End of Week 2

This week has been hectic because I am learning how to use Dreamweaver to put lectures and images up into WebCT. I have been told that Dreamweaver is the way to go, but at present it is very time consuming. But Wai-Leng is giving me a huge amount of assistance… so it is becoming possible. I am delighted to see that two of the special LiveJournal communities that were started are “happening”. Poetry and Bookreviews are starting to flood in. What a great resource and inspiration this will be. I have also just discovered a great little software program called “ECTO” for both PC and Mac that allows me to put LiveJournal blogs up onto the web using HTML. It also allows me to see and post into any of the communities that are up and running. For those of you keen to extend your HTML knowledge it is worth downloading it and giving it a try. It is free for 20 days and after that it costs around 20 bucks.
It has been a very stimulating week in class. Friday’s Blake class was lively. There were many questions and much discussion and I had to fight to actually get to my planned lecture. But my overall sense was that students were keen to understand some of the challenging ideas they tasted in Blake’s poetry, letters and paintings… I hope I can keep this momentum going. But I feel it all depends on not pushing the students too hard… allowing them to deal in their terms with what they can understand… and then from there taking them a gentle step further… and further… and further. It will be interesting to see how they handle discussions this week.
First year was dedicated to opening up the world of Aboriginal literature. We listened to Yothu Yindi and considered the question of whether the energy they put into their work has opened up new doorways for Aboriginal writers and artists? Alexis Wright’s novel is an indication of some kind of breakthrough to a new appreciation of the place of the Aboriginal spirit world in modern Australia. This is a haunting book about what is left of Aboriginal spiritual reality.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough this week was establishing the ENGL102 “Think-Tank” to be renamed possible as “The Sophists”?!@#$- a group of 6 students who, with my help, will move towards creating English events and tools to enhance our experience at uni: debates, theatre visits, poetry competitions, more effective use of tools such as WebCT discussions and LiveJournal communities…. we will see how this grows this week.
In the Twentieth Century we looked again at poems by Hopkins and Hardy and completed introductory work on Modernism. This coming week we move into Joseph Conrad.

At home the puppies are beautiful but are causing mayhem in the kitchen… I don’t need to go into details!! They are now nearly 7 weeks old. I would love to keep them all! But can’t. My daughter Helen is fighting to keep 1… but even there we agonize about who will take the 2 dogs for a walk each day etc etc etc… no easy solution to this conundrum because we are all so busy in the household… They might all have to go to the petshop in a week or so….? Meantime my third grandchild is two weeks old.

from “Five Days Old”

Christmas is in the air
You are given into my hands
Out of quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer.
To blown straw was given
All the fullness of Heaven.

The tiny, not the immense,
Will teach our groping eyes…
Now wonderingly engrossed
In your fearless delicacies,
I am launched upon sacred seas,
Humbly and utterly lost
In the mystery of creation,
Bells, bells of ocean.
                                <I>Francis Webb</I>

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