Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Mouth was Dry 2

Continuing the pieces which start with 'My mouth was dry ...' by Junior Certificate pupils, Saskia Bolus's piece starts :-

My mouth was dry and my heart beat so hard I thought it would burst out of my chest. Curled up in a ball under the bed, my heartbeat drumming inside my head, not daring to move a finger, as I heard they caught Mr. Dussel. The thought of being caught was unbearable.

Read the full story here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Mouth was Dry 1

Greetings to anyone visiting our English Department blog who's arrived here as a result of visiting us on today's Open Day for visitors to the College.

Over the next few days, we'll be posting examples of creative writing from Mr Fanagan's III Junior Certificate set. They were set the task of continuing a piece from the opening sentence :-

My mouth was dry and my heart beat so hard I thought it would burst out of my chest.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fields of Sunflowers

The latest Poem of the Week is Yehuda Amichai's 'Fields of Sunflowers' :-

Fields of sunflowers, ripe and withering,
don't need the warmth of the sun anymore;
they're brown and wise already. They need
sweet shadow, the inwardness
of death, the interior of a drawer, a sack
deep as the sky. Their world to come
the innermost dark of a dark house,
the inside of a man.

Amichai was born in Wuerzburg, Germany, in 1924 and moved as a boy with his family to Palestine in 1935, eventually becoming Israel's most distinguished modern poet in Hebrew. He died in 2000.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tenderfoot Programme

Congratulations to five of our Transition Year, who have been selected for the inter-schools' Tenderfoot Drama Programme based at the Civic Theatre (pictured) in Tallaght over the coming months - Fiona Boyd, Lauren Cooke, Sarah O'Mahony, Molly Sanderson and Anna Traill. Fiona and Molly start in the writing module, and then Lauren, Sarah and Anna join them in the full theatre module.

Three plays are selected for production, from the writing and theatre modules, and then there is an intensive two-week work-experience period of rehearsal and performance from December 3rd to 15th. The plays will be produced by professional directors, but performed and designed by the TY pupils from around Dublin. More details here as the programme develops.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Senior Play cast

Rehearsals are now starting for the Senior Play, Dancing at Lughnasa, the cast being :

Michael - Rory Quinn
Kate - Celeste Guinness
Maggie - Ellie Russell
Agnes - Annabel Sharma
Chris - Jessica Young
Rose - Rachael Roden
Jack - Dylan Stewart
Gerry - Oscar Nunan

More in due course from the production process.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Library Books

New books are always being added to our excellent Library collection. Here is Librarian Tom McConville's latest list of new additions. They include :

In Junior Fiction,
Michelle Paver's Outcast, the fourth volume of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness sequence, called 'very moving and touching' in an Amazon review, and Michael Scott's The Alchemyst (more on Scott's website).

In Senior Fiction, Pat Barker's Life Class, mentioned in a post here recently, Sebastian Faulks's Engleby, and Don DeLillo's contribution to the steady growing genre of '9/11 Fiction', Falling Man (reviewed by Adam Mars-Jones in the Observer here as 'a masterly polyphonic fizzling').

In Non-Fiction, two books relevant to English courses, Christopher Bigsby's excellent study Arthur Miller, and Ariel : the Restored Edition, which includes a fascimile of Sylvia Plath's originals.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Size Zero Yummy Mummy Papped

The latest edition of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary has been published today (see the AskOxford website in our right-hand sidebar). It includes 2,500 new words and phrases, including 'cattle class', 'manbag', and 'flexible friend'. And 'Jaffa Cake' has at last made it into the official lexicon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

William Carlos Williams

Today, we resume the scheme we started last term of having a 'Poem of the Week' posted around the school and read in English classes. Read the first post here, explaining the idea.

This week's poem is 'This is Just to Say', by William Carlos Williams. See the American Academy of Poets page on the poem and the poet here, with the full text.

Pat Barker

Pat Barker's fine novel Regeneration, set in Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh in the First World War, is again on the Leaving Certificate course, and our V form will be studying it in the coming year as part of their comparative module. Today, Barker is interviewed in the Guardian by Sarah Crown about her new novel, Life Class, also set in WWI (and now in our Library) :-

"What she likes about writing about the first world war, she explains, is that it has become the archetype for other wars; by writing about it, she is writing by proxy about all the wars going on today".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

House Speeches 2007

Members of the Transition Year have just started putting together their pieces for this year's House Speech competition on the evening of Sunday 30th September. They speak for up to five minutes on a topic of their choice in front of the school (and judges) in the BSR.

Two members represent each House (as well as a reserve), and this year they are (Glen) Patrick Faulkner and Jasper Mathews, (Gwynn) Alec Cherry and Robin Russell, (Stackallan) Ian Fraser and Luke Pitt Ryan, (Hollypark) Jessica Dean and Sophie Kyd-Rebenburg, (Iona) Lauren Cooke and Molly Sanderson. Josh Buckingham is presenting the evening. All TY members write a review of the process and evening afterwards, and we'll post one here when the time comes.

McCarthy, Fitzgerald

Two online interviews noted recently:-

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Senior Play auditions

Auditions will be held in the coming week for our annual Senior Play, in November, which this year will be Brian Friel's fine study of five sisters in 1930s Donegal, Dancing at Lughnasa. Plenty more detail about the production here after rehearsals get going.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hamlet article

In the main section of today's London Independent, Paul Taylor has an interesting article about the history of Hamlet productions, 'as Jude Law and David Tennant reveal plans to play' the part. He examines performances by Lawrence Olivier, Simon Russell-Beale, Mark Rylance (pictured - 'the supreme Hamlet of our times'), John Gielgud, Stephane Dillane and David Warner :-

The bottom line in this greatest of all tragedies is that the preternaturally brilliant hero treats you, through his soliloquies, as an equal. And I would argue that the experience of seeing plays at Shakespeare's Globe has intensified our awareness of this phenomenon. All the actors I have loved ... have had the ability to bare their souls to an audience in such a way as to see deep into yourself.

See the full article here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

William Trevor books

Our most distinguished Old Columban author, the novelist and short story writer William Trevor (whose real surname is Cox), recently kindly donated to our Library signed first editions of several of his books, including The Old Boys, Cheating at Canasta, Felicia's Journey, The Children of Dynmouth, A Bit on the Side, The Story of Lucy Gault and After Rain. Another donated novel is Fools of Fortune, sections of which are set in the College. William Trevor has also written about SCC in his memoirs, Excursions in the Real World.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Transition Year course 07/08

Last year we posted a lot of material by our Transition Year pupils, including Extended Essay and Work Portfolio pieces. We have just started on the 2007/08 course, and over the next week or so, pupils will be selecting books for their Extended Essays (some of the completed ones will be posted here near the end of term). They get advice sheets (here) on possible topics and books, but essentially come up with their own ideas. Over the next two months they read, take notes, plan and then write these considerable projects. Some of last year's essays are on our new wiki here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Our Wikispace

Wikispaces As the school year gets going properly, we've now developed our own new wiki, partly to manage, organise and preserve the huge amount of good material written on this blog by our own pupils. It's still in an early stage, but will develop gradually over the next months. Staff and pupils can edit it (not the general public) and help build up our resources. The Link is above, in the right-hand sidebar, and under 'Our Sites'. Thanks to the free service for education wikis from the people at Wikispaces.

(If you're not sure about the term itself, the Wikipedia entry on Wikis, starts :-
A wiki is a collaborative website which can be directly edited by anyone with access to it. Ward Cunningham, developer of the first wiki WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work". One of the best-known wikis is Wikipedia.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Term

A year after we started this blog fully, this is our 200th post, just as we start a new term. Shortly we will resume regular posts about school news and events, and continue to post examples of pupils' poems and stories, book recommendations and so on. There's lots of activity ahead of us, and also shortly news of our recently-developed 'wiki'.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Then We Came to the End

Joshua Ferris's debut novel, Then We Came to the End, is a virtually unique book - an entire novel told in the first person plural, starting :-
We were fractious and overpaid. Our mornings lacked promise. At least those of us who smoked had something to look forward to at ten-fifteen. Most of us liked most everyone, a few of us hated specific individuals, one or two people loved everyone and everything. Those who loved everyone were unanimously reviled.

What follows (set in a Chicago advertising agency) is an extraordinary technical achievement, but also a consistently funny and often disturbing take on American life and the workplace. It’s also about the nature (and lack) of our individuality, and the ways systems and institutions seep into the fibre of our lives.

Ferris writes on office life in the Guardian here, and the book’s website is here.