First Week of Teaching

A great start to teaching this week in all classes. In Australian Literature we launched into “The Mountain’s Own Meaning”…. what on earth is that? some asked!…. we explored the way Judith Wright and others see the exploitative attitude towards Australia -brought by the first European and British settlers- was an attitude that did not…

Presentation

Showcase Presentation on LiveJournal over…. and a great success… there was much interest in the way university students are using LJ so creatively. It was wonderful to have so many fantastic journal entries at hand to show the level of creativity and interactivity that is going on back home. Thanks a million to all of…

Chicago

Hi all.. Chicago is a Buzz… have just walked down to amazing Millenium Park… world famous for its outdoor theatre and its extraordinary animated faces 100 feet high that move, express a whole range of emotions and feel like God speaking down to us mere mortals… will upload some photos tonight and see if I…

Arrival in the USA

Hi all my friends… I have just arrived in Los Angeles in the first let of my visit to the USA. The main aim of this visit is to attend the WebCT Conference in Chicago where I am giving a ShowCase Presentation (that is the grand title!) on the use I have made of LiveJournal…

MA Drama Performances

Hi all… our work with the disadvantaged students at MA had a wonderful conclusion yesterday with a performance of scenes from Midsummer Night’s Dream and How Does Your Garden Grow. The Sydney Morning Herald published a piece on the show in today’s (Tuesday’s Herald). Here is the link in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/shakespeare-fits-the-bill-on-the-journey-to-hell-and-back/2006/06/07/1149359820571.html.…

MA Drama Week 12

Drama Rehearsals in full swing now for the “big” presentation next Wednesday the 7th June at the MA Centre, 19 Denham Street, Surry Hills. Performance at 11 am sharp. We have had a ball rehearsing both the extract from the Bard’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and from Jim McNeill’s “How Does Your Garden Grow”. The scene…

Hypertext presentations

Thank you so much first years in ENGL104: your collaborative effort in bringing together and demonstrating your research into the new creative medium of HYPERTEXT was really fabulous. I thought that as a whole the class learnt a great deal collectively about something we knew nothing about only 3 weeks ago… now we are on…

Moliere's: The Flying Doctor

Thank you all first year’s – that is the whole class!- who made yesterday’s work on Comedy so enjoyable and entertaining. We really did learn something about the nature of comedy in the way it challenges fixed attitudes to all those who are so self-important in our society: doctors, lawyers…. fathers…. and how comedy literally…

Moliere's: The Flying Doctor

Thank you all first year’s – that is the whole class!- who made yesterday’s work on Comedy so enjoyable and entertaining. We really did learn something about the nature of comedy in the way it challenges fixed attitudes to all those who are so self-important in our society: doctors, lawyers…. fathers…. and how comedy literally…

Moliere’s: The Flying Doctor

Thank you all first year’s – that is the whole class!- who made yesterday’s work on Comedy so enjoyable and entertaining. We really did learn something about the nature of comedy in the way it challenges fixed attitudes to all those who are so self-important in our society: doctors, lawyers…. fathers…. and how comedy literally…

MA Drama Week 9

Did we have fun yesterday with the bard’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”- we managed to introduce and discuss questions about how the language of drama is different from fiction and poetry- how it draws on the expressive power of all the other art forms: painting, music, dance, sculpture…. Drama is an art form that is…

Family Gathering Newcastle

This weekend we had a large family gathering in Newcastle…. a 21st birthday party… couldn’t resist snapping the sun as it set over Newcastle Harbour and here is my son David with 2 of his children. He is just back from having walked the Kokoda trail in 6 days! Next time I will have to…

Mission Australia Fiction (Week 8)

Yesterday we tackled three stories about people who were either living on the margins or living under circumstances of extreme stress: Patrick White’s “Down at the Dump”, Olga Masters “On the Train” and Tim Winton’s “The Turning”. With the exception of Olga Masters all authors- we decided- were also capable of finding and expressing huge…

A Hard God- by Peter Kenna (Wharf Theatre)

Wow, what an amazing production with Jackie Weaver (Aggie), Kerry Walker (Monica), Max Gillies (Dan), Ralph Cotteral (Martin), Ben Matthews (Joe), David Lyons (Jack) and Maeliosa Stafford (Paddy). Each actor contributed so richly to the dramatic texture of this powerful performance of this classic Australian play. The reason we went to this production was twofold.…

MA Fiction (Week 6 and 7)

We have been having a very rich time exploring the language and meaning of Henry Lawson’s “Send Round the Hat” and Barbara Baynton’s “Squeaker’s Mate”. Both stories reflect on experiences that gave shape to the Australian identity in the late 19th and early 20th century… but what an incredible difference in their point of view…

WebCT and LiveJournal

Hi all… I am plowing through all the LiveJournals for the first half of semester and I am having a ball. Especially with first years who I have not really got to know yet… and their LJs are a mind-expanding, mind blowing experience for the way they put me in touch with their lives (outside…

Hamlet at the Ensemble

This was a magnificent, powerful production at the Ensemble with this year’s third year students. This production brought lines of Shakespeare to life with wonderfully creative interpretations using gesture and many exaggerated movements of character. I noticed in the programme that the director (and performer of Hamlet) Mark Kilmurry has published “A Hamlet Diary” (Currency…

Mission Australia Poetry Week 4

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…

Poetry Competition on Spirit

Hi all – there was such an interesting diversity of offerings that it was very hard to choose “The Best”!… I think all the poets who contributed to the strand are deserving. So I am proposing that ALL the following talented poets read. In 2 groups of 4. And each poet must preface the reading…

The Importance of Being Earnest

What a great event this was to see some exponents of radical fringe theatre performing in a traditional “straight” play. The discussion with the actors at the end gave a real insight into how and why they were drawn to adapting this “conventional” play to their own radical theatricals. The truth of the matter is…

Bush Walking Around Jerusalem Bay

I went with a friend of mine Graeme on a great walk around Jerusalem Bay (in Kuring-gai Chase) on Saturday. We found an ancient track that led out almost to the mouth of Broken Bay. My passion is the Angophora, the Sydney Red Gum which moulds itself around rocks into some extraordinary shapes. Each tree…

Welcome on board Mission Australia

I have just started teaching an “Introduction to Literature” Course for Mission Australia. This happens at the Mission Headquarters in Surrey Hills. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two sessions there so far where we have introduced the three core genres of literature (poetry, fiction and drama) and are now busily working away at the poetry…

Shakespeare and Romanticism Week 5

Yesterday we explored Golding’s translation of Ovid’s image of the four ages of the world. How much we need the influence of that vision of the Golden Age! How accurate is that depiction of the Iron Age which seems to be the prevailing condition of human life on this planet… and yet we have someone…

Introduction to Literature Week 4

So we started poetry today and finished fiction – with a bang: Balzac and Poe. Two challenging stories that open the brain corpuscles just a little more. I must admit I do love the intensity of the writing in Balzac. He takes you right inside his characters’ feelings and emotions and there is such a…

Review of a Journal Entry

Hi folks, “59 Elpis” asked me to do a demonstration review of someone’s journal… I have finally got round to doing this…. in haste I may add; but I decided to stop right there with “59 Elpis” himself. Check out the entry for the 12th March which is on a poem by Josh…. I thought…

My Own Private Idaho

We watched this full length feature before our Shakespeare class: an amazing re-working of the Henry IV story set in the context of contemporary American gay and drug culture. It gave a real sense of how we might be missing the true flavour of Shakespeare through our sentimentalization of his world and his imagery. His…

PIG in the Gallery

What a great start to this new venture of Hosting poetry readings in the M. Art Gallery: thank you Ross K for the initative. Thank you students for supporting it with your LiveJournal poems and your attendance… and what a great spread of wines, cheezes, fruits of the forest etc. etc… Thank you Bill F…

Week 3

So week 3 is upon us and all is running smoothly. This week PIG (Poetry in the Gallery) happens at 4.45 in the Gallery. Be there or be square. Watch your peers read from their poetry. This is an opportunity for LiveJournal’s Creativity to migrate from cyberspace into real three dimensional space for the duration…

NIneteenth Century Literature Week 2

Sorry about the mishap yesterday! But we still had a very lively engagement with the ideas of the young Romantics. The film Pandaemonium was true “find”. It captured some of the revolutionary enthusiam (and danger) of being a Romantic at the turn of the 18th/19th Century. It is often hard to imagine authors in books…

Shakespeare Week 2

Thank you all for your enthusiastic participation as we ventured into the subversive Shakespeare. Sonnet 130 “My Mistress’ Eyes” really does show that Shakespeare was out to challenge the accepted paradigms of love in his day -and ours! For him the challenge to the artificial veneers of society was his core concern. He was/is an…

Start of Week 2

Hi all- well we are getting into our stride and the LiveJournal URLs are coming in thick and fast. I didn’t get a chance to say it at the end of last week, but I was very excited by the sea of lively first year faces at the lecture on Friday… another 100 Literature students…

Nineteenth Century Literature

So we are launched into the 19th Century with my mate William Blake steering his way through Enlightenment Pomposities and through the muck and muddle of the early days of the industrial revolution. As you can see from “The Garden of Love” and “London” he enjoyed stirring people into thinking hard about the restrictions they…

Shakespeare Unit- more for Week 1

I was really glad to be able to show you those clips from two versions of Twelfth Night. These scenes give so much insight into the core issues of the play as a whole and here we had two very different interpretations. The Trevor Nunn version (with Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham Carter) really explores…