May 19th: Final Exam


The big news items for this week are papers and the final exam. The final is on Monday the 19th from 1:30-3:30 in the usual classroom. Don’t miss it!!. It’s logistically difficult to do make-ups and that may not happen before the grade deadline. Note also that I won’t offer make-ups except for very good reasons. The last class was a formal review session for the final. I won’t post detailed notes for that online or answer e-mails on it since I’ve already spent a lot of time on prep, so please get notes from a classmate who was there if you missed it. You can, however, scroll down the page for a picture of blackboard at the end of our brainstorming session. Also don’t forget to fill out the course evaluation survey, which was e-mailed to your Lehman e-mail account. Thanks!

A few quick notes on papers:

  • Papers are due by Midnight Eastern Standard Time on Friday the 16th via e-mail. (hank dot williams at lehman dot cuny dot edu).
  • If you’ve lost your copy of the assignment sheet, you can download another one.
  • You should go to Lehman’s Academic Center for Excellence (“ACE Center”) in Old Gym 205 for last minute help on revising your paper or issues with MLA citations or formatting.
  • Another resource to be aware of is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (“OWL”), which is the most comprehensive online source for citation formatting and questions.
  • About the final exam …

  • You’re encouraged to (re)read my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF) if you haven’t already.
  • Format is 3 essays around major themes we’ve seen in readings all semester. Refer to the handout of the sample exam and question handed out in class for specifics. Snapshots of the blackboard with themes from the in-class brainstorm session are below. (Click on the photos to enlarge)

    Some final notes:

  • Bodega Dreams author Ernesto Quiñonez will be at the Bronx Library Center this Saturday from 4:30-5 at the Bronx Literary Festival! He’ll be reading some of his work; you should stop by if you have time — or can take a study break.
  • Dutchman, the Amiri Baraka play that we read, is being performed at the National Black Theater on 125th St in Manhattan until May 23rd. Strongly recommended!
  • Week of May 12th: Def Poetry and Exam Review

    Revised Wed. 5/7 to remove the homework assignment for Monday
    For Monday May 12th the assignment is to watch the Youtube videos of various poets from Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, which ran for several seasons on HBO. Also read Ben Brantley’s New York Times review of Def Poetry on Broadway. Assignment: Write 1 page (typed, double spaced) on one poem from the list below. How does it reflect the urban experience? Does It? Why is it appealing to you? Correction: there’s no assignment.

    Questions to think about:

  • How does being in front of a live audience change the perception of the poetry?
  • In the Pedro Pietri interview I posted, Pietri was critical of slam poetry and thought it relied too much on people’s personalities and being performers–do you agree?
  • What do their stories say about the urban experience?
  • Lastly, choose 2 poems you like, watch them a few times and be prepared to discuss in class.

    Here are the poems. There are several, but they’re mostly short. It’s less than a half hour, total.

    For Wednesday May 14th (re)read my guide to final exams, “Zen and the Art of Finals” (PDF), which will help you begin to prepare for our final (and hopefully others as well). Think about major themes that we’ve been talking about all semester and bring questions to the class. We’ll spend the last class reflecting on the semester and have an open prep/ study session for the final exam.

    Remember that papers are due on Friday the 16th by e-mail. if you’ve lost your copy of the assignment sheet, you can download another one. Also, the final is scheduled for Monday, May 19, 1:30-3:30 PM in the regular classroom. Be sure to arrange for childcare/ time off work/ whatever you need to do now, as there will be no make-ups, except for extraordinary circumstances. Unless you can provide a hospital or arrest record (your own, not a family member’s), you get no make-up. “My family bought plane tickets to go on vacation” or similar is not an extraordinary circumstance in my book. Consider college a job and be up front with family, friends, etc. about what that commitment means. This also means protecting your time and space at critical points in the semester. If you can afford to (and have the flexibility–not everyone does), ask for a few extra days off in advance of crunch periods at work. Believe it or not, reasonable managers/bosses will see this as a sign of maturity and evidence of your ability to look ahead and see it as a good thing. No guarantees on that, however. YMMV, as they say.