ENGL 1102: Poetry, Painting, and Film in New York City, 1960-Present
This course will utilize poetry, painting, and film from New York-based writers and artists to explore the multimodal languages of American art practices. By activating the etymological root between the words experiment and experience—“experiri,” meaning “to try or to test”—this course will try and test various creative and critical approaches to the arts to gain an experiential, historical, and rhetorical understanding of aesthetic innovation in the global cultural center of New York over the last half century. Utilizing our WOVEN curriculum, students will engage with visual and nonverbal design through trips to Atlanta's High Museum of Art and Arts@Tech events, create original research projects, and experiment in hands-on creative and critical practices. Artists such as Amiri Baraka, Jay-Z, Frank O'Hara, Eileen Myles, and Andy Warhol will populate the syllabus.
This writing and communication course will approach these artists and the questions their work provokes in contemporary American culture. We will actively participate in and contribute to this aesthetic discourse in the effort of developing effective strategies of WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) communication, interrogating New York-based art and artists to understand and critically appreciate the intersections of art, culture, history, place, and technology.
Note: All student work used with permission with authorship noted when
In groups, students will produce visual posters that highlight original and unique correspondences between Joe Brainard’s I Remember and Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets. Rather than a traditional book review or essay translated into a poster presentation, this visual artifact will investigate these related yet divergent texts through a specific thesis, utilizing textual evidence, secondary critical sources, and your accumulated knowledge of the New York School of Poets aesthetic. Students will show their posters during an informal full class presentation day. For example, students might generate literary maps of the texts, explore the role of repetition and variation, investigate the texts as social documents of their times, construct aesthetic lineages for each text, explore the role and presence of related mediums such as music, painting, or film on the texts, research the texts’ histories of critical reception, investigate the books through the lens of gender and sexuality, create a unique data visualization of the texts, or any other critical approach you can image. Keep in mind that your argument must be presented primarily through visual graphics supported by textual analysis and description.
As a group, students will create an 8-10 minute podcast episode that investigates and describes a single piece of visual art created by a New York City-associated or New York School visual artist. Consider “The Lonely Palette” podcast as a guiding example of how to approach your podcast planning and design. The podcast will 1) address the aesthetic, historical, and cultural context of the piece, and 2) might also consider the political and biographical narratives accessible via the work. This podcast will be an informational, entertaining documentary snapshot of a particular visual artwork and the artist who created it. The primary goal of this artifact is to develop a competent, functional aesthetic vocabulary in order to describe visual art in an oral medium.
This artifact will allow you to pick a New York School artist and create an original research project investigating that artist’s work. The project will be in the medium and genre of your choosing. Projects can & should be imaginative but always with a succinct focus on research. Consider a website, digital atlas, research into a particular NYS magazine/zine, data visualization, series of approved Wikipedia pages, a short documentary film, a NYS app, or other multimodal projects. A series of research support documents, including a research proposal, outline, and progress report, will aid in the artifact’s completion. Each project will include a 1000-word Research Statement. This mini-essay will articulate the artifact’s purpose, research findings and analysis, and describe the artifact’s contribution to the field of study.
ENGL 1102: “We Are Young": Teens, DIY, and the Avant-Garde
Whether you’re singing along to “Teenage Lobotomy” by The Ramones or “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, experimentation and rebellion remain the trademarks of youth culture. From The Breakfast Club to the teen leaders of the #NeverAgain movement, media continually reproduces our collective belief that adolescents, the young, the coming-of-age, are the heroes and antiheroes sanctioned to make and remake their images and beliefs in the passionate, excessive, and defiant role of the teenager. At the same time, 20th century art has given us the avant-garde artist as the emblem of disobedience and aesthetic revolution. From the Futurists to the punks, art has been a DIY experiment in destroying the old to create the new.
This course will utilize poetry, literature, painting, film, and music to explore the intersections of youth, art, and do-it-yourself cultures. Focusing on the multimodal aesthetic of the New York School of artists while reading from earlier modernist texts through to recent iterations of teen life, students will develop historical, aesthetic, and experiential relationships to what it means to be young and make art. Utilizing our WOVEN curriculum, students will read experimental coming-of-age narratives, investigate the construction of adolescence as an identity, and make their own critical and creative artifacts that analyze and reimagine the rhetorics of youth culture.
Note: All student work used with permission with authorship noted when permitted.
Students read and discussed Joe Brainard’s I Remember as a portrait of mid-20th century American male adolescence and young adulthood, a portrait of queer male sexuality and pop culture, and a portrait of becoming an artist in multiple mediums. After writing and revising their own formal experiments in personal-poetic writing in the style of I Remember, students created original DIY zines that sample from their “I Remember” portraits. These zines are modeled on class readings about the history of zine culture and distributed to their peers. In groups, students shared their “I Remember”’s and zines to develop a 6-8 minute story-telling podcast segment that gathers their shared, differing, and overlapping themes of recent adolescence and culture. Building off the individual creative production of the “I Remember” zines, these podcasts act as group portraits of what it means to be a teenager in the 21st century.
In groups, students produced visual posters that highlight original and unique correspondences between Eileen Myles’s Chelsea Girls and Jim Carroll’s The Basketbal Diaries. Rather than a traditional book review translated into a poster presentation, this visual artifact investigates these related yet divergent texts through a specific thesis, utilizing textual evidence, secondary critical sources, and your accumulated knowledge of the New York School of Poets aesthetic. For example, students might generate literary maps of the texts, explore the role of repetition and variation, investigate the texts as social documents of their times, construct aesthetic lineages for each text, explore the role and presence of related mediums such as music, painting, or film on the texts, research the texts’ histories of critical reception, investigate the books through the lens of gender and sexuality, conceptual a unique data visualization of the texts, or any other critical approach you can image. Keep in mind that any approach to the poster’s thesis should tie in with our main course themes: youth, DIY-culture, and experimental art. Students showed posters during an informal full class presentation day.
In pairs, students produced a multimodal research essay that investigates redefinitions and/or critiques of coming-of-age narratives by exploring Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart next to one other cultural source, such as poetry, a novel, film, music, or comic. Including multimodal elements, this 7-8 page research essay (including text and images) acts as a critical comparative look at two recent iterations of teenage culture and coming-of-age narratives both in how they compare and contrast to one another and in terms of what these cultural documents say about teen culture, the history of representations of adolescence, the differences in representation between modes and genres, and what is important about examining these two sources together in light of the questions posed by their theses. Students published thier essays on Issuu.
ENGL 1102: The Poetics of Sustainability: Environment and Immigration
Utilizing our WOVEN curriculum, this course will explore the intersections of the environment and immigration as urgent social, political, and ecological issues through the lens of poetry. By reading across a global lineage of poets, including writers and artists from Pakistan, Chile, Sweden, Korea, Brazil, Cuba, and the across the United States, students will learn about historical and contemporary environmental and immigration issues in order to create multimodal artifacts that engage with what we will refer to as a “poetics of sustainability.” One of the course’s primary questions will be: How do these writers and artists allow us to articulate a more equitable future for communities facing challenges related to ecology and immigration? Additionally, where and how do ecology and immigration issues overlap as we consider rhetorical strategies for articulating our questions, ideas, and solutions related to identity, nationality, nature, and culture?
This summer course was taught in conjunction with the inaugural iGniTe First-Year Summer Launch Program’s “Sustainability” academic track and supported by a course development grant from Georgia Tech’s Serve-Learn-Sustain initiative. The final photo in the gallery to the left shows my students and I volunteering with Concrete Jungle at Doghead Farm, an urban growing space in Southwest Atlanta that donates foraged and grown fruits and vegetables to those in need.
Note: All student work used with permission with authorship noted when permitted.
Students worked in groups to create experimental indexes for Inger Christensen’s alphabet that track the sequence’s references to science, metaphysics, time, the human, and the nonhuman. While an index in a book is traditionally a list of items, such as topics or names, treated in a printed work that gives for each item the page number where it may be found, these experimental indexes record the ephemeral, overlapping, and not-so-obvious topics that serve as the thematic and critical background for Christensen’s poetic sequence. As students read and re-read the poem with their attention trained to inventory specific themes and concepts, the process of reading subtly shifted and transformed, and students reflected these changes in the reading process in a collaborative note accompanying their finished indexes.
What is the rhetoric of loss, dislocation, transformation? This multiple-week, slowly evolving project allowed students to explore how they articulate, experience, and communicate loss and its meanings. First, students abandoned a collection of writings during a volunteer field trip at Doghead Farm in Southwest Atlanta and also abandoned a personal object on campus. After these experiences of letting go, students wrote about and accumulated experiences and narratives in a series of six (6) notebook entires that responded to questions and prompts related to various readings and course experiences. These entries accumulate into a personal, associative narrative of the semester that investigate relationships to place, history, and identity. This artifact’s process will revolve around our readings of Raul Zurita’s Song For His Disappeared Love and Bhanu Kapil’s Schizophrene as well as our student visits to the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. The final artifacts are presented as Tumblr blogs.
For this group research project, students created educational posters that present how issues related to “a poetics of sustainability,” via issues and topics related to the environment and immigration, are presented and critiqued in Kith by Divya Victor alongside either Schizophrene by Bhanu Kapil or Song For His Disappeared Love by Raul Zurita. Each member of the group contributed to recorded testimonial-style video that responds to a set of questions about their experiences, challenges, and reflections on the issues we discussed during the semester and how some of those issues are presented in their poster projects. These testimonials played alongside their posters during in-class presentations.
ENGL 1102: Poetry, Painting, Film, and Music in New York City, 1960-Present
This course will utilize poetry, painting, film, and music from New York-based writers and artists to explore the multimodal languages of American art practices. By activating the etymological root between the words experiment and experience—“experiri,” meaning “to try or to test”—this course will try and test various creative and critical approaches to the arts to gain both an experiential and historical understanding of aesthetic innovation in the global cultural center of New York over the last half century.
Utilizing our WOVEN curriculum, students will engage with visual and nonverbal design through trips to Atlanta's High Museum of Art and Arts@Tech events, create data visualization projects to track developing trends across genres and mediums, and experiment in hands-on creative practices with era-specific technologies to produce their own original cultural artifacts. Artists such as Eileen Myles, Andy Warhol, Amiri Baraka, The Velvet Underground, Ana Mendieta, Jay-Z, and Alex Katz will populate the syllabus.
Note: All student work used with permission with authorship noted when permitted.
These collaborative posters explore unique connections between Ted Berrigan's The Sonnets and Eileen Myles's Chelsea Girls, books in two different genres, published 30 years apart, that act as touchstone texts of the New York School aesthetic. Using geocritical analysis to map urban space across generational lineages and graphic models to visualize nonlinear formal techniques and the complex relationships between time, repetition, and order, students examined how visual representations of aesthetic concepts offer fresh perspectives on literary analysis. By working to visualize their theses, students found that literature includes data that can be transformed into compelling cultural critiques. This student work meaningfully contributes to scholarship on both Berrigan's and Myles's work, showing how research-based mediums such as posters, typically associated with STEM-related fields, can present students with the opportunity to become co-creators in our discipline.
In groups students created 8-10 minute podcasts that investigate the aesthetic, cultural, political, and/or historical importance of a single piece of visual art created by a New York-based or New York-associated visual artist. Using the podcast "The Lonely Palette" as a template, these educational, entertaining documentary conversations act as audio snapshots of an artist and their work. The primary goal of this artifact was to develop a competent, functional aesthetic vocabulary in order to describe visual art in an oral medium. Students used their experiences visiting the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to consider the relationships between viewer, curator, artist, and the art object itself. This rhetorical awareness of the aesthetics of making and looking, and how art affects public and personal space simultaneously, allowed students to produce insightful podcasts in which, as first-year engineers and computer scientists, they become art historians.
This artifact allowed students to pick a New York-based artist and create an original research project investigating a particular facet, concept, or theme in the artist's work in the medium and genre of the student's choosing. A series of research support documents, including a research proposal, outline, and progress report, aided in the artifact's completion. Each artifact was accompanied by a 1000-word Research Statement that articulated the project's purpose, research findings and analysis, and contribution to the field of study. The final photograph in the gallery to the left shows students showcasing their research at an informal conference-style event at the end of the semester.