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Percival Everett: Award Winning Author Reads From His New Novel: So Much Blue

April 3rd was an interesting day for many students, staff, faculty, and community members who came to see award-winning author Percival Everett at San Diego State University’s Montezuma Hall.

Award winning Author Percival Everett

Presented by the Beautiful Arts Club and the Department of Classics and Humanities, the reading caught many students by surprise, due to the image flier.

So Much Blue by Percival Everett

Most of the audience thought that Everett’s newest book addressed blues music and Black urban lives. It does not. He humorously noted that the book cover was not his choice, but if it sold more copies . . .well. The story line revolves around a young woman, the color blue, and the Vietnam War. That’s all I’m going to reveal.

Percival Everett

At times the plot sounds like a mystery novel, a  script for a film Noir set in Vietnam, dark, mysterious, looming imagery. Yet, it  also has unexpected splashes of wit and wordplay that sends imaginations soaring into smells and sounds, and memories of unspoken encounters and narratives  The excerpt is full of Everett’s dry wit and satirical irony.

Percival Everett is an award winning author. He works in academe and talks about life with a perspective that to some is “off setting.” To others, it is refreshing.

As an author, he plays with a reader’s sensibilities of gender and race. Often allowing them to believe what they want about characters as they read, often basing their interpretations on daily interactions and expectations. They are sometimes surprised to learn that the characters on which they project their daily reality, are not what they seem.

However, as an academic and a Black male of the 21st century,  Everett is a realist. Asked about race, he stated (I  paraphrase his comment here). Not to be fully aware of how one presents and is “read” racially is folly. The lived experience of being a Black man in America is an everyday reality that does not rule my existence as an overarching oppressive shadow, it simply…is.

Award Winning Author Percival Everett and Blogger Delores Fisher

Everett’s reading from A Blue Afternoon was a quiet, informative, intimate, and nuanced presentation. Blue Lagoon is on the shelves now. If you haven’t read Percival’s Everett’s work, add Blue Afternoon to your summer reading list.



Dr. Sharon Elise: “A Way Out of No Way: Black Women Making Change Then and Now” Lecture at SDSU Thursday March 16th, 2017

Dr. Charles Toombs SDSU Africana Studies Dept. Chair, Delores Fisher blogger, lecturer, Dr. Sharon Elise, CSU San Marcos Sociology Dept. Chair

Hello to all my readers in the US and a special thank you/hello to readers in Norway, Italy, France, Iceland, Bermuda, Spain, and Mexico.

DR. Sharon Elise

It’s always a pleasure to listen to Dr. Sharon Elise Lecture. She is  the current Department Chair of Sociology for CSU San Marcos. Her lecture style draws you into an ongoing conversation. Her topic was one of several presented by the San Diego State Africana Studies Department’s Africana Women Lecture Series founded by award-winning professor and community participant Dr. Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers. This was the keynote speech of the week.

It’s sometimes not easy to think about racial narratives and ways in which they have hindered people’s lives. Stereotypes often create more barriers than access roads to achievement. Dr Elise reminded us that truth about people and lived experiences are multi -layered and never as simplistic as most general history books would like us to believe. After doing “the research” and engaging content with emotion as well as mind, kernels of lived experience begin to nourish. Stories of Black women and the cost of resilience in times of challenge, crisis, danger, devastation serve not only as cautionary/instructive narratives, but also exemplars of positive being. Much needed in today’s world in which accept 15 second sound bites as all that there is to a person’s or topics’ truth.

Dr. Sharon Elise discussing Zora Neal Hurston

Truth is an interesting topic today. With all sorts of terms connected to the concept of reporting, journalism and the word “News.” Dr. Elise encouraged the audience to shine a light into those dark historical corners and illuminate African American women’s lives that have been swept into obscurity. As we inquire into where we’ve come from, today’s young scholars will discover a truth often spoken by elders, “Know where you been so that you can seem more clearly where it is you want to go. Students and faculty were encouraged to remember that as scholars looking for societal or community “change” in Black women’s  lived experiences with reality in order to compare past to present, and present to future one needs  to develop good research skills, creativity, vision, persistence, and patience.

Dr. Sharon Elise, faculty members,  and students after the lecture

I first met Dr. Elise as a poet on the San Diego poetry scene. We shared coffeehouse several stages and many long conversations.

After conversations about family, life, and mates, husbands, I began to appreciate my mother’s love for my father at a time when the world little cared about or respected Black family ties, love and marital commitment. She is referenced in one of my poems about Berry White the singer whose dulcet tones sweetened the hearts of many Black men and women towards each other. Fun songs to sing and listen to–songs that drew me and my mom and siblings together. 

Dr. Sharon Elise and Delores Fisher

Dr. Elise’s gracious conversation, keen analytical eye, and genuine care for scholarly discourse was evident then as it still is now.



Reflections: Playwright Paul William Taylor Sr.’s “He Was A Slave”

Paul Wm. Taylor Jr.’s plays are always a communal and educational event. Generations come to see his plays and often discuss thought provoking scenes all during intermission. It’s what we have come to appreciate and expect from this insightful writer’s introspective dramaturgy.

Paul Wm. Taylor Jr, Delores Fisher, Gloria V. Verdon









This February, playwright Paul Wm. Taylor Jr produced another production at the Community Actors Theater(CAT) in San Diego California. His one act drama “He Was A Slave” explores ways in which ancestral memory interweaves throughout African American’s real lived-experiences as synchronic life events intersect and mingle on a diachronic cultural time continuum.  The audience views this continuum of time-place memory through the narrative of slave character George Washington Jones.

Paul Wm. Taylor Sr. has written several plays with successful production runs–see my review of his play “Rants” that examines African American inter-generational relationships, 

Although Taylor tours some of his plays on the K-12 public school circuit,  He enjoys being in community at Jennie Hamilton’s Southeast San Diego theater. His play “He Was A Slave” is one of his education plays.

Playwright Paul Wm. Taylor Jr.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the play opens with Scottie Nic center stage (yes, the same Scottie Nic  stunt double for Terry Crews in the “Longest Yard”). Nic’s opening monologue is a short lecture about Black history month. His narrative is interrupted by a thick rising mist from which emerges George, the slave character played by Paul Wm. Taylor Jr. Using mist as a motif for ancestral phatasmogoric absence and presence, time is collapsed and expanded.


The “Mist” summons slave George Washington Jones

Young actress Heleena Mosley and San Diego actress Shea Coleman create a phantom Greek chorus,

commenting on pathos filled moments from George’s life with song.

Shea Coleman, Paul Wm. Taylor Jr., Heleena Mosley, Scotti Nic










Chronology intersects and merges at various points throughout the play, informing the audience about African American lives throughout history. Taylor juxtaposes contemporary lived experiences as a way for his audiences to consider a longitudinal perspective on Black lives and how they matter in America in a world in which much experience is as Amiri Baraka said, “The Changing Same.”

Shea Coleman, Paul Wm. Taylor Jr., Scottie Nic, Heleena Mosley

Shea Coleman also enjoys working in community at San Diego’s Community Actor’s Theater. Although her list of acting credits include many venues, she notes that being back on CAT’s local stage helps her stay balanced.

 San Diego actress Shea Coleman

A panel discussion followed “He Was A Slave.” Paul Wm. Taylor Jr, Gloria Verdon, Heleena Mosley and I examined ways in which America’s systemic racism and slavery impact today’s society. Our discussion embraced lively audience commentary/dialogue and lasted for over an hour.

Heleena Mosley, Paul Wm. Taylor Jr., Delores Fisher, Gloria Verdon


If you have a chance, catch one of Paul Wm. Taylor Jr.s’ plays. Sit back, watch, listen closely, and enjoy.



Delores Fisher

Happy Black History Month 2017-A Poem

Delores Fisher Poet/Blogger

Delores Fisher Poet/Blogger











It’s February and Black history month is celebrated across the United States. On this site, we celebrate African American and African diasporic contributions to our nation and the world every day of the year. We celebrate accomplishments as well as engage in critical discussion of ongoing concerns.

So in light of that perspective, I am posting one of my performance poems included in my newest book of poetry to be published later this year. Imagine a rural, wooden “church house” from built mid-1880s, still in use today by people from surrounding homes. The poem takes place in present day rural Georgia, at an old time revival meeting.

Visions: New Millennium Marketing

by   Delores Fisher (2012)

The lively devotion service eases into mourner’s bench moan
On this unseasonably cold April Georgia night:


Yas Lord, Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

Old folks grow silent,
Close eyes, bow heads
Young ones shudder,
Search for groaning chill winds not there.

The old, blind teacher woman
Born ‘bout 1918 stands,
Lifts parchment yellow eyes to heaven.

She whispers:
The Hollow ones be dancing again
‘mongst Red , Brown, Yellow, Black, and White.
Slashes of incandescent Internet computer blues
Inscribes ancient runes on flailing arms and kicking legs
Rituals orgiastic wash—internecine flashes, bonfire lights.

She groans:
I sees pyres, crackling ash logs yield
Fuel to unsheathed flames
That tongue moonless, starless sky mouth.
On they prance, dance and howl
Wolfen blood-claws slash air
Dancing, dancing, they be dancin’…
Again stabbing the fabric of our lives.

Rips night’s full moon tissue
Slobbers on soft sacrifice,
Pierces fleshy bloated body electric
In Fetishistic bonfire glow-screams,
Gnashing, gnashing teeth brings blood,
Sealing ravenous pact’s vacuity,
Caressing rue-less cruel heart urbanity

They dance and howl . . . . . . . .
Ekwensu is singing.
Sweet voice trickster’s lullaby-wolfen sanguine rune
Engulfs their souls as each swoons
Hollow-dance-killing-life with a tune.

She moans:
Look, LOOK!
I sees . . . . .
Ruptured souls in predatory glee:
All of King’s horses and keepers of others
Cain’t birth brother Martin’s dream
Into daybreak of a bloodless rising sun,
No new day begun
No one dreaming dreams no more . . . . . .

Deferring dreams on crystal cloud-inhaling stairs
Leeching out lives in rhythmic ostinato gasps
Of chimerical, quick-silver green sand smoke.

She wails:
The Hollow ones is in groove, on Internet move
Adding critical mass in arithmetic proportion
As we, zombies, glut on axis mundi spoils,
Consume ourselves to sleep.

The old blind teacher woman shivers,
Lowers yellow parchment bloodshot eyes
Onto Georgia country congregation, old and young.

She whispers:
Like my mammy, my gran’mammy, and the OLD folks sayed—–
Watching strange fruit of once virile futures
Hanging from ever present deep rooted, leaf-sick ash tree,
Its hallowed leaves mourning skyward—–
I cain’t keep my peace.

She stare-screams at the young people in the congregation:
The dream killers, they’s dancing again, chillun’
This time amongst you–Brown, Yellow, Black, Red, White

Wake up!! Wake Up!!. . . I just cain’t keep my peace. . .WAKE UP!!!

She swallows centuries, softly weeping
Help Jesus! Jus’. . . cain’t. . . keep. . . my. . . peace!

Delores Fisher

Africana Studies Department at SDSU: Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017

Delores Fisher outside of Montezuma Hall at San Diego State University

Delores Fisher outside of Montezuma Hall at San Diego State University


Its raining heavily on this  January 20th 2017. The Africana Studies Dept. decided to go forward with its annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon celebration. This event has been sold out for weeks! Its theme: “Reclaiming the radical legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.” was selected and embraced by MLK Luncheon committee members last year.

Historical note for many under twenty five, for a Black person to boldly speak out against Jim Crow discrimination’s impact on minorities, especially Blacks during the 50s and 60s, it took depths of courage and was VERY radical!! Open discussion and criticism could result in more than threats, public humiliation, or physical beatings. This year’s luncheon served up a full course of corrective information. It was a timely reality check. How quickly we/they forget?

Consider, for some of our children whose history textbooks reduce the expanse of the Civil Rights era to two pages, how can they forget what is not published, what is not taught? A sense of depth and complexity has been erased. Family and community elders, educators, it is time to restore, share, discuss, engage our students in critical thinking about an era when the word equality was more than a 2 cent word tossed about in knee jerk reactive personal responses published on social media.

Photo highlights from the luncheon:

Administrators, faculty, staff, students, public officials, members of the faith community, and community members enjoyed the remembrance celebration. Despite challenging heavy rainfall, the crowd was buzzing with excitement and anticipation.

While audience members settled into their seats, I took time to document a few guests.

SDSU Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Aaron Bruce

SDSU Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Aaron Bruce











 SDSU Career Counselor Bobbie Gray

SDSU Career Counselor
Bobbie Gray











Guests at the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University's 2017 Martin Luther King Luncheon

Guests at the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University’s 2017 Martin Luther King Luncheon









Guests at the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University's 2017 Martin Luther King Luncheon

Guests at the Africana Studies Department at San Diego State University’s 2017 Martin Luther King Luncheon









Chimezie Ebiriekwe of SAAB

Chimezie Ebiriekwe of SAAB










San Diego Central Librarisn, Marc Chery and his wife with San Diego poet Sylvia Talafaro

San Diego Central Librarisn, Marc Chery and his wife with San Diego poet Sylvia Talafaro









Pastor Philmont Bostic and his wife Logan Temple AME Zion Church

Pastor Philmont Bostic and his wife Logan Temple AME Zion Church










Opening ceremonies included thoughtful, emotional libation offered by Dr. Adisa Alkebulan

Senior Artisha Johnson sang a soulful rendition of what has been dubbed The Black National anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” with lyrics by James Weldon Johnson and music by his brother Rosamond Johnson to open the luncheon, honoring another African American tradition of beginning events with song. Later in the program, Artisha sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On?” and rocked the house with her vocal interpretation of lyrics that foreshadows today’s socio-political climate.

Vocalist Artisha Johnson at Africana Studies Dept., SDSU Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017

Vocalist Artisha Johnson at Africana Studies Dept., SDSU Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017












Dr. Elliot Hirshman delivered an reflective,  stirring, and insightful opening address

SDSU University President, Dr. Elliot Hirshman

SDSU University President, Dr. Elliot Hirshman









Coral MacFarland-Thuet, vocalist and lecturer in Chicano Studies at San Diego State University reached into our thoughts and consciousness with an a cappella rendition of Harold Melvin and the Blue notes’ recording “Wake Up Everybody.”


Vocalist Coral MacFarland Thuet (in scarf ) at Dept. of Africana Studies SDSU Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017Luncheon

Vocalist Coral MacFarland Thuet (in scarf ) at Dept. of Africana Studies SDSU Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017 Luncheon










Keynote speaker Dr. Shirley Weber delivered a lets look at the real Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. perspective, confronting and dismantling media driven factoid platitudes often associated with who and what he was. Foremost he was a human being, subject to complexity beyond those one sentence quick- quotes we often hear this time of year as we approach Black History month. He was a Christian man of much faith. He was not perfect, but he believed that we as Americans are all striving for an existence in which we can be better. He entered into his testing ground and stood up for justice. Dr. Weber reminded us that like Rev. King’s era, our early 21st century is perhaps this present generation’s testing ground. Paraphrasing Dr. Weber: One gives witness to trials overcome. One can not give witness to that which one has NOT endured, overcome.

79th District San Diego Assembly woman, Dr. Shirley Weber

79th District San Diego Assembly woman,
Dr. Shirley Weber










In the lyrics of Gospel song writer Kurt Carr:


Two Negro Spiritual implore us: “Hold On Just A Little While Longer” and  “I Don’t Believe He Brought Me This Far to Leave Me.” Another Gospel song encourages us:” We’ve Come This Far By Faith.” Dr. King believed in a united America with a deep ethical spiritual commitment to all people’s well being. Yet, he knew better than most that true national unity cannot be bought, but it does have a cost.


Delores Fisher




2016 and now 2017 Happy New Year!

Our seemingly long year of one of the most contentious elections is over. Peace, peace, peace, perhaps?

At any rate, time for a bit of frivolity. Here’s a few uh, “fun shout outs” from 2016.

Delores Fisher: Christmas Morning

Delores Fisher: Christmas Morning










Hooray for Dominos Pizza!

Delores Fisher at local Dominos Pizza

Delores Fisher at local Dominos Pizza

The elixir of sports enthusiasts and college students! A local artist donated her time and artistry to the public graffiti wall at a Dominos pizza here in downtown San Diego. Hope it stays for a while. It’s really good and truly fun.

Dominos Pizza Grafitti wall

Dominos Pizza Grafitti wall













And speaking of murals and graffiti art, Here’s another shout out to artist CHRISTOPHER KONECKI.

Remember his interview I did (on Youtube)


Well, here are a few more examples of his work. It’s two huge murals (about 25 feet high) on a parking garage off of 8th Ave and Broadway.

Christopher Konecki

Christopher Konecki









Christopher Konecki












On a city bus

On a city bus


Abstractk the Band

Abstractk the Band










At Seaport Village

At Seaport Village

Rockin' Ron on a rare break!

Rockin’ Ron on a rare break!










Samoan vocalist/gutarrist Pua

PUA: Samoan vocalist/gutairist

Walter Gentry(saxophonist) and me on a COLD afternoon

Walter Gentry(saxophonist) and me on a COLD afternoon












This year I got to try a few fun food stops in other states,

 Cracker Barrel.

sept-13-tues-039  Delores Fisher at Cracker Barrel



I even returned to a very popular tourist spot in Seaport Station (Seaport Village near the Cheese Cake Factory)


The food here is wonderful, gotta try it.

Puesto Mexican Street Food

Puesto Mexican Street Food

























A friend treated me to delightful chocolate candy created by a marvelous chocolateer,

the place?























Frivolity has its place and this has been a rather HEAVY year.















Of course good food does not replace good health, a sound spiritual balance/belief, an ability to enjoy material things and treasure that which is beyond materiality: loving family, loving friends, or loving neighbors.

Hope this brief update finds you healthy, at least a little more wealthy and a whole lot wiser for the coming year.

On that note, I’d like to share my never before seen and recently posted Comic Con 2016 music video with you.

Party on guys, take us into 2017:


Happy New Year!!!!!

Musewoman Delores Fisher


An Open Letter to Maya Angelou: Author, Poet, and Mother to Many of us . . .

Maya Angelou

If I were to write an open letter to a list of writers who have impacted my life since childhood, the list would start with Maya Angelou. In my old neighborhood, we had, “Play mommas,” those who in African American culture are what we call “Fictive Kin’. These women were approved by our parents. They were part of our everyday social fabric, women who joined in the community goal of helping us reach a healthy, productive, and spiritual adulthood. They would nurture, chastise, and comfort for the good of children and family.

Delores Fisher : poet at the mic during Hope for Haiti Benefit performance

Delores Fisher :
poet at the mic during Hope for Haiti Benefit performance

As I begin thinking seriously about writing you this open letter Mrs. Angelou, my heart fills with sadness at your passing and joy at the nourishing words you left behind for us to feast upon when spiritually drained and emotionally famished.   Um,um,um, what would I say?

Momma Angelou . . .

First, I want to say thank you for making my life brighter with books filled with memories from your childhood’s southern rural word-portrait landscape and adult global travel snap shots from tours with the cast of “Porgy and Bess’ to living in Egypt. Your critically observant interior thought-scape not only helped me sidestep several major culture war landmines in the late sixties, but it today gives light to my cloudy thoughts about twenty first century camouflaged ideological complexities and PC stereotypes waiting in ambush, hiding in discursively banal cultural shape shifting rhetoric.

At one point during my youth, you  went from confidante to role model; you became that hip but wise aunt from “Out there in the world” whom I had never met, but watched on TV speaking poetry to the nation at a president’s inauguration. Youth are so hard to impress, but what a day! Many of my friends and I were so proud: we pronounced your name as if it was a rare golden diamond pearl.

During my early twenties, I would curl up on the sofa with hot tea or warm milk while watching reruns of your programs that promoted children’s literacy. On a rainy autumn day, you were always so “there,” in the moment. My momma also liked your poetry. She gave me a book of poems owned by my grandfather, a literate Black man born more than a century ago.

Your voice warm and encouraging word mastery brought back empowering memories of my momma in her eighties, slowly holding out her wrinkled hands and smiling proudly as she handed on to me, the next generation, a book that she loved to read that my grandfather, a literate Black man born more than a century ago, had owned and had given to her. It is a heavy book with gold-leafed trim on each page. It is a nature poetry book. My grandpa on my mother’s side of the family was a gardener who shared poetry with his family. My grandpa on my father’s side of the family was a farmer thought “deep.” He taught my daddy to meditate on life, to plant seed,  nurture, and wait for harvest in what ever one endeavored.

My momma and daddy both loved plants. She was just like her daddy, loved roses. My daddy was just like his daddy, loved fruit, vegetables, tilling the land. And like their fathers and mothers before them, they both loved us, their children and planted much seed for future ripening and harvests.

They both knew somehow that I would be in the arts. Momma knew my secret love of poetry. She somehow knew I’d be a musician and a writer. She cultivated both in me. Daddy provided a home life for me to dig deep and root into narratives prosaic and poetic.

Momma Angelou, ya’ll shared similar soft voices, you know, love-infused voices with twinkling eyed mischievous smiles and full-bellied laughs waiting to burst into air with open delight.

When you came on TV., I’d stop and sit right down to listen to your vibrant recitations. You could “sho’ light it up” as the teens say about resonating, relevant spoken word.  I beamed as you delivered your poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the 1993 inauguration of then newly elected president Bill Clinton. Also, you weren’t afraid to share other’s words with us.

A few years ago, your rendition of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Jump Back Honey Jump Back” on the Arsenio Hall show put a swagger in Arsenio’s smile and laugh. Me? I was rolling on the floor, going “No she didn’t!” It was so hip, so live, so rhythmically right in the pocket. A smile still slides across my lips when that memory parties through my thoughts.

Recently, I read your “The Heart of A Woman.” Your life held so many bittersweet memories. Most history books do not do justice in retelling the micro-narrative complexities of Black Women’s lives during that era. Your woman’s eye captured and reproduced authentic instagrams and selfies that today’s women artists should study as they navigate today’s gender- inflected arts community gaze.

And, oh yes, your participation in Dr. Dorothy Height’s funeral inspired my courage to offer this letter of thanks, this tribute. You respected her old school Black tradition of leading by example. Both Dr. Height and you joined the mid -twentieth century struggle so that many of us in this generation can also lift voice to sing poems of, spin rhymes about, honor your legacy with spirit-life/love-words.  Though fragile yourself, you celebrated her home going with a quiet, eloquent fanfare.

Our community used to have a saying: “Give them their flowers while they yet live.”

Momma Angelou, I do not know you personally, but I hope as a writer and poet to be included among your daughters. Your life is an inspiration, a pearl of love from God. Thank you for sharing. I am a better women because of so precious a gift.

Watch and enjoy Maya Angelou’s introduction to one of her last works Letter to My Daughter right after her 80th Birthday.


You are missed Maya Angelou, you are missed

Delores Fisher