Francis Webb Seminar 2: Aquinas Academy

This week we explored the theme suggested by Herbert Read in his introduction to the first edition of Francis Webb’s Collected Poems: “the so tender voyaging line of truth”. This line appears in the poem “Self-Portrait”, part of Webb’s praise of the artist Anthony Sandys (1806-1883) which appears in Webb’s Around Costessey series. Here are some…

Best Blogs from New York

Hello All, We have now finished marking the blogs from our amazing trip to New York, studying the literature and drama of that extraordinary city. All our students had to do daily blogs (on literature and drama… and some chose to blog also on other key events). For nearly all students the most memorable event…

Francis Webb Seminar 1- Aquinas Academy07/02/2017

Today’s session explored the complex background to Francis Webb’s powerful creative imagination. We looked first at “On First Hearing a Cuckoo”, partly inspired by Frederick Delius’ On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring.  Here is a reading of the poem and the conversation that ensued:  The seminar then moved on to explore two of Webb’s early poems…

Updated URLS for New York Team

We are all finally leaving NY and we got a beautiful send off: strong snow falls. Thank you all and goodbye to a great city! URLS for NEW YORK-  Anita: https://akeigaldie.wordpress.com/ Anne-Marie: https://annemariedimarco.wordpress.com/ Audrey Bowles: https://barefootfairy42.wordpress.com/ Caitlin: https://caitlyntuckerman.wordpress.com Carly: https://carlysliteratureblog.wordpress.com/category/new-york/ Christina: https://christinarujicica.wordpress.com/ Claire: https://aclairetale.wordpress.com/ Darby: https://darbyelisee.wordpress.com Helen: https://hparminterblog.wordpress.com/ Jade Chambers: https://jadechambers.wordpress.com Jessica: https://therunaboutblog.wordpress.com Kirsten: https://kfed94.wordpress.com Maddison: https://unitedstatesofmaddison.wordpress.com Madeleine: https://maddydoesbroadway.wordpress.com/…

Harlem

Today was one of the richest engagements with American culture. It began with a Gospel service at the Canaan Baptist Church which was one of the most moving experiences I have ever witnessed. The preacher spoke about the difficulties of our own times and invited to the stage one of the leaders of the New…

The Met Breuer: Exhibition of African American artist Kerry James Marshall

After Central Park I strolled across to this wonderful exhibition of one of the most celebrated African American artists who was born in 1955. You can read all about his connections with the Harlem Renaissance here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_James_Marshall Deeply educated in classical European art, he has imposed black figures onto traditional painting subjects. This gave a powerful…

Day 4: Part 1- The MET

The MET began with an introduction to American Art through the iconic work of the early 20th Century Artist Thomas Benton whose amazing panoramic America Today fills a whole room. The painting captures America at the start of the Great Depression, shortly after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. America was in the throes of questioning/celebrating…

Day Three- MOMA

Our day began with a wonderful short introduction to the literary landscape of New York from the perspective of New Yorker Professor Nicholas Birns, an actual American specialist in Australian Literature and author of Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead Sydney University Press.Nicholas is now on the academic staff of NYU New York University. Nicholas has…

Literary Tours through Greenwich and East Village New York: what an amazing day!

Introduction by our friendly, highly experienced tour guide! Washington Square was our first port of call. This is the place where Henry James was born, where he lived and from which he composed an early masterpiece which we are studying Washington Square. It is a wonderful novel that champions women’s intelligence and shows the poverty of…

New York, New York

We are off to New York very soon to study the Literature and Drama of New York: 30 students + 3 staff: what a blast! We have been working all week on the poetry, fiction and drama of New York and will arrive at JFK thoroughly soaked in the language and experience of those who…

Love & Intellect: Recipe for Peace

Come and be stimulated by presentations and discussions on the mysticism of Rumi, St John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Hadewijch of Antwerp and others in this exciting interfaith presentation by the Al Ghazzali Centre, ACU and ACU’s SLA (The Sacred in Literature and the Arts Group).  These mystical writers have a vitally important message for…

BlakeanPineappleCoconutsBBsBlakesoniansBlakettes….

Our Blakean students today created some wonderful drama pieces that captured the life, times and contemporary significance of William Blake. There were dramatizations of some of his greatest poems (e.g “London”) with animations of overcrowded London streets; there were scenes of contemporary life emphasizing the fact that we spend too much time on chasing the dollar…

Nation, Race and Language: “Wherever I hang my knickers – that’s my home.”

Today we explored a range of immigrant writers who either embraced the English Language totally (such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka), or those who enjoyed flaunting the creative powers of their own appropriation of English (such as Louise Bennett and Grace Nichols), finally to those such as M.Nourbese Philip who seemed to lament the loss…

Remembering Babylon- David Malouf

Whether this is Jerusalem or Babylon we know not: William Blake The Four Zoas. With this epigraph from William Blake, David Malouf challenges us to consider whether the colonial Australian world that he evokes in this beautiful novel is a place in which harmony might evolve, or in which chaos and lamentation might descend. It is…

George Orwell: The Creation of an Orwellian Backbone as a Way towards Purifying the Human Condition.

George Orwell who experienced the horrors of imperial exploitation when working as a police officer in Burma began then to think of ways in which he could challenge corruption in politics, indeed in all human affairs, using his gift of language. Language for Orwell was man’s most creative as well as his most destructive tool.…

Patrick White’s Gift of Reconciliation

Patrick White had the extraordinary insight, back in 1961 to write about the amazing creativity inherent in his Aboriginal character Alf Dubbo who plays a leading role in the novel Riders in the Chariot. The novel won the Miles Franklin award in that year and then in 1965 won the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society. Patrick White’s…

Highlights from first cull of Twentieth Century Literature Blogs!

What a totally amazing collection of Blogs from students studying 20th Century Literature at ACU. There is such depth and variety in this swag of great entries. Congratulations to all of you – and to those who didn’t quite make this list. This is just to give you an idea of the riches I have…

Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield

Today we explored the ways in which these two early 20th Century authors used their creative gifts to delve deep into their own consciousness into that of their characters. The two daughters in “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” suddenly find themselves freed from the patriarchal and imperialist shackles of their father and yet are unable…

Highlights from the first trawl through William Blake and the Visionary Imagination.

ACU Students in this unit have produced some awesome entries inspired by their reading of William Blake. Enjoy some of these wonderfully creative expositions of Blake’s continuing relevance to our own times: Johanna Powers description of Blake’s human qualities: https://johannapower.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/week-4-blog-post/ Caitlyn Tuckerman on Job’s Nightmares https://caitlyntuckerman.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/jobs-nightmare/#comments Jesse Ocsan– tales of Experience: the ambulance man. https://ocsanj.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/week-3-tale-of-experience/…

T.S.Eliot, literary modernism and the quest for meaning.

On Friday this week we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Professor Barry Spurr (recently retired from his Chair of Poetry and Poetics at Sydney University) who came to enlighten us about “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Waste Land”. Professor Spurr’s lecture was astonishingly rich in its detailed contextualisation of…

Manifesto & Modernism

  The creator of the Video art work Manifesto Julian Rosefeldt was asked (in the last essay in the book Manifesto): … are these old manifestos relevant today? He answered: Absolutely. And not just relevant, but also visionary… We’re well advised, therefore to read artist manifestos as seismographs of their age. (seismograph= an instrument that measures and records details…

Poetry of the First World War

Today we broached the world of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and Rupert Brooke. The focus was on the way the English language became transformed during this period with the direct impact of the horrors of the First World War. The jingoistic idealism of Rupert Brooke was kicked out by the hard hitting, grating,…

The Early Twentieth Century

Blog Topics for Week 3 – Based on Weeks One and Two The Early Twentieth Century- Gerard Manley Hopkins & Joseph Conrad Chose any one topic for this week. Be creative, concise and edit your work carefully! Enjoy 1/ Take the first line of any one of Hopkins’ poems and write your own poem celebrating…

Top 19th Century Lit ePortfolios ACU 2016

There were some truly outstanding ePortfolios in this group of ACU students celebrating their experience and insight into the work of Romantic poets and the fiction of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Tolstoy among others. The focus questions underpinning these ePortfolios were Writers and artists in the 19th Century were preoccupied with trying to solve the…

Best Shakespeare Plus 2016 ePortfolios

There have been some fantastic ePortfolios from students completing their Shakespeare Unit this semester. Plays covered included Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and The Tempest along with the bard’s sonnets and miscellaneous poetry from around Shakespeare’s time. Students had to consider the ways in which Shakespeare’s art still speaks to our experience in the…