“Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

The following talk was delivered at the third annual Symposium on Teaching Writing at HBCUs, held at Morehouse College, September 27. *    *     * The most memorable lecture I have ever attended was delivered by Nikki Giovanni almost 20 years ago. Giovanni was in her late 50s then and had recently tattooed “thug life” on her forearm as homage to the slain … Continue reading “Black Talk”: Exploring Nikki Giovanni’s Speeches for the Undergraduate Writing Classroom

big CLIT energy

Last Fall semester, my writing students, all English majors, & I were discussing Barbara Jordan’s 1976 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address. In classical rhetorical fashion, Jordan begins her speech w/an ethical appeal that explains to & convinces her audience that her presence as keynote speaker signals a radical shift in not only the ideals that the Democratic Party holds, but in the notion that every … Continue reading big CLIT energy

TBT: in a daze

I wrote the following post October 12, 2010, while I was a doctoral student teaching Professional Writing at University of South Florida, Tampa. *     *     * I remember working at FAMU’S Writing Center, when one of my most stern, yet caring, English professors shared with me her frustration regarding a student’s desire to argue with her about a grade he DESERVED in her class. As … Continue reading TBT: in a daze

“Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age

The following paper is the first half of a conference presentation I delivered at the 2018 “Symposium on Teaching Composition and Rhetoric at HBCUs” hosted by Howard University and Bedford St/Martin’s.  *      *     * According to this year’s conference call for abstracts, “One HBCU scholar once described managing student literacies and the technological resources afforded HBCUs as ‘trying to make a dollar out … Continue reading “Self Destruction”: Black Student Writers in the Social Media Age

Madea Comes to FAMU

Recently, I sat on a discussion panel in Florida A&M University’s Writing Resource Center where three other colleagues of mine & I were invited to discuss our literary contributions to the English department’s required Freshman Communicative Skills II reader, Writing from the Hill. The custom text, which includes an anthology of poems, short stories, creative non-fiction, visuals, & a play, reflects a literary genius that … Continue reading Madea Comes to FAMU

Teens Carry Smartphones, But Are They Getting Smarter? A Response to My Fresh(wo)man Student

My fresh(wo)man composition students were charged with blogging reader responses to their chapter readings in Robert Atwan’s America Now text re: social media. In his first chapter, “Social Media: What Do We Gain? What Do We Lose?” authors Andrew Santella (“This Is Not About You,” 2013); Yzzy Gonzalez (“Technology Taking Over?” 2013); and Clive Thompson (“The Parent Trap: How Teens Lost the Ability to Socialize,” … Continue reading Teens Carry Smartphones, But Are They Getting Smarter? A Response to My Fresh(wo)man Student

who decides this shit?: a classroom discussion re: profane language

I am a cursing teacher.  Hell, I’m a cursing colleague, friend, and sister, too. I curse, often.  Not because my vocabulary is weak, or I am angry and/or sad.  I curse because profane words are linguistic expressions that make up my human language.  It’s as simple as that. Words are neither bad nor good–unless you are a Christian who believes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word … Continue reading who decides this shit?: a classroom discussion re: profane language

Random Thought: “Breakfast will be served.”

Why do workshop coordinators, particularly Black ones, think a variety of pastries is a sufficient breakfast for folks 35 years old & older? I am attending an academic training/workshop today that began at 8:30am; it is scheduled to last until 3:30pm.  According to the invitation, “Breakfast will be served.”  But I knew better: “Breakfast” included pastries. Why?  Why are you (workshop coordinator) serving only pastries … Continue reading Random Thought: “Breakfast will be served.”

rEVOLution Haikus: A Class Assignment

If I could, I would teach a poetry class.  Although I have a certificate in creative writing, I cannot teach poetry because academy culture prefers I teach within my discipline: rhetoric & composition.  It’s like checking a box named “African American” when you are also Native American & Hispanic.  I’m light-weight trapped.  Anyway, if I could, I would teach a poetry class.  & today, I … Continue reading rEVOLution Haikus: A Class Assignment