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WRLIT-304

he practice of writing in San Francisco comprises a more vastly diverse and complex picture than typically gets acknowledged. A local focus could take in early writers as disparate as ultra-modernist Gertrude Stein, socialist-adventurer Jack London, poet-ethnographer Jaime de Angulo, and hard-boiled "noir" mastermind Dashiell Hammett. The Alternative Society (polymath poet Kenneth Rexroth's pet project) emerging after WW II explodes all standard views of any "regional literature": Berkeley Renaissance poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer are roommates with science fiction's underground man Philip K. Dick; Spicer, adamantly anti-beatnik, mentors proto-hippy novelist Richard Brautigan; the internationally-trumpeted San Francisco Renaissance and Beat Movement, blasted off via Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Bob Kaufman and company, take root in the Afro-Asian Fillmore neighborhood (rendered in Maya Angelou's early autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings) next door to Japanese-Americans just back from concentration camps (cf. stories by "the first real Japanese-American writer" Toshio Mori, poems by Lawson Fusao Inada, or Filipino brother Al Robles, star of novelist Jessica Hagedorn's Gangster of Love). Across the Bay in Oakland, arch-trickster Ishmael Reed and cohorts point out what's on the table Before Columbus. We'll explore primary writings, recordings, and maybe one or two films, finding directions for student research and analytical writing.