Students were asked: what did you gain from you project, and what does it mean to participate in the Curriculum? Selections from their answers are below.
“Participation in the Curriculum meant that I had an input in history. Prior to this class, I didn’t know about “A Plan for the Curriculum of the Soul” or Charles Olson. However, it was very inspiring to have creative control in regards to how we chose to elaborate or justify what was or wasn’t listed in the curriculum, and inform classmates on it. In a sense, it was a way for the class to place their mark history, by either updating or expanding on various forms of communication.” ~ Meli Holdipp
“This assignment was the very first time (during my undergraduate experience) in which I felt allowed to be creative and expressive about something that not only serves for the purpose of the course, but that also matters to me.” ~ K.R.
“Being a part of The Curriculum for the Soul felt like writing my way into a long history of poets, writers, philosophers and dreamers. What is so beautiful about the Curriculum is that it is meant for interpretation and transcends time. Whoever is reading or adding to it can see it through their lens and add life to each word on the page…Having some structure but complete artistic freedom was liberating and exciting. I really enjoyed watching my classmate’s interpretation on the words as it was a glimpse into the way they think and life they have lived.” ~ Madison Hetterley
“To participate in the Curriculum of the Soul is to expand what we think is important to add to the history of communications NOW! And in the next decade, that list would change, but it was important for me to leave a message to those who want the chance to explore our world and get to know exactly what we were thinking.” ~ Amira Beckles
“From this project I gained a better understanding of just how many topics tie into communication and how they all interconnect with one another. By creating a curriculum, we gain a physical representation of what communication is made up of with a reference tied to each. This project also gave me perspective on how creating a curriculum such as this can give you many different perspectives towards one idea. Ultimately the project showed me that individuals can come together and create one large body of work that resonates the same topic.” ~ Redwan Ahmed
“What it means to participate in this curriculum is the connections made. The connection not only Charles Olson but my classmates. Choosing words from Olson’s curriculum, making a connection from our own lives. Then using our communication skills and creativity to display our connection to the word. Exercises like this are the reason why I choose to be a communications major.” ~ Michelle Odinyayeva
“To participate in the curriculum is to contribute your knowledge and expertise on a topic that ties together and compliments the knowledge and expertise of your peers. By participating in the curriculum, you create a body of work larger than one person could do alone, and create something that is representative of the goal in mind. The curriculum is a culmination of the ideas and perspectives of different people brought into one place.” ~ Redwan Ahmed
“Doing my project, I gained a greater level of understanding for the relationship that communication has to the exercising of power. The physical construction of the chapbook allowed me to create an artifact that intended to explain that very relationship. In an ironic turn of events the teaching of my project allowed me to shape the narrative of power and communication in a way usually reserved for those in a position of institutional power. The combination of the chapbook and the teaching module of its material allowed me the opportunity to express myself in a way that I never have.” ~Marcel Brummell
“Participating in a curriculum of the soul was a once in a lifetime experience for me. As a result, I can now say that I’ve developed a lesson plan that was taught and debated in a college class room, and my findings have been published. For me, participating in a curriculum of the soul meant finding a subject close to the writer, and empowering them with the freedom to explore that topic the way that Charles Olson and many other writers have in the past with little to no restrictions at all.” ~Marcel Brummell
“…I really was fascinated to observe how differently everyone in the class approached their projects and the differences of interests and talents in the class…in most classes we don’t really learn much about our classmates personalities and abilities out of class – while we did here...it was really special to approach the curriculum in the same way the institute had with our own fascicles as this was more indicative if its history than an essay would have been.”
“I was able to work on my printmaking skills while also exemplifying how my passion relates to the history of communication which personally felt very rewarding. I felt accomplished since I was also able to time manage well and get 11 prints done in a matter of two weeks. I also enjoyed receiving feedback from my classmates on how the art made them feel, gaining differing perspectives and praise from them made the project all the more worthwhile for me.” ~Meagan Colon
“Participating in the curriculum gave me the opportunity to contribute to a larger work which includes Olson’s and his colleagues’ as well as my own colleagues’ work. To be able to be a part of something interpretive and personal to each individual that is contributing makes it special in that others are able to end the class having taken away something from each project due to the diversity and open ended nature of The Curriculum of the Soul.” ~Meagan Colon
“Participating in Charles Olson’s Curriculum of the Soul was a bit confusing at first. My way of thinking was challenged, which was great! When I see or hear the word “curriculum”, my mind immediately goes to the standard, typical school curriculum. However, Olson’s curriculum expanded my way of thinking of what a curriculum could be.” ~ Melody Brumfield
“I really enjoyed the intimacy that I experienced while making my chapbook. I was able to envision someone finding my book years from now…[the Curriculum] really meant diving into the words that you gravitate most towards. Trying to envision the concepts and looking deeper and past basic definitions. Participants will learn tons about themselves while doing so.” ~ Lionel Woods
“To participate in curriculum means to give perspective on a chunk of history…It means sharing what you learned with others.” ~ Jessica
“I believe that participating in the Curriculum for the Soul means giving a personal perception of the keyword or statement that Olson wrote. Each different interpretation contributes its own uniqueness to the keyword as a whole.” ~ N.L.
“To participate in the Curriculum for the Soul is to participate in the history of communication. Adding or building up on the terms that Olson listed in his plan is the participation in communication, our very own chapbooks participate in history!” ~K.R.
“I believe participating in the Curriculum for the Soul is to expand my horizons of knowledge and to interpret different meanings that I’ve never really thought of. The poem itself was a mystery and it intrigued me to see whether or not there were hidden meanings or underlying meanings within it.” ~ Jacky Qiu
“To me it was a very pleasant experience to do a collaborative project with fellow students relating to Olson’s work and the collaborative project his colleagues and friends dedicated to Olson after his death. Being a part of something that was so mysterious and having to learn/research this mystery to unveil the meanings of Olson’s work was quite an experience. [I] am glad I got to participate in it.”