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From Langston Hughes to contemporary poets such as Angela Jackson and Claudia Rankine, African American poets have been preoccupied with the relations of poetry to other traditions. Vernacular speech, English poetry, jazz and other musical forms, folk humor, and African mythology have all been seen as essential sources for black poetry. This course will survey major poets such as Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Countee Cullen, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Jackson, and Yusef Komunyakaa, reading their poems and their essays and interviews about poetic craft. We will ask how black poetry has been defined and whether there is a single black poetic tradition or several.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
several short papers, a 15-page final paper
first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: