Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, September 26, 2014

"Of Rock and Roll," by Hans Ostrom

Straight-ahead, drive-it-through
rock n roll: sure, I understood it.
It was and is a loco-motive, a choo-choo train.
Noisy. Fun. I liked it.

R&B: well, to me
it seemed to be an octopus-shaped
alien ship covered in purple velvet,
wielding hammers, rolling out
blues in rhythms, landing here
to deliver the news about love
and work and sex and being
Black in Whiteville and being White
in Whiteville and desperately needing
the news. R&R never quite

did the same thing for me. It's probably
about more than taste or eras.
R&R, for all its value, seemed
like a filtration process; rhythm-and-
blues did not seem that. Seemed
a vast cultivation.


hans ostrom
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