Project Prospectus

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Project
Missouri Consortium for Global Education
Title VI-A Grant
Applicant: Jan S. Rog, English Instructor
Institution: Metropolitan Community College – Longview (MCC-Longview)
Course to be Globalized: U.S. Latino and Latina Literature (ENGL 152)
Region of Interest: West Africa
Consultants:
Professor Donald Swanson, French and Spanish Instructor: MCC-Longview
Professor Beverly Mack: English Professor: University of Kansas at Lawrence
Semesters to be offered: Fall, 2008; Spring, 2009; Fall, 2009.
Anticipated enrollment: Anticipated enrollment for each semester is 22 – 27 students.
Delivery methods: Delivery methods will be lecture and group work. As this class is
designated as Writing Intensive, all the students will need to write reader’s responses,
critiques, essays, and a final multi-genre project to reflect that they understand the lessons
and literature.
Course Outcomes: (Outcomes marked with an asterisk are those affected by the
globalization module.) Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1) *Evaluate the contributions that Latinos and Latinas have made to American literature
as well as the international community in the forms of essays, novels, poetry, short
stories, and visual texts.
2) Employ various forms of literary criticism in order to identify and predict the thematic
expressions of the authors as well as the intended readers.
3) *Explain through oral and written presentations the historical contexts that may have
prompted various Latino and Latina groups to publish literature and visual texts.
4) Analyze the literary contributions which Latino and Latina American writers have
made and will continue to make to the American culture.
5) *Explicate how Latino and Latina literature reflects the Latino and Latina citizen as
social product.
Narrative description of this project:
Original class:
English 152: U.S. Latino and Latina Literature is a survey course of U.S. Latino and
Latina literature from various genres, focusing on the works of U.S. authors of Latino
descent. The literary contributions of Chicanos, Cuban-Americans, and Puerto Rican
writers will be included. Students will read and discuss essays, drama, novels, poetry,
short stories, and ideological discourse while also exploring historical motivators of the
literature that have made cultural impacts on the Latino and Latina communities and the
American mainstream.
A brief description of this module:
Within the 20th Century, numerous U.S. authors of Latino descent (including those of
Cuban and Puerto Rican descent) sought to express their identity including their African
heritage. Emphasis will be placed on how this is reflected in poetry and music. By
infusing a global module entitled, “African Influence on U.S. Latino and Latina
Literature” into the existing English 152 course, the West African influences on such
U.S. authors.
1)
2)
3)
A portion will focus on African influences in literature and music during the
introductory discussion about the background of U.S. Latino/a literature:
“cha cha chá” (from KiMbundo) and “marimba” (from Bantu languages)
being just two of numerous examples.
Students will need to write a critique (5% of grade) and write reader responses
and homework over the works (about 5% of the grade). This will take
about two to three weeks of class.
In a semester’s end final multi-genre project, students will need to address
African influences in U.S. Latino and Latina literature as part of their full
project. (The full report is 10% of the class, so the part given to the
African influences will be approximately 3% of the final grade.) Students
will be working on this entire project for about two months.
Anticipated changes for the students:
As English 152: U.S. Latino and Latina Literature is designated as a Human Diversity
course, studying about West African influences will help students develop a fuller idea of
the complexities of U.S. Latinos and Latinas and be able to better articulate this in
writing and conversation. Also, this module will allow them to discuss the issues of
race, identity, pride, and community in a fuller manner - - not only with the emphasis on
the traditionally Latin American world but also with the understanding of the West
African influences.
Assessment: In this writing-intensive course, assessment will be based on effective,
strong writing and revision. Compositions and homework will need to be developed and
improved based on the Grading Criteria outlined in the document titled “Grading Latino
and Latina Literature”.
Use of content and language: In the first week of the course, Spanish words with
African origins will be introduced as part of our study of “intrahistoria”. These terms
reflect much of the music, the beliefs of the people, and many foods. All of these will be
part of other lessons later in the course, so these African/Spanish terms can be addressed
again later.
When we study folk tales, music, and poetry, the content material will be addressed. The
lessons from the oral history, the contributions of musicians, and the influences of the
African poets will be addressed but also actively studied by the students.
Technology for this course: A CD player; a DVD player, projector, and screen for films;
and power point presentations are the materials needed for this module.
ENG 152: U.S. Latino and Latina Literature syllabus
Longview Community College: Fall, 2006
Instructor: Jan S. Rog
Phone: (816) 672-2035
Office: LA 202W
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday: 9:30 – 10:30
Wednesday and Friday: 9:00 – 10:30
Also, by appointment with the instructor
Class Hours: M-W-F 11:00 – 11:50
Class Room: Liberal Arts Room 212
E-mail: jan.rog@mcckc.edu
Course Description:
This course will survey Latino/Latina American Literature from the 16th Century into the early
years of the 21st Century. Through analysis of novels, poetry, drama, news articles, and films,
students will also explore historical and social components that influenced these works.
Course Objectives:
 To read various literary pieces that define, explore, and express Latin-American culture
 To analyze films that reflect or explore the Latino condition
 To discuss recurring themes of Latino and Latina literature
 To write journals, summaries, and essays that help contextualize Latino topics
 To take quizzes and tests that help improve and strengthen intellectual positions on
literature
Expected Student Outcomes
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
 Evaluate the contributions that Latino and Latinas have made to American literature as
well as the international community in the form of essays, novels, poetry, short stories
and visual texts.




Employ various forms of literary criticism in order to identify and predict the thematic
expressions of the authors as well as the intended readers.
Explain through oral and written presentations the historical contexts that may have
prompted various Latino and Latina groups to publish literature and visual texts.
Analyze the literary contributions which Latino and Latina American writers have made
and will continue to make to the American culture.
Explicate how Latino and Latina literature reflects the Latino and Latina citizen as social
product.
Required Texts and Supplies:
 The Latino Reader: An American Literary Tradition From 1542 to the Present Edited by
Harold Augenbraum and Margarite Fernández Olmos.
 Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
 In the Name of Salomé by Julia Alvarez
 Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
 IBM computer disk(s) or other computer storage system
 A good dictionary for vocabulary development
This can be either English only or English – Spanish; use what you already have.
 Three-ring binder and portfolio folders for organizing handouts and assignments
 A new notebook that will serve as a journal
Methodology:
The instruction method will combine lectures, textbook assignments, group discussions,
individual essays, attendance/analysis of a cultural event, a multi-genre project, and critiques.
Course Evaluation:
Students will be graded on the basis of successful completion of
 Ongoing journal entries over materials read and viewed
 Literary critiques
 Essays about novels assigned in class
 Class examinations
 Attendance and written summary of a cultural event
 Final multi-genre project dealing with themes of U.S. Latino and Latina Literature
This is a Writing Intensive Course, so of course you will need to write consistently and
frequently. In this course, this is a means of learning the material more effectively, and it is
further a means of creativity and expression. Have fun with all the writing, and challenge
yourself to do better always!
You will be required to write about the literature in a variety of ways:
Reader’s Responses: length will vary, hand written
At times you’ll be able to write about the themes the authors are dealing with:
family, inequality, dreams, and so forth. At times this may be in a style similar to
that of the author, or it could be in a different style. As much of Latino/Latina
literature is based on the daily lessons of life, you’ll be able to reflect in a similar
way, hopefully better understanding the nuances and messages.
Literary Critiques: 2-3 pages, typed
At times you’ll need to write a literary analysis of works we’ve read. You’ll
need to critically consider the different time periods in which the works were
created and their various meanings.
Here is an example: Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas reflects a tough,
bleak view of Puerto Rican life in New York. “Mendoza Dreams” by Edgardo
Vega Yunqué shows a lighter side of life in Spanish Harlem: family pride,
beating the odds, and laughing with life. Both are seen as realistic renditions of
Puerto Rican life in New York. Analyze the language of each story. How does
each author convey his meaning with dialogue? Which do you consider more
powerful?
An essay over each novel: 3-5 pages, typed
You’ll need to write an essay about each novel we read. By actively taking notes
and discussing the novel with others in class, you’ll be able to write your essay
over and revise it over the two-week periods we present to each novel.
A report about a cultural even in the community: 3 pages, typed
You are to go into the Greater Kansas City Community and attend an event that
parallels or mirrors the literature we have studied and present a report. What
themes do you recognize in this cultural event? Which authors would have been
drawn to such an event? How could this
A Multi-genre project: 5 – 7 written pages long no longer than 7 written pages; your final
project may be longer when including various genre representations.
This replaces your Final Examination
This is a creative portfolio of sorts. In this project, you will present a consistent
theme that appeared in the literature from this class. You’ll choose the theme
and provide examples of this from the collective works of this semester. What’s
more, you’ll be able to incorporate the arts, personalities, and historical events
surrounding these as well.
Assignment Expectations:
 You will be asked to complete writing assignments that include journals about personal
experiences and also world events, in-class writing assignments, and quizzes.
Assignments will be drawn from your text and extra sources.
 Neatness is expected. Assignments should be completed on a computer with the
exception of in-class writing assignments and journals. These non-computer
compositions will need to be double-spaced on neat note-book paper or in your journal.
 MLA specifications will be used on all essays and compositions. These will be presented
in class at the beginning of the semester and throughout the course
 Assignments are to be turned in on time. Should you need to revise your work to receive
a satisfactory grade, you’ll need to submit your revision within a week (the exact date set
by the instructor).
 Homework usually will be done within one assignment/task period. This will include
many of your summaries and critical reflection pieces. In order to receive credit for
them, you must submit them on time. Each of the incremental tasks will be assigned
points and will need to be turned in on time.
 I’m always available during my office hours to meet with you. However, for more help, I
strongly advise you to go to the Longview Learning Center. There you will find
supportive tutors who will help you clarify your thoughts and encourage you in your
work. This is also a great campus resource for all your classes: Learning Resources Room
225 (LR225), (816)672-2205.
Class Expectations:
 You should attend class regularly and for the full class period. If you know you will have
to miss class, contact me as soon as you know. Let me know before you miss class.
Come in person, call me, or e-mail me. I check voice-mail and e-mail regularly.
 You are responsible for withdrawing from a class you do not plan to complete. If you
stop attending a class but remain on the class roster, you may receive an “F” for the
course. Students are withdrawn or failed under these circumstances:
MWF classes: 6 consecutive absences or 12 absences overall regardless of excuse.
 You are responsible for all work covered in class. If necessary, send your assignments
with another student, friend, or parent. Exchange your phone number with other students
in class.
 Be willing to be engaged. Talk up in class, sharing your ideas and questions.
 Put in six hours a week outside of class to homework. This is a standard expectation for
every three-hour class you take. Of course, some weeks you may have to work more, but
you’ll benefit by becoming a stronger student.
 Follow the requirements of the syllabus, including due dates for papers and assignments.
 Be willing to work with other students in class, showing them respect as they in turn will
need to respect you: turn off all cell phones and pagers at the beginning of each class.
 You are responsible for all work assigned when you are absent. Do not wait until the day
you return to get the assignment. Have someone from the class bring you a copy of the
assignment.
 Turn off cell phones (emergency care workers only are to leave them on buzz); listen to
others’ opinions and comments; and respect others’ questions and learning styles.
 Reading and writing assignments are due at the start of the class session; likewise quizzes
will be given at the beginning of class. Late homework will not be accepted, and missed
quizzes may not be made up.
 Submit your own homework and compositions, not copies or partial-copies of someone
else’s work. Using someone else’s ideas or words is the same as plagiarism, and that
carries severe penalties. Please refer to the later section concerning academic dishonesty.
 Doing work from another class is not acceptable in this class. Focus on U.S. Latino and
Latina Literature during class time, and you’ll already have enhanced your studying later.
Grades:
Your grade will be weighed as follows:
 20%: readers’ critiques and journal entries over materials read and viewed (homework
here included)
 30%: essays based on in-class themes; rough drafts, peer work, and revisions
 20%: Class examinations and in-class quizzes / discussion
I give quizzes when it seems that the class has not read. The more active
the class is in discussion, the fewer quizzes I will give.
 10%: 1 Humanities Adventure and its summary
 20%: Final Multi-Genre Project (in lieu of a final examination)
Americans With Disabilities Act:
Longview College complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act. If you have a documented
physical, psychological, or learning disability, the college provides special services such as
assistance with setting up classroom accommodations and providing ongoing support and
advocacy. Students are responsible for informing the college of their disability and providing
appropriate documentation. Contact the Access Office at (816)672-2254 or schedule an
appointment in Room 208 of the Campus Center.
Counseling:
Professional counselors at Longview provide free, confidential, comprehensive counseling
services that range from career planning to personal crisis management. For appointments call
(816)672-2255 or visit the Counseling Office in Room 210 in the Campus Center.
Academic Support:
Longview Learning Center provides free assistance and tutoring with English Composition but
also all other courses you may take during your time at Longview College. You will need to go
in person to contact the tutors, staff, and faculty there. Longview Learning Center is located in
Room 225 of the Learning Resources Building. The number for the Learning Center is
(816)672-2205, and the number for the Writing Center is (816)672-2208.
Academic Dishonesty:
Academic Dishonesty includes but is not limited to plagiarism, cheating during examinations or
quizzes, submission of work that has been prepared by another student, submissions of a single
paper to fulfill requirements in two courses without prior approval of the instructors in both
courses, and using a false name or signing the name of another individual without proper
authorization in connection with any course work.
If objective evidence exists indicating that a student has practiced academic dishonesty, the
instructor may assign a grade of “F” on the paper, examination, assignment, or the course as a
whole. If stronger measures are required, the Humanities Chair and Dean of Instruction may be
consulted.
Sexual Harassment:
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other
verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment will not be
tolerated of anyone either in the classroom or the workplace of Longview College and is
prohibited by federal and state law. If you have questions or believe that you have been subjected
to sexual harassment, you should contact the Dean of Students, Janet Cline: (816)672-2202.
Nondiscrimination:
Longview College is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of age, color, creed,
disability, marital or parental status, national origin, race, religion, sex, marital, or parental status
in admissions, education programs or activities, or employment. If you have questions or believe
that you have been discriminated against, contact the Dean of Students, Janet Cline: (816) 6722202.
****************************************************
This schedule may change based on the needs of the class. Additional readings may be
brought to the class as determined by the instructor. Be sure to read everything assigned
for the class listed before the class begins. Be ready to discuss, write reflections, and
critique the literature. It is advisable that you read ahead.
Week 1
M
08/20 No class
W
08/22 Introduction and Overview: Why Study Latino and Latina Literature?
Poetry of various peoples influencing modern-day Latino/a Literature
Native peoples of the Americas, Spanish and Europeans, Africans, other
Immigrants
Assigned Reading: “Two Words” by Isabel Allende
F
08/24 Discussion of “Two Words” and Critical Approaches to Literature
Week 2
M
08/27 Lecture: Encounters
The Account by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (4-17)
Florida by Inca, Garcilaso de la Vega (anthology 17-21)
W
08/29 Eulalia Pérez’ Memoir: “An Old Woman Remembers” (anthology: 71-80)
Poem: “I Am Joaquín” by Rodolfo Gonzales (anthology 265-279)
Literary Critique #1: (Due: Wednesday, September 5)
F
08/31 Lecture: Magic, Myth, and Murals
Influences in Mexican-American literature and culture
Eusebio Chacón: The Son of the Storm (anthology 114-132)
Week 3
M
09/03 LABOR DAY: ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY!
W
09/05 Due: Beginning of Class Literary Critique #1
Group Work
Excerpt from Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa
(anthology: 444-456)
Excerpt from Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros (anthology: 457-468)
F
09/07 Class lecture El Teatro Campesino: Political and Theatrical Impacts
Play Bernabé by Luis Valdez (handout)
Excerpt from The Hammon and the Beans by Américo Paredes
Take-Home Exam #1: examination over literature: Due Friday, September
14th.
*(Begin reading your first novel: Bless Me, Ultima)*
Week 4
We will view a movie but will have class notes, teacher comments, and
homework. Do not in assume viewing a film makes for an “easy class”.
09/10 Zoot Suit
09/12 Film Zoot Suit
M
W
F
09/14 DUE: Take Home Exam #1 Conclude Zoot Suit
For further reading, read “Zoot Suit” (anthology” 364-378)
FINISH READING BLESS ME, ULTIMA
Week 5
M
09/17 Begin discussion Bless Me, Ultima
Your essay prompts will be presented, and you will work on your essay
throughout the discussion of the novel.
W
09/19 Bless Me, Ultima
F
09/21 Bless Me, Ultima
Week 6
M
09/24 Bless Me, Ultima Turn in “essay so far”
W
09/26 Bless Me, Ultima
F
09/28 Bless Me, Ultima concluded. Closing review of Mexican-American literature
***THE FOLLOWING WEEKS WILL BE APPROXIMATELY THE TIME DEDICATED TO
THE MODULE***
Week 7
M
10/01 Submit your revised essay at the beginning of class
Cubans: African, Spanish, and Native Peoples
Poetry by Afro-Cuban authors (handout)
Essay “A Vindication of Cuba” (anthology: 99-104)
Poem “Simple Verses” (anthology: 105-107)
Critique #2 (due Friday, October 5th)
W
10/03 Immigrant and Exile Literature
“Beautiful Señoritas” (anthology: 351-364)
Dreaming in Cuban (anthology: 468-478)
F
10/05 Due: Beginning of the Class Critique #2
Group Work
Singing to Cuba (handout)
Spared Angola: Memories of a Cuban-American Childhood (handout)
The Marks of Birth (handout)
(BEGIN READING YOUR SECOND NOVEL In The Name of Salomé)
Week 8
M
Again, class discussion and exam questions will be based on this film. You must
be present to analyze and discuss this film, based on the Pulitzer-winning novel.
10/08 Film: The Mambo Kings
W
10/10 The Mambo Kings
F
10/12 The Mambo Kings concluded
Exam #2 Assigned Due Monday, October 15
Week 9
M
10/15 Beginning of Class: Submit Exam #2
Begin In the Name of Salomé
W
10/17 Continue In the Name of Salomé
F
10/19 Continue In the Name of Salomé
Week 10
M
10/22 Continue In the Name of Salomé (Submit “essay so far”)
W
10/24 Continue In the Name of Salomé
F
10/26 Conclude In the Name of Salomé
Week 11
M
10/29 Film The Bronze Screen Submit final essay for In the Name of Salomé
W
10/31 Contemporary Caribbean and U.S. Latino poetry and essays (handouts)
F
11/02 Contemporary Caribbean and U.S. Latino poetry and essays (handouts)
Week 12
M
11/05 Lecture: Puerto Rican Literature: City Life, Poetry, and Photography
Selection by Pachín Marín (anthology: 108-113)
W
11/07 “Mendoza Dreams” (handout)
Down These Mean Streets (anthology: 279-285)
Critique #3 Due: Monday, November 13th
F
11/09 Puerto Rican Poetry (handouts)
Poems by Julia Burgos (anthology: 208-210)
(Be sure to begin reading Daughter of Fortune)
Week 13
M
11/12 Group Work
Nilda (anthology: 318-328)
“Memoirs of Bernardo Vega” (anthology: 166-173)
W
11/14 Assigned: Test #3 (Due: Monday, November 19)
Poetry of Victor Hernandez Cruz (anthology: 285-287)
Poetry of Tato Laviera (anthology: 378-381)
Additional Nuyorican Writers
F
11/16 Writings by Judith Ortiz Cofer (479-488)
Drama “Short Eyes” by Miguel Piñero
Week 14
M
11/19 Due: Beginning of Class Exam #3
W
F
Short stories
11/21 NO CLASSES: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
11/23 NO CLASSES: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Week 15
M
11/26 Daughter of Fortune
Your last essay prompt will be given. Work on it throughout discussion of
the novel.
W
11/28 Daughter of Fortune
F
11/30 Daughter of Fortune Submit your “essay so far”.
YOU MUST HAVE YOUR HUMANITIES ADVENTURE ESSAY SUBMITTED BY 11/30.
Week 16
M
12/03 Daughter of Fortune
W
12/05 Daughter of Fortune
F
12/07 Conclude Daughter of Fortune
Submit your final essay over the novel.
Week of Finals: Final Examination: TBA. On this day, your Multi-genres project will be due.
________________________________
Week #1: Intrahistory and Common Spanish Words of African Origin
Recall that “intrahistoria” or intrahistory is the daily history people live: their daily
habits, names for household objects, popular news that’s fleeting but intriguing, or daily
knowledge we often think to be “common sense”. These daily items are the “internal
history” we live, and culture significantly shapes these. Because cultures evolve, so will
the intrahistory within each. Language itself is one record of intrahistory. Think of the
slang you use, the hobbies unique to your generation, the newest book you’ve read or
virtual game you’ve play, or the rituals you share with your family. All of these things
reflect your history, and the names (language) assigned to each record your life whenever
you write or speak. Similarly, Spanish carries messages about the daily lives of the
Spanish-speaking people; it even reflects numerous words from African languages.
Consider the intrahistory of the terms here presented.
A) Fill out the graph with the original terms from various languages from modernday Africa. Follow the first two examples.
B) Take the individual terms and classify them into five (5) different categories. Any
outlying words can be classified as miscellaneous.
C) Locate the countries on the map you have in front of you.
D) With partners, speculate how these terms relate to each other. As all of these
entered Spanish, you can relate terms from across original African languages.
Word in Spanish
African language or languages /
nation or nations
Class
banana = the fruit that is banana (Lingala / Zaire)
Food
the banana
banana (Wolof, Senegal and Gambia)
banana (Mandingo, Senegal, Mali, New
Guinea)
banana (Liberia)
all mean the fruit “banana”
batuque & batucada= 1)
noise or uproar 2)
drumbeat or AfroBrazilian dance or
assembly for singing
and dancing
batuke (KiMbundu / Angola) =
a very popular dance among the
Music
Mbundu people, accompanied by loud
drum beating
bemba = large lip,
usually the lower one
mbembo (LiNgala / Zaire) =
very large lower lip (and this is used
perjoratively)
batuka (Tshiluba / Zaire) =
to make a lot of noise or cause an
uproar
bengala = walking cane mbangala (KiMbundu / Angola) = stick
bolo = cake
mbolo (KiKongo / Zaire and Angola) =
cake
bongo = drum
bongoo (Holo / Angola) = a small drum
played for dancing
bunda = buttocks
mbunda (KiMbundu / Angola) =
buttocks
caatinga = region
ka tjinga (Ngangela / Angola) = a
containing thorny,
certain type of edible black leaves that
stunted vegetation due grow on low-lying bushes
to little rainfall
cachaça
ka’shasu (Manganja / Mozambique) =
wine, strong beer
ka’shasu (Cinyanja / Mozambique) =
whiskey
Have you heard
or used this
word?
Yes, this
translates to
English, too.
No, this is a new
word for me.
cachimbo(a)
ka’shimbu (KiMbundu / Angola) =
smoking pipe
ka’shimbu (Manganja / Mozabmique) =
smoking pipe
carcunda=hunchback
kari’kunda (KiMbundu / Angola) =
hunchback
chachacha = the
chachacha dance
tchatcha (KiMbundu / Angola) = to
make a noise while dancing with small
rattles or disks strung around one’s legs
chango = monkey
tchanga (Manganja / Mozambique) =
lemur macaco monkey
congo = any black;
someone from Africa
Congo – throughout African nations
from the geographical location which
used to be named the Belgian Congo
dende = certain type of ndende (KiMbundu / Angola) = palm
African palm tree taken tree
to Brazil during the
colonial period
ndende (Ngangela / Angola) = palm oil
dengue = 1) prudery,
affectation 2) a head
cold or body aches
nde’ngere (KiKuyu / Kenya) = 1) neatly
or daintily formed 2) clean, moral
ndengo ndengo (KiMbundu / Angola) =
an illness causing the legs to tremble
nde-nga (Basaa’ / Cameroon) =
persecution, torture
fuba = cornmeal
fu’ba (KiMbundu / Angola) = flour
guandul or guandu =
bean
wandu (KiKongo / Zaire) = small,
round bean
guereguere =
boogeyman
ngere (KiKuyu / Kenya) = wart-hog
guineo = sweet potato
Guinea (the modern day country) = the
sweet potato was most likely brought
from that area
mabaça = twin
mabaças = twins
ma’pasa (KiKongo / Zaire) = twins
malanga = a type of
yam
malanga (KiKongo / Zaire) = edible
plant
mandinga = curse,
witchcraft / The Devil
melangalanga (Ila / Zimbabwe) = edible
flowers
mandinga (KiMbundu / Angola) = evil,
an evil-doer
marimba = large
marimba (KiMbundu / Angola) = drum
xylophone with
resonators
merengue = 1) merinque mererek’e (Fulani / Senegal and
made with egg whites Gambia) = radiant, quivering
and sugar
2) a fast-moving dance
popular in the Caribbean
motete = bundle,
package, sack, bag
mutete (KiMbundu / Angola) = basket
motet (Tunen / Cameroon) = elongated
basket made of palm fronds
mucama = a black or
mulatto slave girl
makama (Fulani / Senegal and
Gambia)= one of the Emir’s chief
slaves
mu’kami (KiKongo / Zaire) = pupil,
child, orphan
quilombo = a hidden
refuge for runaway
slaves
kilombo (KiMbundu / Angola) = house
samba = a dance most
common in Brazil
samba (Ngangela / Angola) = to jump
around
samba (Tshiluba / Zaire) = to jump
around
sa’mbale (Hausa / Nigeria) = a dance
for young people
somba (Bobangi / the Congo) = to
dance the divination dance
sandunga = geniality, sanduke (Ngangela / Angola) = happy,
charm, happiness, joy, joyous
jubilation
senzala = the slave
quarters
sa’nzala (KiMbundu / Angola) = village
umbanda = black magic, umbanda (KiMbundu / Angola) =
voodoo ritual, place
medical science
where rites are practiced
vodu = black magic,
vodu (Ewe / Togo) = deity
voodoo
vodu (Fon / Togo) = a good or evil
spirit
zombi / zumbi = a ghost
which walks around at nsubmi (KiKongo / Zaire) = the devil
night, a supernatural
power that can enter and
reanimate a corpse
Week #2
Reader’s Response
Select one of the Mexican stories that we’ve read and compare and contrast it with either
“Quarcoo Bah-Bohni (The Bad Boy)” or “Anansi and the Blind Fisherman”. Address
how these stories reflect various aspects of oral traditions and legends presented in class:
1) lessons about life, family, and identity; 2) lessons about creation and the workings of
the cosmos (cosmogony); 3) human narratives tied to nature; and 4) people’s qualities
(both good and bad) represented symbolically. Also look for aspects of “magic”
occurring within the stories: 1) shape shifting, 2) time travel, 3) communing with the
dead, 4) distinguishing enemies from friends, 5) seeking help, and 6) rewarding virtue.
The Mexican story of your choice: ________________________________________
The African story of your choice: _________________________________________
Reader’s Response:
Listen to the musical pieces: “Fatou Yo” and “Yiri Bum”.
1st time:
Write the impressions you have of the music.
What feelings do the musical pieces evoke in you?
What images come to mind?
What other things do you think as you listen to these short passages.
Fatou Yo:
Yiri Bum:
2nd time:
Listen now to hear the similarities between the songs.
What is similar?
Listen for the instruments. What instruments can you hear?
Fatou Yo:
Yiri Bum:
Based on what we’ve discussed so far this semester, speculate about why these songs are
similar. Continue writing. Begin thinking about when these songs would have been
played, what you speculate to be their individual messages, and impact on the readers.
Are you tempted to get up and dance? (smile)
___________________________________________________
Lesson #4: U.S. Latino and Latina Poets Embracing African Roots
Work in your teams, completely answering these questions for your accompanying
poems.
1) Read the first two poems: “Ending Poem” and “Bilingual Blues”. Select two different
people from your group, and have each person read a poem aloud.
a) What emotions do the poets express in these poems?
What are they searching for?
b) In your interpretation, what types of roots or “groundedness” are they seeking?
c) In “Ending Poem” what numerous cultural and geographical references are
made?
How do the authors reveal that they embrace these numerous cultural
heritages?
d) In “Bilingual Blues” what cultural references are made? Do you think the
author embraces his cultural heritage? Explain why. (Remember, the tone with
which you read may also influence the audience interpretation.)
e) What themes do you recognize from Immigrant literature?
f) What themes do you recognize from Exile literature?
g) The other poems in this packet are written by African poets or U.S. Latino poets.
All of these poems were written during the 20th Century.
Make some predictions about what the themes of the African poems. Likewise, predict
the themes of the U.S. Latino poets.
2) Read “Sensemayá” and “In the Beginning” aloud with your group members.
a) Where do recognize African references?
b) What do you think the “snake” represents in “Sensemayá”? Explain with
excerpts from the poem. Of course, you can also refer to class notes and other
literature.
c) Consider the musical instruments introduced in “In the Beginning”.
In your opinion, why did Sandra Maria Esteves use drums to introduce the
beginning of the world? In this poem, how are music and life interconnected?
3) With your group members, again select two readers: one for “A La Mujer
Borrinqueña” and one for “Black Woman”. After reading, answer these questions.
a) How do Sandra Maria Esteves and Léopold Sedar Senghor show beauty in their
respective women? Write the phrases, and add more on back if you need more
space.
A La Mujer Borrinqueña
Black Woman
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
b) How do Esteves and Senghor show strength in their respective women? Again,
write the phrases, and add more on the back if you need more space.
A La Mujer Borrinqueña
Black Woman
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
_________________________
c) Consider how Senghor’s woman reflects Africa. What are the imagery and
symbolism that support such symbolism? What does Senghor love about his
homeland? What does he value about his home?
d) What do you think Esteves’ woman could symbolize? Write your answers,
consider which you like best, and determine how the poem best supports such
symbolism.
e) How is each woman of these poems nourishing, nurturing, strong, and loving?
Find indirect examples of these as well as explicit examples.
4) Read “African Things”, “Niggerlips”, and “I Thank You God”. As you know,
different people are to read each aloud. Answer these questions when you finish.
a) As you read and answer these, consider how each reflects history: personal
history, family history, or cultural history. What is the importance of history for
each
b) What is Victor Hernandez Cruz seeking in “African Things”? What is the tone
of this poem, and what words and phrases led you to this conclusion?
What terms or phrases reveal his wonder and love of such African things?
What does this reveal about what he values within himself?
What symbols or imagery does he create about Africa?
c) In “Niggerlips” we can see the frustrations often reflected in Immigrant
literature. What are the obstacles the young boy faces? Mark the corresponding
passages.
What effects did these passages have on you, the audience?
What is his family’s attitude about the darker-skinned people of his family? Do
you believe these are current attitudes or only applicable to the past? Explain.
What is the speaker’s resolve in this poem? What strength does he reflect? What
pride does he reflect? Please write the passages that reveal these.
c) In “I Thank You God” what are the images of Africa?
How does Dadié create parallel images of himself?
What do all of these images reflect about the beauty, devotion, and pride within
him?
How are religion and culture interrelated for Dadié, and how does this enhance his
poem? Can you think of examples from U.S. literature or speeches that reflect
such combination?
d) How can Victor Hernandez Cruz and Martín Espada find “answers” within the
poetry of Bernard Binlin Dadié?
What answers could Dadié have found in the poems of Victor Hernandez Cruz and
Martín Espada?
5) Finally, please read “Today is a Day of Great Joy” and “Leaf in the Wind”.
What are the messages here presented about poet and poets?
Reread these poems.
What common themes can you identify in the U.S. poems and the African poems?
What lessons are these authors seeking to teach?
What questions are they still asking? Are their answers they give within their
words? If so, what are they?
_____________________________________________________________________
Lessons for midsemester I
Literary Critique: 3 – 4 pages long, MLA format
Choose one of these prompts and write about it clearly, thoroughly, and reflectively. Use the
anthology and appropriate handouts where directed to do so. You are to provide quotes, page
references, and proper citations throughout your composition. Remember to add a correct Works
Cited page at the end, adding any additional sources you choose to use for this compositions.
Remember, you are not to refer to the author’s by the first names. (José Martí is to be addressed
and referred to as Jose Martí, Mr. Martí, Sr. Martí, or simply Martí for third person reference. As
he is not your intimate, you are not to address him or refer to him as José. First name reference is
only for characters.)
1) Using your text’s excerpt of José Martí’s “A Vindication of Cuba”, write your response to Mr.
Martí. Remember the class discussion; you can agree or disagree with him in whole or only in
parts. Address at least four of the issues he pointedly wrote about in addressing the possible
annexation of Cuba. Explain why you agree or disagree with him, and be certain to refer to his
own writing as you refer to his letter.
You have the benefit of looking back over 100 years and seeing how Cuba changed. You also
have the benefit of having learned of other great leaders - - Léopold Sedar Senghor, Nelson
Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. - - who shared his same leadership qualities: those same
qualities which marked José Martí as a radical and cast him as an exile. Mandela and Senghor
became leaders of the very countries whose freedom they were fighting for; King was
assassinated, his life cut short just as Martí’s life had been cut short. Consider the impact his life
and leadership may have had on them in later years, extending to other countries.
2) Compare and contrast José Martí’s “Simple Verses” and Léopold Sedar Senghor’s “I Am
Alone” and “Before Night Comes”. Address the aspects of the works that reflect the poets’ love
for nature, their great nationalism, and their passionate natures. Further consider how each poet
was well-educated not only in his native land but also versed in European and American
disciplines and events; recall the romantic characteristics of Martí’s poetry and how Senghor had
been influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. Both were statesmen as well as poets; as you read
their poems, keep in mind that they were keenly aware of the societies in which they lived and the
audiences who regularly read and openly challenged them. Finally,
keep in mind that both were men: one a proclaimed simple man, and one who stands alone when
needed.
3) Reflect on the influences of African music presented in the film The Mambo Kings and the
excerpt from the novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Consider how the music was
received in the United States, the traditions the brothers brought with them, and the references
they made to their inspirations and muses. How was their music different from the more
mainstream music of the 1950s, when the story is set? What were the innovations the brothers
brought to their music?
Further consider how each brother’s personality was reflected in his music. What qualities did
Nestor have, and how did his lyrics reflect these? What qualities did Cesar have, and how did his
musical arrangements and bands reflect these?
______________________________________________________________________
Final Project
In lieu of a traditional final examination, you will create an individual multi-genre project which
will address the course’s lessons, personal insights, and recurring themes throughout the
semester. You are receiving this final project early in order to begin developing your ideas while
later revising and elaborating throughout the course.
1) First you can choose the form in which you’d like to present this project. You may
choose to create a power point presentation, a magazine, a newspaper, or a series of
original poems, interviews, and essays. Within this compilation, you will need to
address the various questions posed for this final project. Consider that this may
someday be an artifact that reflects life in the United States in the 21st Century. What
would your project reveal about Latinos and Latinas living in the United States? Of
course, the historical and cultural influences from other peoples are part of this.
Your project must address all the themes, span the entire class, and include the numerous
literary works you studied: stories, excerpts from novels, full novels, essays, poetry, and
personal reflections.
2) In your project you are to address these questions and prompts. Be certain to always
credit the authors, literary works, and personal references you made.
a) What is the importance of studying U.S. Latino and Latina literature?
How does studying these works help someone better understand today’s world?
How do these works reflect themes that are common among all peoples? What
are themes that may be unique to U.S. Latinos and Latinas? (1)
b) Identity: Who is a Latino or Latina in the United States? How do these people
see themselves, and what questions do they continually ask in seeking their
identity? What are some different (perhaps even contradictory) answers at least
three (3) of our authors have provided about who they are and what they believe
about themselves.
c) What is Immigrant Literature? What are the most common characteristics of this
literature? Provide at least three (3) authors whose works reflected Immigrant
Literature.
What is Exile Literature? What are the most common characteristics of this
literature? Provide at least three (3) of our authors whose works reflected Exile
Literature.
d) How has U.S. Latino and Latina literature been influenced by African literature.
Also, are there other examples you can give that reflect how African literature
may have been influenced by U.S. Latino and Latina authors? Provide at least
five (5) examples of this.
e) What is the American Dream? Clearly define what this is, and please provide ten
(10) examples from throughout our literature that reflect how this Dream is
actualized by Latinos and Latinas or how it has been denied them. It is most
likely that you will have examples of both the realization and the negation of this
Dream.
Grades for Reader’s Responses and Group Work
The grade for these will be based upon how thoroughly you engage yourself during
the time allotted for these in-class exercises. You will need to use the full time,
provide examples from the literature in question, and be respectful of the author,
the other students, and yourself as a learner.
Reader’s Responses
For your reader’s responses, you will need to refer to the literary works we are currently
working on. Always be certain to bring your anthology, the current novel we are
working on, any handouts or articles that you’ve been given, and pens or pencils.
Reader’s responses are exactly that: your genuine reaction to the work. You may like it,
you may dislike, or you may have conflicting feelings about the work. (Watch to see
how many times the authors themselves profess their own contradictory feelings and
ideas.) Respond honestly, and then go back and write why you agree or disagree. Pick
out specific points the author made that struck you as unfair, ridiculous, beautiful or
grotesque, heartfelt and touching, or any other impression that strikes you emotionally.
As you write about it, you may find that your opinion changes or that it becomes
stronger. Either is fine provided that you are actively reading the work, actively engaging
in what the author has written.
You might not even respond to the works emotionally. Perhaps you are intellectually
intrigued by new ideas or concepts. It may be that some language is new to you, a
concept is shocking, or a familiar topic suddenly takes on a new interpretation for you.
Again, you are to write as fully as possible by interacting with the text. Perhaps you’ll
have questions you want to ask of the author. Perhaps you’ll decide to go back and read
the text again with your new understanding. Whatever the case is, continue with your
writing throughout the time allotted in class.
Group Work
Group work will often require you to work with different students throughout the class.
Be sure to respect your classmates just as they are to respect you. As you work with each
other, remember that their experiences will be different from yours and there will be
times you understand each other but other times when you won’t. Stay patient with each
other. Listen fully, and answer directly.
Fair warning! Especially when we read poetry, you will often be challenged to read in
your groups. You’ll do fine. However, I do recommend reading ahead (and reading
aloud) just in case you’ll be doing such group work in class. Most of all, enjoy working
with each other.
English 152English 152
U.S. Latino and Latina Literature
Critical Essay / Critique
Your essay will be due on __________________________at the beginning of class. Though
this may seem like a short amount of time, you have a full week to write, revise, and perfect your
essay. I have chosen this time frame in order to help you keep your momentum. Be certain to
actively take notes in class, contribute to discussions, and reflectively question and write your
ideas concerning the prompt you select.
As you write your essay, consider the rhetorical pattern that will best fit your selected topic:
illustration, comparison and contrast, argument, or any other that fits your topic.
Review your English 101 textbook in reviewing and composing your essay. However, the more
developed and sophisticated essays will not merely reflect English 101 lessons. Exceptional
essays will most likely combine rhetorical styles and have more developed themes (say, looking
at both immigrant and exile literature).
Characteristics of a C critique
1) The authors and their respective literary works are addressed immediately in the introduction.
2) Basic points will be addressed clearly in the thesis statement and then sufficiently addressed
throughout the essay’s thesis. Make certain that your thesis statement is thorough, reflecting
what you most want to communicate about the literature.
3) Examples from throughout the works are presented. I will read carefully to see that you
provide key examples from the literature.
4) MLA format and citations are presented clearly and accurately.
5) Grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and sentence structure must be accurate. There may be
frequent (but not persistent) errors in these, reflecting that while time was put into writing and
revising the essay, sufficient and effective time was not put into proofreading and editing the
essay.
Characteristics of a B critique
E) All of the characteristics of a C paper (above listed) must be well presented.
F) Additionally, the main idea (thesis) of your essay will need to reflect more originality.
Perhaps you will select to write more about a lesser-discussed topic addressed in class
discussion. Perhaps you have a unique idea about the story that was not addressed in class.
G) Your essay will need to be developed with a logical progression. Transitions between and
among paragraphs need to be clear and will need to build upon the momentum of the idea.
H) Characters will need to emerge as clearly identified players, representing not only their actions
but also what they further reflect in terms of (possibly) symbolism, relationships, interconnectedness, and lessons they either learned or taught.
I) Your essay will have only occasional errors in sentence structure, grammar, style, and
punctuation.
Characteristics of an A critique
1) All of the characteristics of both a C composition and B composition (see above) must be
exceptionally presented.
2) Your thesis will need to be original, not merely a reflection of our class discussions.
3) Abstract ideas will need to be balanced and supported with superb examples from the text.
4) Characters, themes, and genres will be addressed and clearly inter-related.
5) Your essay will move smoothly from one idea to the next, reflecting that you have a clear and
thorough understanding of your chosen essay topic.
6) Your essay will be virtually free of errors in sentence structure, grammar, style, and
punctuation.
U.S. Latino and Latina Literature
Novel
Written by ______________
Your essay will be due on __________________________at the beginning of class. Though
this may seem like a short amount of time, you have a full week to write, revise, and perfect your
essay. I have chosen this time frame in order to help you keep your momentum. Be certain to
actively take notes in class, contribute to discussions, and reflectively question and write your
ideas concerning the novel.
As you write your essay, consider the rhetorical pattern that will best fit your selected topic:
illustration, comparison and contrast, argument, or any other that fits your topic.
Review your English 101 textbook in reviewing and composing your essay. However, the more
developed and sophisticated essays will not merely reflect English 101 lessons. Exceptional
essays will most likely combine rhetorical styles and have more developed themes (say, looking
at both bildungsroman and symbolism as one example).
Characteristics of a C essay
1) The author and novel are addressed immediately in the introduction.
2) Basic points will be addressed clearly in the thesis statement and then sufficiently addressed
throughout the essay’s thesis. Make certain that your thesis statement is thorough, reflecting
what you most want to communicate about the novel.
3) Examples from throughout the entire novel are presented. I will read carefully to see that you
provide key examples from the entirety of this well-contextualized and highly connected
novel.
4) MLA format and citations are presented clearly and accurately.
5) Grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and sentence structure must be accurate. There may be
frequent (but not persistent) errors in these, reflecting that while time was put into writing and
revising the essay, sufficient and effective time was not put into proofreading and editing the
essay.
Characteristics of a B essay
A) All of the characteristics of a C paper (above listed) must be well presented.
B) Additionally, the main idea (thesis) of your essay will need to reflect more originality.
Perhaps you will select to write more about a lesser-discussed topic addressed in class
discussion. Perhaps you have a unique idea about the story that was not addressed in class.
C) Your essay will need to be developed with a logical progression. Transitions between and
among paragraphs need to be clear and will need to build upon the momentum of the idea.
D) Characters will need to emerge as clearly identified players, representing not only their actions
but also what they further reflect in terms of (possibly) symbolism, relationships, interconnectedness, and lessons they either learned or taught.
E) Your essay will have only occasional errors in sentence structure, grammar, style, and
punctuation.
Characteristics of an A essay
1) All of the characteristics of both a C composition and B composition (see above) must be
exceptionally presented.
2) Your thesis will need to be original, not merely a reflection of our class discussions.
3) Abstract ideas will need to be balanced and supported with superb examples from the text.
4) Characters, themes, and genres will be addressed and clearly inter-related.
5) Your essay will move smoothly from one idea to the next, reflecting that you have a clear and
thorough understanding of your chosen essay topic.
6) Your essay will be virtually free of errors in sentence structure, grammar, style, and
punctuation.
___________________
I Am Alone
I am alone in the plains
And in the night
With trees curled up from the cold
And holding tight, elbow to body, one to the other.
I am alone in the plains
And in the night
With the hopeless pathetic movements of trees
That have lost their leaves to the other islands.
I am alone in the plains
And in the night.
I am the solitude of telegraph poles
Along deserted
Roads.
-Léopold Sedar Senghor
Before Night Comes
Before night comes I think of you and for you before I fall
Into the white net of anguish, and before twilight I walk
Along the borders of dreams and desires, among the sands gazelles
To bring poetry back to the Childhood Kingdom.
They stare at you astonished, like the young girl from Ferlo,
You remember her Fulani breasts and thighs, hills are more melodious
Than saitic bronzes and her braided hair dancing as she danced,
And her huge, vacant eyes that lit up my night.
Is the light still so weightless in your limpid country
And the women too beautiful to be real?
If I saw the young girl again, or the woman now,
She would be you in the September sun,
Golden skin, melodious bearing, and those huge eyes
Like fortresses against death.
- Léopold Sedar Senghor
“Simple Verses” by José Martí
If you’ve seen a mount of sea foam,
It is my verse you have seen:
My verse a mountain has been,
And a feathered fan become.
My verse is like a dagger
At show hilt a flower grows,
My verse is a fount which flows
With a sparkling coral water.
My verse is a gentle green
And also a flaming red,
My verse is a deer wounded
Seeking forest cover unseen.
My verse is brief and sincere,
And to the brave will appeal:
With all the strength of the steel
With which the sword will appear.
*******************
From this world I will depart,
And the natural door will try:
Green leaves will cover the cart
On which I’m taken to die.
Don’t in darkness let me lie
With traitors to come undone:
I am good and as the good die,
I will die face to the sun!
Also refer to the simple verses presented in your anthology, beginning with
“I am an honest man. . . .”
_____________________________________________
Bibliography for Students
Augenbraum, Harold and Margarita Fernandez, eds. The Latino Reader: An American
Literary Tradition from 1542 to Present. New York: Houghton Mifflin,
1997.
McClatchey, J.D. ed. The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry. New York:
Random House, 1996.
Paine, Jeffrey, ed. The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of
Contemporary Poetry. New York: HarperCollins, 2000
Bibliography of Sources
Augenbraum, Harold and Margarita Fernandez, eds. The Latino Reader: An American
Literary Tradition from 1542 to Present. New York: Houghton Mifflin,
1997.
Baez Ventura, Gabriela. U.S. Latino Literature Today. New York: Pearson Longman,
2005.
Fernandez, Raul. Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination. San Francisco: Chronicle Books,
2002.
McClatchey, J.D. ed. The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry. New York:
Random House, 1996.
Marzan, Julio, ed. Luna, Luna: Creative Writing Ideas from Spanish, Latin American,
and Latino Literature. New York: Teachers and Writers Collaborative, 1997.
Megenney, William W. “Common Words of African Origin Used in Latin America.”
Hispania 66.1 (1983): 1-10.
Paine, Jeffrey, ed. The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of
Contemporary Poetry. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
Ending Poem
I am what I am.
A child of the Americas.
A light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean.
A child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads.
I am Puerto Rican. I am U.S. American.
I am New York Manhattan and the Bronx.
A mountain-born, country-bred, homegrown jíbara child,
up from the shtetl, a California Puerto Rican Jew
A product of the New York ghettos I have never known.
I am an immigrant
and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants.
We didn’t know our forbears’ names with a certainty.
They aren’t written anywhere.
First names only or mija, negra, ne, honey, sugar, dear
I come from the dirt where the cane was grown.
My people didn’t go to dinner parties. They weren’t invited.
I am caribeña, island grown.
Spanish is in my flesh, ripples from my tongue, lodges in my hips,
the language of garlic and mangoes.
Borcua. As Bóricuas come for the isle of Manhattan.
I am of latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent.
I speak from that body. Just brown and pink and full of drums inside.
I am not African.
Africa waters the roots of my tree, but I cannot return.
I am not Taína.
I am a late leaf of that ancient tree,
and my roots reach into the soil of two Americas.
Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.
I am not European, though I have dreamt of those cities.
Each plate is different.
Wood, clay, papier maché, metals, basketry, a leaf, a coconut shell.
Europe lives in me but I have no home there.
The table has a cloth woven by one, dyed by another,
Embroidered by another still.
I am a child of many mothers.
They have kept it all going
All the civilizations created on their backs.
All the dinner parties given with their labor.
We are new.
They gave us life, kept us going,
brought us to where we are.
Born at a crossroads.
Come, lay that dishcloth down. Eat, dear, eat.
History made us.
We will not eat ourselves up inside anymore.
And we are whole.
-Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales (Puerto Rican and American)
Bilingual Blues
Soy un ajiaco de contradicciones.
I have mixed feelings about everything.
Name your tema, I’ll hedge;
name your cerca, I’ll straddle it
like a cubano.
I have mixed feelings about everything.
Soy un ajiaco de contradicciones.
Vexed, hexed, complexed,
hyphenated, oxygenated, illegally alienated,
psycho soy, cantando voy:
You say tomato,
I say tu madre;
You say potato,
I say Pototo.
Let’s call the hole
un hueco, the thing
a cosa, and if the cosa goes in the hueco,
consider yourself en casa,
consider yourself part of the family.
Soy un ajiaco de contradicciones,
un potaje de paradojas:
a little square from Rubik’s Cuba
que nadie nunca acoplará.
(Cha-cha-chá.)
-Gustavo Pérez Firmat (Cuban American)
¡Sensemayá! (Canto Para Matar una Culebra)
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
La culebra tiene los ojos de vidrio;
la culebra viene, y se enreda en un palo;
con sus ojos de vidrio en un palo,
con sus ojos de vidrio.
La culebra camina sin patas;
la culebra se esconde en la yerba;
caminando se esconde en la yerba;
¡caminando sin patas!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
Tú le das con el hacha, y se muere;
¡dale ya!
¡No le des con el pie, que te muerde,
no le des con el pie, que se va!
Sensemayá, la culebra, sensemayá,
Sensemayá, con sus ojos,
sensemayá.
Sensemayá con su lengua,
sensemayá.
Sensemayá con su boca,
sensemayá!
La culebra muerta no puede comer;
la culebra muerta no puede silbar, no puede caminar,
no puede correr!
La culebra muerta no puede mirar;
la culebra muerta no puede beber,
no puede respirar,
no puede morder!
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, la culebra...
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, no se mueve...
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, la culebra...
¡Mayombé-bombe-mayombé!
¡Sensemayá, se murió!
-Nicolás Guillén (Cuban)
¡Sensemayá! (Song to Kill a Snake)
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
The snake has eyes of glass;
The snake coils on a stick;
With his eyes of glass on a stick,
With his eyes of glass.
The snake walks without feet;
The snake hides in the grass;
Walking, it hides in the grass,
Walking without feet.
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombe!
Hit it with an ax and it dies;
Hit it now! Go on, hit him!
Don’t hit it with your foot or it will bite you;
Don’t hit it with your foot, or it will run!
Sensemayá, the snake,
sensemayá.
Sensemayá, with its eyes,
sensemayá.
Sensemayá, with its tongue,
sensemayá.
Sensemayá, with its mouth,
sensemayá.
The dead snake cannot eat;
the dead snake cannot hiss;
it cannot move,
it cannot run!
The dead snake cannot look;,
the dead snake cannot drink,;
it cannot breathe,
it cannot bite.
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, the snake . . .
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, does not move . . .
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, the snake, the snake
¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé!
Sensemayá, the snake is dead!
-Nicolás Guillén (Cuban)
In the Beginning
In the beginning was the sound
Like the universe exploding
It came, took form, gave life
And was called Conga
And Conga said:
Let the be night and day
And was born el Quinto y el Bajo
And Quinto said: Give me female
There came Campana
And Bajo said: Give me son
There came Bongoses
They merged produced force
Maracas y Claves
Chequero y Timbales
Qué viva la musica!
So it was written
On the skin of the drum
Qué viva la gente!
So it was written
In the hearts of the people
Qué viva la Raza!
So it is written.
-Sandra Maria Esteves (Puerto Rican and American)
A La Mujer Borrinqueña
My name is Maria Christina
I am a Puerto Rican woman born in el barrio
Our men. . . they call me negra because they love me
and in turn I teach them to be strong
I respect their ways
inherited from our proud ancestors
I do not tease them with eye catching clothes
I do not sleep with their brothers and cousins
although I’ve been told this is a liberal society
do not poison their bellies with instant chemical foods
our table holds food from earth and sun
My name is Maria Christina
I speak two languages broken into each other
but my heart speaks the language of people
born in oppression
I do not complain about cooking for my family
because abuela taught me that woman is the master of fire
I do not complain about nursing my children
because I determine the direction of their values
I am the mother of a new age of warriors
I am the child of a race of slaves
I teach my children how to respect their bodies
so they will not o.d. under the stairway’s shadow of shame
I teach my children to read and develop their minds
so they will understand the reality of oppression
I teach them with discipline. . . and love
so they will become strong and full of life
My eyes reflect the pain
of that which has shamelessly raped me
but my soul reflects the strength of my culture
My name is Maria Christina
I am a Puerto Rican woman born in el barrio
Our men . . . they call me negra because they love me
and in turn I teach them to be strong.
-Sandra Maria Esteves (Puerto Rican and American)
Black Woman
Nude woman, black woman
Clothed in your color which is life itself, in your form which is beauty!
I grew in your shadow, and the softness of your hands covered my eyes.
Then, in the heat of the Summer and Noon, suddenly I discover you,
Promised Land, from the top of a high parched hill
And your beauty strikes me to the heart, like the flash of an eagle.
Nude woman, dark woman
Ripe fruit firm of flesh, somber ecstasies of black wine, mouth that
moves my mouth to poetry
Prairie of pure horizons, prairie trembling in the East wind’s
passionate caress
Tom-tom taut over sculptured frame, groaning beneath the
Conqueror’s fingers
Your deep contralto voice is the sacred melody of the Beloved.
Nude woman, dark woman
Oil not ruffled by the slightest breath, oil smooth on the athlete’s flanks,
the flanks of the princes of Mali
Heaven-limbed gazelle, the moist drops are stars on the night of
your skin
In the dark shadow of your hair, my anguish brightens with the dawning
sun of your eyes.
Nude woman, black woman
I sing your disappearing beauty, fixing it in an Eternal shape,
Before an envious Destiny transforms you into ashes to nourish the
roots of life.
-Léopold Sedar Senghor
African Things
o the wonder man
rides his space ship/
brings his power through many moons
carries in soft blood
african spirits
dance & sing in my mother’s house in my cousin’s house
black as night can be /
what was Puerto Rican all about.
all about the
indios and you better believe it the african things
black and shiny
grandmother speak to me & tell me of african things
how do latin
boo-ga-loo sound
like you
conga drums in the islands
you know
the traveling through many moons
dance & tell me black african things
i know you know.
-Victor Hernandez Cruz (Puerto Rican and American)
Niggerlips
Niggerlips was the high school name
for me.
So called by Douglas
the car mechanic, with green tattoos
on each forearm,
and the choir of round pink faces
that grinned deliciously
from the back row of the classrooms,
droned over by teachers
checking attendance too slowly.
Douglas would brag
about cruising his car
near sidewalks of black children
to point an unloaded gun,
to scare niggers
like crows off a tree,
he’d say.
My great-grandfather Luis
was un negrito too,
a shoemaker in the coffee hills
of Puerto Rico, 1900.
The family called him a secret
and kept no photograph.
My father remembers
the childhood white powder
that failed to bleach
his stubborn copper skin,
and the family says
he is still a fly in milk.
So Niggerlips has the mouth
of his great-grandfather,
the song he must have sung
as he pounded the leather and nails,
the heat that courses through copper,
the stubbornness of a fly in milk,
and all you have, Douglas,
is that unloaded gun.
-Martín Espada (Puerto Rican and American)
I Thank You God
I thank you God for creating me black,
For making of me
Porter of all sorrows,
Setting on my head
The World.
I wear the Centaur’s hide
And I have carried the World since the first morning.
White is the colour for special occasions
Black the colour for every day
And I have carried the World since the first evening.
I am glad
Of the shape of my head
Made to carry the World,
Content
With the shape of my nose
That must snuff every wind of the World
Please
With the shape of my legs
Ready to run all the heats of the World.
I thank you God for creating me black
For making of me
Porter of all sorrows.
Thirty-six swords have pierced my heart.
Thirty-six fires have burnt my body.
And my blood on all calvaries has reddened the snow,
And my blood at every dawn has reddened all nature.
Still I am
Glad to carry the World,
Glad of my short arms
of my long arms
of the thickness of my lips.
I thank you God for creating me black.
White is a colour for special occasions
Black is the colour for every day
And I have carried the World since the dawn of time.
And my laugh over the World, through the night, creates the Day.
I thank you God for creating me Black.
- Bernard Binlin Dadié (Ivory Coast)
Today Is a Day of Great Joy
when they stop poems
in the mail & clap
their hands & dance to
them
when women become pregnant
by the side of poems
the strongest sounds making
the river go along
it is a great day
as poems fall down to
movie crowds in restaurants
in bars
when poems start to
knock down the walls to
choke politicians
when poems scream &
begin to break the air
that is the time of
true poets
that is
the time of greatness
a true poet aiming
poems & watching things
fall to the ground
it is a great day.
- Victor Hernandez Cruz (Puerto Rican and American)
Leaf in the Wind
I am the man the colour of the Night
Leaf in the wind, I go at the drift of my dreams.
I am the tree budding in spring
The dew that hums in the baobab’s hollow.
Leaf in the wind, I go at the drift of my dreams.
I am the man the complain of
Because opposed to formality
The man they laugh at
Because opposed to barriers.
Leaf in the wind, I go at the drift of my dreams.
I am the man they talk about: “Oh him!”
Him you cannot hold
The breeze that touches you and is gone
Leaf in the wind, I go at the drift of my dreams.
-Bernard Binlin
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