Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Challenge, Part Two

I posted here when I was thinking about making my Intro to Lit course include all authors who are people of color.  And thanks to all your helpful suggestions, I'm going to do it.

As a result, I've been reading some recent works and enjoying the heck out of them.  I think I've finally settled on Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie for the novel, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi for a graphic novel.

I've been reading Alexie's more recent work, but it's more short stories, and for the novel I want a more connected piece, and I like the way Reservation Blues will let me bring in a Robert Johnson CD or two. 

Reading these novels reminds me of why I originally thought I'd study recent novels.  But that got short circuited when I took two novels courses and a Shakespeare and a Chaucer course in one semester, very early on, and the novels courses (one was American, one British) were sexist and white guy oriented, and the Shakespeare and Chaucer courses questioned sexism and white guy orientation in exciting ways.  And here I am.  Now, of course, I realize that most of my colleagues' novels courses question and challenge in exciting ways, too.  Literature of all sorts has become way more interesting for me than when I was younger and thought I could only be interested in one or two things, you know? 

I was talking to one of my colleagues in a different program about my idea, and she wondered aloud if students would complain in evals about my literature choices.  The thing is, even if they did, the Personnel chair in my department this coming year is a strongly supportive person of color and the general attitude of my department would be that a complaint like that means I've done something right.  The department-world has probably changed a lot since I was a student.

I'm going to use a bunch of the poetry suggestions you've made in the earlier post, and would appreciate some additional short story suggestions, please.


  1. I love that you're doing this, and I'm looking forward to hearing about your teaching adventures this fall!

  2. Someone said Sandra Cisneros, right?

    Also, for poetry, Juan Felipe Herrera, the new poet laureate of the US, might be interesting. (Actually, given the diversity of the Poet Laureate appointments, you could do several of them. . .)