Category Archives: Part 2 – Creative Reading

ASSIGNMENT 2 FEEDBACK/REFLECTION

I have received my feedback from my tutor and was overall very happy with the positive and constructive comments I received.  I had chosen my close reading on a poem that I had no idea was described by many as one of the most, if not the most important modernist poem of the twentieth century.  Once I had discovered this, I still continued with the close reading.  It was therefore really encouraging to read my tutor’s opening comments that is was “bold move” to do the close reading on the opening section of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland.  He also mentioned that I had “got to grips with some close reading methodology and stylistics of literature and applied them well to this poem”.  It made me feel so good about what I had achieved and that I was actually understanding what I was studying.  One thing I noticeably forgot to do was add the actual part of the poem I was doing the close reading on ‘The Burial of the Dead’.  So note to myself is to make sure I follow the instructions to a T.  I will now add some of the comments below and add my own thoughts and reflections to them

I have made extensive notes in the documents you sent which include much improved referencing and organization.  This was very encouraging as I had mentioned to my tutor in my previous assignment that the referencing side of things concerned me, I felt that I had made improvement and this was confirmed.

Avoid too much speculation and support your ‘opinion with some references, citing reliable sources.  I realize that I can’t just use a random student on the internet or an unknown source, needs to be a more convincing and reliable quote.

Define in more detail some of the key concepts and themes that apply to the work – modernism and its ‘programme’ to disrupt formal devices in literature, art, photography etc is key here as is a foregrounding of form before you begin to describe the subject matter of the work.  I need to make sure I do this in future.

Do include the text in the essay to refer to and do back up some of your general. Noted I will make sure I add to my assignment.

In academic writing also, writing in the third person and considering the form of the work and showing that you understand the theme/discourse is all you need to do for a degree level.  Supplement the detailed description of literary elements with analysis which will move to a more persuasive writing style as you progress.  Not sure I quite understood the meaning of this, but hopefully I will as my studying progresses.

Define key terms that refer and are essential to this work ie if Modernism as a key ‘disruptive’ form is central to this poem (it is), then define it in both form & content int he opening of the essay and in your reflection.  This is context.  Use references (such as Lodge in – Readings).  Makes sense to do this so again will make a mental note to define key terms more.  Look more into the word and movement of Modernism

Some research on ‘intertextuality’ its definitions and application in art and literature would support the reading on Elliot.  See Lodge in Readings.  I will follow up on these additional reading suggestions – especial in Readings.

COMMENTS MADE ON MY ACTUAL CLOSE READING

Personally, I would avoid your opinion and try to engage with the stylistics/linguistics of the poem and uncover how it communicats (this will be useful to consider as you move onto other mediums in later assignments). I will look at the additional reading list in order to understand the ‘stylistics/linguistics of a poem.

Get to grips with variations in Harvard referencing so as Shrestha (2013) comments … in this case (Author, date) in brackets works better.  Need to read and re read the Harvard referencing information to better understand so that it becomes second nature.

Avoid speculation, and outline the formal way the poem shows this mood.  I had used ‘I can only imagine’, so I will take note not to use this type of message.

Use references (such as Eliot) to allued to a real, historical figure such as Marie Louise Elizabeth Mendel also the cousin of Archduke Rudolph, the Crown Prince.  Strangely enough I was going to reference further but wasn’t sure at the time, so will make note for the future.

Introduce this theme of time signature in the introduction with some references see Joyce and David Lodge ‘intertextuality’ in Readings.   Further studying required in the additional reading list.

Qualify some of the passages in this reflection.  So, say what these skills are specifically.  I had mentioned poems that I had never thought of looking at before, so I need to mention which ones they are.

Reference this.  Is it in the learning log? then link reference here.  I had made up a small poem as suggested in one of the exercises and mentioned it in my reflection.  My tutor is suggesting I reference it here.  I’ve made a note to include it.

Could you give a reference to a text that summarises this? Dean and Miller? I had said that I was realizing that Time and Place was very significant in all aspects of art, but I didn’t give any examples.  I will investigate what makes me realize this and make some quotes.

Define this in the intro to the essay.  Modernist was the word I used and I now realize with all the feedback that I need to apply this in the introduction of any essay.

It’s productive.  You can apply similar stylistic readings when it comes to visual communication and photography.  In my closing paragraph I said that this whole learning experience in part 2 Creative Reading will ‘help me through the next stages of this course’.  It would appear I will be using the same tools even in visual communication and photography, am really looking forward to it.

It was good to go through my feedback again and highlight some of the main comments I received, in summary it looks like I’m doing ok and the main thing is I am learning so much and keep gaining more confidence as each Project is completed.  Creative Reading is different to what I was expecting, I had thought it would have been more about my own creative writing style, it has therefore been such a huge learning curve.  It has made me discover a much deeper understanding for what makes an exciting fiction book or poem.  I can see that there is a lot to learn and considering this is one of the routes I want to take it has made me think a little more about which two routes I would like to follow, as I had thoroughly enjoyed Contemporary Art, it was much more visual, however Creative Writing is where my passion lies.  I am looking forward to my next learning experience of Visual Communications, I am finding the way the course is structured is just so clever, how it makes you research and learn, I am really enjoying the whole learning experience.

 

 

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PART 2/CREATIVE READING/ASSIGNMENT 2/NOTES

For the assignment we are asked to choose a piece of text by a contemporary author that explores time/and/or place.  I have chosen an extract from a poem called Wasteland by TS Eliot.  I found this extract on the Poetry Foundation website, accessed on October 21, 2018. I could see immediately a reference to time and a place and the poem is considered to be one of the most important contemporary poems of the 20th century.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land

I thought I would start by asking myself questions about the poem and listing them here before writing up 1500 word essay about the poem.

The Waste Land

                                  FOR EZRA POUND
IL MIGLIOR FABBRO

              I. The Burial of the Dead
 April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
151 words
accessed October 21, 2018
gives over view of full poem
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What type of poem is it?  It is a modernist contemporary poem in five parts.  The Burial of the Dead is the first part.
Key words April is the Cruellest month, breeding lilacs, dead land, Earth, forgetful snow, Colonnade, arch-duke’s, frightened, go South in the winter
What poetic devices are used Personification (breeding lilacs, dull roots, forgetful snow), Metaphor (shower of rain)
Who is the narrator? I think there are two narrators, in the beginning it to be a omniscient speaker, someone who knows everything about the land, the second part is a woman (Marie), possibly royalty or friends with royalty, as refers to staying at the arch-duke (“a man of high ranking – Austrian royal family.  Assassination of the Arch-duke Ferdinand started first world war)
What type of narrator are they/he/she? first part is an omniscient speaker as he knows everything about the land and the weather and second part as a woman, spoken in the first person.
 
What is the theme? The poem is about death and destruction of land, possibly aftermath of war, it’s also about love the two cousins seem to know each other well and care about each other, he protects her when sledging down the mountain, I think it’s also about survival, she has memories that seem sad and has somehow survived whatever happened to the land.
What does the title mean?  The Burial of the Dead It was originally called ‘He Do the Police in Different Voices’ which is part of a Charles Dickens novel.  I think it means the poem is religious and is about surviving a war and then the aftermath of burying the dead.
What is the mood of the poem?  It is mostly depressing and sad, although there is a little bit of happiness when Summer arrives and the two cousins enjoy walking over the Starnbergersee and stopping in the Colonnade (classic architecture, long sequence of columns like in the Belvedere on the pfingstberg palace in Munich, Germany – another hint to being royal)
How do you feel about the poem There is so much more to the whole poem, but the first part seems like a whole poem in itself, it tells a story of land that has been destroyed possibly by war, giving memories of happy times.  It brings two characters into the poem that are  cousins perhaps romantically involved, I feel sad that the main character Marie has ended up alone later in life and also sad to not know what happened to her life or to her cousin.
How does the poem relate to Time & Place and what is it saying about Time & Place
Time is referred to in the mentioning of the month April and the seasons of Spring , Summer and Winter.  It also mentions time as a child and dead land where once it wasn’t it must have been alive with flowers and trees, mentions a memory of time gone by.  The place appears to be in Germany as there is mentioning the Starnbergersee (German Lake in Munich), colonnade (the columns as in the pfingstberg palace and Hofgarten (Renaissance garden in Munich).  The place mentions a lake and mountains.
What do the lines remind you of? Reminds me a little of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, with it’s dead land as if its the aftermath of war or acopolyst in the case of the Road.  Reminded me of my own childhood going down hills on a sledge and being born in Germany.
What lines stay with you? April is the Cruelest month (questioning why as it should be a happy month, springtime evokes thoughts of lambs, flowers, sunshine) breeding Lilacs out of the dead land (very depressing like its difficult for the flowers to come through the dead ground) Took me out on a sled And I was frightened.  He said Marie Marie, hold on tight. (shows he cares about Marie and she seems vulnerable but safe with him).
Is the Rhythm choppy, flowing or smooth? It is quite choppy, is laid out in short sentences.
How does this impact the poem makes it easy to read
Is the speaker important, who is she/he, are they obvious or do you have to guess? I feel the speaker is very important both at the beginning and the second part, I found it easy to realise who the speaker was.
Any lines you don’t get?  At first I didn’t get certain lines but now I think I understand them quite better although having researched various sites the poem is extremely complex and difficult to understand, so I think I have only scratched the surface.
The cousin and woman are nameless, why?  Do you still care about them?  Do they still have an identity?  I am not sure why they are not named, quite similar to that of The Road by Cormac Macarthy where they are also not named.  Yes I care about them as I want them to be happy and yet she ends up alone so feel sad for her.  Yes i still feel they have an identity, imagining them having fun in the summer and as children back at the Arch-duke’s residence.
Has something happened to the world, the place they are at for the land to be ‘dead’?  Yes the poem was written in 2022 not  long after the first world war ended, the fact that it mentions dead land as if something bad had happened.  The hint of them visiting the Arch-duke who might possibly have been the one who is assassinated and causes the start of world war I.
Why is ‘April the Cruelest month”?  It would seem on this occasion it is because flowers that would normally bloom in Spring, are not they are struggling to bloom out of the dead land.
What year is the poem set in? I think it is set in 1922 when the poem was written.
What Country are they in?  I would say they are in Germany, as German accent and the places they visit are in Munich.
Is it a happy or sad poem?  It is mostly sad, but has a little bit of happiness in the middle
Eliot doesn’t punctuate the speech, why? I don’t know why
“Forgetful Snow”, “breeding lilacs: are these metaphors? Yes and also Personification as they are ascribing human qualities to an object.
Has their been an apocolys or war?  If so what makes you think this?  A war as it was set in 1922 and the land is now dead, and the hint of the Arch-duke possibly being assassinated and causing the world war I.
Is their any biblical theme to the poem? Yes the mention of Earth and the title being the burial of the dead
Is the language complex or simple?  It is fairly complex although I understand the basic storyline however the meanings behind some of the lines are extremely difficult –  like April is the cruelest month – why? and forgetful snow?  What do these mean.
What is the Plot?  Survival after a war and the memories of a time before the war, with a love story that ends sadly.
The Character The main character is Marie
References/Research for Assignment 2
Quora – answers questions on poems – accessed October 23, 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PSI5AejsFbU&feature=youtu.be

Loughborough university accessed Oct 22 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cEC5k5Y–gk

Nick Cartwright accessed Oct 22, 2018

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YAORfIoAXgU

Prof M Green accessed Oct 22, 2018

https://www.quora.com/profile/Chris-Day-11

Chris Day of Quora acessed Oct 22, 2018

https://wasteland.windingway.org/8/starnbergersee

map of Starnbergersee – Lake in Munich, Germany

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonnade

colonnade – Belvedere at the pfiingstberg palace in Germany

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/archduke

Archduke – A man of high ranking – Austrian Royal Family – Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand start of first world war.

http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen5and6/threeEssays.html#barthes

The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes accessed October 22, 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2010/jan/13/death-of-the-author

Guardian write up on The Death of the Author accessed Oct 28, 2018

READINGS FROM YOU TUBE

Alec Guiness reading The Waste Land

Lecture on The Waste Land by Tim McGee

MLA Style

Works Cited:

https://www.shmoop.com/the-waste-land/

Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Waste Land.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 25 Oct. 2018.

In-text Citation

(Shmoop Editorial Team)

T. S. Eliot’s Modernism in TheWaste Land Asha F. Solomon Department off English,Montfort College, Lucknow

https://wordpress.com/post/jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/435

PART 2/CREATIVE READING/PROJECT 4/EXERCISE 2

EXERCISE 2

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks.  In the knapsacks were essential things in case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it.  Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them.  he shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country.  The road was empty.  Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river.  Motionless and precise.  Along the shore a burden of dead reeds.  Are you okay?  He said.  The boy nodded.  They set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”

  • ‘He’, the man, and ‘the boy’ are nameless.  why? Does their anonymity change the way we feel about the characters? Can we still care about them without names? Do they still have an identity without a name? At the moment they don’t have names, but you get the feeling they might possibly be father and son.  He obviously cares about the boy, they are both heading off together with the cart not in different directions, so I feel they know each other and want to be together.  I feel they have an identify, they both have knapsacks, not a bag or a satchel, they are knapsacks, the journey has been thought through together.
  • How can we tell they’re in danger? Are they fleeing danger or do they expect to encounter it along the way? What sort of danger? Human? Animal? Elemental? You can sense they are in danger as it is mentioned they may have to abandon the cart and make a run for it, which makes you feel they could get chased are attacked.  They also use a mirror in order to see what might follow them.  I think they are both fleeing danger and are expecting to encounter something on the way, there are tell tale signs that something has happened like the ‘wasted country’, ‘dead reeds’ and ‘the ash’, feels like something bad has happened.  I don’t think animal, perhaps alien, something that is able to destroy land and objects in its way.
  • The chrome motorcycle mirror tells us the time is roughly contemporary.  so what’s happened to the rest of the recognizable contemporary world? Or is the story set in the future? Post-apocalypse maybe? It seems to have been set back in time maybe I’m thinking 1940’s after the world war II perhaps, with the motorcycle’s that had the big mirrors and for them to be pushing a cart, perhaps that’s because they live in the countryside, and the knapsacks, again an old-fashioned description.
  • They are alone: ‘The road was empty’. Where is everyone? Why are they scared if no one is around? Because no one is around? Because someone might be around? My feeling is they have seen things happen that have scared them, the fact they may have to make a run for it suggests something could be following them or bombs are being dropped.  There are roads so people have been before them and built them.  I think they are scared because there is no-one there right now but there is every possibility something or someone is coming.
  • There’s been some sort of disaster: ‘wasted country … dead reeds … shuffling through the ash … what sort of disaster might it be? It might have been a war, where bombs have been dropped, as mentioned before perhaps during the early 1940’s or if its alien related you can imagine big machines destroying the land with fire.
  • They’re on a journey with everything they own.  Where are they going? Where have they come from? You get the image they are leaving their home, they’ve packed essentials from their home, they’ve taken their cart from their home.  They must be heading to safety, wherever that might be, following the river that will perhaps lead them to freedom.
  • The road is mentioned three times in these few lines.  It is also the title of the book.  What does it symbolize? It symbolizes their route to freedom and hopefully safety.  Man has built a road to take them somewhere, they are up high with a valley below and a river to follow, but the road must lead to somewhere.
  • Can you spot any poetic devices in this short passage?  What effect do they have? I spotted two metaphor’s I think, ‘grey serpentine of a river’ and gunmetal light’.  They make you imagine a snake like river possibly dangerous or medieval looking and the gunmetal light again I’m thinking a war reference to a gun and possibly the light being grey and dull and again dangerous.
  • What other stylistic language choices does McCarthy make and why? Why might he not punctuate speech? He doesn’t name the two characters or describe their appearances, but he is able to make you believe the two know each other and care about each other, both are scared.  I am not sure why the speech isn’t punctuated, this is not the norm for writing a book and I would therefore need to research further to find out why.  eNotes  I have come across this website that gives their version of why the author hasn’t used punctuation throughout the book.  “By not including punctuation and other grammatical structures, Cormac McCarthy creates a narrative that is starkly bare, stripped to nothingness like the novel’s setting.  By choosing this style for his writing, McCarthy is employing an additional vehicle, besides the content he presents, by which to communicate to the reader the emptiness of the world after the cataclysmic event that for all intents and purposes destroyed it”. by dymatsuoka, eNotes, accessed October 17, 2018 https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/why-cormac-mccarthy-does-not-add-punctuation-other-37763It has made me think is this a really clever author that grabs the reader’s attention because of the lack of punctuation or is bad not to follow the ‘rules’ of English Language.
  • What features give us a sense of where we are? It is obvious they are on a road, high up as there is a valley below, perhaps in the countryside due to the cart and looking out over ‘the wasted country’. How does McCarthy create a post-apocalyptic world? He creates it by describing ‘the wasted country’ and ‘a shore of dead reeds’, and also ‘shuffling through the ash’ makes you think there has been an apocalyptic event. Would the impact be the same if he were to remove the man and the boy? You might not get the sense of fear and urgency to leave the scene look carefully at the imagery, for example the grey ‘serpentine of the river’ and ‘the gunmetal light’.  What is it about the choice of metaphor that creates a sense of danger?   The danger of the serpentine of the river would seem that the snake is dangerous as it’s slithering through the valley poisoning anything in its way.  The gunmetal light is referring to a war weapon and a darkness instead of a bright light giving a sense of fear. What does the serpentine symbolize? Think biblical perhaps. I think it represents a dangerous route to follow, that it might poison anything in its way. What effect will biblical and religious imagery, themes and symbols have in this genere of writing? It will bring in ‘Time’ theme of death and mortality and good verses evil.
  • What’s the prose style like?  Very easy to read, flows easily. Are the sentences long or short? Short. Are they rhythmic or choppy or stark? I would say they are quite stark, as they are quite severe sentences and sharp. What impact does this have? It makes you read faster and creates fear and the need to read on to find out if they escape or not.  Is the language complex or simple? Simple.  Often the more dramatic or dark a piece is, the more simple and stripped back the prose.  Why might this be? To create atmosphere quickly and make the reader want to read on by creating a sense of fear.  What would be the effect of more flowing, colourful and detailed prose? It would create a different atmosphere, it would be happy and dreamlike.
  • How does it all make you feel? It makes me want to read the book and the film, I want to find out what happens to the boy and man, do they escape, where are they, where is the mother, what is chasing them, how did this all happen.  it makes me fearful for them and sad as to what has happened to them and possibly their family and home.  I am questioning what type of book is it, horror or thriller, is it historical and is it a happy or sad ending.  I want to learn more about the author’s style of writing and his lack of punctuation, I’d like to learn more about other books he has written it has made me feel intrigued about his style of writing. 

On reflection, I really enjoyed this exercise.  At first when I read the text, I could tell it was something I would want to read further about, just by the style of the writing and the tension it caused.  Having now done a ‘close reading’ of it, I am even more excited to read it in full and to find out what happened to them and to also find out more about the author.  I found two really interesting websites that I think will be very handy, especially the eNotes one that reviews books.  It certainly made me think how much there is to be found in just one paragraph let alone a whole book.  Very interesting and very clever, thoroughly enjoying contemporary writing projects.

PART 2/CREATIVE READING/PROJECT 4/EXERCISE 1

Grammar – In order to use different types of narrator, Exercise 1 asked us to write a couple of sentences differently from the extract from The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006) by writing in the First Person and the Second person narrator.  To confirm the correct grammar I researched and found this very handy website that shows you the difference in first/second and third person.  https://www.grammarly.com/blog/first-second-and-third-person/ – accessed October 14, 2018.  I was then able to complete the first part of the exercise as follows:

  • First Person Narrator – I pushed the kart as the boy and I carried our knapsacks.  In the knapsacks I had packed essential things in case we have to abandon the cart and make a run for it.
  • Second Person – You pushed the kart whilst you both carried your knapsacks.  In the knapsacks you had packed essential things in case you have to abandon the car and make a run for it.
  • Third Person – Would have meant naming the man and boy, in this extract the narrator hasn’t named them.  He would only be able to say he or they when referring to the man and boy or by their name.  From the boy’s side of things he would have said;  He pushed the kart and then they carried their knapsacks.  In the knapsacks he had packed essential things in case they have to abandon the cart and make a run for it.

The narrator decided to be omniscient as he wants us to know everything, either what is happening to both the man and the boy, ‘he knows it all’.  He also hasn’t named either the man or the boy, so we don’t know yet what they are called or what their personalities are like.  We have a feeling they are frightened as they need the mirror to be looking behind them and have also packed their knapsacks with essentials in case they have to abandon their kart.   I am hoping that by the narrator being omniscient we will get to know both the characters in greater detail.

On reflection I have enjoyed the start to close reading this text.  I found it easy to read as  the text was short and atmospheric and you want to read the rest of the book to find out what happens to them in the future but also what’s happened to their family and their world.

PART 2/CREATIVE READING/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 3

Poem by Dylan Thomas that addresses the course themes of time and place.  Having researched for this poem I found a really good website called Poets.org.  It has a lovely selection of poems and easy to navigate for both poems and poets, not just in text but also in audio and video form.  Poets.org

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fern-hill – (Accessed October 2, 2018) courtesy of New Directions Publishing Corp 2017

PROJECT 3, EXERCISE 3

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

https://youtu.be/mM39ChglcYc – Beautifully recited by Thomas himself, sounds quite melodramatic and somber, almost medieval (accessed October 3, 2018)

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas – narrated by Richard Burton

https://youtu.be/flKfXhrM_4g – Richard Burton recites in a slightly more cheerful version of the poem and can feel the happiness of Thomas as a child he plays and acts in the first part of the poem, becoming more somber as the poem continues (accessed October 3, 2018)

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas – narrated by Prince Charles

https://youtu.be/R_69zrPN0Z0 – Prince Charles recites the poem sounding very lighthearted, is lovely to hear him reading this poem and a different sound effect to the other more somber readings (accessed October 3, 2018)

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas – narrated by Julian Scutts

https://youtu.be/ly7vBEIhtfo – Another reading this time by Julian Scutts who also gives valuable insight into the poem suggesting a more sinister angle towards the end with reference to the Pipe Piper of Hamlet poem, having his childhood taken from him, and with rumours suggesting the farm was used by a hangman who murdered someone by hanging them in the barn and then committing suicide (accessed October 3, 2018)

MY THOUGHTS ON FERN HILL

What’s the mood of the poem? and how does it make you feel? When I first read the poem I felt it was almost medieval times I felt it was a poem split into two, when he was younger and then older, so the mood was quite happy and carefree to begin with as he is a child playing amongst the apple trees, running through the grass, daisies and barley.  He refers to singing, playing and runningup the hill, also pretending to be a huntsman or herdsman all childlike qualities.  The mood changes as it appears he returns as an adult, the excitement of his childhood memories seem to have disappeared and life seems more somber with the passing of time.  Sadness seems to have crept in and doesn’t seem to care and fears he has left his childhood behind, he remembers how young he was back then and is now trapped as he mentions being in chains.  At first I felt a little confused and found it difficult to understand, but the more I read it and the more I listed to it being read out by other readers and Thomas himself, I felt his happiness and sadness in both parts of the poem.

What poetic devices does Thomas use and what effect do they have on the poem?  Use the list above to help you. Poetic Devices: Rhyme – No, Rhythm – No, Repetition – No, Alliteration – No, Assonance – Yes (“and once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves” using the letter e repeatedly), Consonance – No, Onomatopoeia – No, Personification – No, Simile – Yes (Happy as the grass was green), Metaphor – Yes (“and I was green and carefree”).  I felt only 3 of the devices were used, his descriptions using simile’s and metaphor’s allows the reader to imagine what he is imagining, we all know green is a colour but also it is green as in he doesn’t have the knowledge of being an adult he is ‘green’ and still young.

How do the poetic devices help evoke the themes of time and place?  Can you identify any other theme running through this poem?  The use of time is used to describe his youth by time let him ‘hail and climb’ and ‘let him play’, only to become and adult  ‘And then to awake, and the farm, like a wandered white With the dew’.  He also refers to the ‘birth of the simple light’ and ‘time held me green and dying’.  The places he describes such as the ‘lilting house’, and the ‘apple towns’, the farm and its barns, hills and streams not forgetting the house itself on Fern Hill.  All the descriptions of the place appear to be happy as a child but more somber as an adult.  The time that he refers to seem to evoke birth and death, young and adult, sun and moon. 

What is the poem saying about time and place (and any other theme you’ve identified)? Time is showing how young and carefree he was and how time changes with the sun and the moon, how time allowed him to be happy and let him play, but time also made him somber as he aged and became an adult, where he wasn’t playing, or creating make-believe situations such as a huntsman or herdsman.  The place Fern Hill is where he was happy it had a chimney that sang, a farm that contained farms and animals where he played there were hills, streams and stables, all seemed to be taken from him as he felt chained as an adult and not able to enjoy life as he did.

What lines or images stay with you?  What do they remind you of or how do they make you feel?  The images of him running up the hills and being free to run through the trees and hay and daisies, along the river and at night-time.  This reminds me of my own childhood when you had much more freedom than children do nowadays where they are indoors on their computers.  I recall going fishing in streams with nets with no adult company and climbing on hay stacks and playing in fields, it was a happy and carefree existence like Thomas describes

What’s the rhythm like?  Is it choppy or is it flowing and smooth? How does the rhythm impact on the poem? When I read the poem myself I felt it was quite choppy with little short bits of information about Fern Hill, going from one description to the next.  Having heard several people read the poem out loud, I find that it flows and is quite smooth, so its interesting to see the change in my answer as now when I read it I do feel it flows quite smoothly and is gentle although somber towards the end.  I felt the rhythm is continuous throughout the poem but it changes as he becomes an adult and returns to Fern Hill.

Is the speaker important?  What are his views?  Are they apparent or inferred? The speaker is important and he is what the story is about, the child and the adult – from what I can see he loved his childhood at Fern Hill, was a typical boy out running through the fields, daisies up the hill, he seems sad about aging that its taken away the fun of his youth and that he is now trapped possibly alone, whereas he had been carefree and happy as a child whereas he seemed to be chained down as an adult.  If I am correct in my analyse of the poem it was fairly clear after I had read the poem a few times.

Are there any lines you don’t get?  Can you hazard a guess as to what they mean or allude to? I didn’t quite understand the lines ‘With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all Shining, it was Adam and maiden’ I didn’t understand who they were.  Also the last line ‘Though I sang in my chains like the sea’, I felt this was about him being old and trapped like chains, but wasn’t quite sure about the reference to the sea.

REFLECTION – EXERCISE 3

On reflection of this exercise, it really has taught me a lot.  when I first read the poem it didn’t really mean anything as in I didn’t quite understand it, the wording seemed archaic.  After I read it for the fourth time I then highlighted the lines that mentioned or referred to time and place.  This gave me more understanding of how the poem seemed to be split into his childhood at Fern Hill and then his return as an adult.  It evoked feelings of my own childhood when things where children had so much more freedom and nature was more prevalent.  I also researched the suggested readings by Burton and Thomas himself and found them to be fairly similar in style although Burton did seem a little lighter in parts.  I listened to two further audio readings by Prince Charles and Julian Scutts.  Prince Charles has a distinctive voice and I couldn’t help think this really was Prince Charles and I’m not sure he got the mood of the poem, however Julian Scutts did.  Scutts also added his own commentary and added notes on his thoughts of the poem which surprised me as he suggested there was a more sinister angle that included a hangman in the barn who murdered someone there and then committed suicide, I didn’t see that at all in the poem.  I enjoyed researching and I enjoyed learning more about the poem, I had never read it before or heard of it so it really was a revelation and new learning experience.

PART 2/CREATIVE READING/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 2

In project 3 leading up to Exercise 2, the question is asked if I prefer modernist poetry or postmodernist.  I know I prefer poems that tell a story and rhyme so probably more traditional, romantic style of poetry.   I think poetry has changed which is great but I still think there is room for both traditional and new poetry.  We were then asked if we could tell the difference between postmodernist rap lyrics of today and pre-modernist lines from the Romantic poets.  I guessed all correctly.  I think I achieved this by reading the lines out loud and I could actually hear a Rapper singer the line.

  • Her untimely exit form her, heavenly body – Rap
  • Five miles meandering with a mazy motion – Romantic
  • Victims of wordly ways, memories stays engraved – Rap
  • A dead bird flying through a broken sky – Rap
  • Drive my dead thoughts over the universe – Romantic

Imagery

We are asked to spot the simile and metaphor in the following extract:

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table; (Simile)

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells (Metaphor)

(The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Eliot)

Simile: A figure of speech in which an image is evoked by likening one thing to another – the lights were as green as peppermints

Metaphor: To describe something by giving it the identity of something else – And his hair is an exclamation mark

It is mentioned in Project 3 that a Metaphor is one of the mainstays of rap: According to Aristotle, of all the modes of expression “the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor.  It is the mark of a genius … ”  In art, we say a picture is worth a thousand words; In literature, so is a metaphor.   An example website of a Metaphor being one of the mainstays of rap is on the Flocabulary website under the title of Hip Hop Metaphors

https://www.flocabulary.com/hiphopmetaphors/ (accessed September 12, 2018)

I also came across an interesting article regarding metaphorical concepts in rap music by Scott Crossley Metaphorical Conceptions in Hip-Hop Music (2005) African American Review https://alsl.gsu.edu/files/2014/03/Metaphorical_conceptions_in_hip-hop_music.pdf (accessed September 12, 2018).  At the time of print Scott Crossley was a graduate student in the English Department at the University of Memphis and a visiting professor at Mississippi State University.

EXERCISE 2

As per the recommendation of OCA I have had a look at the two poetry websites and found the second one on Poetry Foundation, really interesting and informative, it grabs the readers attention through visual effects as well as learning opportunities and awards that are given, specifically ones offering high cash prizes.

Poetry.org  – http://www.poetry.org/default.htm (accessed September 16, 2018) this website has been recommended by OCA – it is a resource for Poets and Poetry and contains explanations of what poetry is, terms in poetry, famous poets and links to poetry.

Poetry Foundationhttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/awards (accessed September 16, 2018) – another website recommended by OCA. It is a really informative website offering lots of different awards with high cash prizes.  Although it does seem to be prominently American and offering the prizes to Americans.

The Society of Classical Poets – http://classicalpoets.org/10-greatest-poems-ever-written/ (accessed September 27, 2018) On this website the author has listed their ten top classical poems and gives their interpretation of what the poems mean.  I thought it to be a helpful website to get an idea of the depth of meaning that these type of classical poems have.

We are also asked to check our understanding of the poetic devices by finding our own examples, for example.

RHYTHM

“A Red, Red Rose,” by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

ONOMATOPOEIA

Tick tock little clock by Fil Bufalo, Australia 2013

Tick tock little clock

ticka ticka ticka toc

How can I make you stop

How can I tell if you are clumping your hands

All around your clock face

I just don’t understand

You make sounds

like tring and buzz and cuckoo

Tell me little clock

Oh! excuse me.

Achoo!!!

ALLITERATION

Tigers by eetlalfonso, 2013

Tim the terrifying tiger

Tiptoes through tangled trees

His twitchng tail thumping

His terrible teeth terrifying turtles

Who tumble away

My own examples for poetic devices

Rhythm

I can’t find him is he dead?

Yes! to the dogs he has been fed.

Repetition

I kill

I kill

I kill

Alliteration

Dogs digging dirt

Assonance

Elephants endanger everything everywhere

Consonance

Sizzling sausages should sizzle slowly

Onomatopoeia

buzz buzz buzz the bee said as it stung the little boy on the head

Personification

The pen’s ink slowly bled onto the white clean pages

Simile

The book was as black as coal

Metaphor

She had green fingers

THE HOUSE OF NEW BEGINNINGS by Lucy Diamond

Metaphor – “without wanting to sound like a cheesy greetings card

I have skimmed through the book and didn’t seem to be able to find any poetic devices, apart from this Metaphor … although not sure if its a simile.

As part of the exercise I have created my own short poem as a Rhyme.

THE PEN (Rhyme) by Jean Taylor 2018

His head was bowed, trying to think

the pen wasn’t working, he had no ink

In the drawer he quickly looked

the silver fountain pen he took

Now his writing flourished across the page

forgetting his earlier mounting rage

On Reflecting this Exercise I enjoyed learning about the poetic devices and looking into poetry a bit more.  I’ve always enjoyed poetry, preferably  rhyme or rhythm but it was interesting to see the other types of guides used to define poetry.  I have often written poetry in cards and like to try and make them rhyme.  I would like to look at close reading more, to try and understand what else goes on in a poem, like I would now do for a painting.

PART 2/CREATIVE READING/PROJECT 3/EXERCISE 1

EXERCISE 1

The following questions are asked in relation to two  poems called The Herefordshire Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Slough by John Betjeman and The Lost Land by Eavan Boland.  Which one:

  • Speaks about place in relation to identity and exile (forced absence from one’s country or home).
  • Purely evokes a sense of place? (recall a feeling or memory)
  • Makes a social comment about progress and place?

Think about the reason(s) for your choices.

My answer is C, The Lost Land by Eavan Boland as it talks about Dublin Bay in Ireland as the place that people were having to exile, leaving by boat and having to leave their belongings behind.  The person is remembering all the names from this lost land and perhaps the daughter they have left behind.  He is recalling what it would have been like all those years ago, perhaps the granite pier is a reflection of progress as they had lost everything, and yet now there was a granite pier.

I have just looked at the answer at the end of the project and it looks like I misread the question as I thought there was only one poem that related to all three questions, whereas the answers given were

Question 1 = C    2 = A    3 = B

A – THE HEREFORDSHIRE LANDSCAPE BY ELIZABETH BARRRETT BROWING

Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist,

Farm, granges, doubled up among the hills,

And cattle grazing in the watered vales,

And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods,

And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere,

Confused with smell of orchards.

B – SLOUGH BY JOHN BETJEMAN

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!

It isn’t fit for humans now,

There isn’t grass to graze a cow.

Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs and blow to smithereens

Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,

Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,

Tinned minds, tinned breath.

C – THE LOST LAND BY EAVAN BOLAND

I can see the shore of Dublin Bay.

Its rocky sweep and its granite pier.

Is this, I say

how they must have seen it,

backing out on the mailboat at twilight,

shadows falling

on everything they had to leave?

And would love forever?

And then

I imagine myself

at the landward rail of that boat

searching for the last sight of a hand.

I see myself

on the underworld side of that water,

the darkness coming in fast, saying

all the names I know for a lost land:

Ireland.  Absence, Daughter..