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Black Lamb


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Archive for July, 2012

July 2012 in Black Lamb

Volume 10, Number 7 — July 2012

July 1st, 2012

In this issue of Black Lamb, Lane Browning takes a look at nomenclature in To BeBe or not to Bebe. John M. Daniel argues that Fate is a fact of fiction. In Artspeak, Owen Alexander reflects on the sorry state of art criticism. Elizabeth Fournier remembers her days as a Casino babe. In Wanna bet? Ed Goldberg talks about the lure of gambling.

Toby Tompkins urges a new Olympic sport: Egg dueling. Susan Bennett finds that you can’t go home again in Dear Dayton. Editor Terry Ross sets our a few elements of the Black Lamb Manual of Style.

Our Honorary Black Lambs column welcomes Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson and visionary novelist Aldous Huxley into our pantheon. Millicent Marshall answers readers’ questions about climate. And Professor Avram Khan gives us another of his challenging word puzzles. •

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


July 1st, 2012


[It] isn’t writing at all — it’s typing.
— Truman Capote on Beat Generation writers

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
— John Kenneth Galbraith

More than twenty years ago I bought a dandy little book called Artspeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, by Robert Atkins. I bought it more as a curiosity than a reference, but over the succeeding years, I’ve found its categories and definitions accurate, despite the shifting nature of the art world.

Of course, it could use considerable updating; since its publication in 1989, a number of new terms have made their way into the mainstream of art journalism: Neo-pop, SoFlo Superflat, Steampunk, and Stuckism, to name only a few. As in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, where Wikipedia lists more than 200 “rock genres,” one suspects that nearly every artist or rock group constitutes a movement. One feels confident that “death metal,” “punk rock,” and “stoner rock” cover a multitude of practitioners, but “Grebo,” “Zeuhl,” and “Crustgrind”?

In the expansive world of the contemporary visual arts, the mere conferring of a label on an artist is less a gimmick than a form of validation. To belong to a group is to belong. Among the so-called artists who are also charlatans, such labeling is welcome: it brings them into the fold. But serious-minded artists, even ones whose works are bogus, have always tended to resist being labeled, despite the “honor.” They want to believe that labels ignore their work’s originality.

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

To BeBe or not to BeBe

What, after all, is in a name?

July 1st, 2012


My grandma Annie liked cocker spaniels. Specifically, blond cocker spaniels. The first one was a gift from her adoring husband after their two children moved out. She was used to dogs, because there were collie hybrids on the farm where she lived, and the cocker, being a spaniel, would be a good herding and chasing dog, too, but it was soon apparent this was a house pet and lap ornament, a companion, a surrogate child. Her name was BeBe. I don’t know why, and the reasons are lost now because my aunt, who surely would have known, died last year, at ninety-one.

cockerspanielBeBe herself died over and over and over again. That’s because each time one BeBe bought the farm (so to speak), a new puppy would arrive as if by magic. And the new puppy was always named… BeBe. There was no grieving; there was only substitution. Lickety-split: bury one Bebe, welcome the next. It was clean and unsuffixed: there was no “BeBe the Second” or “BeBe Redux” or “Yet Another BeBe” or “Still Yet Another Freakin’ BeBe.” No. It was just… BeBe.

Sort of like cloning, but without cells or science.

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


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