English R1B

Reading & Composition: Bay Area Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
2 Summer 2018 Benjamin, Daniel
TuWTh 9:30-12 Wheeler 305 D

Book List

Hejinian, Lyn and Scalapino, Leslie: Sight; Spicer, Jack: My Vocabulary Did This To Me

Other Readings and Media

Additional texts by Helen Adam, Dodie Bellamy, Robin Blaser, Bruce Boone, Sam D'Allesandro, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Glück, Judy Grahn, Bob Kaufman, Joanne Kyger, Pamela Lu, Josephine Miles, and Pat Parker will be available in a course reader, available for purchase at Copy Central on Bancroft Avenue.


This course studies Bay Area poetry, where many of the threads of twentieth-century American poetry intersect. Bay Area poetry allows us to consider the history of avant-garde movements in the 20th century, and how they align with the particular experiences and expressions of racial and sexual minorities. We will begin with poems of the indigenous peoples of the Bay Area, and poems written on the walls of the Angel Island Detention Center by Chinese immigrants to the United States. We will then move to the middle of the 20th century to consider literary movements such as the Berkeley Renaissance, the San Francisco Renaissance, movement poetry from the 1970s, Language poetry, and New Narrative. We conclude with a series of recent works by Bay Area poets published in the last three years.

This course seeks to develop your critical thinking and writing skills. We will learn how to build evidence-based arguments from our readings of literary texts. We will also consider how to construct and pursue compelling research questions. Weekly extra credit “field trip” assignments engage some of the physical locations related to the poetry of the Bay Area.

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 9.

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