“2:00 AM” by Gabrielle Bates, February 11, 2015, Poetry Daniel S.
“Chaos Theory” by Eric Burke, January 28, 2015, Poetry
“Sextant” by Djelloul Marbrook, January 14, 2015, Poetry
“Utopia, Texas” by Tracey Knapp, January 7, 2015, Poetry
“Pomegranate” by Carly Sachs, December 11, 2014, Poetry Courtney B
“Ace of Spades” by Adam Tedesco, December 3, 2014, Poetry Eva C
“Green Bottle” by Stuart Bartow, November 19, 2014, Poetry
“The Baby” by Carley Moore, November 12, 2014, Poetry Rachel D
“Cape May” by Marilyn McCabe, October 29, 2014, Poetry Danielle S
“Mysterious Ways Alright” by Tim Suermondt, October 22, 2014, Poetry
“Martha Admits She Was Angry” by Nancy White, October 8, 2014, Poetry
“Addiction” by Matthew Lippman, October 1, 2014, Poetry
“Hey, Good Looking” by Gregory Pardlo, September 24, 2014, Poetry Ercan K
“Dear Critic,” by Stevie Edwards, September 10, 2014, Poetry Sierra R
“Please Hold the Doors” by Jonathan Greenhause, August 27, 2014, Poetry Abrie M
“Telegraphing” by Victorio Reyes, August 13, 2014, Poetry
“Letter from my Mother” by Corey Mesler, August 6, 2014, Poetry
“State of Emergency” by Katie Byrum, July 30, 2014, Poetry Juliana W
“My Lands Are Where My Dead Lie Buried” by William Stratton, July 23, 2014, Poetry
“My Dream Date with Diane Arbus” by Alan Catlin, July 16, 2014, Poetry
“Regrets are Upside-Down Celebrations” by Jade Sylvan, July 9, 2014, Poetry Jacqueline T
“In Defense of Hipsters” by Michael Meyerhofer, July 2, 2014, Poetry Olivia S
“2:00 AM” by Gabrielle Bates, February 11, 2015, Poetry Daniel S.
It’s time for your midterm conference. Please sign up for one of the many available slots below. Times are available on a first email, first come basis. At our conference, we will go over the following: a breakdown of your midterm grade; your strengths as an active learner in this class, ways you think you can improve; your Oral History Performance selections, and your Midterm Performance. These conferences will take place in my office, which is Dolan Hall, 442 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203. My office is Room #1, the first on the right as you walk in. Please note that a missed conference, or one you fail to schedule with me, counts as a missed class (i.e., one absence), and cannot be made up.
Tuesday, February 24
1pm Abrie M
1:30pm Ercan K
2pm Sierra R
4pm Stephen R
4:30pm Jacqueline T
Wednesday February 25
1:30 Rachel D
2pm Courtney B
Thursday, February 26
3pm Eva C
3:30pm Danielle S
4pm Juliana W
4:30pm Daniel S
5pm Olivia S
POETRY is oral HISTORY
and oral HISTORY
— Dennis Tedlock, “Learning to Listen: Oral History as Poetry”
What is Oral History?
Oral history is the field of study and method of gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events. Predating the written word, oral history now uses modern technologies such as film and digital tape.
In Doing Oral History, Donald Ritchie explains, “Oral History collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews. An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format. Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives. These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization or other form of public presentation. Recordings, transcripts, catalogs, photographs and related documentary materials can also be posted on the Internet.”
What do people “do” with oral history? Most are in archives of libraries, used by historians and authors to inform and complement their material. Others end up being used in films and documentaries. Some end up in book collections of oral histories (most famously Studs Terkel’s books such as Working or The Good War). Still others are arranged as collective oral histories, using multiple subjects to offer different perspectives on the same period or events (examples of this range from Please Kill Me, an oral history of punk rock, to the Library of Congress’s Civil Rights History Project online.) Still others perform them, either as dramatic monologues or as plays.
To acquaint students with the practices of collecting oral histories, transcripts.
To learn to read and notice the difference between transcribed and performed language.
To explore possibilities of interpreting oral history, transcribed or from a transcript, for performance.
To explore the possibilities and implications of performing someone else’s words.
Select a transcription (or interview recording) from the three sources listed below. Select (and, if need be, transcribe) a passage that you think can work as a standalone, autonomous performance. For example: an anecdote or story from the interview or transcript, an explanation about the subject’s life and time, or a description that works as a poem. Map out a performance for this passage: the tones of your own voice, places of emphasis, crescendo and an ending. (Note: This is not an exercise of mimicking a voice or trying to sound like someone else: rather, the purpose is to find a way to find aspects of your own performing voice that can help bring alive an oral history.)
Practice and record a performance. This performance should be no shorter than one minute and no longer than three.
Introduce yourself and what you’re performing. Example: My name is Daniel N. and I will be performing a passage from the oral history of Sister Emily Joseph Daly from The College of Saint Rose’s Oral History Collection.
The Consumer/Survivor/Ex-patient (C/S/X) Oral History Project has interviewed more than 200 current and former psychiatric patients in New York State since 1999.
Voices of Feminism Oral History Project at Smith College.
The Library of Congress Civil Rights History Project.
The College of Saint Rose Oral Histories from the Hellman Library’s Archives.
Check the Week-by-Week Class Plan
The Poetry Foundation’s “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry”
Kwame Dawes’s “Tornado Child,” one of the many poems adapted from interviews and oral histories.
Ciaran Berry’s “Spooky Action at a Distance” from Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art Courtney B
Ash Bowen’s “Letter from a Mistress” from Pebble Lake Review Juliana W
Traci Brimhall’s “How the Serpent King’s Daughter Received Her Wings” from Mary: A Journal of New Writing
Dan Chelotti’s “The Job Market” from iO: A Journal of New American Poetry
Lisa Fay Coutley’s “Careo” from Ninth Letter Stephen R
Barbara Daniels’s “Sugaring” from The Cortland Review Rachel D
Joanne Diaz’s “Little Terror” from Memorious
Janelle DolRayne’s “Writing Home from Thick Shadows” from apt Jacqueline T
Claudia Emerson’s “The Ocularist” from Blackbird
Brent Goodman’s “Missile Test” from Eleven Eleven
Noah Eli Gordon’s “What Do I Know” from Interrupture Eva C
Megan Grumbling’s “Vapors” from The Baltimore Review Olivia S
Christopher Howell’s “The Life Boat Dream” from Cascadia Review
Luisa A. Igloria’s “The Loss and Recovery of Wings” from ARDOR Sierra R
Chris Joyner’s “Why She Wrestles” from Penduline Press Daniel S
Rob Kenagy’s “It’s Hard for Me to Think of my Heart as Anything” from Vinyl Poetry Danielle S
Michael Marberry’s “Junk” from Guernica Magazine
Shane McCrae’s “Heads” from Petri Press
Matthew Olzmann’s “‘Nothing Gets Through to You, Jackass'” from B O D Y Abrie M
Rae Paris’s “The Forgetting Tree” from Guernica Magazine
This explains our Poetry Recording Performance Evaluation Rubric, tracing its roots back to the Poetry Out Loud recitation contest, as well as introducing the idea of “projective kinetics.”
These slides introduce the idea of the language of poetry, with some selected poetry terms we use in the class throughout the semester.
These slides introduce the idea of the sound of poetry, with some selected poetry terms we use in the class throughout the semester.
These slides introduce the idea of the rhythm and meter of poetry, with some selected poetry terms we use in the class throughout the semester.
These slides introduce ideas surrounding the use of poetry on the page, with some selected poetry terms we use in the class throughout the semester.