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MLA Proseminar: Songs of Dissent

ENGL 488.941
instructor(s):

 In this Summer Session seminar, we will begin by trying to determine what
makes a poem a „black‰poem.  From there, we will proceed to an
exploration of whether there are poetic themes specific to African American
poetry and how those themes are transmitted from one generation to the
next.  We will consider the influence of black music on African
American poetics; the role of memory in African American poetry, and the
ongoing struggle with poetic forms. We will look at a wide range of poets,
ranging from Paul Laurence Dunbar‚s work at the turn of the century to
Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Robert Hayden, from the mid-20th
Century, to younger poets working in the late 20th and early 21st Century
like Rita Dove, Ntozake Shange, Elizabeth Alexander,  Honoree Jeffers,
and Terrance Hayes.   The seminar will close with a consideration
of spoken word poetry and HipHop, as they appear in media (e.g. television,
cinema, and records) and also as distinct art forms performing important
cultural labor.