Friday, 22 May 2009

Why not try some Bach while you revise eighteenth-century poems?

J.S. Bach 1685-1750 was one of the greatest composers and musicians of his time. Why not listen to some of the music that poets from his time would have heard - and loved. This intricate piece of baroque is the musical equivalent of the fashions in poetry, painting, furniture and architecture of the period. Can A2 students of the old syllabus listen to better? Enjoy, as you read. Maybe I'll play this at the beginning of a class test to set the mood!

BWV - 1006 - Prelude from lute suite 4 - John Williams

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Can you recognise this AS poem on the theme of 'home'

To my classes.

This a poem that we studied this year. But can you identify it from this image? Again, why are some words seemingly more important and significant than others?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

A2 Section 2 Poetry - Word Cloud Quiz

Identify the poems and consider why some words are enlarged!

AS Word Cloud Quiz

Guess the poems! And why do think some words are bigger?

How about revising with word clouds?

Click on the image to enlarge.

What about a whole new way to revise your AOs 1-3? Why not produce a few word clouds on poetic terms or for particular poems? You could do the same for the theme of home and links between the poems.

An analysis of Henry King's "The Exequy" and other poems

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

AS practice essay questions linked to the theme of home

Practice Essay Questions for AS Poetry on the Theme of Home.

Prepare an essay plan for one of the following essay questions. We will discuss it in class after 20 minutes.

“Poets often refer to home as a place of memory”

In the light of this claim compare and contrast the presentation of home in two poems that you studied.

‘Some poems in the ‘Anthology’ focus on home as a place of happiness or melancholy.’

In the light of this claim compare and contrast Hardy’s “The Self-Unseeing” with a poem of your choice.

‘Several poems deal with relationships between parents and children.’

Compare and contrast the presentation of relationships in “Toys” and a poem of your choice.

Tennyson's "Mariana": notes on recently discussed AO1 and AO2 Terms

It is a poem in which very little happens - but Mariana's rising emotional intensity.

The subject of this poem is drawn from a line in Shakespeare's play "Measure for Measure": "Mariana in the moated grange." This line describes a young woman waiting for her lover Angelo, who has abandoned her upon the loss of her dowry. Just as the epigraph from Shakespeare contains no verb, the poem, too, lacks all action or narrative movement. Instead, the entire poem serves as an extended visual depiction of melancholy isolation.

Some lexis

'athwart - archaic and sets a tone

'marrish-mosses' - marshy mosses - again an archaic usage, rather like 'cometh' earlier - helps create tone and atmostphere.

archaic – a word no longer in use – used long ago

'casement' – an archaic word for window

Remember that the choice of form and changes within it affects emotion in poetry (D. H. Lawrence )

Tetrameter - eight syllables a line

Trimeter - six syllables a line

A Refrain – repeated lines or stanzas

Melancholy often achieved through adjectives and imagery applied to the senses, e.g. sound.

Anaphora is a rhetorical device and it can be seen in the repetition in the way lines in one stanza begins with  “Old . . .”

“Old . . .”
“Old . . .” (Stanza Six, “Mariana” )
Epizeuxis -“aweary, aweary” ( “Mariana”) (Repeated words on the same line.)
Ekphrasis – detailed description that enables readers to picture what is described.

A spondee - the line’s rhythm is slowed down to emphasise how time has become elongated for Mariana in the final stanza of the poem with “Slow Clock”
The theme of home – isolation and abandonment in “Mariana”
“Mariana” was written when Alfred Tennyson was only 21, shortly after the death of his friend Arthur Hallem.

Is it a psychological poem? The study of psychology was only just beginning – Sleep-walking, the rising intensity of Mariana’s despair. In 1802, French physiologist Pierre Cabanis helped to pioneer   biological psychology with his essay Rapports du physique et du moral de l'homme (On the relations between the physical and moral aspects of man). Cabanis interpreted the mind in light of his previous studies of biology, arguing that sensibility and soul are properties of the nervous system

Is the poem influenced by then fashionable Gothic? Gothic novels were rising in popularity. “Frankenstein” and “The Castle of Otranto” have nightmare scenarios that are highly atmospheric.

Medieval - the Victorians thought up the idea that this period was  "the middles ages" and that they, of course, lived in the modern age
Form ( AO2 )
"Mariana" takes the form of seven twelve-line stanzas, each of which is divided into three four-line rhyme units according to the pattern ABAB CDDC EFEF. The lines ending in E and F remain essentially the same in every stanza and thus serve as a bewitching, chant-like refrain throughout the poem. All of the poem's lines fall into iambic tetrameter, with the exception of the trimeter of the tenth and twelfth lines. The form helps emphasise the frustrating tedium of Mariana’s nightmarish existence as she awaits a lover who appears to have abandoned her.

Third person with direct speech from Mariana.

Structurally, the poem’s time-frame is over an evening, night and morning.

One of the most important symbols in the poem is the poplar tree described in the fourth and fifth stanzas. On one level, the poplar can be interpreted as a kind of phallic symbol. It certainly adds to the poem's gothic atmosphere in the way the shadow of the tree falls across Mariana's bed.

Practice Essay Question

Several Poems in John Wain’s “Anthology” focus on home as a place of grief or loss.

Compare and contrast the poets’ presentation of grief or loss in two poems from the “Anthology”.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Max Keiser on The Chrysler Bankruptcy - Brilliant!

Max says things here which are rarely heard on ANY mainstream television station. Here he is from a few days ago ( May 1st ) on France 24 talking about "savage capitalism", "Dracular" - like hedge funds and the weak American worker, whose blood the hedgefunds, banks and other sundry capitalists is sucking. Great stuff.

Is Capitalism in the USA and UK "feeding on itself" and in doing so eating the last crumbs of what was a productive economy? You judge.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Poetry Terminology Quiz by Famous Poems.Org

I took the Poetry Terminology Quiz at Famous
My results:

Ultimate Poetry Guru!

My Score
The average quiz taker scored 65%, while I scored a whopping 100%!
How's that for a poetry expert?
Think you can do better? Head to the Famous Poems Library and Take the Quiz!

"Amazing! We don't know how you did it, but there it is, right as rain. Only a handful of people has ever scored perfectly on our quiz. And hundreds, if not thousands, of future quiz takers will try to do what you've just done and fail miserably. You've got a gift, my friend!"

I did this for a laugh; however, it would have been an embarrassment to get less than 100% as I teach the study of poetry for a living! However, for some fun-time revision, see how well you can do!

Here's another brief quiz with some broader questions on poetry through the ages:

Saturday, 2 May 2009

"Sir Patrick Spens" read by Hannah Gordon

What a clear, expressive reading of this medieval ballad. It should help with understanding and revision.

Pity about the spelling above; it should read "ballad".

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.