Sound should make sense: better poetry commentaries

Sound should make sense: just as the poet uses sound to enrich the meaning as well as the emotional and pleasurable aspects of poems, so should you try to write sensibly about the linking of sound to meaning in your commentaries.  What does the poet gain by manipulating the sound possibilities of language? One of the challenges candidates face when so writing about poetry is how they can usefully address the sound effects that are both present in and intended by ...

Another approach to Literature and Film

For Part 4, many of us think of linking longer works such as novels to feature films.  However, another imaginative and productive approach might be this one, suggested by a workshop participant: poetry and short videos. YouTube, in particular, provides many options for creating this kind of linkage.  For example, you might want to create an anthology of poems about animals as one of your works. Blake's 'The Tyger' always seems a success with students with its mysterious tone and hypnotic ...

A contemporary poet for complicated times

I’d like to recommend the poetry of Daljit Nagra as an entrance into the many complex issues that we are all living with these days, the issues of identity, multicultural life, migration. Sometimes literature can open up new avenues of thinking about our place in the world, and I have to say that Nagra’s work is appealing to me on those grounds. I also think that his energy and straightforwardness as they come through in his videos and in his poetry ...

Icarus: a great story and Kate Tempest, another

The story of Icarus is an intriguing one, and there are two versions of that story that I think are memorable, one by W.H. Auden who has long since died and Kate Tempest who is very much alive.  There's a prezi available online that includes the two poems, one in performance by Kate, and gives a quick summary of the myth, and finally encourages you to write your own rap or poem.  While you may not get to the latter, ...

Poetry made dynamic!

One way to get to grips with a poem is to devise different forms of delivery.  The quickest and easiest is simply to speak it or hear it out loud.  One poet described poetry  as "Speech framed for the contemplation of the mind by way of hearing...." However, combining poems with images, either still or moving or animated can really make a poem dynamic in a particular way.  Take a look at some of the videos created by students at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/uwm/ Why not give ...

Five Tygers

Thanks to the diligence of some workshop participants, here are a few youtube versions of Blake's "Tiger, Tiger, burning bright." There are  interesting directions you could go with this poem, as classes lead up to the holiday; at the very least, some of the compelling lines might attach themselves to some ears and minds. Questions -What happens with such re-mediations? -Which of these is most true to the spirit of the original?  -What adds something more? or subtracts? -How might you remediate a poem ...

Simple but hard: spelling two crucial words

By Monday, November 18, 2013 , , 0

As I read examination papers from the November session,  I see, that as always, students seem perennially challenged by  spelling two important literary terms: RHYTHM and RHYME.  I was curious to see if anyone on the web had come up with some mnemonic (memory) devices for these two troublemakers.  And I found one for rhythm: "Rhythm makes your two hips move."  No question that's it's not dynamite, but it would probably work.  For rhyme, I didn't locate one, and maybe someone ...