I Have a DREAM

I want to end this school year with a topic that I have had close to my heart sine the beginning of my career: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. Things do not happen without a reason and I strongly believe in the power of “coincidences”. I’m referring to the recent movie by Spike Lee BlacKkKlansman I watched two days ago.

I’m referring to the new protests by young people led by Greta Thunberg against the Climate Crisis.

I’m referring to the suspension of a high school teacher Rosa Maria Dell’Aria accused of failing to oversee the activity of a group of students who, in a video, compared the government’s migrant and security decree to the Fascist racial laws. You can watch the video and judge by yourselves.

All these apparently unlinked events have made me realise once more how important the role of EDUCATION is, in order to develop CRITICAL THINKING in the new generations. Being able to oppose any form of propaganda, violence and abuse of power, is only possible if you can identify them, if you can tell and distinguish truth from lies, if you know history and literature. Orwell warned us against the dangers of totalitarianism. Therefore today we’re ending our English course with Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” which he delivered on the steps of Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on 28th August 1963. You have the text in your textbook.

Some photos I took in Atlanta (Georgia) at the M.L. King Historical Park

In class we’ve also dealt with the Civil Rights Movement in the Usa. I want to add something to the great figures that have been mentioned and have made the history of democracy and equality.

Rosa Parker who on the 1st December, refused to give up her seat at the front of the coloured section of a bus to a white passenger, thus defying the Jim Crows laws. Bus were desegregated in 1956.

I want to end this post using two quotes by Einstein to reflect upon.

TASK: CHOOSE 1 of the two: What is the best way to protest for our rights? Have you ever fought for an ideal you believe in? What have you learnt today? OR: I Have a DREAM …. continue in prose or stream of consciousness or as a poem. Thanks!!

Kerouac and the Beat Generation

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”Jack Kerouac, On the Road

PART 1 Dear students, it’s the end of our  English class together and  (quoting Shakespeare) “the wheel has come full circle”. We ended up last year with the Romantic poets like Blake and Shelley so dear to the beatnik writers. We started our new year with O. Wilde.

As usual while I was preparing your next lesson I had a look at You Tube and found some incredible videos. I find it so amazing when I can “give VOICE, MUSIC & FACES” to all the concepts and books I had studied and read but never … seen alive if not in my imagination. Your approach to this topic and this last author of ours is going to be so different from mine. You can now hear Kerouac’s voice while he reads his own work ( so fundamental to appreciate the “beat” and flow!), you can  see him and the images of New York in the background, you can have it explained sitting at your desk and have a taste of Jazz music. I really hope you’ll appreciate all this and one day…while driving around the USA, you’ll … remember your “crazy” teacher of English 🙂

Dal programma Cult Book in italiano ( la pronuncia di Kerouac e’ errata. Corretta = Keruac) una breve introduzione in italiano.

The next videos an American introduction to the author and book. ““I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” TAKE NOTES to report in class



This is the link to the GOOGLE MAP of Kerouac’s On the Road


Jack Kerouac, interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr. from a documentary on the soul of the Beat Generation. Beat, (a)politics, (non)hippies, drunkenness and television.. “Everything is going to the beat — It’s the beat generation, it be-at, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like old-time lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat…” Jack Kerouac – Desolation Angels

Kerouac reading the last page of “On the Road” with pictures of Jack and Neal.

I even came across a video of Johnny Depp reading Kerouac ( you never know what you’ll end up with while searching YouTube!!), a strange interpretation of his philosophy of  living for “kicks”. It certainly conveys that psychedelic atmosphere. The first line is Ginsbergs America, the rest is Depp reading Kerouacs Mexico City Blues Chorus 113″ (an excerpt from the film the United States of Poetry by Washington Square Films.)

Un articolo del Corriere della Sera come doveroso omaggio a Fernanda Pivano che ci ha lasciati il 18 agosto 2009 e grazie alla quale l’Italia ha conosciuto gli scrittori e la letteratura americana. Una grande donna, non so se ne parlerete mai in Italiano ma non può venire dimenticata! Famosa è la sua intervista a kerouac ubriaco.

I cannot help adding also some stunning photos of Big Sur. I drove from L.A. to San Francisco in 1988 and still haven’t forgotten those fantastic views. Should you go to California one day you cannot miss the City Light Bookstore in San Francisco

Trailer of the movie (2012) directed by Walter Salles featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen.

PART 3: I’m now adding two videos we’ll watch in class. The first is the poem AMERICA by Allen Ginsberg with the music of Tom Waits.

The next “Howl” is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation. “Howl” was originally written as a performance piece, but it was later published by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books. The poem was originally considered to be obscene, and Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged with its publication. On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene.


TASK: After finishing our module on the Beat Generation leave your “last optional” comment of your High School English literature class 😉

Thanks a million! Cimy