Professor Susan Bobby

Professor Susan Bobby

By Kevin Johnson (Whetstone Staff Writer)

A new class examining the poetry of hip-hop and jazz will be a free-elective (200-level) offered in 2016, said Professor Susan Bobby and Dr. Brantley Craig, who will be team-teaching the class.

The class will explore the depths of hip-hop and jazz music and how they relate to poetry.

Professor Bobby would teach the hip-hop portion, while Dr. Craig will focus on jazz.

“One thing we don’t want to imply is that it’s a class about the business of hip-hop and jazz,” Bobby said.

While the class remains nameless, “Wordplay” has been considered.

Bobby and Craig said the class will challenge students to break down lyrics and practice creative listening.

“There was this buzz feed quiz on Facebook called “Rap Lyrics or Poetry,” Bobby said. “It was a quiz and I bombed it. I think I was like three for 20.”

She compared the lyrics she had seen in the quiz to the quotes she has on her door, including those by Jill Scott, a poet, and Mos Def a rap artist.

“It’s fascinating that I was reading these lyrics, the ones on my office door, and I believed they were from a long dead poet,” she said. “The line that made me do it was ‘You are the beautiful distress of mathematics,’” by Mos Def.

It was that metaphor that inspired the class.

“This class is for people with an interest in jazz, poetry, spoken word, and people who would like to examine these things in an active way,” Craig said. “It won’t be a class where we sit and listen to music and hang out. We want to find that there is a poetry to the music and a music to the poetry.”

Craig said he was an avid jazz listener and also plays bass guitar. Professor Bobby is an avid hip-hop listener and writes poems.

Craig said he was looking forward to team-teaching.

“One of the things I don’t think we get to do is watch our colleagues in action and watch how they teach,” Craig said

Freshman Clara Pena is a student of both teachers and wants to take the class when it’s offered.

“I like the way Professor Bobby teaches because it’s natural, it’s easy for students to get involved with her lessons,” she said. “The topics are very thought provoking.”

She also likes Craig.

“Dr. Craig’s teaching is very clear,” she said. “You know what’s going to happen, The way we go over things; he always says, ‘So what,’ which is interesting because it makes you prove every point.”

It’s an exciting idea, Craig said.

“It’s exciting to collaborate with someone all the way through,” he said. “It sounds fun and I’m looking forward to it all.”