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Myths of Flight HUM 3285: British and American Literature Spring 2011 Dr. Perdigao March Myths of Flight HUM 3285: British and American Literature Spring 2011 Dr. Perdigao March 21, 2011

Connecting • • http: //www. amiribaraka. com/ http: //www. foxnews. com/story/0, 2933, 401101, 00. Connecting • • http: //www. amiribaraka. com/ http: //www. foxnews. com/story/0, 2933, 401101, 00. html

Still Surviving • From Piotr Gwiazda’s “The Aesthetics of Politics/The Politics of Aesthetics: Amiri Still Surviving • From Piotr Gwiazda’s “The Aesthetics of Politics/The Politics of Aesthetics: Amiri Baraka’s “Somebody Blew Up America”: But poetry’s current marginal status in American life should not suggest that throughout the twentieth century some American poets have not tried to engage, for better or for worse, in a critique of dominant values of the period. Considering that poets are not usually seen as agents of social or political change, it is important to keep in mind that some of them have been charged with treason (Ezra Pound), jailed for their conscientious objection to war (Robert Lowell), investigated by the FBI (Muriel Rukeyser), submitted to interrogation by the House Un-American Activities Committee (Langston Hughes), and viewed as a threat to national security (Allen Ginsberg). It would be a mistake, therefore, to assume that American poets have always been as far removed from the public aspects of American life as Gioia considers them to be at the century’s end. On the contrary, evidence shows that their poems and activities on occasion stirred up national debate and led to clashes with different forms of political authority. (460)

Still Surviving • Ralph Ellison (1914 -1994) • Amiri Baraka (Le. Roi Jones) (b. Still Surviving • Ralph Ellison (1914 -1994) • Amiri Baraka (Le. Roi Jones) (b. 1934) • Audre Lorde (1934 -1992) • Lucille Clifton (1936 -2010)

Ellison • • Named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, as signifying Oklahoma; Tuskegee Institute; New Ellison • • Named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, as signifying Oklahoma; Tuskegee Institute; New York Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Invisible Man (1952) Jazz composition: theme as bass line and harmonic variations as riffs (2381) “Flying Home” (1944) Theme of invisibility; solos and breaks • • Todd, black eagle Icarus: Stephen Dedalus • • • “jimcrow” Alabama Jefferson • • • Idea of moving North from the South, story of migration in the twentieth century Connecting to folk tales, African traditions Ideas of repeating, remembering, working through in Freudian model (Meili Steele, “Metatheory and the Subject of Democracy in the Work of Ralph Ellison”)

Baraka • • • • Everett Le. Roy Jones Newark, New Jersey 1951, changed Baraka • • • • Everett Le. Roy Jones Newark, New Jersey 1951, changed spelling to Le. Roi 1951 -1954 attended Howard University; flunked out; enlisted in U. S. Air Force until 1957 Dishonorable discharge—reading, writing, subscription to avant-garde journals Moved to Greenwich Village; peers Olson, O’Hara, Ginsberg 1960 visit to Cuba changing interest, poetic, to third world Play The Dutchman (1964) Moved to Harlem, established the Black Arts Repertory Theater/School; Spirit House in Newark Changed name and identity to Imamu Amiri Baraka: shift from black nationalism with Black Arts Movement to international socialism (2926), as Marxist-Leninist. Maoist writer, thinker, activist (Gwiazda 463) SUNY Stony Brook, African Studies Department; Emeritus; Poet Laureate of New Jersey Contemporary debates over “Somebody Blew Up America” Legislature introduced in 2003 to allow governor to remove poet laureate from his post

Lourde • • • New York City; parents’ plan to return to West Indies Lourde • • • New York City; parents’ plan to return to West Indies Inarticulate—no speech until age 5, only communication through poetry Hunter College, Columbia University • Full-time poet in late 60 s, leaving job as head librarian of CUNY; became poet-inresidence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi; poet and professor of English at Hunter College of CUNY • • • Work in terms of “survival and teaching” (2892) Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, biomythography Black women writers in 1980 s, critics “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” (1979) Race, sexuality, class, age Personal and political Difference: personal power Forces of change Community and liberation Reference to Adrienne Rich, work of white feminists

Clifton • • Born in New York; educated at Fredonia State Teachers College and Clifton • • Born in New York; educated at Fredonia State Teachers College and Howard University From married life and raising children to first collection of poetry Good Times (1969) Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College in Maryland • Pulitzer Prize for Poetry nominee • • Family history and relationships, community, racial history, reconciliation and transcendence as major themes (2960) Ideas of survival and endurance; avenging spirits • How to keep historical memory alive (2960) • Idea of the conjure woman, uses of tradition •