Monday, January 5, 2015

Reading T. Jess, J. McCall, T. Medina, F. X. Walker & K. Young in 2015

This spring, as part of an Illinois Humanities Council Grant that our African American  Literary Studies group received, we'll concentrate on a few different volumes of poetry with groups of young black men--some high school students and some college students.  Among other books, we'll read works by Tyehimba Jess, Jason McCall, Tony Medina, Frank X. Walker, and Kevin Young.

I'm excited about the possibilities. Over the years, I've enjoyed reading each of the poets individually, but now I get a chance to consider what their works mean collectively, in pairs, and then again individually.

McCall's volume Dear Hero, will allow me to prompt discussions about a writer bringing his pop culture knowledge and interests to poetry. Jess and Young offer opportunities for thinking about music, blues sensibilities, and folk culture to poetry. Walker gets us on history and enslavement and perspective. Then, Medina will get us on humor and homelessness.  

I'll keep you posted on what we're doing and learning in the process.

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