What a great session with David Malouf yesterday. Thank you all for your attendance and questions. David Malouf said what a lively and intelligent group of students you all were… More on this soon…. MG

A memorable day: two wonderful texts to speak about- David Malouf’s The Conversations At Curlow Creek and Margaret Edson’s play Wit. Both texts are concerned with stripping away the last illusions about ourselves. The protective images we hold up to the world (and to ourselves) that protect our full humanity from really emerging. William Blake…

Conversations at Curlow Creek

With first and third year we began work on this wonderful book this week- in preparation for David Malouf himself who will be coming in person to our classes next week. Today with the third years I gave a sweeping overview of the key themes in this book, concentrating on the way in which Malouf…

Teaching Week 8

Some new developments this week in LiveJournal. Second years came up with the idea of conducting a debate on some hot contemporary issue. The subject was New Orleans…. how such a wealthy nation could fail to know how to respond adequately to its own people. This topic is something that will relate centrally to Chinua…

William Blake Day

So today with my Blake class we finished our exploration of Blake’s poetry and paintings from the early Songs of Innocence and Experience through to the massive late work Jerusalem. Students were a little preoccupied with getting their internet assignments in today: I was amazed to see some of the fruits of this collaborative work.…

First day of Spring 2005

And outside the sunlight is glancing off the gumleaves against a brilliant blue sky! Working in my office at home today- getting lectures ready on William Blake for Friday morning. Took puppy and her mum for a walk at the crack of dawn… puppy (called “Tipsy”) has boundless, endless energy…. charging into Mum “Molly” knocking…

Tuesday August 30th

The most important thing in my teaching/learning day is to make some space at the start of the day for unstructured, free-wheeling contemplation. This morning this meant going for a long walk to the Bird-Hide in Homebush Bicentennial Park, reconnecting with greenery, with the life of water birds and with the early history of Sydney…

I took Australian Literature students to the Art Gallery of NSW today to introduce them to the range of Australian art that is relevant to literary themes. We started with Lin Onus’ amazing “Hills Hoist” with its fruit bats and blossom/droppings on the ground. One student (Adam) perceptively noted the sinister mood of the bats…

ACU LiveJournal Communities: So I have created a number of LiveJournal Communities to try and see how many fish any of these communities can catch. You are welcome to join any of them. The link below tells you how to join a community. It is very easy. You simply go to the community, then go…

Computers and Spirituality!

Hello all- I am back in the land of the living (that is computer living!) My laptop has had its hard-drive replaced and I am ready to play russian roulette once more! I must admit being without a computer for a few days has been like an amputation… but I have coped… and have actually…

Australian Literature Week 3 contd

We completed work on Alexis Wright’s Plains of Promise yesterday. Students seem to be genuinely interested in the concerns of this book. It is amazingly well written in parts and gives a real taste of the huge problems faced by Aboriginal communities in modern Australia. The closing pages of the book are bitter-sweet. They bring…

Teaching Start of Week 3

20th Century Literature: Lectures yesterday on Conrad and Imperialism. I found it difficult yesterday to implement student interaction during the lecture. This was largely because I felt the pressure of time. One student last week observed that she felt she was not getting “enough content” in the lecture… so I felt some need to cover…

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.…

William Blake's Glad Day

This is one of Blake’s powerful images of freedom, new life and light. The birth of a new day! The painting captures in colour and rhythm Blake’s sense of how the imagination could generate a kind of awakening for humanity. And so our Blake unit began last Friday amidst much interest and apprehension… who IS…

William Blake's Glad Day

This is one of Blake’s powerful images of freedom, new life and light. The birth of a new day! The painting captures in colour and rhythm Blake’s sense of how the imagination could generate a kind of awakening for humanity. And so our Blake unit began last Friday amidst much interest and apprehension… who IS…

William Blake’s Glad Day

This is one of Blake’s powerful images of freedom, new life and light. The birth of a new day! The painting captures in colour and rhythm Blake’s sense of how the imagination could generate a kind of awakening for humanity. And so our Blake unit began last Friday amidst much interest and apprehension… who IS…

Teaching Day 3: Australian Literature

In today’s lecture we explored the ways in which 20th Century Australian artists and writers have, to some extent, fulfilled the “prophecy” of Marcus Clarke, namely that “the dweller in the wilderness” would learn to understand the subtle beauty of the Australian landscape. What we discovered was that this meant a whole range of things…

Birth of Third Grandchild

My 25 year old son yesterday fathered his third child: Joshua David Griffith. I saw Joshua last night when he was 9 hours old. Mother and son are doing fine. A wonderful gift! He was greeted with great enthusiasm by his six year old sister and his 2 year old brother. At home my three…

Teaching Day 2

In Australian Literature I introduced contemporary poetry by way of an exploration of two poems by young Australians: Rebecca Edwards’ “Moon Boat” and Dorothy Porter’s “Why I Love Your Body”. Allowing students to explore the way these poems communicate brought some real insights. It was extraordinary to see how gradually the meaning and feeling of…

LiveJournal and WebCT Discussions

The other -for me- important idea that I stressed in all my classes yesterday was the way I feel that LiveJournal (coupled with WebCT Discussions) really does open up a new kind of teaching space for our English students. There are several aspects to this. With WebCT Discussions students find a space to share ideas…

First day Semester 2, 2005

Today went well despite the hiccups caused by changing my email program over the weekend. I introduced the 20th Century with Powerpoint images together with interactive comments on this century as a whole: its barbarism, its artistic innovations, its moments of self-criticism (especially in the wake of the Beatles and the Anti-Vietnam riots). We then…

Another couple of key ideas

To make LiveJournal into a more flexible, even more creative tool… I would love to hear from those of you who have mastered the insertion of visual images into LiveJournal. We could all benefit from this. Maybe if you have some simple, clear ideas here you could put them into the LiveJournal Tricks and Traps…

Start of the New Semester

Welcome all- back from weeks of indolence and ease! Just joking; I am sure you have all been working very hard either earning money or preparing for this semester. I am myself very much looking forward to this semester and to trying out some new teaching strategies….so be patient with me! I am working in…

My dog Molly

Mother and clutch of 3 children are doing fine thank you. All are blotched black and white with brown markings around the snout… none can see as yet but all are feeding with great gusto and excitement. Mother is doing fine, although she has made a bit of a mess on the livingroom carpet… and…

Sydney Writers' Week 2005

Spent a fantastic Saturday at the Writers’ Week. What an expansion of horizons! Saw Australia’s Helen Garner interviewed by Novelist Roger MacDonald. A great conversation about how Garner’s writing, especially her non-fiction was a way of giving a voice to those people in our community who are not heard. Inspired me to read some of…

Sydney Writers' Week 2005

Spent a fantastic Saturday at the Writers’ Week. What an expansion of horizons! Saw Australia’s Helen Garner interviewed by Novelist Roger MacDonald. A great conversation about how Garner’s writing, especially her non-fiction was a way of giving a voice to those people in our community who are not heard. Inspired me to read some of…

Sydney Writers’ Week 2005

Spent a fantastic Saturday at the Writers’ Week. What an expansion of horizons! Saw Australia’s Helen Garner interviewed by Novelist Roger MacDonald. A great conversation about how Garner’s writing, especially her non-fiction was a way of giving a voice to those people in our community who are not heard. Inspired me to read some of…

Third year Shakespeare performances

Thanks 3rd year for those inspired performances of the Holy Bard of Eng Lit! There were some wonderful innovations in your productions and a real discovery of the magic and versatility of Shakespeare’s flexible lingo… Power to Bottom and Falstaff! The one thing your collective efforts have convinced me of -again- is the value of…

Lear Continued

A few other memories of our discussion with the Director/ Actor Lear yesterday (David Ritche). He had this insight into the way the play reflected the much more structured hierarchy of Shakespeare’s times… how the play begins with all these formal exchanges in which people use the formal “you” as opposed to “thou” (have I…

King Lear at Bondi Pavilion Theatre

I took third year Shakespeare students to see King Lear at Bondi. Thank you Kelly for spotting the show AND for providing the parking: Go Kelly!! We had a relaxing 10 minutes in the Bondi Pub before the show… the beer was good… thank you Simone and Co.(too many important names to mention: Carl, Louwana,…

Thank you all for your LiveJournal entries… I have now finished marking the first batch and I must say (have said this somewhere else too) that overall I am not only impressed by what you are all doing with it, but feel that we have hit on a tool that has given us the space…

Captain Bree and Co

I took my daughter Helen to see Captain Bree in the Murray Hall this evening. What a knock out performance. So much energy and enthusiasm; I was thrilled to see so many of our trusted literature students (across all years) taking part, enjoying themselves so much and giving so much enjoyment. What a great way…

End of Week 3

Dawn breaks over the bush behind my house overlooking Kuring-gai Chase. A cloud bank on the horizon holds back the sun for another 20 minutes or so. The bush is filled with the sound of cavorting Wattle birds that any European would say sound like woodpeckers. In the distance families of kookaburras break into this…

End of week 2

Hello all! It is around 2am (I am in my insomniac mode!). With my 14 year old daughter we watched “Nicholas Nickelby” on DVD. This is a truly amazing film and I recommend it especially to my 19th Century students because it gives such a graphic depiction of the conditions of 19th Century England as…