Week of 10/26: Black Arts theater and spoken word poetry

Alice_Childress
Photo: Playwright Alice Childress.

Next week we finish with plays from the Black Arts Movement and move to poetry.

For Monday, October 26, Read Alice Childress’s play Wine in the Wilderness in the SOS reader. Bring the book with you to class so you can refer to specific lines. We’ll also finish discussion of Sonia Sanchez’s The Bronx is Next: please re-read that. (PDF of the Sanchez play is on the readings page). One recurring theme we see in these plays is that of urban rebellions/riots.
Think about the following as you read:

  • What’s the setting of the play and how does it help shape the action?
  • What themes of Black Arts and Black Power do you see? Mark/underline specific examples in the text.
  • What characters are portrayed in the play and how are they shown?
  • What social commentary or critique does Childress make?
  •  

    Watch the short trailer for the Newark ’67 documentary for background. You can watch the entire film online using your Hunter NET ID.

    Optional: The documentary film I’ve been showing clips of in class, <em>Black Theater: The making of a Movement, is also available to stream with your Hunter NET ID if you want to explore further.

    Announcements: The Sun Ra Arkestra (directed by Marshall Allen) will be at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg on the 22nd. The Arkestra was founded by the eclectic musical visionary Sun Ra and has been kept going since his death by Marshall Allen. Also, a new Nina Simone documentary, The Amazing Nina Simone is playing for a week at the AMC Empire 25 theater on W 42nd St. Worth catching if you have an interest in Simone, especially for this class.

    Last_Poets_album_still

    Photo: The Last Poets, circa 1970.

    For Wednesday, October 28, watch the following videos in the embedded YouTube playlist. All are from albums of recorded 1960s/70s poetry.

    Presentation by Sheniece, Alycia, Papo, and Yudhel.

    Think about the following as you watch:
     

  • What kind of audiences might these appeal to? Why?
  • What themes of Black Arts and Black Power do you see?
  • How might these appeal to people not traditionally into poetry?
  • Would you buy these records
  • Optional: See Pat Thomas’s book Listen Whitey: the Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975, on reserve in the Hunter Library for more on music and spoken word.
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Assignment for the week of 10/22: Midterm and spoken word

Monday’s Assignment (10/22) is to study for the Midterm!

Nikki GiovanniThursday’s assignment will be listening to The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, AND Jayne Cortez: all on the Media page. (Hint: same password as Readings page.) Don’t worry about the Nina Simone or Abbey Lincoln for now. The files are all streaming and should work. Total listening is less than an hour, but listen to everything at least once, and pick a few favorites to listen to a second (third?) time and take some notes since the tracks are all short: the longest one is only about 6 minutes.

On Thursday, we also have our first presentation — by Rose, DJ, Brandon, and Jennifer.

Optional (though a very good idea for those presenting) is to take a peek at Pat Thomas’s book Listen Whitey; The Sights and Sounds of Black Power, on reserve in Wexler Library.

As a bonus, if you’re a Pinterest addict, check out my pinboard on vinyl from the Black Arts. It’s a work in progress (and by no means complete), but has things that aren’t on the list for Thursday. If you’re not on yet, I’ll be happy to send an invite.

For the week of 3/19

For Monday, read (in Black Fire!) the poems of David Henderson (p. 230-244), Sonia Sanchez (p. 250-255), Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)’s “Black Art” (302-303), Barbara Simmons “Soul” (304-308), Carol Freeman (329-331), Victor Hernandez Cruz (436-437). Everything is in the Black Fire! book, which you should have or is on reserve at Purchase.

Also listen to Baraka read “Black Art” on the Sonny’s Time Now album in 1967.

I’ll update to post Thursday’s assignment, which will be listening to The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, AND Jayne Cortez: all on the Media page. (Hint: same password as Readings page.) The files are all streaming and should work. WordPress’s player is Flash-based, so doesn’t work on most tablets and phones: sorry. total listening is less than an hour, but listen to everything at least once, and pick a few favorites to listen to a second (third?) time and take some notes since thee tracks are all short: the longest one is only about 6 minutes.

As a bonus, if you’re a Pinterest addict, check out my pinboard on vinyl from the Black Arts. It’s a work in progress (and by no means complete), but has things that aren’t on the list for Thursday. If you’re not on yet, I’ll be happy to send an invite.

Updated Tuesday, 3/20