Friday, May 29, 2015

Poetry Prize

Oisin Large was awarded a Commendation for his entries for the Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry.  The judge, Mr Canning, said that they were 'impressive in terms of the feeling and thought behind them. I especially liked Father and Son.' 

Here are two of his poems, 'The Ash Tree' and 'Father and Son'.

The Ash Tree
I remember, the ash tree growing on the meadow.
I remember, watching his shadow,
Always the same – always happy, filling light into those who need it.
I remember, the keys that he would grow.
I remember, the doors he would know to open.
Opening his last, he met his fate.
I remember when winter came everything changed.
We tried to open his doors, but he stayed estranged.
When winter came I knew it was his last.
I remember when spring sprang, seeing him peel away.
Drifting further from the meadow, watching him turn gray.
Then the splinter became deep, I who remember his last cast.
He left behind his notion on the meadow,
I will give my devotion to follow that through.

Father and Son

With two strong shoulders he stands before me.
His short gray hair always sitting on his head.
Every day I watched him go to work.
Never knowing when he would come home
Waiting till he tucked me in to bed.
I loved his stories of the worldly knowledge that he taught our family
Leaving me was the worst he could have done to me.
Learning more and more as I travelled around the night with him.
I am my father’s son and his work.
Being young and foolish, I saw myself become like him at home.
Either way, we are father and son. No one can change that.
My mind works differently to those of my family.
Year after year he was before me
Fearing that I would never catch up,
Aiding the man that aided me,
Taking care of our home and family,
Hearing his travels from his work,
Either way, we changed. That’s the truth,
Rearing close behind me, he looks for me; he follows me, I am my father.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Voices of Poetry 2015

The annual Voices of Poetry evening in the BSR last Saturday night was again lovely: 50 minutes of listening to excellent language in many tongues, expertly marshalled by Mr Ronan Swift.

He opened proceedings himself (fresh off the cricket pitch) by reading Simon Armitage's 'The Catch' (a former Poem of the Week). He was followed by Johnny Pollock, reading his own piece 'Sensing', and among the succeeding poems were ones in Polish (Heinrich zu Rantzau), French (John Clarke), Spanish (Nadia Al-Lahiq), German (Klara Schuster), Latin (Nikolaus Eggers), Portguese (Bethany Shiell), Romanian (Arantcha Giolgau), Catalan (Javier Ferrer), Italian (Gordian Fuchs), Ukrainian (Iryna Byshenko), Korean (Suji Frankel), Arabic (Robbie McDonald), Urdu (Hussein Khan), Irish (Ally Boyd Crotty) and Japanese (Sun Woo Park).

Interspersed with all these were poems in English: Samuel Clarke read Francis Ledwidge's 'The Lost Ones'. Tania Stokes read 'Tarzan's Pool', part of her recent Junior Poetry Prize-winning portfolio. The Sub-Warden read Michael Longley's moving 'Ceasefire', Blanaid Sheeran her Poetry Aloud entry 'Business Girls' by John Betjeman, Senior Prefect Arthur Moffitt 'Sea Fever' by John Masefield and finally Eliza Hancock read Clive James's lovely 'Japanese Maple' (recently on the Mock English paper) from his new collection Sentenced to Life.

Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry, 2015

Congratulations to Iyobosa Bello-Asemota, winner of this year's Senior Poetry Prize, named after Old Columban Peter Dix (trophy by Joseph Sloan pictured above), who earlier this term also won the Shakespeare Prize.  

The judge, Mr Canning, comments:

"The entrants had to write between two to five poems inspired by Place, People, Promises.
Iyobosa's collection of poems was written in a very mature style that belies her years. Her poems were marked by carefully weighted language, maturely crafted shape and subtle shifts in tone and nuance."

Here are two of Iyobosa's entries:-

The Man Called Hope
Slowly, he rises
unsteady on his new feet
but still, he rises
—former bedmate of defeat.
His chariot of change lights up the horizon

And so it grows
—the dream he dared not share
but still it grows.
Flags wave everywhere
as the giant awakens. The wind of change blows

More than a man,
is the man called hope.
More than one man,
is the Change he invoked.
The man called hope is the hope of the land.

My People Esau

My people Esau,
you sell your tomorrow for today’s gain.
This is your fatal flaw.
Pleasures fade when faced with far-flung pain.
While mother bleeds tears
In vain, the salty sweat of many years:
She the giant no more,
She the eagle unable to soar.
Let this day bring death or resurrection
But, if the wages of resurrection be death,
Let death beget redemption.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TY English Evening 2015

The 21st annual TY English Evening was held last night in the Big Schoolroom, finishing off another productive year. Nine pupils read pieces from their recently-completed Work Portfolios, introduced by the Head of Department Mr Girdham, and the guest was Ms Emma Duggan, who was a member of the Department for part of last year and the early part of this.

Ms Duggan commented on how these young people are the ones right now 're-making' and 're-imagining Ireland', a new Ireland in which they may have had over 10 jobs in their early adulthood, and in which thinking and communicating skills will be even more important, skills which are fostered at the College. The English Department here encourages them to be ambitious, to be creative, to try out things. In Transition Year here they have the opportunities to following their curiosity and grow in confidence. In the words of Hannah Arendt,
“Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.” 

She went on then to comment on the work of readers Seyilogo Braithwaite, whose essay on 'European standards of beauty' showed her strong ability to communicate and to analyse the impact of the media on young people; Alex Malone, whose personal piece on early childhood memories showed how indelibly these mark young people; Luis Diaz-Pines Cort, who showed in his essay on the importance of rugby and convincingly made the case for sport teaching life skills; Ciara Dempsey, with her evocative and imaginative short story 'Villains'; Ella Ejase-Tobrise, a very capable speaker who evoked the sights and smells of a Nigerian childhood; Blanaid Sheeran, whose recollection of her grandfather was finely-crafted; Aniko Szekendy's forensic description of her own bedroom as seen from the perspective of a stranger; Robyn Brady's well-written piece about the oldest person she knows; and finally, appropriately, 'The Final' by Max Hillery, a dramatic recreation of the 2013 All-Ireland hurling final replay between Cork and his county, Clare.

Finally, Ms Duggan announced the Premier Award winners for this academic year: Douglas Boyd Crotty, Robyn Brady, Seyilogo Braithwaite, Ciara Dempsey, Ella Ejase-Tobrise, Antonia Mortsch, Blanaid Sheeran, Aniko Szekendy.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

'The Great Gatsby' revision

Another shout-out for our 15 video/audio analysis of key moments in The Great Gatsby as our VI formers prepare the novel as their single text for the Leaving Certificate.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shakespeare Prize 2015

Congratulations to the winner of the Willis Memorial Prize for Shakespeare 2015, Iyobosa Bello-Asemota, and to John Clarke, who was awarded a Commendation for his entry. 

One of the tasks the candidates had to complete was an analysis of the tricky and interesting Sonnet 71:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay,
   Lest the wise world should look into your moan
   And mock you with me after I am gone.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Maria Popova's Brain Pickings has a useful article on the eleven stages of the hero's life as seen by Joseph Campbell. Food for thought for pupils studying texts. Below, Matthew Winkler's animation.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

My Grandmother's Hands

Another entry from the recent Junior Poetry Prize. This is by Rowan Sweeney of Second Form:

My Grandmother’s Hands

These were the hands that held
Me when I cried.
These were the hands that wiped
Away the tears while in pain.
These were the hands that gave
me money, sweets and love.
These were my Grandmother’s hands.
These were the hands that protected
Me when Mummy wasn’t there.
These were the hands whose hugs
could stop tears.
These were the hands that read me
Stories when I was afraid
To go to sleep.
These were my Grandmother’s hands.
These are the hands that are now
So cold.
These are the hands that have
grown old.
These are the hands that I will never
These are my Grandmother’s hands.