English R1B

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2007 Chris Chen
MWF 1-2 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Harper, Michael S., and Anthony Walton, eds., Every Shut Eye Ain?t Asleep: An Anthology of Poems by African Americans Since 1945

Lew, Walter K., ed., Premonitions. The Kaya Anthology Of New Asian North American Poetry

Keene, John, Annotations

Mullen, Harryette, Trimmings, S*perm**k*t, And Muse & Drudge

Cha, Theresa Hak-Kyung, Dictee

Yau, John, Radiant Silhouette: New and Selected Work, 1974-1988

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

A Course Reader"


"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 R1B 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 geared toward sharpening students? ability to hone their responses to weekly readings into textually-supportable, tightly-organized critical arguments. Also, we?ll take time to focus on research skills, including compiling annotated bibliographies and using online resources. Along with journal responses to weekly readings, students will be expected to write two research papers (4-6 and 7-10 pages) that will be critiqued and revised over the course of the semester. "

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