8824 NE Russell St.
Portland OR 97220

Black Lamb


Black Lamb was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Published monthly. (more)


Black Lamb welcomes submissions from new writers. Email us.


Email us. There is absolutely no obligation.


Support this independently published journal of fine essays. Annual subscriptions are $15 in the USA, $30 in Canada, or $35 elsewhere (all prices in US $). Click to subscribe online via PayPal or,

Send a check to:
Black Lamb, 8824 N.E. Russell St., Portland, OR 97229.


If you have questions or comments regarding Black Lamb, please email us.

This Week in Literary History

July 1st, 2014

In 1844, English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (“God’s Grandeur," 1877) is born in Stratford.

hopkinsGerard Manley Hopkins, b. July 28, 1844, d. 1889

Hopkins may or may not have invented the famous “sprung rhythm”; some readers have found it in much earlier poetry. But he certainly helped widen the rhythmic possibilities of poetry in the twentieth century. And his extravagant language and ecstatic exclamations will always remain favorites with young readers and Roman Catholics.

Suggested Reading Poetry Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published, with Notes by Robert Bridges, 1918. Complete Poems, 1947. Letters The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, 1935. The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon, 1935.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

This Month in Black Lamb

Volume 11, Number 7 — July 2014

July 1st, 2014

In our July issue, Lane Browning extols the virtues of crows in Sleek & black & gorgeous. In Bring ’em home, Terry Ross suggests that American soldiers nowadays may have been sold a bill of goods. Elizabeth Fournier looks back happily on her first hearse in Low & sleek & silver & gorgeous. In Bloodsuckers, Toby Tompkins gives us the skinny on vampires. John M. Daniel continues his dissection of literary style in Tag, you’re it! In A cell of one’s own, Doug Bruns wonders what it would be like to do time in a prison with an excellent library. Authors Iris Murdoch and Giorgio Vasari are added to our gallery of Honorary Black Lambs. Bridge columnist Trixie Barkis offers new conundrums to solve at the table. Advice columnist Millicent Marshall again answers readers’ questions. And Professor Avram Kahn presents another tricky Black Lamb Word Puzzle.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Month summaries | Link to this Entry

Last Week in Literary History

July 1st, 2014

In 1866, naturalist and children’s author Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, 1908) is born in London.

Beatrix Potter, b. July 28, 1866, d. 1943

potterBeatrix Potter was a multi-faceted and talented scientist and conservationist who is now remembered exclusively for her series of twenty-three children’s tales, starting in 1902 with The Tale of Peter Rabbit and ending in 1930 with The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, for which she provided the laconic prose and iconic illustrations.

Suggested Reading Tales The Twenty-three Tales, 1902-1930.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

March 2014 in Black Lamb

Volume 11, Number 3 — March 2014

March 1st, 2014

In our March issue, editor Terry Ross wonders whether it would more honest if society admitted that condescension is all right. Ben Feliciano, no sports fan, exposes himself to professional hockey. Toby Tompkins pays tribute to the greatest writer of all after walking out of a play at intermission for the first time in his life. Elizabeth Fournier fondly remembers crashing Joe DiMaggio’s funeral. Lucia Cowles reviews a book about 1950s Vienna, and Nic Grosso reviews one about plants nd their sex lives. Advice columnist Millicent Marshall give us more invaluable insights. And Professor Avram Kahn presents another tricky Black Lamb Word Puzzle.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Month summaries | Link to this Entry

Chinatown extravaganza

March 1st, 2014


My favorite memories of days spent in San Francisco are rich and ripe with pungency. Not in a stumbling-across-a-row-of-steamy-outhouses, death-spank way, but more of an aromatic bacon awakening after a long nap.

One perfectly sunny Thursday I crashed the funeral of Joe DiMaggio, the elegant Yankee Clipper. It was in invite-only service; the hubbub in the park across the street was that no Yankees had been invited. My original location was Washington Square Park, that huge green space across Filbert Street from the twin-spired Saints Peter and Paul Church. All of us fans, reporters, TV uplink trucks, city gawkers, and non-funeral invitees were sandwiched between cones on the exact chunk of grass where they had filmed scenes from Clint’s Dirty Harry, when his character was hot on the trail of the Scorpio Killer. I surveyed the park crowd a few times for George Steinbrenner.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Fournier | Link to this Entry

February 2014 in Black Lamb

Volume 12, Number 2 — February 2014

February 1st, 2014

The All-Moon Issue

In our first-ever All Moon Issue, editor Terry Ross muses on the lunar calendar. In Phases of the Moon, Toby Tompkins starts with the astronauts’s moon landing and goes on from there. Elizabeth Fournier tells of wanting to be a Musical Maiden of the Moon in My companion, the moon. John M. Daniel tells of his brief career as an entertainer in Shine on, harvest moon. Our Honorary Black Lambs column honors two more figures from the world of literature, Americans both: poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and novelist Wallace Stegner. Bridge columnist Trixie Barkis delivers another lesson in proper play. Our monthly lamb recipe is for Kreatopita Argostoli, a delicious Greek casserole. Advice columnist Millicent Marshall holds forth yet again. And Professor Avram Kahn proffers another challenging Black Lamb Word Puzzle.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Moon Issue, Month summaries | Link to this Entry

Shine on, harvest moon

February 1st, 2014


My short stint as a part-time, semi-professional musician began in the early 1980s, when I worked as the manager of Wilbur Hot Springs, a country inn and hot springs resort in Colusa County, Calif. Wilbur Springs was (and still is) twenty-five miles from the nearest town. Wilbur was a wonderful place to live and work, so long as I remembered that it was more a romantic interlude than a lifetime commitment. I worked hard managing the hotel, the hot baths, the grounds, and the cook-it-yourself kitchen. There I learned how to rely on lists and schedules, how to remember the names of thirty or more guests each weekend, how to manage a staff of twelve, and how to cope with weather. The weather in the Wilbur winters consisted of rain and mud. Woodstoves and hot baths. But in the summers Wilbur Hot Springs was a place of hot days and hot nights.

At Wilbur I reconnected with the moon. I learned her phases and welcomed them all. The place used no electricity, so nights were dark on the ground and brilliant in the sky. On moonless night the stars dazzled and danced over our heads. Then as the month marched on, the moon took over, first as a waxing blob already high when the sky turned dark, then growing fuller and fuller, rising later and later, until it was plump and enormous as it rose over the hills in the east as the day wound down. This phenomenon of the rising of the full moon got better each summer month until we approached the autumnal equinox, when the ambient sunlight had dimmed and the moon appeared brighter, bigger, more warm and golden. I still can’t think of this sight without hearing, as a pleasant earworm, the chorus of “Shine on, shine on harvest moon.…”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Daniel | Link to this Entry

January 2014 in Black Lamb

Volume 12, Number 1 — January 2014

January 1st, 2014

Eleventh Anniversary Issue

In this our 11th Anniversary Issue, Terry Ross examines the notion of anniversaries. In an article from our Best of Black Lamb archives, Cervine Kauffman tells a story of semi-requited love in Throwing in the towel. In Penmanship, our Pen Man, Dean Suess, admits that his handwriting is atrocious. Lane Browning says that she has practically given up — of all things — sitting in Embracing the vertical.

In Anticlimax, Elizabeth Fournier only partially regrets forswearing big city thrills for her quiet country life. Toby Tompkins proposes a cure for food shortages in Long pig. Into the mountains is the fourteenth installment of Lorentz Lossius’s 2007 Turkey diary. John M. Daniels reveals why one particular birthday is memorable in Twenty-two. A second article from our Best of Black Lamb archives is First and last Xmas, Lorentz Lossius’s lovely evocation of Christmas in Norway. Susan Bennett continues her tales of animal life in Fish story.

Our Honorary Black Lambs column honors two more figures from the world of literature: Swiss dictionarist Peter Mark Roget and English novelist W. Somerset Maugham. Bridge columnist Trixie Barkis gives the ingenious solution to some new hands. Our monthly lamb recipe is for Ragout of Lamb Chops with Chestnuts. Advice columnist Millicent Marshall again offers her impeccable advice. And Professor Avram Kahn proffers another challenging Black Lamb Word Puzzle.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Eleventh Anniversary Issue, Month summaries | Link to this Entry

Throwing in the towel

January 1st, 2014


When my friends met Jerry, they were appalled. Some of them even used the word “slumming.” But I liked to call it “towelling off.” I was climbing forth from the muck of yuppified eunuchs and video game slackers and rolling myself up in a real man. And it felt good.

womanhanginglaundryI met him while I was having a shake at my favorite diner and watching a guy unloading stacks of towels from his trunk. When the guy came in, I told him that he must want the Inn a Minute just across the parking lot, but he said no, he had just left there. Then he took a stool a few places down and started sorting his towels. I say “his” towels but they really belonged to the motel. He saw my brow furrow so he explained how the hospitality business works. He said that motels have to jack up their prices to make up for the towels that end up in people’s trunks, so guests, in turn, have to steal more towels to make the price of a motel worthwhile. It didn’t make much sense to me, but something about the conviction in his voice made me keep nodding. A couple of shakes later, I felt that I’d known Jerry for a week. When he suggested a road trip, I rolled up a few toiletries in a towel and got in the car.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Eleventh Anniversary Issue, Kauffman | Link to this Entry

Embracing the vertical

January 1st, 2014


I've given up sitting.

I spend my days upright now, like a solid old piano, a sturdy fir, a non-leaning tower of no pizza. I read standing up, I write standing up, I eat standing up. Other than when I’m in bed, or when I’m in the bathtub, I stand for all but an hour or so every day. I do sit down when I talk to clients at my desk, because standing would seem too preacher-posturey. For all other things, though, standing seems appropriate, even “natural,” and I don’t know why I sat all those years. Now I have space around me, because chairs and couches don’t clutter the area. I can change positions while standing. I can balance on one leg; I can tap dance, I can lean or stretch. I can slouch. I can shift my weight.

I can see farther than I did when sitting down.

Most of my work is done at a computer, so both my so-called “work stations” are set up for standing. I didn’t buy or build anything; I stacked boxes. Function over aesthetics. I have to say, I like it a lot. It’s been many months now, and I really like it. Going back (or down) would seem really odd. I think, having taken a stand, I am committed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Browning, Eleventh Anniversary Issue | Link to this Entry

Next Page »


  • Blogroll