Month: April 2017

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Dante in T.S. Eliot, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Flannery O’Connor

Ten years ago, I participated in an NEH Summer Institute at Grambling State University on teaching the Western classics at HBCUs. There, I read, for the first time I might add, Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Christine De Pazan, and others. During the institute, I learned about the connections between African American authors and some of the classics, specifically from Patrice Rankine, … Read More Dante in T.S. Eliot, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Flannery O’Connor

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Language and Syntax in the Classroom

The day after the 2017 Boston Marathon, the marathon’s sponsor, Adidas, sent an email to participants who completed the race. The subject line read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” On the surface, nothing appears wrong with this line; however, given the events at the marathon on April 15, 2013, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two homemade bombs close to the finish line killing … Read More Language and Syntax in the Classroom

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Judges 19 and Arnold Friend’s Enigmatic Code

On Tuesday, I wrote about the ways that The Blood Brothers’ “The Salesman, Denver Max” musically fits the tone—the ebbs and flows—of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” I didn’t expect to add another blog post on this story, but after teaching it, I recalled how much the story warrants multiple examinations. With that in mind, I want to … Read More Judges 19 and Arnold Friend’s Enigmatic Code

The Blood Brothers’ “The Salesman, Denver Max” and Joyce Carol Oates

From the very beginning, Joyce Carol Oates brings music to the forefront of her widely anthologized short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” with the dedication that simply reads, “For Bob Dylan” (1003). Other people have written on the ways that Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” from Bringing It All Back Home (1965) work in … Read More The Blood Brothers’ “The Salesman, Denver Max” and Joyce Carol Oates

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Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “Fidèle”and Intrusion

Recently, I taught Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives (2014) for the first time, and during this read through, I began to think about the topic of the American Dream even more along with colonization and intrusion. These themes pop up in numerous poems throughout the collection, and I have written about them before. Today, … Read More Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “Fidèle”and Intrusion