Monthly Archives: September 2015

Weeks of September 22 and 29: Miguel Piñero

We don’t meet at all on the week of the 22nd. We’re off on Tuesday, 9/22 and I’ll be away at a conference on Thursday, 9/24 and Friday 9/25 so our next meeting is Tuesday, 9/29, Use the time to get ahead on the reading in Piñero and catch up on anything you’ve missed. You might want to read the intro to the drama section since we’ll be reading a play for Thursday.

For Tuesday, September 29th, we’ll finish the poetry section in Outlaw: The Collected Works and have our first student presentation by Alexander, Laura, and Blaire. Read the following poems:

  • “Running Scared”
  • “Seeking the Cause”
  • “New York City Hard Times Blues”
  • “Bastard Streets”
  • “The Lower East Side is Taking”
  • Watch Piñero read “Seeking the Cause”

    Again, it’s not a lot of reading, however, you must read the poems slowly and carefully and choose 2 of them to read more than once. Take notes on key points that you think are significant, funny, interesting, or do a nice job of telling the story of the city.

    Questions to think about as you read:

  • Based on Piñero’s biographical context, how do his stories match the life he’s living?
  • How does Piñero’s work differ from Pietri’s in form or content?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have on his poetry?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • How do the characters in Piñero’s descriptions of “Loisaida” (Lower East Side) differ from Pietri’s characters in El Barrio?

    short_eyes

    For Thursday October 1 we move on to Piñero’s plays. Read “The Drama of Miguel Piñero” at the front of Outlaw and read Piñero’s play Short Eyes (pages 193-243). We’ll start the class with a student presentation by Amalee and Dayvis.

    Questions to think about to guide your reading:

  • What characters does he show in the play?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • What’s the setting he chooses and what side of the city does that show?
  • What are some of the key themes the play deals with?
  • Identify key points of the play where the storyline (plot) turns or changes. Mark significant points where this happens in your book and write them down in your notes. What causes the plot turns and how might actors on stage make them believable?

    Watch the legendary singer Curtis Mayfield sing one of the songs from the film version (he also had a small part in the film and composed/performed the soundtrack).



  • Week of September 17: Miguel Piñero’s poetry — part 1

    201206181054540.Miguel_Pi_ero_noticel

    Note: Class does not meet on Thursday 9/10 (Monday schedule in CUNY) or Tuesday 9/15 (Rosh Hashanah). We’ll see you back next Thursday.

    For Thursday, September 17th, we move on to Miguel Piñero and read poetry selections from Outlaw: The Collected Works. Read the “Introduction to the Poetry of Miguel Piñero” at the beginning of the book.

    Then read:

  • “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”. (Up to page 17.)
  • It’s not a lot of reading, however, you must read the poems slowly and carefully and choose 2 of them to read more than once. Take notes on key points that you think are significant, funny, interesting, or do a nice job of telling the story of the city.

    Questions to think about as you read:

  • Based on Piñero’s biographical context, how do his stories match the life he’s living?
  • How does Piñero’s work differ from Pietri’s in form or content?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have on his poetry?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • How do the characters in Piñero’s descriptions of “Loisaida” (Lower East Side) differ from Pietri’s characters in El Barrio?
  • Week of September 8: Pedro Pietri

    Tuesday 9/8: Pedro Pietri; “Puerto Rican Obituary”

    Pedro Pietri reading at the Poetry Project

    Pedro Pietri reading at the Poetry Project

    For Tuesday, continue reading Pedro Pietri. (Re?)Read “Puerto Rican Obituary” and “The Broken English Dream”. Also read “Suicide Note from a Cockroach”, “Love Poem for My People”, “Unemployed” and “OD”.

    Now that we’ve covered some of Pietri’s life, think about how points from his personal outlook on religion, death, and the ambivalence toward the American Dream are reflected in the poems. Again, look for specific points that reveal how he approaches the subjects and make a note of them.

    Think of the following questions as you read:

  • How does Pietri’s writing define the urban experience for the people he’s writing about?
  • What type of urban environment does he describe?
  • What language does he use and how does that reflect the urban situation?
  • Do you see any of the points Pietri makes in the interview reflected in the writing? Make note of a few examples.
  • If you were absent on Thursday 9/3, you missed sign-up for the group presentations. Be sure to email me so we can get you assigned to a group.

    Thursday 9/10: is a Monday schedule in CUNY, so we do not meet. Look for an update early next week for the following reading assignment, though note that we’ll be moving on to Piñero’s Outlaw, so be sure to get a copy.