michaelgriffith (michaelgriffith) wrote,

Welcome on board Mission Australia

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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