Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Junior Poetry Prize, 2014

The theme of this year's Junior Poetry Prize is Movement (sport, dance, moving house, changing places, planets spinning, flexibility, little flutters, enormous earthquakes, the sea, first steps, spinning, a bullet moving, a ballerina, slow steps, quick jumps...).

Any interpretation of the above theme is welcome.  Poems should be twelve lines or more, and each entrant may enter as many poems as they wish. You should e-mail your poem(s) to Ms Smith or hand your poem to your English teacher or Ms Smith no later than Thursday 3rd of April 2014.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Twitterbag 3

Another in the irregular series of round-ups of interesting English links from our recent Twitter stream :-

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Senior Poetry Prize 2013-14

Entries are invited to our annual Senior Poetry Prize, in memory of Old Columban Peter Dix (above, the sculpture by Joe Sloan which is displayed in the Library). 

This year the themes are Freedom and/or Friendship and/or Family. Entries should contain a portfolio of two to five poems of 40 lines at most, and at least 10 lines. The winning entry will be chosen on the overall standard of the entrant's collection. As usual, the best entries will be posted here.

Poems are to be emailed to Mr Canning by Friday 24th May.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Emily Dickinson Archive

There is a new superb poetry resource now on the web, particularly useful for those of us teaching and studying Emily Dickinson for the Leaving Certificate: the Emily Dickinson Archive from Harvard University.

To summarise in the site's own words, this is what you can now do -
  • Browse images of manuscripts of her poems by first line/title, date, or recipient.
  • Use the image tools to zoom in and examine the poet’s handwriting, paper, sewing holes, and other features.
  • Choose the Reading View to see the back of a page, or to turn the pages of one of Dickinson’s manuscript books.
  • Search the full text of six editions of Dickinson’s poems.
  • See how different editors have transcribed Dickinson’s poems over more than 100 years.
  • Explore Emily Dickinson’s Lexicon, and jump from words in her dictionary to the poems to see the word in context. [needs registration at the Lexicon first]
  • Create an account to make notes on an image, save your own transcription of a poem, and create your own edition.

[Update, January 2014]

Another excellent and beautiful resource is the newly-published hardback, Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin. This collects and reproduces illustrations of the 'envelope poems' that Dickinson wrote later in her life. As Bervin writes in her introduction, 

'Dickinson's writing materials might best be described as epistolary. Everything she wrote - poems, letters, and drafts, in fascicles, on folios, individual sheets, envelopes, and fragments - was predominantly composed on plain, machine-made stationery ... When Dickinson approached her compositional space to write, she was reading and responding to her materials.'

This is a fascinating book which gives a vivid visual insight into Dickinson's compositions.

English Prizes 2013

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 English Prizes – Siobhán Brady (senior) and Callum Pery-Knox-Gore (junior). There were large fields in both prizes, of a pleasingly high standard, and the following have been awarded Distinctions for excellent entries:

Sadhbh Sheeran (VI), Brendan Dickerson (VI), Ally Boyd Crotty, Eliza Hancock, Sofia McConnell, Iyobosa Bello-Asemoto, John Clarke (all V), Louvisa Karlsson-Smythe (IV), Phoebe Otway-Norwood (III), Helena Gromotka (II), Nyla Jamieson (II) and Catherine Butt (I).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Extended Essay: Sutcliff, Steinbeck, Hosseini

For his Transition Year Extended Essay, Andrew Holt wrote about war and conflict in three books: The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner

You can read Andrew's excellent essay about these novels with very different backgrounds via Issuu below. Click once for a close view, once more for the closest, and navigate by using the arrows.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Extended Essay: Hemingway, Remarque, Faulks

The second in a series of the best literary Extended Essays written by our Transition Year pupils: Liza Kozhevnikova wrote about war from the point of view of men fighting in it. She looked at Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western World and Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

She writes: "These three books are linked together by a theme, and they also are all set during the First World. I chose my three books so that they will be set in different places and written in different countries, because it gives me a point of view on the war of men from different countries."

Read Liza's full essay here.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Extended Essay: Salinger, Bryson, Ishiguro

Last term Transition Year pupils completed their major literary Extended Essays. Over the next while some of the best will be appearing here.

First, a fine piece by Harvey McCone. In his introduction, he writes

"I always had a big interest in books when I was younger. In fact I used to read almost a book every week. Many of these books, probably the vast majority, were about children. I was obsessed with books about young boys who were heroes such as The Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and The Young Bond books by Charlie Higson. I wanted to be the characters in these books. I also found it easy to connect with them and to form feelings for them. And I suppose this interest has stayed with me ever since.
As soon as Mr. Girdham described what Never Let Me Go was about to the class, I was instantly hooked. An alternate world where child clones exist is something that I would always want to have read about. I had heard about the book before but I had never known it was about clones! So that was my first choice. Next I had to find a second book. While reading through the list of recommended books, I stumbled across a book that sounded strange. It was The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. When I found it and read the back I was so happy. For some weird reason I am fascinated by everything to do with 50’s America. The cars, the music, the cinemas and theatres, the fast food restaurants and many other aspects of life. So to find a book that was an autobiography of a man’s childhood in 50’s America was also a perfect match.
Then I had to try and find a theme that I could connect these two books with before I chose my third book. This theme was childhood and growing up or coming of age The third book I chose was The Catcher In The Rye. It takes place once again in America in the mid-20th century. It is about a boy who is attending a boarding school. It is interesting because Holden is not a very ‘normal’ boy. His way of thinking is a little different."

Read Harvey's full essay here.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Work Portfolio 2013-14

Term started today, and Transition Year pupils start on their Work Portfolio, to be completed by the end of the course, on Thursday 22nd May. Here is the document with the titles and writing prompts. This can also always be accessed under 'Department Documents' to the right.