Assignment for March 3: Nuyorican Drama/ Miguel Piñero’s Short Eyes

short_eyes

Announcements:

  • You can see the members of your group presentation at the Doodle poll. I’ll send an email to connect all the members and some additional instructions within the next week after everything’s finalized.
  • Also remember that there are unannounced pop quizzes — so keep up with the reading, pay attention to the reading questions at the bottom of each weekly post, and take notes as you read.
  • Finally, a reminder that the take-home midterm will be the week of the 17th — when I’ll be away. Details in next week’s class and posted here that week.
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    For Thursday, March 3rd read “The Drama of Miguel Piñero” at the front of Outlaw and read Piñero’s play Short Eyes (pages 193-243).

    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 similarities or differences do you see with his poetry?
  • 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).




    Extras: The film I showed clips of last week was Fort Apache, The Bronx, which is available on YouTube (for now). Scenes with Piñero are at approx. 1 hour 18 minutes and 1 hour 38 minutes into the film. I mentioned community protests against the film, and the Media Justice History Project site has a good summary of the main points by Richie Perez, a former Young Lord who continued to be very active in the community until his death.

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  • Assignment for February 25: Miguel Piñero’s Poetry

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    Announcement: I gave out the instructions for the group presentations today. See the Assignments page to download another if you were absent or lost yours. Next, Sign up for one of the group presentation options at the Doodle poll. You can sign up for only one group and groups are limited to 4 people, so choose early — after that, the option closes. You also need to sign up by next Wednesday 2/24. After groups are set, I’ll send an email to connect all the members.

    For Thursday, February 25th, we move on to Miguel Piñero and read poetry selections from Outlaw: The Collected Works. Start by reading 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”.
  • “Running Scared”
  • “Seeking the Cause”
  • “New York City Hard Times Blues”
  • “Bastard Streets”
  • “The Lower East Side is Taking”
  • 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. Spend extra time on “La Bodega Sold Dreams” and “A Lower East Side Poem”.

    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?
  • What picture is Piñero drawing of his neighborhood?

    Watch Piñero read “Seeking the Cause”


  • Assignment for February 18: Pedro Pietri’s Puerto Rican Obituary

    Thursday 2/19: Pedro Pietri; “Puerto Rican Obituary”

    Pedro Pietri reading at the Poetry Project
    Pedro Pietri reading at the Poetry Project

    First a few housekeeping things before we get to the assignment itself.

  • For the new people this week (welcome!) — Remember to sign up for the class text message service from Remind. 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.
  • Review the presentation I made in the first class on analyzing texts. It’s on the Lecture Notes page.
  • review the key points of the Juan Flores essay that we covered today — “The Structuring of Puerto Rican Identity in the US”, from his book Divided Borders — the points he makes here are key to the course. The PDF file lives on the Readings page). (Password hint: what year is it?)
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    For Thursday 2/18, We now move on to a significant poet and key person in defining the Nuyorican movement: Pedro Pietri.
     

  • Begin with the interview with Pietri. The PDF is on the Readings page.
  • Next, start on the section from his book Puerto Rican Obituary, also posted on the Readings page as a separate PDF. Focus on the following poems: “Puerto Rican Obituary” (Note: “Puerto Rican Obituary” is both the title of his most well-known poem and the title of the book it’s from), “The Broken English Dream”, “Suicide Note from a Cockroach”, “Love Poem for My People”, “Unemployed” and “OD”.
  • Watch Pietri read “Puerto Rican Obituary” here

    … and here:

    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.
  • How are points from his personal outlook on religion, death, and the ambivalence toward the American Dream are reflected in the poems?

    The presentation I did in class on the first day is on the Lecture Notes page. Use some of the contextual questions to help guide your reading and what to focus on.

  • Welcome to Spring 2016! Assignment for February 11

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    Photo: Where the spring ’16 class lives, visualized

    Hi everyone,

    First a few housekeeping things before we get to the assignment itself.

  • Remember to sign up for the class text message service from Remind. 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.
  • Review the presentation I made in the first class on analyzing texts. It’s on the Lecture Notes page.

    For Thursday 9/11, 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. (Password hint: what year is it?)

    Also watch this Youtube video of poet Tato Laviera reading his classic poem AmeRican, which 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 “Jibaro, My Pretty Nigger”.

    Things to think about while reading/ watching:

  • What are the points of contact that Flores identifies in his essay?
  • How do these points of contact explain how we interact with the urban space?
  • 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?
  • After that, read the interview with Pedro Pietri (PDF on the Readings page). Pietri is one of the key figures in the Nuyorican movement. Think about the following:

  • How does Pietri’s life intersect with the points Juan Flores makes in his essay?
  • How does the influence of the city affect Pietri’s writing and life?