NOTE: YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECK THE ONLINE SYLLABUS EACH DAY BEFORE CLASS FOR ANY ADJUSTMENTS AND UPDATES!
This course will look at 20th century American poetry as it exists within a nexus of creative energies. Emphasis of the course is on the broader context of the "American" in "American Poetry" and will look at numerous 20th century innovative works with additional focus on the Havana-New York connection. Course will look at the cultural context of American poetry through its social contexts including BeBop, Cuban Son, Havana, Harlem, the Brooklyn Bridge as literature, the literature of film and art, and radical poetic practice as a cultural strategy. We will look at other forms of innovative art, such as that of Philip Glass, drawing inspiration from Buffalo's premier "June in Buffalo" performances and related films such as Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. Poetry and music know no fixed boundaries.
Requirements. Oral report (20%); reading, class participation, and TYPED written responses (20%); quizzes (20%); final exam (40%). We will discuss course content/requirements fully in week 2 of the course. Attendance in the course is crucial. As this is a summer course students may only have one unexcused absence; one letter grade will be subtracted for each additional unexcused absence. NOTE: No late responses will be accepted, except for excused absences. Text: POEMS FOR THE MILLENNIUM, vol. 1. Available at Talking Leaves 837-8554. READINGS MUST BE DONE BY THE BEGINNING OF THE ASSIGNED WEEK.
*Please include in the subject line of any e-mail message to me, "English 339", or your message may be deleted as spam.
(NOTE: Read ALL poems by the author starting on the given page number.)
Week 3 (June in Buffalo)
June 7 REQUIRED OUT OF CLASS EVENT. Attend Augenmusik, Saturday, June 7th, 7PM, Slee Concert Hall. (Details under June 7th at http://www.music.buffalo.edu/juneinbuffalo/schedule.htm) Extra Credit: write a 1-page response to Augenmusik (1/2 pg.) and Tony Conrad (1/2 pg.). THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY - DON'T MISS IT!
The Oral report should last 10 minutes. The report should contain: (1) brief biography of the artists or brief history of the topic; (2) social context narrative (see following explanation); and (3) a "reading" of a short piece of work by the artist. The biography should be brief, giving the most significant moments for the subject. The social context narrative should give a picture of the artist or topic in his/her/ira time, with special attention to the social context (i.e., what was happening in the world surrounding the artist). It should illustrate the artistic context for the artist or of the topic. For example, if a musician, what engagement did the artist have with the literary world. What were the movies, novels, dominant art world movements, political fears, social conditions of the time. If a poet, what music were they listening to? The "reading" means to take a poem or piece of music and give an explanation of, based on the insights you gained from the biography/history and the social context narrative, take us through the piece and show what it might be trying to express, what is behind its ideas, what are its nuances. NOTES: Please make sure your presentation is between 8-10 minutes. Do a rehearsal and time it in advance of your presentation. You should provide a handout for the class. You should also hand in a one-page summary of your main points to me.
*Extra important topic. Qualifies for extra credit points.
Quizzes will be given at the professor's descretion. Please be sure to stay current with the reading. NOTE: Also take notes on material presented outside of the book, such as film screenings, musical performances, and other events. These will also be covered on quizzes and exams.
A final exam will be given, based on ALL the material covered during the summer session (i.e., the text, supplementary readings, films, etc.).
Some themes to consider: "America", which three of these poems would you take with you to a desert island, "language", why is there literature, why is there war, jazz, Europe, music and poetry, "freedom", Hughes-Guillén connection, Havana-Harlem comparison.