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Three Things - She doesn't know what I do...
...but she knows who I am.
Three Things

Anne is a filthy enabler and bought me the entire first season of Vampire Diaries for Christmas.

I love that even in the first episode, Elena is the sort of girl who will barge into the boys' bathroom to confront her brother for being a dickhead.


Contemplating whether I can plan my entire year ten course around the theme of 'mythology', starting inwards and working out.
Anyone have any good poetry?


High Country Weather

Alone we are born
And die alone,
But see the red-gold cirrus
Over snow mountain shine.

Along the Upland Road
Ride easy, stranger;
Surrender to the sky
Your heart of anger.
- James K. Baxter

I love the loneliness of this poem and the beautiful visual it creates.

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Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: watching Vampire Diaries

13 comments or Leave a comment
musicforwolves From: musicforwolves Date: December 30th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Wallace Stevens - 'The World as Meditation' might be useful.
On the more definite side, with a dash of art history, William Carlos Williams - 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus'.
Yeats has 'Leda and the Swan', and Keats 'Hymn to Apollo'.

If I really wanted to get 14-year-olds interested in poetry, though, I'd pick something a bit dark, a bit grisly - something by Neil Gaiman. "The White Road' is quite good, but maybe a bit too explicit for a class, so I'd introduce them to the world with his poem 'Instructions'. In particular, close attention to:

'The ferryman will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)'
labellementeuse From: labellementeuse Date: December 30th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the more definite side, with a dash of art history, William Carlos Williams - 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus'.

And to go with it the WH Auden version of the same painting, Musee des Beaux Arts:

Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

-- WH Auden

On the topic of mythology and Gaiman, "The Day the Saucers Came" is quite good for modern myth (as opposed to classical). There's also, for that NZ thing, Glenn Colquhoun's book How We Fell, which is packed with various references. There's one I like particularly with some biblical references. If you're willing to go for the Bible as a mythology, there would be a hell of a lot. (There's the Māori Jesus poem by Baxter, for example.)

Just for the record, I would have loved an English curriculum based around mythology.
musicforwolves From: musicforwolves Date: December 30th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I should've thought of Colquhoun. I guess you're referring to 'That place inside me where she was'?
labellementeuse From: labellementeuse Date: December 31st, 2010 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually no, it was another one, but I haven't got it on me - I'll hunt it up and post it tonight.

Aimee, random thoughts on fiction: Orfe by Cynthia Voigt (Orpheus and Eurydice) and Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block (Cupid & Psyche, obvs.) I assume you already have books in mind but, IDK, extra reading list? I read Orfe when I was around 14.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: December 31st, 2010 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually super keen to teach Guardian of the Dead - but extended text very much depends on what's available to me so I'm focusing on poetry until I can roam the resource room and work out texts.

Also, Midsummer Night's Dream because - fairies! And comic misunderstanding and shit.

(But I am also seriously contemplating Twelfth Night in a year 11 course based around identity so I think I just really want to teach Shakespeare in exciting ways)
musicforwolves From: musicforwolves Date: December 31st, 2010 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the main reason I'd become a teacher is to teach Shakespeare in exciting ways.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: December 31st, 2010 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Auden - but my year 12s struggled with 'Funeral Blues', so I doubt year 10s will get 'Musee des Beaux Artes'.

Māori Jesus is one of my favourite Baxters and I have an awesome recording of it so it is definitely a potential.

I would have loved it too. I think we'll see how it goes. I am keen to start it off with what mythology means, what they know and personal mythologies - so autobiographical creative writing, in a myths and legends style. And then look at New Zealand mythology, before broadening the perspective.

But we'll see. I have to cover grammar and formal writing and response to text and reading for meaning and speeches and all sorts of stuff in amongst this.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: December 31st, 2010 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I have mixed ability classes. Yeats and Keats, probably not the way to pull them in.
I want them to love poetry - in my (limited) experience, they tend to enjoy humour and straightforward language and structures at that age.

I am interested in 'Instructions', which I have not yet read. I also have a lot of Carol Ann Duffy, which I can use.

sherbert0lemon From: sherbert0lemon Date: January 1st, 2011 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
VAMPIRE DIARIES! I love that in Vampire Diaries they just keep doing things right. I love it, I really do. No one at my house will let me watch it because they'd all rather watch Phineas and Ferb or that show about the dangers of crayfishing (DEADLIEST CATCH!) . Luckily, though, Vampire Diaries hasn't been on tv over christmas.

I didn't want to interrupt your comment thread's serious teacher-ing with History Boys fangirling but... we should watch History Boys againOMG WHAT IF THEY WERE VAMPIRES!!!!

As you can see I am starting the new year with a productive and mature mindset. I'm back in Welly on Monday. We should totes hang.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 2nd, 2011 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how EXCITED you are about Vampire Diaries. It is truly the best.

annemjw From: annemjw Date: January 1st, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
But of course, I know what you truly desire from Christmastime - shirtlessness.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 2nd, 2011 09:12 am (UTC) (Link)
It is all I have ever wanted.
From: nix_the_fish Date: January 3rd, 2011 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Toroa - Albatross

Day and night endlessly you have flown effortless of wing
over chest-expanding oceans far from land.
Do you switch on an automatic pilot, close your eyes
in sleep, Toroa?

On your way to your homeground at Otakou Heads
you tried to rest briefly on the Wai-te-mata
but were shot at by ignorant people. Crippled.
You found a resting place at Whanga-nui-a-Tara;
found space at last to recompose yourself.

Now, without skin and flesh to hold you together
the division of your aerodynamic parts lies whitening,
licked clean by sun and air and water. Children will
discover narrow corridors of airiness between,
the suddenness of bulk. Naked, laugh in the gush
and ripple — the play of light on water.

You are not alone, Toroa. A taniwha once tried
to break out of the harbour for the open sea. He failed.
He is lonely. From the top of the mountain nearby he
calls to you: Haeremai, haeremai, welcome home, traveller.

Your head tilts, your eyes open to the world.

- Hone Tuwhare
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