Category Archives: Project 3 – Ways of saying and seeing

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.

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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..