and political chaos that have characterized the beginning of the 21st Century.” –– Aberjhani, from Journey through the Power of the Rainbow

A frequently asked question among readers who took note in 2013 that I was working on a collection of quotations is: have I abandoned the idea? That would have been easy to do considering the reluctance of traditional publishers to invest in books containing any substantial amount of material that has been previously posted on the Internet. The challenge for me, and for the tech angels who get a kick out of throwing whatever pro bono support they can in my direction…

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Text and Meaning in Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (part 1 of 3) – National African-American Art |

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:


10th anniversary digital graphic for Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance by Postered Poets based on original cover by Facts on Fact with art by Jacob Lawrence.

“The story of African Americans was crafted anew into a poignant commentary on individual and group progress under great pressure, a story that over time became one of the most compelling of American narratives.” ––Dr. Clement Alexander Price

September 2013 represents the landmark 10th anniversary of the publication of the groundbreaking Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File, 2003) co-authored by educator Sandra L. West and featuring a foreword by Dr. Clement Alexander Price, founder and director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University, Newark Campus, New Jersey. Almost seemingly as if in honor of that event, on August 29 President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Dr. Price to the position of…

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Text and Meaning in Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech (part 1 of 4)

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

 (photograph of MLK National Memorial by Larry Downing for Reuters)

“He captured the spotlight of history precisely at the right time, and responded with a blueprint for what America could become if it trusted its democratic legacy… He was murdered. But his dream still excites our social and political imaginations. It beckons us to work, to realize the dream that America can indeed be a truly pluralistic society and that planet Earth can be a place in the universe where peace, justice, and freedom are the dominant ethos.” ––James M. Washington, Introduction to A Testament of Hope, The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 28, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the great 1963 March on Washington D.C. for Civil Rights and for Martin Luther King Jr.’sdelivery of his now iconic “I Have a Dream”speech before a national audience.  Plans had long been underway…

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Translators Show Increasing Interest in Works by Aberjhani

Facebook Group tribute to Michael Jackson with quote by AberjhaniPhoto of Michael Jackson in concert with quote by Aberjhani translated into Spanish. The original English reads as follows: “A major part of the meaning of Michael Jackson’s life was to help balance the accumulation of horrors with something closer to love in its most empowering and healing sense.”

A new Italian translation of Aberjhani’s “Work and Soul in Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” for which the author won a VIP Dot Award in the MJ Tribute Portrait by David Ilan, posted last week on MJJFORUM.IT.

The new translation, titled Il Lavoro e l’Anima di Michael Jackson in This Is It, features in Italian the full text of the original review essay along with four images not included in the original. It also features at the essay’s end a profile of Aberjhani.

Earlier this year, the author noted in his Valentine’s Day Letter that at least two poems from The River of Winged Dreams had been translated into Han ChineseAngel of Earth Days and Seasons  and Angel of Peace .

More recently, the Facebook group Blues Away based in Argentina, created a series of Michael Jackson digital art images featuring the King of Pop with Spanish translations of text from the author’s essay and poem, “Summer-Song Rhapsody for Michael Jackson.”

“All authors appreciate knowing there’s an audience of readers checking out their work and I’m definitely one of them,” said Aberjhani. “I hope publishers in different countries are taking note like I am because so much activity producing so many versions of my work tells me there’s a lot of people waiting for some official translations to hit their particular market in book form and I wouldn’t mind seeing that myself.”

In addition to unofficial fan translations of individual works by the author, a number of websites feature selections of quotations by him in languages such as Arabic, French, and Greek.


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Kindle Edition of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance Released – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

(embossed art rendering of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance courtesy of Bright Skylark Lit Prods)

Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, first published by Facts On File in 2003 and through Infobase Publishing in 2010, is now available as a Kindle Edition on Amazon and that is big news for a lot of good reasons.

For one, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance’s publication and a new edition of a new edition of a modern award-winning classic is always a good way to celebrate such occasions.

Secondly, advances in technology proved a powerful component of the Harlem Renaissance just as it has in the contemporary era. During the 1920s and 1930s, important developments took place through the growing radio and the recording industries. Those advances not only allowed African Americans to showcase and preserve the marvels of black music such as jazz, ragtime, and…

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Originally posted on The Bridge of Silver Wings 2014:

(PEN International World Association of Writers logo)

The PEN American Center turned all of 90 years old in 2012 and recently decided to give itself a very useful digital facelift. With such cases like that of the Qatari poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega still rocking international headlines, the PEN American Center’s mission in conjunction with PEN international ––to defend the right to freedom of expression and promote the values of literature and literacy––has never been more valuable than right now.

As much as I’m enjoying its swagging new style, the upgrade came with a price to which I, and other authors who maintained blogs on the site, now have to adapt. My primary reason for joining PEN American Center last year was to participate in and contribute to the legacy of literary camaraderie first established by C A…

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