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Francophone Poetry and Slam

Specific topics to be announced in advance by the instructor. Previously offered as FREN 381.

TuTh 11:00am–12:15pm, Dey 301, Prof. Erika Serrato (

“Ma bouche sera la bouche des malheurs qui n’ont point de bouche, ma voix, la liberté de celles qui s’affaissent au cachot du désespoir,” writes Aimé Césaire in his groundbreaking Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. The text announces the zeal and mastery with which poets from former French colonies will speak truth to power. Rather than attempt to encompass an exhaustive history of poetry in the French-speaking world, this course will sample poetry from the Francophone world and remix some of the major themes and influences including but not limited to assimilation, official vs. unofficial language, and decolonial thought. Moreover, we will consider slam and rap as lyrical devices and their role in socio-political discussions. Though our class will lean toward insular and mainland Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, and Martinique) poetry, we will also examine major works by poets and artists from Senegal, Québec, and French Polynesia, among others. Course taught in French.

Prerequisites: FREN 300, and one of the following: FREN 255260, or 262.