Modernist Africana Poetry of the Americas [MAPA]


AAS 3500-006 Wednesdays 3:30--6:00 p.m. Monroe Hall, Room 113

Professor Brenda Marie Osbey

Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00--2:30

& by appointment

452 New Cabell Hall

Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies

University of Virginia


Autumn 2018


Course Description:



Modernism begins with the “adoption” and transformation of European languages by African captives throughout the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.


MAPA focuses on the origins of Modernism among Africana authors of the Americas, and treats poetry, poetics and poetry movements of Brazil and Latin America, the Caribbean and United States from the 18th through the first half of the 20th century. 

The Autumn 2018 MAPA Seminar begins with audio/video presentations of composer-musician-performance artist George Clinton and his early Parliament-Funkadelic bands as a way of introducing the work of major Black Arts Movement poets of the period.

Works by poets of the 1960's and 70's epitomize innovations associated with late 20th-early 21st literary expression: experimentation with and revision of traditional forms; irregular line/stanza; disrupted syntax; transgressive language..., to name a few. These and other trends, however, date to far earlier periods and works. The seminar, therefore, promptly resets to introduce work by earlier Africana poets who radicalized poetic expression, language, diction, content, and form across the Americas.


MAPA treats poets of African descent writing in the four primary languages of the New World – Portuguese, Spanish, French, English. Students undertake close readings, maintain a detailed poetry notebook, and submit critical analyses of texts; complete individual and collaborative translation exercises; submit a final paper; attend course-relevant literary events; and design and present an original end-of-term literary event.

*Review Course Requirements and Readings.*

For more information, attend Session #1: Wednesday 29 August.


The Autumn 2018 Funky MAPA Group Reading

[an End-of-Term Event]

Meet Professor Osbey.