The Black Mixtape: Black Literary Soundtracks
The music form of scat “deeyoodaaadayodeedaadeedaaa” is the answer to the repeated question “Who are we? Where are we going? What are we here for?” in the 1960s “Poem to the Hip Generation.” This course will explore the role of music in shaping the most innovative forms of African American literature. Forms such as jazz poetry, blues poetry, and the flow, layering, and rupture of Hip Hop will be as central to this course as the jam sessions that shaped cultural and literary movements such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. The interplay between “listening” and “reading” will shape each layer of the course. Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz (1961) will be our starting point. Other likely assigned texts include Gayl Jones’ Corregidora, Kevin Young’s To Repel Ghosts: The Remix, Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues, Paul Miller’s Sound Unbound, and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.