Liberal Arts Courses
Poetry Jam and Slam
Poetry Jam and Slam is all about performance poetry—studying it, writing it, and performing it. And this is not your typical poetry—it is the exuberant, genre-defying, political, personal, raucous, and powerful punch of the modern performance poetry movement. In this class, through poetry, theater, and musical exercises, students will seek their own poetic voices and the most powerful ways to express them to an audience. Students will explore the history of performance poetry, from the ancient competitions of Greece, to Whitman, to the Beats, and The Last Poets, to the modern forms of slam poetry, performance art, rap, and spoken word. Students will watch performances by the greats and create their own great performances, respecting, but also transcending, the traditional and sometimes stilted boundaries of poetry. The Boston slam talent will come to us, in the form of guest performers, and students will get out of the classroom, discovering the thriving Boston poetry slam scene. The semester will culminate with a Berklee slam poetry event, in which all students participate. This is not about finger-snapping and bongo-playing, so leave your beret at the door! No experience necessary, just enthusiasm!
Poetry Jam and Slam 2
Poetry Jam and Slam 2: Advanced Workshop expands and evolves the students' experience in the world of performance poetry. With the foundation of historical knowledge, writing and performance chops, and the sheer guts gained in the introductory Poetry Jam and Slam class, students in this workshop are poised to penetrate the deeper mysteries of performance poetry, including group pieces, conceptual art, unusual and effective poetic forms, slam strategy, and the marriage of word and music. Students explore a wide variety of styles, from hip-hop to confessional, and a broad spectrum of performers, from national headliners to local favorites. Students split their time between reading, experiencing, and discussing great poets, and developing further our own unique artistic voices through poetry and performance. As with the first course, the Boston slam talent will come to us in the form of guest performers, and we will get out of the classroom, becoming more involved in the thriving Boston poetry slam scene. The semester will culminate with a Berklee slam poetry event in which all students participate.
Flo'ology: Spoken Word and Improvisation
In this course, students explore various styles of poetry, spoken word and improvisation, utilizing a variety of cultural and literary art forms. Students learn about the primary influences of African American writers and the shaping of particular literary and musical genres around language usage. Students explore the spoken word tradition from the Harlem Renaissance to early street poetry to hip-hop, spoken word, and freestyle. Students examine the way spoken word artists have connected their words with music, and especially with the blues. Students study the works of great American artists and scholars, including Langston Hughes, Jill Scott, Tupac Shakur, Gil Scott Heron, The Last Poets, Michael Eric Dyson, Angela Davis, Cornell West, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, James Brown, Alvin Poussant, and others. Students also write and perform their own original creations, developing their own style as writers and performers of spoken word art.
English as a Second Language Intensive
In this intensive course, speakers of other languages will develop the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English necessary for success in all college classes. Students will read short articles, essays, and stories; practice their writing and speaking in formal and informal contexts; develop their vocabulary; and review beginning grammar structures.
Creative Writing: Children's Literature
This course explores the most popular genres of children's literature—fantasy fiction, poetry, and picture books—to lead students on their own creative paths towards the unique discipline of writing for children, which involves an awareness of multiple audiences, rigorous aesthetics, and pedagogy, along with the more common artistic considerations of authors. Students are exposed to a range of works, including classics like Lewis Carroll's nonsense literature and Beatrix Potter's works, to more modern literature, such as Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy, Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey's nonsense literature, and Neil Gaiman's Coraline. Music designed to accompany these literary works will also be studied, including Dan Zanes, Mika Pohjola, and Natalie Merchant. Academic reading includes theoretical work by J.R.R. Tolkien and Maurice Sendak, among others. Students will produce one chapter and an outline for a novel, plus poems and/or picture book drafts, depending on students' preferences, and music may be included as an element in the overall projects. Proficiency as an illustrator is not required.
African American Children's Literature and Culture
This course is designed to provide critical and creative approaches to one of the most neglected, yet rich, areas of African American studies: children's literature and culture. Students will explore the artistic, cultural, political, and social significance of past and present African American children's literature, beginning with folktales from Africa and African Americans, moving through the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights Era, and ending with present day material. This class will also focus on some of the contemporary issues, including the importance of physical appearance—and particularly hair—in the black community, the portrayal of slavery, and of course, the expression and exploration of black musical heritage. As a capstone, the final project will be a research paper so that students can make their own discoveries about this emerging field of study.
Scene Study Workshop
In a workshop setting, students read, explore, and act scenes from plays. Students present a minimum of three fully prepared, rehearsed scenes, one from each genre of plays: classical, contemporary, and musical theater. Students analyze and develop an understanding of the playwrights' craft as it applies to character objectives and actions. Students analyze the relationship among playwright, narrative, and actor. In addition, students develop skill in interpreting scenes and making them their own.
FUSION Magazine Seminar and Practicum
FUSION Magazine Seminar and Practicum provides students with advanced literary and editorial skills, as well as the hands-on experience of editing and producing a contemporary magazine for creative arts and ideas. Students develop their creative abilities in writing, film reviewing, editing, interviewing, and web and video production fundamentals related to FUSION. Students explore the creative genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, interviews, contemporary issues, drama, poetry, film, photography, artwork, and design. The course provides a variety of creative collaboration opportunities for students, including those among writers, editors, visual artists, musicians, and producers. Students work on FUSION Magazine: soliciting pieces, editing, working with authors, and more. Students also work on FUSION's ongoing and newest projects, including City FUSION, pieces focused on urban living; and the Translation Initiative, a collaboration where students write native language to English translations of creative works. Students learn to use software, for basic production of online publications. Students learn to write and edit for print and for the web, and to make decisions about the design and production of both a print-based and web-based magazine.
The emphasis of this course is on language acquisition: developing a basic level of oral and written comprehension and a certain degree of self-expression. Note: This course is not available for credit to students for whom this is a first language.
This course is a continuation of LFRN-151. The emphasis of the course is on continued language acquisition and on developing more advanced oral and written comprehension and self-expression. Note: This course is not available for credit to students for whom this is a first language.
In this course, students acquire oral and written communication skills in French. The topics presented are representative of French society and the francophone world, and the communicative tasks are taught within the framework of authentic situations. Students learn to speak, listen, and write in personal, public, professional, and educational situations that simulate real life. Observation and reflection are at the core of the learning process. Students observe linguistic phenomena in the material provided and learn to deduct grammar rules from it. The true appropriation of language emanates from the students themselves. This class takes a hands-on and real-life approach to language acquisition.
This course enables students to acquire advanced oral and written communication skills. The topics presented are representative of French society and the francophone world, and the communicative tasks are taught within the framework of authentic situations. Students learn to speak, listen, and write in personal, public, professional, and educational situations that simulate real life. Students learn to speak about people and events, to write on a website, to read authentic French texts and more. Observation and reflection are at the core of the learning process. Students observe linguistic phenomena in the material provided and learn to deduct grammar rules from it. The true appropriation of language emanates from the students themselves. This class takes a hands-on and real-life approach to language acquisition.