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.

Shakespeare 2019- Week 2

See Judi Dench in the full video right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSDQjEJTPzg Hi All, well we made it finally into A Midsummer Night’s Dream through the gateway of  The Sonnets and Shakespeare’s many-sided sexuality! And we also learned about his deep and passionate belief in the power of art, of literature, of poetry to transcend the ravaging effects…

Budjwa Bay Again

Back to my old haunt the wonderful Bay just West of Cowan. This an amazing spot to experience total silence- and yet so close to the city. Spiders were all the way down the track and ducking and weaving was the only way of ensuring that their food supply mechanism was not destroyed!

Clemente Mount Druit- Week 2

We had a wonderful morning in which we explored the magic of Judith Wright’s poetry, especially in her poem “A Wattle Tree”. So many good responses to this poem from the class showed that Judith Wright really does have a way of making us see the landscape in a totally new, transformed, way. And the rhyme…

Shakespeare Week 1 2019

Hello All: a great start! Thank you all for your keen participation in our introduction to the world of Shakespeare and to the theme of love as it played out in two of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Christopher Marlow and Sir Walter Raleigh. Here are the recordings for our class this week: enjoy. And here a few…

Clemente OZ Lit 2019 Mount Druitt

Hello All, it was really good to start to get to know all of you yesterday: Vivian, Honeylene, Malia, Laura, Jeff, Suzanne, Heather, Jenny, Claire, Rita, Joseph, Julie, Geoffrey…. Peter…. I hope I have not left anyone out! We got off to a good start with our discussions on some poems by Indigenous poets who…

Wonderful New York Blogs from the Class of 2019: The Literature and Drama of New York.

The Best of the Bunch – those who earned a High Distinction in this assessment item are the top in the list: Emily Eicke Abbey Zito Mathilda Meader  Carina Field  Lauren Tribe Melody Carroll  Jessica Smith  Helen Citroni    AND  The rest were not far behind: NAOMI ZAKI:  Kristen Nicola  Adam Jones  Darcy Lucid  K’DOR: …

Day 9: Wrap up of the course/ discussion on Book of Mormon/ Harlem/ Central Park/Group Meal out/ Carnegie Hall: Sounds of the American Century

Wow! What an amazing day! And we are still standing- because of inclement weather we had to squeeze a number of items into this, our last day in New York: First here is our wrap up discussion and our reflections o the Book Of Mormon -Go James! Then we had a number of tour stops…

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…

Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot

This play was performed today by our wonderful second year students who were exploring the ways in which Beckett was pushing the boundaries of English language along a continuum that had begun with Joseph Conrad, The poets of the First World War, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, T.S. Eliot, Charlie Chaplin and George Orwell. Beckett comes…

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…

George Orwell & Politics & Language

Audio Lecture on George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” and “Politics and the English Language”: 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.…

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…