AFR 301 Experimental African American Poetry

Last offered Fall 2013

Cross Listed as AMST307, ENGL327, COMP311
Contemporary African American poets in various cities and towns across the nation--from New York City, Providence, and Newark to Durham, Chicago, and Los Angeles--are currently producing a vibrant and thriving body of formally experimental work, yet this poetry is largely unknown to readers both within and outside the academy. Formally innovative African American poetry defamiliarizes what we normally expect of "black writing" and also pushes us to question our assumptions and presumptions about black identity, "identity politics," experimental writing (is the avant-garde implicitly raced?), formalism, socially "relevant" writing, the (false) dichotomy of form versus content, the black "community," digital poetics, and other issues of race and aesthetics. This course will examine the work of living poets who range in age from 30's to 80's, including Amiri Baraka, Ed Roberson, Nate Mackey, Will Alexander, Harryette Mullen, Tyrone Williams, John Keene, Fred Moten, Erica Hunt, and Renee Gladman. We will also look at the work of some of their avant-garde predecessors in the twentieth century (such as Bob Kaufman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Norman Pritchard, Russell Atkins), as well as critical work by Mackey, Moten, and Aldon Nielsen, among others.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: two papers (6-8 pp., 8-10 pp.), short response papers, oral presentation, and class participation
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Prerequisites: none, though at least one previous literature course preferred
Enrollment Preference: American Studies majors
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Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or AFR; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP or ENGL
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives,AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1220
AFR 301 SEM Experimental Afric Amer Poetry Division 2: Social Studies Dorothy J. Wang
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