English R1A

Reading & Composition: Contemporary African American and Asian American Experimental Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2008 Chris Chen
MWF 11-12 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"A Course Reader

G.E. Patterson. To And From

Mullen, Harryette. Sleeping With The Dictionary

Cha, Theresa Hak-Kyung. Dictee

Yau, John. Ing Grish

Harvey, Michael. The Nuts And Bolts Guide To College Writing

Harvey also available free at: http://nutsandbolts.washcoll.edu/



"Within the traditions of contemporary African American and Asian American poetry, a category of self-identified ?experimental? writing has emerged recently. What is minority ?experimental? poetry? One of the primary aims of this course is to familiarize ourselves with some exemplary works along with the debates ignited by these new trends. Since this course is also meant to satisfy the R1A requirement, our other aim is to improve students? reading, writing and research skills. The potential anxiety students might feel about writing longer expository essays should be lessened by breaking up assignments into research, prewriting, outlining, drafting, and editing components.

Our readings will be guided by several overarching questions. First, how might we provisionally define ?experimental? writing in a minority context? Second, how are African American and Asian American versions of ?innovative? or ?experimental? writing conditioned by each group?s specific literary history? We will investigate arguments concerning identity politics, ?political correctness,? and contemporary poetry?s notorious opacity and ?difficulty.? We will also ask how poetry attempts to repress or engage the political.

This course will be focused on breaking the often anxiety-provoking essay writing process into more manageable bits: outlining, prewriting, grammar, sentence and paragraph construction, theses, revision, and the strategic use of evidence to support critical claims. Along with journal responses to weekly readings, students will be expected to write two papers (4-6 and 7-10 pages) that will be critiqued and revised over the course of the semester.


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