Close Readings and Collaborative Discussions of Indigenous, Immigrant, and Multilingual American Poetry February 8 – April 4, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 11.13.48 PM   Course Map

    1. Access-the-Course-Map for Students New to Coursera online and SloPo Courses
    2. Course Overview with Sample Poems and Sample Discussion Thread
    3. The Library
    4. Week One and Two Materials: Ethnopoetics & Shaking the Pumpkin
    5. Jerome Rothenberg Assemblage of Materials: From Ethnopoetics to his own poetry and his work on A Big Jewish Book — texts, audio, video. 
    6. The Q&A with Jerome Rothenberg
    7. Week Three Materials: Contemporary American Indian
    8. Week Four Materials: Pacific Islander Poetry 
    9. Week Four Materials: Contemporary Caribbean Anglophone Poetry
    10. Week Five Materials: Contemporary African-American Poetry
    11. Week Six Materials: Contemporary Latinx-American Poetry and Performance
    12. Week Seven Materials: Contemporary Asian-American Poetry
    13. Week Eight Materials:  The Ghazal, Contemporary Middle-Eastern and South-Asian Poetry
    14. RETURN TO COURSERA COURSE SITE PAGE

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 11.13.48 PM

      WEEK # 1,2  —- SHAKING THE PUMPKIN, Jerome Rothenberg, Ethnopoetics, and a bit of a short story by Ted Chiang & HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

A course I am offering through Modern & Contemporary Poetry (“ModPo”).

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

You are welcome to join in the course discussion at any point during its duration — discussion will continue, in all likelihood, after the official end date, so if you are curious about the content of the course, let me know.

If you have any trouble accessing the course, please get in touch with me.

The easiest way to help you get going if you are new to Coursera and ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry,) a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) directed by University of Pennsylvania English Dept. and Kelly Writers House Director  Prof. Al Filreis, is to call me so we can be talking and looking at our computer screens simultaneously: 267-902-0731 is my cell phone number. If you feel odd cold calling me, feel free to email me at jasonzuzga@gmail.com—or simply call and leave a message. I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able to arrange a mutually convenient time to get you up to speed if you are encountering troubles journeying to this course-within-a-course webpage – a journey GoogleMaps will be of no use for arrival.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

In addition, it is imperative, no matter your ease accessing the course and its materials and its discussion forums, that you please email modpo@writing.upenn.edu to express your interest in the course, in order to be added to the official course email listserv, which I use to convey significant news and updates, so that you may stay up-to-date about what new work we are reading, any special guests, what discussions are getting the most attention, and further news about the class. Please do send an email to modpo@writing.upenn.edu to the attention of Anna Safford, even if you are still figuring out whether to take the class and how much time you can afford – a few hours total or weekly participation. You are welcome to visit as you are able, according to your schedule. The course is formatted in a way that once a conversation, it continues for weeks — even as new conversations begin.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

Each poem we will read over this eight-week-long course, I promise, rings with its own beauty, engages the mind through its juxtapositions and complex poetics: you will read love poems, ceremonial poems, poems about connection to the earth, poems exploring the possibilities of developing selfhood, joyful and mournful invocations of ancestry and heritage – almost all the poems to some degree will make it clear that their existence in written English is something the poets do not take for granted. We will begin by close reading poems gathered from orally transmitted languages and translated into printed English from the essential anthology SHAKING THE PUMPKIN:  Traditional Poems of the Indian North Americans, edited by Jerome Rothenberg: among them, we will encounter Rothenberg’s textual experiments in rendering oral ceremonial performance.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

After that, we leave translation from oral culture to written and from other languages to English behind. The recent and contemporary poems we will read during the following weeks are all written in English or variants of it—by indigenous, immigrant, and multilingual poets, in which the use of English has its own connotations and effects as a formal feature of the poem, something to discuss in our close readings. We will read contemporary work by poets from different American indigenous tribes–Inuit, Mohawk, Kumeyaay, Navaho–and from poets rooted in different American locations–Hawaii and Guam.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

We will read, listen to, and watch poetries from the post-slavery, post-colonization Caribbean, such as reading the text and watching a video of M. NourbeSe Philip reading her poem “Discourse on the Logic of Language,” and watch, read, and listen to Louise Bennett-Coverley’s beloved performances of poems in Jamaican patois. We will consider poems written by African-American descendants of slaves transported by force and the development and complex meanings evoked by of different dialects, creoles, and even accents.  We will read poems written by first and second-generation immigrant poets: Asian-American, South-Asian-American, Middle-Eastern-American and Latin-American–for whom English may not be a first language or the one spoken at home.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

We will consider the ways in which these poems engage, generate conflict, and play with language conventions as a means of negotiation, transformation, creation of voice and identity. At the same time, we can discuss how much you think a poet’s biography and the ongoing politics and histories of which their lives have been impacted by in both past and present, as well as self-assigned or socially-projected identities involving actual or imagined association with a particular regional heritage, religious faith, or degree of fluency in English should contribute to our reading of poetry in general.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

Debate is welcome. These are contentious questions, without easy answers. Are we anxious that a poet might  “over-perform” identity in order to gain a diversity-hungry public’s readerly attention? Does language or the presence in the mind of a plurality of languages impact the scope of the imagination and potential experimentation and articulation? What about poetry produced in a self-professed bilinugual national culture such as Quebec? What legacies on language and self-understanding did colonial powers, British, American, French, leave upon speakers within a population once that population was “decolonized,” granted at least nominal independence no longer micromanaged, of particular interest to us,  in the area of education, impositions from afar? What is the texture of English as the language of the global economy — do we take our U.S. ability to remain monolingual for granted, when elsewhere fluency in English as a second-language is considered a fundamental necessity in any kind of transnational business?

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

We will not possibly over eight weeks come anywhere near answering these questions conclusively — my hope as an instructor and discussion conductor is that your engagement with the materials will generate questions I can’t anticipate, for them to arise and become rich topics of discussion and opportunities for our globally distributed population of students to bring to bear our collective multitude of unique angles of experience — in this course, your own experiences as a speaker and a reader matter as much as the materials provided — it is through these variable syntheses poems that the work of the course will occur. Your gut feelings and responses are essential to developing discussion, even if your positions and ability to analyze your responses is transformed through our collaborative discussion. All I ask is that you invest your attention in at least some of the poems on offer, to analyze your own gut feeings as they emerge, and to treat all other participants with the utmost respect and humility.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

These poems may at first seem fairly straight-forward, but the more attentively you read they will ask of you what your idea of “selfhood” even might be, mean, cause, and where they originate. Is the speaking “Self” of a poem a “voice” we take as the genuine “voice” of the writer? Are poetry, language, and selfhood things we take for granted as universal concepts or ones encouraged to various degrees by the sheer dominant force of global capitalism’s English — the need to speak it, its peculiar grammar and historically complex and continuingly expanding vocabulary? Who has the right to write poetry in a minority-identified voice? Must one considered by the census a member of a “minority” necessarily write in a voice that speaks on behalf of that minority?

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

At the end of the course, during week eight, you will have the option of writing a poem in a poetic form, the ghazal, popularized in the United States and written in English by the Kashmiri immigrant poet Agha Shahid Ali – a poetic form composed of series of non-linearly sequences of couplets with lines ending on the same word, repeated again and again. One who follows the rules closely will find that the name of the poet must be included in the final stanza. Those who choose this option will be able to comment on one anothers’ efforts, and I’ll also provide feedback. I do hope that those of you to whom the ghazal is a deeply familiar form will be able to provide your thoughts about the form and the project of one not educated in the literary traditions and languages of  Persian and Arabic in which the form has been popular for centuries and still remains so.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

Again, I can’t overstate the importance of doing this — Please email modpo@writing.upenn.edu to express your interest and get on the course news email list.Please, after you’ve newly enrolled or whether ModPo is like a second home,  stop by the course’s dedicated area on the ModPo website and just say hello; feel free to offer any introduction to yourself and/or your thoughts about the course. The link to the course’s homebase, once you’ve registered with Coursera and clicked the button to enroll in Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo), is now active.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/modpo/discussions/forums/iCsIqhqsEeqbLApqc4FOKQ?sort=lastActivityAtDesc&page=1&q=.   

if that link doesn’t work, try this one. And if this doesn’t work, call text or email me.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/modpo/discussions/forums/iCsIqhqsEeqbLApqc4FOKQ 

This is what you should see, as of now. I’m going to be at work today and tomorrow to try and impose additional order onto the forum. Discussion threads that I “pin” stay at the top, but the sequence of what follows is entirely determined by the chronological order in which something has been posted in a given thread. The most recent post bumps the whole thread/topic to the top, which, as we continue, is going to cause some scrambling, so please be patient with that flaw — I can’t control the sequence in full in which the threads appear.

HOW TO JOIN THE DISCUSSION:bit.ly/2I2KAHP

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 5.55.54 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-18 at 5.56.10 PM

Below is a varied sampling of poems and other material that may be included as central readings for the course. Some may, some may not be, as the final syllabus is still in progress — but a stroll through should give you an idea of some of the range of poetry we’ll be reading and prepare you for what’s to come.

Way down below is ONE sample conversation I screen-shotted from one thread from the  forums so you can see what you’re getting yourself into!!

Pro tip:  to move back and forth between the interior of a discussion thread and the master list of thread topcis, look to the right of your screen — from within a discussion thread, to get back to the main list,  you need to click on the rectangle on the right margin (you may need to scroll up the thread to find it!!)  that looks like this – it is an active link back to the main course forum:

Screen Shot 2020-02-23 at 11.02.14 AM

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.21.00 PM

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.21.14 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.21.50 PM


from  THE FORTIETH DAY by Kazim Ali

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 5.31.40 PM


 


From UNDER FLAG by Myung Mi Kim

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.12.11 PM

From ROOMS ARE NEVER FINISHED by Agha Shahid Ali

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.09.19 PM

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 3.10.38 PM

 


from CORPSE WHALE by dg nanouk okpik

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 5.38.48 PM


From NATURE POEM by Tommy Pico

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 5.33.12 PM


A few links:

Louise Bennett-Coverley

 

Nathaniel Mackey


Sample discussion:

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.23.17 PM

Read this first: http://www.ubu.com/ethno/discourses/rothenberg_total.html

Horse Songs of Frank Mitchell Navajo

Rothenberg’s Commentary on Horse Songs

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.23.26 PM

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.23.39 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.23.49 PM

https://poderesunidosstudio.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/hal-foster-an-archival-impulse.pdf 

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.23.59 PM

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.24.08 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.24.20 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.24.30 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocable

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.24.40 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.24.54 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.05 PM

Note: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Religious_Freedom_Act“The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978) (commonly abbreviated to AIRFA), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1996, is a United States federal law, enacted by joint resolution of the Congress in 1978. Prior to the act, many aspects of Native American religions and sacred ceremonies had been prohibited by law.[1]

The law was enacted to return basic civil liberties to Native AmericansInuitAleuts, and Native Hawaiians, and to allow them to practice, protect and preserve their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise their traditional religious rights, spiritual and cultural practices.[2] These rights include, but are not limited to, access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through traditional ceremonial rites, and the possession and use of objects traditionally considered sacred by their respective cultures.[2]

The Act requires policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native American religions, based upon the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and to accommodate access to, and use of, Native American religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is consistent with an agency’s essential functions.[3] It also acknowledges the prior violation of that right.[4]

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.14 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.25 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.36 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.45 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.25.54 PM

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.05 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.15 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.27 PM

https://lithub.com/on-the-line-between-plagiarism-and-art/

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.39 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.49 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.26.56 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.27.18 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.27.29 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.27.39 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.27.49 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.27.59 PM

.https://www.nytimes.com/1978/04/23/archives/public-faces-in-the-beginning-was-aleph-aleph.html

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.08 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.17 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.27 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.36 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Indian_Movement 

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.47 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.28.55 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.29.07 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.29.16 PM

  1. The 13th Horse Song of Frank Mitchell (4:53): MP3
  2. from The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell: 4-Voice Version (3:30): MP3

http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Rothenberg.php

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.29.26 PMScreen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.29.35 PM

http://www.ricorso.net/rx/library/criticism/guest/Benjamin_W/Benjamin_W1.htm

Screen Shot 2020-02-19 at 3.29.43 PM

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 3.05.24 AM


Course Map

    1. Access-the-Course-Map for Students New to Coursera online and SloPo Courses
    2. Course Overview with Sample Poems and Sample Discussion Thread
    3. The Library
    4. Week One and Two Materials: Ethnopoetics & Shaking the Pumpkin
    5. Jerome Rothenberg Assemblage of Materials: From Ethnopoetics to his own poetry and his work on A Big Jewish Book — texts, audio, video. 
    6. The Q&A with Jerome Rothenberg
    7. Week Three Materials: Contemporary American Indian
    8. Week Four Materials: Pacific Islander Poetry 
    9. Week Four Materials: Contemporary Caribbean Anglophone Poetry
    10. Week Five Materials: Contemporary African-American Poetry
    11. Week Six Materials: Contemporary Latinx-American Poetry and Performance
    12. Week Seven Materials: Contemporary Asian-American Poetry
    13. Week Eight Materials:  The Ghazal, Contemporary Middle-Eastern and South-Asian Poetry
    14. RETURN TO COURSERA COURSE SITE PAGE

Screen Shot 2020-03-04 at 3.05.24 AM