“The first thing you learn as a Black boy
is that being vulnerable
is a sin
a foreign term
from what you were taught
you don’t get to be sad
you do get to be angry
anger is your first right of passage”
So begins the poem “the rules,” near the beginning of Donney Rose’s collection The Crying Buck. In this and the 21 additional poems, Rose dissects our cultural stereotypes of black masculinity and ruminates from within this collective identity and his own experiences.
A native of Baton Rouge, Rose works at Forward Arts, Inc., which teaches creative writing workshops at partner schools, and has represented Baton Rouge on the regional and national slam circuits for more than 15 years. Together with his Forward Arts colleague Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore, he’s part of a now well-established generation of slam poets who are reaching back to mentor and support younger writers and artists. In addition to his extensive youth education, he also organizes community groups for black men in Baton Rouge to discuss both current events and their roles within them.