Pedro Pietri reading at the Poetry Project
First, some logistical points:
The presentation I did in class Thursday is now on the site on the (new) Lecture Notes page, so you can review it.
Please sign up for the class text message service if you haven’t yet. Details are on the syllabus or here (PDF):UrbanWrt_Remind101
Also, subscribing to the website updates (see box on the righ of the page) will get you notifications as soon as I do a new post
Lastly, Revolution Books will be here on Monday for those who want to buy books then.
This week, we move on to two significant poets and kay people in defining the Nuyorican movement: Pedro Pietri and Miguel Piñero.
For Monday, Read the interview with Pedro Pietri and the section from Puerto Rican Obituary, both posted on the Readings page. Read the interview first, then read the poems. Focus on the following poems: “Puerto Rican Obituary”, “The Broken English Dream”, “Suicide Note from a Cockroach”, and “Love Poem for My People”. Note: “Puerto Rican Obituary” is both the title of his most well-known poem and the title of the book it’s from.
Watch Pietri read “Puerto Rican Obituary” here
… and here:
For Wednesday, we move on to Miguel Piñero and read selections from his classic work La Bodega Sold Dreams, again, both the title of the book and title of one of his most famous poems. Here, focus on the following: “La Bodega Sold Dreams”, “A Lower East Side Poem”, “The Book of Genesis According to San Miguelito”, “This is Not the Place Where I Was Born”, “Black Woman With the Blond Wig On”, “Kill, Kill, Kill”, “Running Scared”, “Seeking the Cause”, and “New York City Hard Times Blues”.
Watch Piñero read “Seeking the Cause”
Questions to think about are how each writer uses language in their work, including both the use of Spanglish and how they write in English. What subjects do they write about and how does that reflect a particular urban experience? How do they use humor in their writing? How do the pictures in Piñero’s book complement his writing? What portrait of the city do they paint?
First a few housekeeping things before we get to the assignment itself.
Remember to sign up for the class text message service; see instructions on the syllabus
You’ll also find it helpful to subscribe to new posts for this site: use the e-mail sign-up form on the main page.
The book delivery from Revolution Books is now tentatively scheduled for Monday February 4th. They will come to the class with the books, so begin saving those pennies…
I’ve updated my office hours, which I’d forgotten to put on the syllabus
For Wednesday, read Juan Flores’s “The Structuring of Puerto Rican Identity in the US”, from his book Divided Borders. The PDF is on the Readings page.
Also watch this Youtube video of poet Tato Laviera reading his classic poem AmeRican, thich Flores references on the last page. (The audio quality isn’t great, so you’ll have to listen carefully.)
Also listen to Felipe Luciano read his poem “Puerto Rican Rhythms”.
Things to think about while reading/ watching:
How do these begin to define Nuyorican identity and carve out a specific space in the city landscape?
What’s the language used in the poems and who might it appeal to?