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Mission Australia Poetry Week 4

About Reflections on Literature, Life and the Imagination

Previous Entry Mission Australia Poetry Week 4 Apr. 6th, 2006 @ 10:05 am Next Entry
We had a stimulating morning discussing Shakespeare's sonnet "My Mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" (Number 130). Lots of great ideas flowing in the room... one of the best was John's comment that Shakespeare was challenging all the conventions about women's beauty which tend to "FLORALIZE/FLORALISE" women - I have not been able to find this word in the dictionary but I am sure Shakespeare would have been proud of the way his poem stimulated the creation of a new word in the English Language. Shakespeare was doing this sort of thing all the time... and it is a great word: it captures the way in which REALITY is so often masked by artificial beauty. Shakespeare was in quest of the REAL... this is true throughout his work... as we will see when we look at one of his plays later in our unit. Is this the sort of artificial beauty, for example, that Shakespeare would have attacked had he been writing in our own time?

What we in fact discovered when we explored the poem more deeply is that the whole poem is in some way an ANTI-POEM... in the way it attacks the use of figurative language. In the first line for example he almost writes an ANTI-SIMILE: My mistress' eyes are NOTHING LIKE the sun.... and by the end of the poem, when he writes

I think by love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

we get a sense that his whole poem is an attack on the misuse of language, of images to distort the truth: his mistress "treads on the ground"....
So well done to all of you for helping the class towards a rich interpretation of this poem. Here is the snapshot I took at the start of the class... I think we will have to try for a better one next time....
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Date:April 6th, 2006 07:24 am (UTC)

Week 7 , Reflection

This week I would like to reflect on PIG aka Poetry in the Gallery, which was on Wednesday at sundown, as Margaret one of the readers who shared some fine poetry explained was the time of day she was going to introduce her poems. Included in my reflection is a connection to the analogy Michaels Mission Australia class discovered when discussing Shakespeare, and the way Shakespeare captures the way in which REALITY is so often masked by artificial beauty.
We were introduced to the poetry by Br Ath, (I think that is his name) and he shared a few poems, one of which had him quite emotional. Now being emotional is one thing I am good at, not crying, unfortunately, I am better at being angry. Listening to Ath read the poem Five Bells and being witness to someone connecting to the words with such passion is something of an experience. Ath is rather elderly and often in life we dismiss a person ageing as just that getting old, and we forget how much of life and living they bring with them. Here Ath captured reality, with anything but artificial beauty, he captured a moment in time, that was special for not only himself and his memories and whatever connection he has personally to the poem, but he also taught me a valuable lesson, possibly one that Michael has been trying to do for the last couple of years. He taught me how to connect to the poem, to the words and the emotion of that moment in time, the moment someone else has put into verse and when read with meaning from someone, such as Ath, that has an obvious connection to the words, and decided to share their emotion with whoever else happens to be there. Thanks Ath, Thanks Michael.
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