Tuesday, 31 March 2009

"On His Blindness" Sonnet XVI by John Milton ( notes )

Useful notes on Milton's great sonnet. Use the contents box from the page on this link to find out about the historical content of this poem.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Poetic Forms

Read the mini essays on several poetic forms from this link.
The more you know about form, the better you will be able to handle the AO2 criteria: Form, Structure and Language.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Poetic Form - The Structure of a Villanelle

AO2 examines language, form and structure. We have been studying a couple of villanelles for unseen tests. Emily Bishop's "One Art" and Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" are both well known examples of this form. AS students should read the article below as its points on how to comment on the structure of villanelles is exemplary.

"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

by Dylan Thomas

Saturday, 7 March 2009

"To Althea, From Prison" - the song version by Fairport Convention

That great old folk band, Fairport Convention's sung version of Richard Lovelace's famous poem is worth a listen for its phrasing and for how they managed to set this seventeenth century poem to music. In class we will be studying this poem with Lovelace's paradoxes on liberty  two weeks from now. Students should remember that AO1 and AO5ii are the most important assessment objectives. However, the others in between matter too, even if to a lesser degree.

"To Althea, From Prison" was written by Richard Lovelace, a royalist, Cavalier poet, 1618-1658. "When Parliament Puritans known as Roundheads (because of their short haircuts compared with the luxurious locks of the cavaliers) ousted Anglican bishops from Parliament, Lovelace presented a petition calling for their restoration. In response, Parliament imprisoned him in its Gate House." (From the Cummings Study Guide.)


Sunday, 1 March 2009

"Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift"

This is the full version with notes from Rutgers University. 

Also, here's a discussion on one of Jonathan Swift's most biting satires, "A Modest Proposal". It is very helpful for understanding the historical context of this poet and writer, particularly the importance of pamphleteering during the early eighteenth century.

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.