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Sept. 6, 2010

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Dr. Laura L. Runge
Office: CPR 360 D
Phone: 813-974-9496

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LIT 6394: Literature of Place: Florida

Class 4: Field Trip: Ybor City

Reading Assignment:

    Finish Gannon
    Jose Marti, Versos Sencillos (selections/translated)
    Jose Iglesias, "Jose Marti in Ybor City," Tampa Bay History (Spring 1996), (USF Library journals online and course docs)
    Lucy Lippard, Chapter One: "Sweet Home" in course docs
    Essay selected by Mary Jo Tutterow on Jose Yglesias
    Post #3

Class Objectives:

    Visit Ybor City Museum and walking tour of the city
    Conduct an urban space observation and writing focused on historical layering in place

Notes and Discussion Questions:


For those of you who will be driving from USF for the field trip, we will meet at 2:15 in Cooper Hall, so that we can leave by 2:30 from the parking deck. I can carry six additional people in my van. We will need volunteers to drive additional class members to Ybor. (Please see website above for directions/distance.) If you are driving from elsewhere on your own, please let me know.
I would like to have everyone's cell phone number before we depart so that I can maintain some sense of central operations.
We will need to complete paperwork for permissions during the week prior to the trip.

Ybor City

Our trip begins at 3:00 at the Ybor City Museum. We will have a tour of the museum, a casita and a garden. No pens are allowed in the museum, so please bring a pencil with your notebook. The tour should last 1.5 hours.

There is a small gift shop next to the museum which you may want to visit. If so, please plan on spending a very short amount of time there. The museum closes at 5:00 pm and we have other things to do!!
After the tour, we will convene and split into pairs or trios. Your assignment for the next 30 minutes is this:

    In your small groups wander in Ybor city until you have found a place that you want to observe more closely. Making sure you are safe and permitted, settle in for some observation.

    1) Vision -- observe carefully what you see. Notice the buildings, the street, the markings of history, the layers of human efforts at place making. Speak these observations to your partner. Notice the role of nature in the urban setting. Notice the architecture. Notice the structuring of space by culture. What place names or heritage signs make claims for this place? Express verbally all that you see.

    2) Hearing -- Taking turns, have one partner close his or her eyes, while safely seated or still. Observe to your partner what you hear. Focus on the sounds near. What are they? Focus on the sounds farther away? What are they? How do these sounds construct place?

    3) Smell -- taking turns, have one partner close his or her eyes. Observe what you smell. Be as detailed as possible in describing the smells. If you don't know what a smell is, use metaphors or similes to describe it.

    4) Touch -- together, with eyes open or closed depending on comfort, describe what you feel. Observe the surfaces, the ground, the furniture, the air, the heat, the moisture, etc. Describe it in detail.

    5) After you have taken time to observe using all of your senses, write about this for five to ten minutes.

We will reconvene after 30 minutes at a predetermined location. I would like to discuss your experiences in observation. The process of observing is essential for understanding our place and our environment. It is essential for mindfulness and awareness. It is essential for science, art and writing. What did you learn from this?


Our main literary reading for today is Jose Marti's translated verse from the collection Versos Sencillos or Simple Poetry. This is a selection taken from the bilingual edition entitled, Jose Marti: Major Poems, English translation by Elinor Randall, edited with introduction by Philip S. Foner (Holmes and Meier Publishers, New York, 1982).

These lyrics were actually written in the Catskills in the summer of 1890, and they were published in June of 1891. They were extremely popular. We are reading them for this class to gain a sense of the reading pleasures of the Cuban and Spanish communities of Ybor city in the earlieth 20th century.

You will gain a sense of the importance of the figure of Marti in the essay by Jose Iglesias, and a sense of the importance of Iglesias in the essay by Mary Jo Tutterow. Together, these readings may help to give flesh and blood to the history of the city we have been discussing since last week. Draw on these and the lecture of Bob Ingalls, the play of Cruz, and the history by Gannon to give context to our experience of local place.

With regard to Versos Sencillos in particular, consider the character, values and culture that emerge from these poems. What might these suggest about the community that embraced Marti as a hero?

Lucy Lippard suggests that history is what we or some powerful group has chosen to remember about a place (13). What does this tell us about the memories of Ybor city?

For your posts this week, consider writing on the poems of Marti or one of the questions directly above. Alternatively, if you are familiar with Ybor city, write a reflective piece on your understanding of the place. That is, what does Ybor city mean to you? What ideas, associations, emotions does the name/place of Ybor city evoke for you? We will have the opportunity to reflect on this again after our tour and observation.

Don't forget, you will have to write up your visit to Ybor City and post it to the WIKI. The observation exercise is a good base for the follow-up essay. Another suggestion may be to compare your post on Ybor city as you have experienced it in the past with the sense of place you experience during and after our field trip. These essays are formal writings and are due one week after the trip or Sept. 21.


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