Friday, March 30, 2007
There is a short audio slide show on the New Yorker site here in which Quinn discusses putting the book together and covers some of the ground in last night's talk. She also reads and discusses the poems 'In a Cheap Hotel', 'Foreign-Domestic', 'Keaton' and 'Dear, My Compass' and you can see the relevant illustrations too. Click here for an article and interview in The Atlantic.
There are many wonderful things in the book (including the love poem on page 44,
'It is marvellous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvellous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof ...' continued)
and, valuably, 16 facsimiles of the various stages of the work which eventually became her famous villanelle 'One Art.'
Alice Quinn's book has been the subject of some controversy, especially since the distinguished critic Helen Vendler (here) criticised it as a form of invasion of privacy and betrayal of trust.
Here, Anne Stevenson shows 'Why Elizabeth Bishop is so good.'
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Actiontrack are based in Somerset, England, and we strongly recommend their work. They also come over to some other schools in Ireland, and they be contacted via their website here.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
From the English perspective, Jane Quigley gave an interesting presentation on the life and influence of J.D. Salinger, discussing in particular his unbringing and his experiences in World War II. The traumas and distress he suffered there seem to have had profound and lasting effects on his work, especially of course his only novel The Catcher in the Rye, which the Transition Year studied last term as part of their course, and which continues to be avidly read by teenagers more than 50 years after its first publication.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Click here for reviews by three Primary pupils - Sam Harley, Kezia Wright and Cormac Ryan.
This was a Janus Theatre Company production, currently on a national tour. There is a podcast of a panel discussion on the 'Emergency' and Lifeboat on the Cork Opera House website.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Professor Kevin Malone spoke powerfully about the cause we were supporting, 'Turning the Tide', and about the stilling of the voices of those young men and women who have taken their own lives in wealthy, 'booming' Ireland. He also said how important it was that our own voices are celebrated during what he called 'the fragility of the only life we have'.
€2000 was raised for Turning the Tide.
Friday, March 23, 2007
"This isn’t a JK Rowling. It’s not an Anthony Horowitz, or a Dan Brown. I don’t kill the bad guy, or save the day."
Read the whole story here.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
- an editorial by Librarian Tom McConville (with fetching photograph of Ben Russell as Malvolio in our production of Twelfth Night),
- a review of Robert Harris's Imperium by Robert Murtagh ("what a cliffhanger!"); one of Mark Urban's Rifles, by Michael Poulton ("superbly written"); one of Jack Kerouac's On the Road by Oli Smith ("it makes me yearn to hit the road"); and one of Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore by Crispin Maenpaa ("stunning"),
- recommendations by staff and pupils based on their recent reading,
- a list of some of the new books in the Library,
- an account by Sophie Haslett of working at the Daily Telegraph in London over the summer (and see her recent Irish Times article here)
- a cartoon in Irish by Molly Sanderson and Poppy Vernon,
- a poem titled 'As Far as I Can' by "a shy individual",
- a piece by Dr Garry Bannister on salvation and morality in the 'Shoot the Messenger' feature,
- an article by Niamh McBurney on the musical history of Kieran Kelly, a member of our maintenance staff,
- Joseph Millar's account of a Transition Year trek, and David Cooper's TY experience of collecting for charity,
- Lauren O' Connell's account of Old Columban Richard Hemphill,
- Laura Hatton comparing two different eras at the College.
- and an entertaining piece by the magazine's designer Patrick Ussher on cricket in France (see his website here).Submarinejun07
"Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman, is an extremely gripping novel, with unexpected twists throughout. Set in the Southern states of America, it presents some powerful imagery of life during its time, the hardship and how the characters dealt with racism in day-to-day life.
This novel is so well-written and the characters so vividly described that you can easily become attached to certain characters, and it makes you want to read on. This book lingers with you a long time after you have read it. A brilliant read."
(In a post here last December, Rebecca Scott also wrote about Noughts and Crosses for her Junior Cert book report.)
Monday, March 19, 2007
Dromgoole's attitude is that Shakespeare, in Walt Whitman's words, 'contains multitudes', that the Bard's works are full of the mess of life, good and bad. He's refreshingly unprecious about the plays, not pretending that every moment of every work is genius, and insisting that easy patterns cannot be enforced on the drive of the stories. The shape and mood of Will and Me enact this : it's freewheeling, rambling, often sentimental. But there's also plenty that is considered and thought-provoking.
On the comedies: 'how quick and light is the twist of the coin that can turn despair to joy.'
On character : 'Certain actors, Judi Dench as a prime example, have a voice that makes you care for them. With her, it's a little catch in the throat, a curl of sleepy sensuality, a gentle dancing humour. It doesn't matter whether villain or saint, you get pulled towards the humanity. Shakespeare's gift was that, however preposterous the situation, he makes you care for every one of his characters. They all have that catch of humanity in their voice.'
On learning how to play Shakespeare : 'keeping it light, and fast, and not signposting intentions, just speaking. About the nature of subtext, the sewage system that runs underneath all great writing and gives it its own electric tension. About the clumsiness of great dialogue, its scrappy messiness, and how a smooth speech articulating its own meaning is often a terrible one. He wrote speech, not speeches. He heard and reproduced the crackle and spark, the myriad small tensions that make it alive.'
On the less famous, less 'important' characters : 'His speciality is the non-heroes. the confused, the human - the scrappy and the messy. They are there to show how we are 95% of the time. When we're awkward and self-conscious; when we stumble and fall; when we're gossipy and small. They are the people who love to hover close to the action but are frightened to join in. They are among Shakespeare's sharpest creations, and they are us.'
John Fanagan adds : Julian passed Will and Me and I read it all in one afternoon. It really is a terrific book : funny, wise and passionate (rightly, in my view) about Shakespeare.
It's in our beautiful College Chapel (designed by William Butterfield in the late nineteenth century) and all are welcome at 8pm on Friday 23rd March. No tickets are being sold, since there is no charge for entry, but there will be a retiring collection for contributions to 'Turning the Tide', which 'helps to reduce suicide through research, intervention and support.'
Friday, March 16, 2007
"World Book Day on March 1st was marked by the distribution of book tokens and some very stylish bookmarks. Our survey in search of St Columba’s favourite book showed that Eragon by Christopher Paolini is this year’s choice. The survey, held by the Library with the support of the English department, revealed a wonderful reading range—109 authors were mentioned, and 137 separate books. Other high scorers were Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, with honourable mentions for The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Rings.
Our favourite authors were as follows: 1st Christopher Paolini and Anthony Horowitz; 2nd Philip
Thank you to all who took part, and to the English Department for facilitating the survey.
€10 Book token winners. Survey: Karl Rysbergen. Junior Quiz: Kezia Wright, Archie Brooke, Eochy O’Conor, Kate Boyd Crotty. Senior Crossword: Ben Armstrong, Lauren O’Connell, Eki Osayande."
Thursday, March 15, 2007
"I had mixed emotions about the production. I particularly enjoyed the play having studied it and, I must say, I found it particularly boring as an eleven year old. Unfortunately I felt that the standard of acting at the Abbey wasn’t particularly great ...
- Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan, by Robert Chenciner, Gabib Ismailov, Magomedkhan Magomedkhanov and Alex Binnie
- The Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium
- The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
- and the obvious favourite, How Green were the Nazis?
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
There are also interesting articles about Breege O'Brien of Scoil Damhnait in Achill ('In praise of the school library'), by Anton Floyd of Ashton in Cork on 'Creative writing in the English classroom' (he quotes the marvellous 'Japan' by Billy Collins, and the cover shows David Hockney's 'Mt Fuji and Flowers, 1972'), and a response by Kevin McDermott to 'Looking at English', the Department's report on English teaching (see here). He calls for 'vision and passion' in English teaching, and hopes that 'future publications will include the voices of teachers in all their individuality and uniqueness.'
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
"If you are only going to read one book this year, make it Chinese Cinderella. It is an extremely moving and powerful autobiography. It is about the author's childhood growing up in China during the Civil War.
Neglected, verbally and physically abused by her stepmother and siblings, ignored and shunned by her father, Adeline struggles through her painful upbringing. If you are looking for a truly inspiring book, read this. The author tells you her story in such a vivid way; you quickly become gripped in her world of daily heartbreak. Adeline as the heroine strives to make herself heard through her intelligence, and her life's ambition is to be noticed.
It is beautifully written with Chinese proverbs blended throughout the book. It is an absolutely amazing read."
(see Adeline Yen Mah's website here).
Thursday, March 08, 2007
In Junior fiction, there's Nicola Morgan's Fleshmarket, 'set in Edinburgh in the gruesome 1820s' according to her website. The novelist David Almond has called it 'a dramatic and thought-provoking book.'
In senior fiction we have Zoe Heller's Booker Prize shortlisted Notes on a Scandal (recently made into a fine and chilling film with a superb performance by Judi Dench), another take on the idea of the unreliable narrator - in this case a teacher, gradually revealed as demented and obsessive (she's a history teacher, not an English one).
New non-fiction books include Northabout, the dramatic tale of an Irish crew's adventures in the Northwest and Northeast Passages. In January two of the sailors from this extraordinary journey at the top of the world came to talk to us in the Annual Geography Lecture in the Big Schoolroom.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
They have recently been discussing Roald Dahl's 'The Swan' from his book of short stories The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Kezia Wright and Sam Harley write about it here.
They have also been writing poems based on animals. Follow the links to Joshua Leahy's 'Fern' (about his dog), and Chris Doherty's 'Button' (about his cat), and finally Kezia Wright's 'Jemima', which starts :-
Out of the pen I come in the morn
And in again at dusk.
Monday, March 05, 2007
- Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - 20%
- Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - 17%
- Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - 14%
- Harry Potter books - J K Rowling - 12%
- To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee - 9.5%
- The Bible - 9%
- Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - 8.5%
- Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - 6%, tied with:
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - 6%
- Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - 0.55%
Results of our own Library/English Department poll shortly.
This is the 100th post since we started our blog.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
We are also distributing €1.50 book tokens, and new Library/English blog bookmarks, recently made by The Postcard Company of Omagh.
The World Book Day website has a survey here on 'The ten books you can't live without.'