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BOOK REVIEW: Bronx Biannual, No. 2

bronxbi2

The Black literati has acquainted the Hip-Hop genre with a new type of emcee; this master of ceremony is strapped with ball pens and think pads, articulating street and music tales all in one poetic jazzy web called the short story. Renegade music scribe Miles Marshall Lewis spearheads the brilliant Bronx Biannual, No. 2 (Akashic), a sexy literary journal, packed with poems, stories, and essays centered around urban culture. This collection, with a vintage The Source Magazine meets The New Yorker vibe, features a mélange of the new and established. Veteran writers like Kenji Jasper and Michael Gonzales share the leaf with fresh voices like Bahiyyih Davis and T’ai Freedom Ford.Lewis’s literary journal flourishes with so many fantastic pieces. Lewis himself pulls off “The Wu-Tang Candidate,” a poignant satire about a minstrel rapper named Coon.  Stories about kinky hair, new age jazz musicians, and aunties who live in hell, coalesce to form urban mosaics full of color and lasting panoramics. Kenji Jasper contributes, “Friday,” a powerful excerpt from his forthcoming novel deftly narrated in the third person. Bronx Biannual, No. 2 swoons with engaging prose. Subjects that are normally addressed in song or poems are explored in rich, eloquent prose. T’ai Freedom Ford’s story about a philandering middle school boy “Born Again” beams with realistic dialogue and a gritty yet enamoring narrative voice. She writes, “…which made me think how brothers is kind of like butterflies ’cause some of us be on the streets with a two-week life span too. Never know when you might end up dust on somebody’s fingers, your wings broken for being too fly for ni**as to handle.”Miles Marshall Lewis always is popping up with new ideas and Bronx Biannual, No. 2 may be his brightest to date. Akashic Books has allegedly offered a contract for ten volumes of the literary journal. Lewis’s avante garde literary approach translates directly to this invigorating new anthology. Be on the newstand lookout because Bronx Biannual could very well represent that much anticipated next phase of the Hip-Hop timeline.

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