The End of 2201, But Not Goodbye


Congratulations. You persevered, and you have now reached the finish line. I emailed your course grades through CUNYFirst.

Thank you all for staying the course during a difficult semester. I hope that you have a chance for relaxation and restoration this summer. By the way, if you need a summer course, I want to recommend my colleague Camille Goodison’s Creative Writing class. Here is the info: 3402Flyer. It could be a great way to further develop your authorial voice.

In the meantime, feel free to stay in touch. I would love to hear from any of you; as we walk forward in this surreal new world, we walk together.

2201 Out.

(but always in! we never left the party!)

Your professor, colleague, and fellow New Yorker,

Caroline Hellman


Dear Esteemed and Valued Students,

I’m starting the Final Project Reflection thread here. You can paste your response into a COMMENT/ reply, or generate a new post (please title it Reflection) if you prefer. The final assignment is to post your Reflection, and then respond to two classmates’ posts as well (in a few sentences– this doesn’t have be lengthy).

If you need time beyond May 14, please just communicate with me. We work together.

Caroline Hellman


Finishing the Course

Hi Everyone,

It was lovely to see and speak with those of you who were able to join the Zoom meeting yesterday. For anyone who wasn’t able to join, I’m including a bit of a digest here of what we went over.

General College Announcements

1. The Petrie Fund at City Tech can help students in need. Here is the application and more info.

2.  All students this semester will have the option to take courses Credit/ Non-Credit, instead of having a letter grade on your transcript. You will be able to see your grades in CUNYFirst, and then decide the best course of action (maybe you want to turn a C into Credit, maybe you don’t want an F on your transcript and you’d prefer No Credit/ erasure of the course). Here is more info.

Course Announcements

  1. First, we’re currently finishing our final reading, Baldwin’s “Letter to My Nephew.” The text is linked in the course syllabus at the top of our page. Here is the the last assignment with questions.   The goal is to post answers to a couple of the questions, by May 5. Also check out the resources I shared!

2. After you finish your posts (it’s ok to post late, by the way, if you need to catch up with the modernist poetry), you’ll want to begin the FINAL PROJECT. Be sure to read through the directions and let me know if you have any questions.

By way of beginning your Final Reflection, I suggest looking at the revised syllabus to see the list of texts we ultimately read, and then choosing 3 or 4 that you found compelling, that you will write about. When you reference texts in your Final, refer to the author, title, and year of publication. Make some preliminary/ loose notes for yourself. Why were these texts interesting to you? What were the spaces to which we were introduced? What were the main ideas in these texts? What did you learn from them? **Note that two texts should be from post-midterm: Chin / Wilkins Freeman/ Williams / Pound /Eliot / Baldwin.

You’ll see complete directions in the assignment page at the top of our course site. A way to think about each paragraph: you want to say one thing you learned from a class text/ from our class, and discuss a text or specific info to back up your claim.

If you are confused about anything, do not suffer in silence, just speak with me. I know this is a difficult time and I’m here to work WITH you. I AM HERE for a phone conversation, Zoom meeting, sky writing, etc.


Zoom Class Reunion Thursday April 30 11:30am-12:30pm

Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow at 11:30am is our class reunion, via Zoom. Please join if you can. You can participate with or without video, whatever you’re comfortable with.  We’ll make it cool, calm, and collected– no pressure or stress. We will have a final review,  address any questions folks have,  and say hello to one another. If you are unable to attend, let me know and we can schedule an additional session for next week.

Looking forward 🙂

Caroline Hellman is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 728 6302 7086
Password: 030923

Class Meeting on Zoom 4/30 11:30am

I heard back from many of you that a meeting this Thursday 4/30 at 11:30 would work,  for discussion and review before you embark on your final projects– and for just saying hello to one another.

I will email everyone and post the Zoom meeting link tomorrow. If you are unable to make it, just let me know. And don’t worry–I will host another meeting next Tuesday as well.



Baldwin’s “Letter to My Nephew”

Hi Everyone,

We’re now on our last text, James Baldwin’s “Letter to My Nephew,” first published in 1962.

I know we began with a 1960s text and are ending with one; that was not the initial plan, but I think that both King’s letter and Baldwin’s letter speak to issues that are very present in our society today– as Garnet wisely pointed out in her LAF-award-winning piece, “Vibe Check: America.”

AFTER we finish this last reading (in about a week), my goal is for as many of us as possible to get together on Zoom for a wrap-up discussion and final review.

Instead of me doing a video here, I’m linking several important resources below. As you will see, Baldwin speaks best for himself.

Please read and annotate the text (also linked on the syllabus). Also, the actor and comedian Chris Rock did a reading of the text at Riverside Church, to which I recommend listening.

Background: Baldwin (1924-1987) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, and civil rights activist. He grew up in Harlem, for the most part, and then moved to Paris and became an expat. He returned to the United States during the Civil Rights Era, when he felt personal responsibility to fight for African American rights.

His life was explored in a stunning 2017 documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. If you have the chance to watch it and respond here with any thoughts, I strongly, strongly recommend it. We were supposed to watch this together as a class. It is on Netflix and Amazon Prime and Kanopy (which you have free access to as a CUNY student). Warning: there are photographs of serious violence (lynching).

Finally, I am also attaching a presentation I put together on Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose pivotal work from 2015, “Between the World and Me,” we were supposed to end the semester with. Coates is relevant here because he INHERITS Baldwin’s legacy. In “Between the World and Me” (which is both a shorter work published in The Atlantic magazine and a longer book), he writes a letter to his son Samori. He was greatly influenced by Baldwin in putting together this text. So in case anyone has the time and/or interest I invite you to read “Between.” You could post about it here and/or include it in your final project reflection. Here is my PPT presentation, for additional context and background:   coates

Baldwin Discussion Questions (Answer 2 in a post; try to answer at least one question about the text itself)

1. Here is a brief bio video on Baldwin. What are some important ideas that come up here? (You can answer below.)

2. Baldwin was brilliant, and nowhere is his intellectual fire more clear than in his speech. Here is an important TV interview with Baldwin. What is this debate about? What is the professor’s position, and how does Baldwin respond? Whom do you find most compelling/convincing? Why?

3. Baldwin writes his text in the epistolary form. What do you think is his intention in doing this?

4. Choose one important quote that stood out to you. Copy and paste and explain what Baldwin is saying, and why the words resonated with you.

5. Zero in on one major theme in Baldwin’s letter. Elaborate on it, with supporting examples from his text.

6. How does this letter compare/contrast with King’s “Letter to Birmingham Jail?”

7. If you have the chance to read Coates’ text, in what ways do Baldwin’s and Coates’s visions overlap, and how do they depart from one another?

8. If you have the chance to watch the “I Am Not Your Negro” documentary, what scenes did you find most powerful? Why?

9. Who are the “countrymen?” Why does Baldwin use this word?

10. “… it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” What does Baldwin mean here?

11. Can Baldwin’s words be applied to the pandemic in any way?

After we get a batch of posts we’ll do a roundup discussion and review.


Announcing the Literary Arts Festival Awards!


I am so pleased to share that two members of our class (highlighted below) won Literary Arts Festival Awards. Please join me in congratulations!!!!!! [And no, I did not “fix” these awards just because I’m the event director :); independent faculty judges made these decisions ]

2020 Literary Arts Festival Writing Competition Awards 

Adolphus Lee Poetry Award                      

1st Place          Jolly Chidiadi James   Pikin On Forever

2nd Place        Dekker Montgomery  My Father, The Time Traveler

3rd Place         Kristen Clarke            Are you back yet?

Kay-Hirsch Literary Criticism Award                  

1st Place          Garnet Garcia             Vibe Check: America

2nd Place        Ayshe Kerim             The Role of Slavery in Gothic Literature

3rd Place         Heeyoun Keum           Speaking Freedom from Prison


Michele Forsten Advocacy Award             

1st Place          Patrick Rogers            The God of Brothers

2nd Place        Savan De Jesus           The Unjust Use of Medical Technologies on African Americans

3rd Place         Ayshe Kerim             Separation of Sex in a Place of Unity



Walter-Scanlon Creative Non-Fiction Award

1st Place          Amena Miah              My Mother’s Life

2nd Place        Keeozel Saul               Leap of Faith

3rd Place         Lesley Trujillo           The Chicana in Me

Honorable Mention: Sabina Joba       Personal Literacy Narrative



Charles Matusik Fiction Award                 

1st Place                      Mitchell Landero        Heads or Tails?

2nd Place                      Nicholas Cabrera        Quien Soy Yo

3rd Place (tied)            Patrick Rogers             God of Brothers

3rd Place (tied)            Kenneth Cordoba        Japhet Saves a Bank



Lou Rivers Drama Award              

1st Place          Keyri Jimenez           Dear Matt


Zoom Office Hours Today at 11:30am!

Modernist Poetry Assignment Due 4/17 and Course Update


We are nearing the finish line. I know some folks need to catch up with the course, so I am offering an overview here of what is going on, with everything in ONE PLACE. Remember to check out the updated SYLLABUS and FINAL PROJECT ASSIGNMENT. NOTE: This Thursday from 11:30am-12:30pm I will be hosting Zoom office hours for anyone who wants to chat. I will send the link later in the week! 🙂

Our last two assignments were on “A New England Nun” and Modernist poetry. I hope you were able to watch the lesson videos (see links). Before we move on to the next unit, make sure you did one post for each of those two. I am pasting the last previous assignment below so it is clear. You can respond to this post here for your modernist poetry post.

  1. Post your own poem, influenced by either Imagist poem “In A Station of the Metro” or “The Great Figure.” Write your brief poem about something you see. Try to paint a strong picture for the reader.
  1. Choose a few lines from “Prufrock” that you appreciate. Write them out/ copy and paste them on OpenLab and tell us why you like these lines, what you think they mean, how they might apply to us today.
  1. Respond to one of your classmates’ posts.