michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

Week Two: Dead Man Dance/ Hopkins/ Blake Songs of Innocence & Experience

What an amazing week it has been for me with these three authors the focus of attention. One, Kim Scott, celebrating the enduring value of indigenous culture in a world that seems to have lost all respect of tribal values, the next Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrating the abiding energy of the creative force in nature, despite the continuing destructiveness of the industrial revolution, the last - William Blake (writing at the time at which Kim Scott's novel is set) presenting the fine balance between the creative and destructive forces in his Songs of Innocence and Experience. Taken together, these authors show how vitally important the role of the creative artist is in a world where greed and destructiveness is often the norm. These writers are calling their readers back to a different place, a sacred place, where some balance can be restored. These writers are all speaking to the best part of men and women in our time, to that part which seeks to heal rather than hurt. 
The background image I have chosen for these three authors is from the work of Cezanne, that amazing late 19th Century artist who was committed to using his brush strokes to try to take his viewers into the creative force within nature. He spoke of the effort to "get to the bones of nature", by which I take him to mean he wanted to take us beneath the material surface into the spiritual core of reality. This applied to both his landscapes and the many still-life images he produced. His still-life images in particular, seem to resonate with a deep inward quality that one finds very rarely in any art. That is the kind of impact his paintings have for me. Enjoy your blog topics for this week. 
Week 2.001
Suggested Topics for Week 2 (and remember you are permitted to create your own topic triggered by the readings you have been engaged in this week. Of course this allows you to draw on the experiences in your own life).

Be sure to do a peer review (or leave a comment) on the work of one or two of your peers each week. These will help to start conversations that will be invaluable for your learning and for inclusion in your eportfolio. Always keep a copy of your comment and post it (together with the URL of what you have commented on) in your own journal as a new entry. 

Australian Literature: Dead Man Dance
Using the stimulus of this week's focus on the way language can bring the experience of landscape to life, describe your own experience of landscape as vividly as you can. You can either imagine it, or base it firmly on your own experience, but remember, word choice (meanings/ sounds), sentence structure, imagery, paragraphing, figures, all contribute to the experience you are trying to convey. 

Chose any one of the passages explored in the topic "The Mountain's Own Meaning" and explain the significance of this passage to the idea of "The Mountain's Own Meaning".

Twentieth Century Literature
Take a line from any one of Hopkins's poems (or a phrase from one of his prose passages) and create your own poem from this, using a Hopkinsian style to bring your observations to life 
Select the poem or prose passage from Hopkins that had most impact on you today and write a short response, explaining what it is about the writing that most caught your attention. 

The Visionary Imagination
Take a single line from any Blake poem that most interested you this week and build your own poem using this as a starting point. If possible try to adopt a Blakean style in your choice of words and images. 
Chose any single Blake poem that meant most to you this week and explain in a letter to a friend why you think the poem is really worth exploring. 


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