Monday, August 12, 2013

30-plus poems (and raps) in a course on folklore and afrofuturism

Next week, classes begin, and one of the courses I'm teaching concentrates on African American poetry, folklore, and afrofuturism. I've taught a version of the course in the past; this time, I'm adding more rap to my line-up of readings.

Here's a line-up of the first 30-plus poems and raps for the course, which we'll cover up through the mid-term in October.

Poems on slavery and liberation:
• Phillis Wheatley - “On Being Brought From Africa to America
• Opal Palmer Adisa - “Peeling Off the Skin”
• Kamau Brathwaite - “Belov├Ęd”
• Lucille Clifton - “slaveship”
• Vievee Francis - “White Glove Test,” “Drummer Boy”
• Frances E. W. Harper - “Bury Me in a Free Land
• Robert Hayden - “Frederick Douglass,” “Runagate Runagate
• Dometi Pongo - “Ex-Slave (Circa 1836)
• Dudley Randall - “Frederick Douglass and the Slave Breaker
• Ishmael Reed - “Flight to Canada

Listening session #1:
• Maya Angelou - "Still I Rise," "Phenomenal Woman"
• Jayne Cortez - "I am New York City"
• Lauryn Hill - "Lost Ones"
• Sonia Sanchez - "a/needed/poem for my salvation," "Summer Words of a Sustuh Addict"
• Margaret Walker - "Kissie Lee," "Molly Means"

Bad men: 
• Gwendolyn Brooks - "We Real Cool"
• Langston Hughes - "Bad Man"
• Helene Johnson - "Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem"
• Etheridge Knight - "I Sing of Shine," "Hard Rock Returns to Prison From  the Hospital for the Criminal Insane"
• Margaret Walker- "Bad-Man Stagolee"

Understanding toasts:  
• H. Rap Brown - "Rap's Poem"
• Nikki Giovanni - "Ego tripping"
• Canibus - untitled freestyle
• Lil Wayne - "Banned From T.V."
• Jay Z - "What More Can I Say"

Listening session #2:
• Nas - selections
• Dre3000 - selections

During the second half of the term, we'll cover poems by Lucille Clifton, Tyehimba Jess, June Jordan, Tracie Morris, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, Saul Williams, and Kevin Young, among others.

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