First a few housekeeping things before we get to the assignment itself.
- Remember to sign up for the class text message service from Remind if you haven’t done so already. Send a text to 81010 with the message “@urbanwrite” to sign up. If that doesn’t work, send a text with the message “@urbanwrt2” to (608)-467-4328.
- If you do not have a cell phone capable of text messages, sign up for email notifications at: rmd.at/urbanwrite
- 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.
We now move on to a significant poet and key person in defining the Nuyorican movement: Pedro Pietri
For Tuesday 2/6:
- review the key points of the Juan Flores essay that we covered Thursday: 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 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) and “The Broken English Dream”. Be sure to read “Puerto Rican Obituary” slowly and carefully.
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.
- Do points from the interview and poems reflect Flores’s “4 moments”? Make notes of points that do. Highlight/underline and mark specific passages in the readings.
For Thursday 2/8, we’ll continue with readings from the same Puerto Rican Obituary PDF. Read the following poems:
- “Suicide Note from a Cockroach,”
- “Love Poem for My People,”
The poems are short, but you’ll have to read them slowly and carefully and take good notes. Focus on the same points as above and think about how Pietri’s work describes the urban experience in general and tells stories of Puerto Rican communities in particular. Also, what similarities do you see between his work and other urban narratives from TV, film, or music?