Like the days of Homer, lyric tales have found their way to us, using words set to a rhythm, hitting us like waves playing against the shoreline. Poetry, when it is done best immortalizes the triumph of man over the elements, shouts the glory of the human spirit, and whispers the tragedies that blow across the universe like passing storms. The poet Kevin J. Taylor finds himself standing on a cliff at the edge of eternity, looking out across the vastness of space and with his book “Letter to the White Imbongi” building a bridge that carries us past ourselves, towards unimagined futures, leaving us back where we started, hopeful, wishful and oh so powerful.
Taylor delivers a book that is spiritual to say the least, fixing the reader into strange, yet familiar situations, where they must look to the future, take in the past, notice every detail from an exterior view. Reading “Letter to the White Imbongi” is like being a child again and having your father lift you up and fly you across the house, except in the case of this collection of poems, we are taken into memories that feel more real than any room we flew across as kids. If the goal of art is to communicate, to move, then Taylor is a master, because he effortlessly maneuvers our thoughts and emotions, and the final result is a feeling that must be what astronauts experience because the world becomes smaller and we’re left to float across the cosmos like a giant kite.
Traditionally, an Imbongi is the name-title of a Praise Poet. The word comes from South Africa but suits this Canadian born poet’s purposes extremely well. He is like the all-mighty and powerful Oz, except instead of standing behind the curtain, he’s at the crossroads of the universe with a bent ear, open arms and quickly moving hands, writing down the meaning of it all. From life to death and back again the story unfolds and drifts over landscapes. There is no leaf left unturned and Taylor manages to communicate the whole of existence with a few concise lines on a few, mostly empty pages. As one flips through the work, it’s hard not to notice the emptiness, or rather the vastness of available space. Kevin Taylor does in a few lines what most writers need thick volumes packed with words to communicate, and we’re all the better for the simplicity and the feeling of having plenty of room to move around in.
One day in the future we will look back at our lifetime spent doing the things we usually do with a lifetime, smile fondly and steady ourselves for the next voyage. Taylor’s poems make us feel like that, no matter where we are on this adventure called life. His poetry is in the tradition of The Odyssey because he dishes up an epic worthy to be sung and passed down, but perhaps is even more remarkable because he does it in about 20 pages. Get ready to fly to heights well worth the trip. Kevin J. Taylor will take you across eternity and stretch it even further. Enjoy the ride!
For more information please visit http://poetkevinjtaylor.tumblr.com
Finding one’s true passion is a rare gift and having the courage to pursue it is even more rare. Rashid Darden is truly special because he has accomplished both, knowing his path was as a novelist and that he was willing to cast aside the security of a 9 to 5 in order to see his dream come to fruition. Not only this, but as a writer he has tackled subject matter that is unique and offered a different perspective that makes him truly one of a kind.
He’d already written a play and made a name for himself as a poet while studying at Georgetown University and the D.C. native continued writing, working on what would become a series of novels, the “Lazarus Trilogy” as well as a collection of poetry. After more than a decade of working at non-profits, all the while continuing to write when he could, Darden decided to make the big leap to full-time novelist. He put in the hard work of learning the publishing business, as well as how to enhance his work, and his next book proved to be an ambitious project that took readers into a world spanning the continent of Africa to an America bonded to slavery, and took the author himself across the country visiting historic slave sites and illuminating the past for students and fans, leaving them enlightened and inspired.
“Birth of a Dark Nation” is the first book of a new series by Rashid Darden that explores vampire lore from an African perspective. It does what Darden succeeds at best, offering a unique point of view that is often missing from mainstream literature. The author has found an eager audience for his latest work, indicated by the efforts of a very successful crowd-funding campaign that nearly doubled its initial target goal. Due to the funds Darden raised he was able to travel to various states lecturing and spreading the word about his new novel. He has also managed to inspire the next generation of writers who will surely take a page from the author’s playbook.
Tackling historical time periods, confronting the harsh realities of racial and cultural differences, and wrapping it around a genre like horror is no easy feat but Rashid Darden set his sights on its accomplishment and it looks like he’s won. “Birth of a Dark Nation” currently has a 5 star rating on Amazon and is the kind of springboard any author needs when kicking off a new series. Considering that many would-be novelists never get as far as one book, Darden has managed to etch out an impressive career for himself filled with praise from his readers, accolades from his peers and the satisfaction that comes from giving back to society.
There are many ways one can spend a lifetime. It’s inspiring to see one being spent writing words that aim to educate, enlighten and uplift. Rashid Darden is that kind of writer.
For more information please visit www.rashiddarden.com
A trip to the movies or a flip through television channels reveal a level of violence that has become so acceptable that we usually don’t bat an eye to it. Although violence in entertainment is nothing new, what one writer in California is doing in fiction is. D.G. Flamand has created an entire line of non-violent literature that has found an audience from children to adults and is growing every day. Flamand travels from city to city introducing his books to one reader at a time, many of them who have found a connection to the priceless moral lessons the author plants like seeds within the pages of his stories. These seeds are like magic beans growing into a giant beanstalk striving to push mankind to greater heights where we all become giants of a more kind nature.
Instead of violent acts like fist fighting, car crashes or waged wars, Flamand delivers landscapes filled with characters of compassion, integrity and purpose. His books demonstrate that we don’t need the threat of some great evil ready to do us in. Having worthwhile goals, helping others and being a better person are much better motivations for any protagonist to have. This is an entirely new approach to storytelling because stories are no longer about barely making it past some dangerous threat so we can etch out our survival. No, now the story becomes about how to achieve a better world from where we currently stand, the only real threats coming from our own lack of knowledge or uncertainty of character. It is a unique way to tell a story and one of those simple ideas that we wonder why no one had thought of it before. Thankfully D.G. Flamand put his finger on an idea that may just change everything.
We have all witnessed the power of a good story. We know the strength of word of mouth and how movements can spring up so quickly they take the world by storm. It is totally feasible that non-violent literature will not only begin to catch wind and turn into a wildfire of an idea but it may already have done so. D.G. Flamand not only writes dozens of non-violent books but also hosts a violence-free writing contest twice a year. It is producing a new crop of writers of non-violent literature who are already producing works and affecting each of their own respective communities.
Flamand is becoming a Johnny Appleseed kind of figure. He is the father of a movement that is producing results. Children are learning valuable life lessons and their parents are becoming just as enlightened. New titles continue to pour out from the author and the horizon is nothing but bright. It would not be surprising to someday see his name mentioned alongside Lewis Carroll, Aesop, The Grimm Brothers and C.S. Lewis because D.G. Flamand has given the world something just as, if not more, valuable. There are no wicked witches, big bad wolves or mad queens in his stories, but there are imaginative worlds with relatable characters. They will surprise you because instead of running away from someone, they are usually running towards them; trying to help, demonstrating the greatness that is in everyone. An exceptional author can change something inside of us. D.G. Flamand is exceptional.
For more information please visit www.dgflamandbooks.com
Michelangelo once said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” At Artists Run This Planet we see Earth as our marble and we hold a chisel and hammer up to it every day. This beautiful canvas of a planet waits for us to paint it daily. Gone are the days of suppressing art, of pursuits less noble than creating. We have the technology available to create in any medium, and faster than ever before. As artists we are the creators of every new innovation and idea that takes shape. We are mankind’s continual hope and driving force — “Artists Run This Planet." - David Carus, Art Planet CEO & Founder