ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



When I was growing up in the Midwest in the late 70s and 80s, women writers were typically stereotyped as “gifted” but poor, wishful bohemians—people proud to be labeled writers while suffering from acute cases of “starving artist syndrome.” I distinctly remember a journalism professor telling me in front of an ambitious class

of fifty that I would never be able to do anything with my creative writing skills, except maybe copy editing


Baring My Soul

By Stacey Tolbert

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Stacey Tolbert The Brown Suga Poet


deliberately serenades suppressed emotions inside the soul while sensually feeding audiences with raw, mentally evoking lyrical sugar cane. Each unique “suga’ packet” inside the mini=sized chapbook will whisper gently in your artistic ear and leave readers mesmerized in a moment of stanzaic thunderstorm as hot and cold . . . present and past . . . joy and pain collide. The “sweet” 122-page alphabetic explosion is something you don’t want to miss. Take cover.

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Anastacia Tolbert is a writer of poetry, prose, plays, and journalism. She is a graduate of the Cave Canem program for African American poets and holds an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She is currently Resident Writer at the Seattle Girls School.

She received a 2004 San Diego Journalism Press Club Award for her article “War Torn.” In 2007, she wrote, co-produced and co-directed GOTBREAST?, a documentary about women and body image. She has taught writing, poetry and performance workshops to students of all ages at schools, literary centers, battered women’s shelters, youth camps, and libraries.

Anastacia’s poetry and prose have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Essence and San Diego City Beat, as well as in the anthologies Cave Canem XI,  Alehouse Journal, The Drunken Boat, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees (which was nominated for the 2007 NAACP Award), and I Woke Up and Put My Crown On: 76 Voices of African American Women. She has performed her poetry in more than fifty venues, including colleges, writers’ conferences, and art museums, and as a featured artist on six radio stations.

Anastacia says of her work:

When I was growing up in the Midwest in the late 70s and 80s, women writers were typically stereotyped as “gifted” but poor, wishful bohemians — people proud to be labeled writers while suffering from acute cases of “starving artist syndrome.” I distinctly remember a journalism professor telling me in front of an ambitious class of fifty that I would never be able to do anything with my creative writing skills, except maybe copy editing . . . if I was lucky, and that I should immediately come to the realization that I would never generate income doing creative writing…and no one outside of my family would ever read my work. Fortunately, I don’t believe in luck and I was an active participant in watching my writing goals manifest.

She is the Author of Baring My Soul, Playwright of the drama A Quarter Past The Blues, freelance writer of various print and online magazines spoken wordist, motivational speaker and Workshop facilitator of Healertainment, C.P.A.M. and Sistainment-GirlsGroup workshops.

My poetic form uses white space as narrator and seeks to be a drum for feminism, race, sexuality, trauma and grief. My poems often reflect on a succinct moment, using voice or character development 

 Anastacia Tolbert is a multifarious mix of grit, sunshine, alphabet juice & butterflies. She is a writer, performance artist, documentarian, teacher and workshop facilitator.  Anastacia Tolbert Table

*   *   *   *   *’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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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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 /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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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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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