Access to a range of audio and video recordings of poems gives African American students exciting opportunities to engage literary art. Their interest in “YouTube poems” reflects an important combination: a longstanding veneration of dynamic African American speech acts and new developments in the circulation and consumption of poetry. Audio recordings and YouTube facilitate the interplay of technology and enduring Black verbal practices in African American literature classes in ways that are far less possible when professors only assign print-based texts. Just as important, engaging YouTube poems created pathways for Black women students to actively participate in cultural criticism.
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