Monday, August 20, 2012
Different tonalities, perspectives & views of black women's poetry
Evie Shockley and Phillis Wheatley. Gwendolyn Brooks and Allison Joseph. Margaret Walker and Sonia Sanchez. Nikki Giovanni and jessica Care moore. And more. In one of my literature courses this semester, we’ll cover about 50 poems by and about black women. One of our main goals involves utilizing poetry to enhance our understanding of different tonalities, perspectives, and views.
All the students in the course are first-year African American women college students. In addition to assisting them negotiate the new and wide world of university life, I’ll try to serve as a gateway guide for their introduction into studying American and African American poetry.
None of the young sisters in the course are literature majors. So this might be one of the only moments in their college careers that they take a course that offers an extensive treatment of African American literature. In the relatively small amount of time I have with them, I'm inclined to be selective about what literary pieces to share.
Focusing on diverse representations of black women in poetry as well as the varied tonalities of several women’s writings will make it possible for us to think about a wide range of cultural and historical issues. In addition to the literary value associated with studying poetry, I’m hoping that reading poems out loud in a group will also assist the young women in sharpening that their speaking skills.
I’m looking forward to discovering what poems the young sisters will be more interested in and what poems they will find most challenging. During the course of the semester, I’ll provide notes on what I’m learning, what we’re learning as we read poetry together.
• The Black Women Formerly Known as Non-Poets