Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Spanish Surrealism and a Celia Cruz poem

I think I'm getting a better sense of how this course will be put together. Start with some writings from Breton and Aragon, kind of a background of French surrealism, then go to a discussion of Spain in the 20's and 30's, from the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1923, to the Republic in 1931, to the beginning of the Civil War in 1936. I'll introduce the Generation of 27 (the relationship with the Generation of 98) and the backdrop both of Madrid (Residencia de Estudiantes) and Barcelona. Then we'll start with the poets, a talk Lorca gave in NY and in Cuba in 1929/30 on Imagination, Inspiration, Evasion, then some poems from Poet in New York, Lorca's "Ode to Salvador Dali",followed by Alexandre, Guillen, and Alberti (I'm having trouble finding Cernuda in translation so I may offer these in the reader because I think there are some students registered for the class who speak Spanish). After that, we'll turn to the painters, with statements by Miro and Picasso (plus a Picasso poem) and a long section from The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, which we'll read while we look at their paintings. The next section of the course will deal with theater and film. We'll read Lorca's El Publico (The Public) and a partial text of Un Chien Andalou. We'll screen Un Chien Andalou and L'Age D'Or. After that, I hope we'll have enough time for each student to give a five-seven minute presentation of their final projects (this could take the last four classes of the semester).

At any rate, that's where I am in my thinking. It's taking up a ton of time to think about how to make all this material fit into the semester, but I think I'll manage.

A poem from Celia Cruz:


there’s no clear way to grow
not tall
nor old
nor along with the winter day
this street this afternoon
the sun is blinding
you turn the other way
to watch the walking shadows
walk with you
some teenage girls
in one beautiful voice
stand on a corner and sing
there’s no way here for me to take you home
separated out
their voices wouldn’t seem so
but together
energy and
the way words and meaning
don’t matter
just song
their laughter
what else do you want to hear?
it snowed this morning
the sky is blue
all day there were little things
dishes, clean-up, straighten up
slow down, baby, one girl sings
a sudden deeper solo
voice among their voices
you wonder
is there someone for her now
she’d sing slow down to?
she’s young and tall
steam surrounds her face
and her friends just watch her
swaying, swaying
slow down, baby
slow down


Unfortunate Logic said...

hello mark statman. hello. hello. hello.

i like reading about how you think about the courses you teach, especially after being in them. it is like reading about an operation i once had.

it was nice to see you that day. have a good sunday!

Nicole Callihan said...

I love Diana's description of reading a teacher's writing as reading about an operation once had. Strange to think of us operating on all these young minds...

And, yes, I, too, like reading about how you think about your courses. Keep it coming. Reminds me I need to think about my upcoming courses. Alas!

Unfortunate Logic said...

oooh. strange interwoven blogospheres!

Mark Statman said...

of course there are certain operations I'd rather not think about.,,