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Green River Valley Book Launch

Robert Lashley’s book launch for Green River Valley was powerful and surprisingly emotional (in positive ways), thanks to Robert, who shared his poems and experience in the editorial process, and guests Jodi Poorwill, Graham Isaac, and Kellie Richardson!  Watch the video below, then scroll down for some cool BONUS CONTENT from Robert!

BONUS CONTENT: 10 Books That Influenced Green River Valley

Fans of Robert will be delighted to know he put together a reading list of 10 books that influenced Green River Valley! Read below to get a sense of who and what had an impact on Robert and his writing over the years!

1: The Panther And The Lash by Langston Hughes

A lost classic of African American poetry, written as a homage to the Harlem that never ignored him long after chic poetry movements did.

2: Blacks by Gwendolyn Brooks

Schooled in the modernists and the Harlem renaissance poets, adept in tight forms and ornate Jacobean blank verse, Brooks made her people, city, and block in Brownsville as eternal as any poet’s in the living world.

3: Field Work by Seamus Heaney

Heaney is one of world poetry’s great adults, stylists, and working class heroes. He wrote about Ireland in such a beautiful, universal, and precise way that made a ghetto nerd from 23rd and G see himself in it.

4: Morning, Paramin by Derek Walcott

Where Walcott ends his remarkable (if flawed) career with one of the strongest books of poems he’d ever written; a lean, exact, and gorgeous collection immersed in nothing but the fundamentals of his gifts.

5: Desolación (“Despair”) by Gabriela Mistral

Mistral wrote about motherhood, poverty, folklore, and layers of oppression; and did so in poems so impressive that much of the world was compelled to take notice.

6: View With A Grain Of Sand by Wisława Szymborska

For my money, Szymborska is poetry’s great misanthropic philosopher; and like every great misanthrope, the sharpness of her wit was that wall that guarded a heart affected by WWII, Stalinism, and the callowness of the human condition in a modern age.

7: American Journal by Robert Hayden

This book is an ambitious, one-man excavation of Black American history from the slave trade to present of his time, with numerous symbols of and references to Black history, culture, and folklore. Also one of English language poetry’s great stylists, with a supple ear to fuse black vernaculars with a grand, lyric, formal language.

8: Mercurochrome by Wanda Coleman

Deep blues, heavily invested in the oral tradition, no-bullshit barometer and gangsta-ass take on formalism? Wanda is like a literary parent to me.

9: Ash Wednesday by T.S Eliot

In creating a Christian conversion story, Eliot humanized his towering voice, turning from the surfeit data and darkwarter bigotries of his earlier work to a more empathetic perspective on the human condition.

10: The House On Marshland by Louise Gluck

At first I was surprised that her nature poems didn’t have the haunted stripped down sorrow of early Frost, or the mercilessly kinetic Darwinism of Dickinson’s gangsta ass pastorals. However, that very gentle need of hers to find a way beyond the blues makes her nature imagery work for me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Lashley is a writer and activist whose  was a 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and a nominee for a Stranger Genius Award. He has had work published in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED,  Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review. His poetry was also featured in such anthologies as Many Trails to The Summitt, Foot Bridge Above The Falls, Get Lit,  Make It True, and It Was Written. His previous books include The Homeboy Songs (2014), and Up South (2017), both published by Small Doggies Press. In 2019, The Homeboy Songs was named by Entropy Magazine as one of the 25 most essential books to come out of the Seattle area.


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