Author: michaelgriffith1

I am a university teacher in Sydney Australia. I am passionate about using blogging and internet technologies to stimulate creative responses in my students towards the literature they are studying.

Class given to African American Clemente Students In the Centre of Harlem

What a gift this was to be to share my insights on and understanding of Australian Indigenous literature with this passionate, switched-on group of Harlem Clemente students. They were so keen to hear and know about their less well -off brothers and sisters down-under. I shared with them the way that our university supports Indigenous…

Wonderful James Baldwin Exhibition in Down-Town Manhattan

Don’t miss this one if you are staying on in NY. At 533 West 19th is this commemoration of America’s greatest contemporary African American writer. Photographs, art works, videos, stories and letters give a rare, more private insight into how this man transformed his life and helped profoundly to shift fixed attitudes toward African Americans.

Moma -NY 2019

A goodly handful of us had a wonderful treat today: not only did we see and discuss some of the more controversial Post WW2 American artists, but we had hour long wanderings among the most well known 20th Century modernists: Such a happy team 🤣👍🎶 Inside we started with iconic Rothko and Picasso: It is…

Day 7- Brooklyn & Brooklyn Bridge: Walt Whitman and Hart Crane

Hi All, here is the wonderful discussion we had this morning – about “Pies” then about Walt Whitman’s “epiphanic” (thank you Naomi!) depiction of New York in “Mannahatta”, followed by Hart Crane’s ecstatic description of Brooklyn Bridge. We also briefly compared Joseph Stella’s 1939 painting The Brooklyn Bridge (at The Whitney) with Hart Crane. So enjoy…

Day 5 Gospel Service in Harlem

Today Sunday we had the extraordinary good fortune to be part (again- last time in 2017) of the Gospel Service at the Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem: Personally I found this service incredibly powerful and moving, but I can also understand why some people might find it confronting and challenging. To this end I have…

The MET in New York

This post includes the morning tutorial on To Kill a MockingBird and on the insights gained from the literary tours. Go to the end of the blog for these…. We had a great tour through the Modern and Contemporary Gallery today looking at early 20th Century Regional Art – in the form of Thomas Hart…

Introduction to the Literature of New York with Nick Birns from NYA – Washington Square and Greenwich Village

A day to be remembered! Nick so generously took us through his life-long experience of New York and his passionate lover of the literature that it has produced, and his deep sense of the social and ethical insights that reading and understanding this literature can give. Thank you Nick! With Nick’s permission here is the…

Made it to New York for the start of our amazing tour through the literary and dramatic haunts of this awesome city! Join us for our adventure

Take- off Stop-over in LA (LAX) The highs and the lows of digital creativity in the LAX Terminal. Here is American digital artistry on show: And here is art as handmaiden of consumerism- in your face!!!!   Arrival in New York….  a blissful 2 degree C (after the nearly 40 in all three cities from…

First Tutorial for New York 2019 cohort: The Literature and Drama of New York

Thank you all for your attendance and keen participation today. We have two recordings of our presentation and discussion. The first is the recording from the Sydney cohort, the second from the Melbourne and Brisbane cohort combined. Attached also please find the slides from today’s tutorial. Enjoy revisiting this content as needed for your quiz…

African American Writing: Harlem, New York: James Baldwin

Please find here the first audio talk on James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain. Also find underneath, notes and links to the content mentioned in the talk: Page of Links and Clips on James Baldwin (1924-1987) https://www.biography.com/people/james-baldwin-9196635- Please watch the short 3 minute clip on James Baldwin’s life at the start of this article. It…

The Poetry of Grace Contemplative Experience IV: Part 4

In today’s last session we turned first to exploring the ways in which William Blake explores the conditions that create GRACE. In his Songs of Innocence and Experience he has two songs that are about Nurses. In Nurse’s Song in Songs of Innocence he presents  the Nurse in a state in which  “her heart is at…

The Poetry of Grace IV: Contemplative Experience Part 3

In this week’s session we looked first at Les Murray’s “The Buladelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle“. If you click on the title you can read the whole poem right here! We explored the ways in which Les’ poem builds on the ” ‘WONGURI‐’MANDƷIKAI SONG CYCLE OF THE MOON‐BONE“ which we explored in last week’s session.  You can…

The Poetry of Grace IV: Contemplative Experience Part 2

This week we first turned our attention to Judith Beveridge’s wonderful poem “Flying Foxes, Wingham Brush”. In this poem she reveals her capacity to enter into the lives of these amazing creatures, giving them her full attention, drawing us in to the experience of their wondrous beings! Enjoy this audio lecture which moves at the…

The Visionary Imagination: William Blake, Patrick White, Brett Whiteley, Allen Ginsberg- Celebrating Class of 2018 ePortfolio/Blogs

  BLAKEAN STORIES This was perhaps the most creative component of all the blogs: those many stories about strangers or family members who provided a trigger for seeing the world in a totally new way. Here is Jamie’s wonderful story about his sister from Vietnam in which he “describes a totally ordinary person in such…

Celebration of 20th Century Blogs: Century of “Innerness” in Literature and the Arts.

In this unit we explored writers and artists beginning with English Gerard Manley Hopkins right through to Trinidadian M. Nourbese Philip. The focus has been on the way writers and artists in the 20th Century have been trying to use their medium to break through the mirroring surface of things to the depths below, where…

The Poetry of Grace IV: Contemplative Experience Part 1

This is the fourth seminar series in a group titled The Poetry of Grace held at the Aquinas Academy in Sydney. Previous seminars have explored the poetry of Austrian Rainer Maria Rilke and Australian Francis Webb (these can be accessed from this WordPress site- just click on the Poetry of Grace link above). This 2018 seminar…

Australian Literature Blogs 2018

There have been some wonderful blogs by students studying Australian Literature at ACU this semester. We began the unit with Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance and then travelled through a number of Indigenous authors before beginning the “White” literary staircase from early colonial times right up to contemporary times with Francis Webb, Lisa Bellear and then…

William Blake’s “Grain of Sand” Alive and Well in 2018

Performances based around the work of William Blake and his legacy in Australia have taken place today in Strathfield (ACU)! What an amazing collection of young voices celebrating the continuing creative power of William Blake and his impact on such diverse talents as Patrick White, Brett Whiteley and Allen Ginsberg. Here are our pre-performance tutorials…

Riders in the Chariot- Final Classes

Hi All, today was our final excursion into the world of Patrick White, especially his representation of Alf Dubbo, the Aboriginal artist as a ministering priest of a renewed Christianity. Patrick White shows us how Alf Dubbo’s belief is restored through his visionary imagination and in this way illuminates the way in which William Blake’s…

Francis Webb’s Eyre All Alone & David Malouf’s Fly Away Peter

Today’s lecture began with some further comments on the poetry of Francis Webb. In particular I looked at “End of the Picnic”, “Black Cockatoos”, “Banksia” (from the Eyre All Alone sequence and “Harry” (from the Ward Two sequence.  The first part of today’s audio lecture covers these poems.  Enjoy listening! We then moved on to David Malouf’s…

Alf Dubbo (artist), potential redeemer!

Patrick White presents his hero Alf Dubbo -one of the four “Riders” in the Chariot-  as a human being who brings into the present the transformative power of his aboriginal creative heritage. He does this through his deep animation of Christian themes, bringing these back to their true meaning in the sources of Christianity prior…

Nation, Race and Language- The Fate of the English Language at the End of Empire!

We began today’s lecture trying to respond to the question about language (in the screen shot below)  and about the ways in which Samuel Beckett may be trying to address these questions. There were some great responses to the question from the class and you can hear these as the first items in the recorded…

Morning Walk Down Lyre-Bird Gulley- Begins with Stone lyre-bird ends with Flesh lyre-bird.

The walk down Lyre-Bird Gulley (from Mount Kuring-gai down to Calna Creek and on to either Crosslands or Berowra Waters) now begins with this beautiful stone carving of a lyre-bird created by Noel Rosten (Australian Plant Growers’ Assocation) and his team of native plant enthusiasts from Asquith Boy’s High School. This lyre-bird and the gulley…

Some Fabulous Blogs from The Visionary Imagination.

Students completing a unit on The Visionary Imagination with a focus on William Blake, Brett Whiteley and Patrick White have produced their first batch of blogs and there are some wonderful entries. Here are some of the most compelling entries: enjoy. And thank you the creators! CREATIVE TASK- Write a letter to William Blake asking him…

Some Extraordinary 20th Century Literature Blogs

Please enjoy reading some of these amazing blog entries by students studying 20th Century Literature at ACU. Thank you all for the hard work that has gone into these entries: Thank you Helena for this wonderful re-imagining of  Paul Baumer’s letter to the Frenchman’s wife: Click here. Thank you Dhwani for this amazing Hopkins imitation:…

Australian Literature in the Early 20th Century!

We began today with a glance at Henry Lawson’s “Drifted Back”, a short story which encapsulated aspects of his own life story, but which also reflected back on Lawson’s impressions of what was being lost as Australia moved into the new century: Community, Mateship, The Old Bush School, the destruction of the environment with the…

Brett Whiteley & William Blake 2018

Audio Lecture in the Brett Whiteley Studio Audio Lecture 1 in the NSW Art Gallery on Blake’s Job Engravings Audio Lecture 2 in the NSW Art Gallery on Blake’s Job Engravings Brett Whiteley’s “Grain of Sand” in Surry Hills & William Blake in Sydney: Blake’s “Job” in the NSW Art Gallery; What a fabulous connection was made today …

Art Consciousness and Spirit in Times of War

Today we explored Virginia Woolf (“The Mark on the Wall”), T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding” and Katherine Mansfield’s “The Daughters of the Late Colonel”. These are three amazing modernist authors who, in the shadow of war (both the First and Second World Wars) were trying to find a way through to some personal or spiritual certainty.…

Australian Colonialism from 1880 on: Republicanism, Feminism, Federation, and beyond…

Firstly let me share some more Outstanding Blogs. These are all inspirational! Thank you for your creative work on these. And thank you all for such a great Blog Crop! If these are anything to go by I am really  looking forward to seeing your final ePortfolios! Nicola on Copacabana Beach Angelina on Letter to…

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell segues into The Book of Job, Whiteley’s Alchemy, Chaucer & Patrick White

Today we explore all those sections of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell that provide a real insight into Blake’s deepest creative purpose and that also help us to understand where Patrick White was coming from in Riders in the Chariot. So we looked at his subversive “Proverbs of Hell” which sanctify the unsanctifiable (in conventional religion); we…

Modernism: T.S.Eliot & Virginia Woolf.

The visit to the art gallery of NSW last week was a perfect introduction to what we entered into today. It makes so much more sense talking about Virginia Woolf’s “Stream of Consciousness” and T.S. Eliot’s fragmented narratives (“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”- The Waste Land) afterhaving seen and discussed Picasso and Kirchner…