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Welcome on board Mission Australia

About Reflections on Literature, Life and the Imagination

Previous Entry Welcome on board Mission Australia Mar. 23rd, 2006 @ 08:55 am Next Entry
I have just started teaching an "Introduction to Literature" Course for Mission Australia. This happens at the Mission Headquarters in Surrey Hills. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two sessions there so far where we have introduced the three core genres of literature (poetry, fiction and drama) and are now busily working away at the poetry component. Today we looked at two short, powerful poems by William Blake ("Eternity" and "To See a World in a Grain of Sand") and together we discovered the huge range of meanings that these few short lines embody: the value of the smallest and most insignificant things around us (a grain of sand/ a wild flower); how an appreciation of such things challenges the self-important structures of established society; the beauty of the interconnection between the sound and the meaning of these lines. In "Eternity" we tuned ourselves into Blake's powerful message about letting go our attachment to things, people, events... how living in this way can keep us in touch with what is really important in our lives....
Along with these deeper meanings we also explored a range of terminology that helps us talk about the way poetry works. We discussed denotations, connotations, metaphors, symbols, rhythm, rhyme, metre, form.... and so the journey goes on... We concluded with a brief look at the extraordinary short poem- filled with attitude and satisfaction: William Carlos Williams "This is Just to Say".
As well as this rich discussion on poetry we managed to connect with WebCT and this LiveJournal which promised to be great learning tools. Spaces for us to write and to keep connected with each other between classes. Thank you all for being such a patient group. I look forward to seeing you all again next week. Have fun reading the poems in the booklet and commenting on them in the WebCT discussion space.
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Date:March 22nd, 2006 12:14 pm (UTC)


Hi MG! Great to hear you are doing the course at Mission Australia. My day job (when I'm not a full time uni student) happens to be in employment services with Mission Australia in the Campbelltown area.. Wow - we would really benefit your course in our area! haha.. any chance of you extending your services out this way?? :-)
Thumbs up to you MG for doing this course with MA!
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Date:March 26th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)


The 'eternity' by William Balke, whilst being a minimilist poem (I think!) is really powerful and is a valuable lesson for any one who wishes to live a happy life. It really moved me in it'simple denotation that life is made up of moments which we must live for day to day, and not to dwell on these moments, in risk of missing out on other's and in risk of prolonging possible pain these moments have aroused. thats how I interpret it anyway! I love that poem!
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Date:April 27th, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)

William Blake's "Grain of Sand"



Just catching up here reading your Live Journal and your notes on our earlier poetry class. And reading my notes and re-reading the poem is again inspiring.

I'll just jot down here notes from the class:

It clearly contrasts the present moment to infinity - by looking into a wildflower - and the symbol of eternity in a (single) grain of sand. It's about a fleeting moment of time in our lives.

Blake's simple traditional four line poem is a spiritual statement. With its powerful metaphors and rich symbolic imagery, it has enormour impact.

It's beautiful, it's moving, and it has a powerful message.


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Date:April 27th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)

Re: William Blake's "Grain of Sand"

Thank you Tania- this is exactly what LiveJournal is for- one of its many functions: to share and deepen our responses to work done in class. Well done. Yes I agree with your interpretation that Blake makes the present moment extraordinarily rich... investing it with all the qualities of eternity.
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