Tomorrow is the first day of classes, and I'm very excited about my course, an undergraduate African-American literary studies class entitled "Topics in African-American Literature: Passages in the 20th Century Black Literary Avant-Gardes." It was extremely difficult to winnow the works I wanted to look at, and as always I originally designed something close to a graduate course, but now it fits the 10-week quarter schedule, we'll be looking at works of poetry, fiction, dramatic writing, and cinema, as well as cross-genre texts, and the social-intellectual-aesthetic constellations will move from the Harlem Renaissance through to Afrofuturism, touching upon creative works by Nugent, Hughes, Tolson, Atkins, Kaufman, Joans, Jonas, Kennedy, Baraka, Cortez, Shange, Gladman, and Hopkinson. The selection of critical texts was also tough, but I have taken somewhat conventional route for my sourcebook and handouts at least, pairing some standard texts on the historical Euro-American avant-gardes, by Poggioli and Bürger, among others, with historically focused texts on the moments I'm exploring, and some less conventional critical texts on African-American literature and cultural production, especially experimental and innovative writing, by figures such as Locke, DuBois, Hunt, hooks, Carroll, North, Taylor, Nielsen, Neal, Johnson, Muñoz, Moten, Nelson, and others. The first class is always like an amusement park ride--perhaps a little scary at first, but always fun and exhilarating by the time the clock hands indicate that it's over.
Drawing: Man's Profile, PATH
I was trying to remember when I'd applied the watercolor gouache to this drawing, which puckered the paper, though I like the effect; I did note I ran out of time. But it's always hard to draw on the train, because once it's underground it really flies and rocks, taking those tight corners with near caroms. It reminds me of drawings I did years before of C., which were on thicker paper. The wrinkling creates a halo, doesn't it?