Welcome to Fall 2016! Assignment for Week of August 30


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.

    For Tuesday 8/30, 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:

  • 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?
  • 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?

    Finally, here’s where the class is from: roughly visualized. See the yellow post-it notes on the map.

    Thursday 9/1: Pedro Pietri; “Puerto Rican Obituary”

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

    We now move on to a significant poet and key person in defining the Nuyorican movement: Pedro Pietri

  • review the key points of the Juan Flores essay that we covered Tuesday 9/2: the points he makes here are key to the course.
  • Read the interview with Pedro Pietri (PDF on the Readings page). Read this first.
  • 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” and “The Broken English Dream” (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:

    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.