My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

December 21, 2023: Fall Semester Finds: A New Take on Hughes in Am Lit II

[For my annual Fall semester reflections series, I wanted to share some of the new texts and ideas I encountered this semester. I’d love to hear things you discovered or rediscovered this Fall in comments!]

Unlike with Tuesday’s subject Martín Espada, I unfortunately don’t think I’m likely to discover poems by Langston Hughes that I’ve never read—I teach Hughes’ mammoth and magisterial Collected Poems in my Major American Authors of the 20th Century course, and so have read every published poem of his at least once. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t rediscover even his most familiar works in compelling new ways, and as I’ve been saying throughout the week’s series a main way that I can and will do so with any texts is through student perspectives and class discussions. I had a wonderful example of that possibility this semester in my online section of American Literature II, where students read and responded to three Hughes poems including “The Weary Blues.” I’ve taught “Weary” literally dozens of distinct times, but in one of those responses this semester a student who is himself a Blues musician analyzed the poem through that perspective, really getting inside layers of Blues composition and songwriting to consider how the poem both parallels and comments on the genre. (As a relevant aside, I also loved the chance to share a Guest Post on the Blues from another student this semester!) As long as I can have such moments every semester, teaching will never get the slightest bit stale for me!

Last Fall find tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Other Fall finds you’d share?

No comments:

Post a Comment