I feel after completing the second part of the course that I do know more about creative writing than when I started as I hadn’t ever really gone this in depth with it before. I am not a great reader of poetry or dissecting it so that was interesting to start doing. Learning about narratives and plots and how stories move through themselves has been good but I do feel that looking back over my writing diary and posts I have made on my learning log that I haven’t gotten that into them and I have felt like I was just going through what was expected for the exercises, which is my own fault as I should have planned them a bit better.
I have found this section of the course to be very draining. I have understood what has been asked but I have struggled to make it feel something and be interesting. I watched The Road on DVD years ago and it was extremely depressing then and to re-read it and write about it I found was very testing and I don’t think I covered it well.
Poetic devices was a new thing as once you realise what the forms are, what examples they are in and how they fit together in a piece it is interesting, so finding my own for this exercise gave me a little boost as I managed to look at a lot of poems and poets I had never heard of and get an idea of their work.
The close reading of ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas, I thought was quite good once I had read and then re read it a few times to get a proper feel for the poem. I don’t think I will be reading it again. I really don’t want to sound awful but it just didn’t interest me. I understood and liked the poem and it brought lots of memories to mind of the seasons and the weather and the countryside and the changes that happen but that was all.
The piece I chose for my assignment I liked and thought I would approach something different than poetry or prose. I felt a bit deflated by the section at this point until TOTP2 came on with Soft Cell all in pink lighting. I forgot how much I liked it and that it’s so kitsch and dramatic and like a piece of performance art with how many emotions are used in two minutes. As it is a song I like I thought that by dissecting it, it might make the section feel better for me. It has slightly but I now cannot get the opening ‘Standing in the door …’ out of my head. Close listening has replaced close reading for my assignment and in the end I was living the song and being all of the parts in it. I am still unsure as to what has gone on that evening and who started what, but I still like it all the same. I don’t want to discount this section as it has been completely new and good to investigate and I do think a lot more about plots when I am reading and listening to songs and recognise rhythmic and rhymes, much to my annoyance.
www.youtube.com -accessed 21st September 2016.Searched for ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
Different narration- First Person,
“I was pushing the cart and the boy and I both carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks where things we needed in case we had to abandon the cart and run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that I used to watch the road behind us. I shifted the pack higher on my shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? I said. He nodded to me. We set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”
Different narration, Third Person,
“You pushed the cart and both you and I carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were the essentials in case we had to make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that you used to watch the road behind us. You moved the pack higher on your shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? You said. I nodded. We set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.”
Changing the narrative from the mans to the boys point of view shifts the story and tells it through different eyes. He is an innocent and as the reader knows it is a child talking we are taking all of his words to heart more. The image of the rucksack being carried by him with everything in they both need to survive is upsetting as he is hasn’t any choice in this matter. The man’s point of view gives the reader a steady character, an adult view of the world, the danger and the hardships that haven’t yet been completely felt by the boy.
By keeping the narrator omniscient us the readers can see both sides of the story and depending on who is speaking we can build a picture of both characters, however not fully but this leaves the story to unfold on its own.
The mood of the poem is very childlike at the beginning and care free, as if a memory of a secret place is being described almost one that you wouldn’t have thought existed. A place that you would want to visit. Happiness at first and nostalgic but the end of the poem finishes with a death tone, as if Thomas is writing it as a peace to something or someone. A bit sad and as if all of this he is describing isn’t there anymore but he is refusing to let the memory of it go.
There are a lot of repetitive words Thomas uses such as ‘Green and Golden’ and it conjures up place as you can see and feel the golden sun, see the green and golden fields as if it is shining at him and us the reader. The theme is the countryside and with a childlike view of the world around him he describes a place in time that he knows and still feels. ‘Golden in the heydays of his eyes’ reminiscing about being younger and feeling that you could do anything you wanted and go anywhere. I remember feeling like that too. Alliteration from earlier in the course is used as there is a rhythm to the words written, ‘golden in the mercy of his means’ ‘in the pebbles of the holy streams’
It is a very personal piece as if Fern Hill is his, this memory is his alone and he is now telling it to the reader as an image or recollection of a better time. Imagery and time play a big part in the poem as reading it I can see where he is, I can see the apple boughs full, the grass, the walk to the hill and then stopping to look and survey what is all around me. I can smell the outdoors, the air, hear the birds and feel quite peaceful.
Themes I have noticed in the poem are; Growing up, reminiscing, nostalgia for a simpler time, nature, secrecy, time passing, sadness, remembrance, youth, peace.
I think the poem is saying that time and place is important to us. That we need to remember and feel as we felt at these particular times. Even though time has changed him and we change, it is important to remember when we were younger and not necessarily dwell and wish different just think how we felt and to remember the places and the times. How many times have you looked at a photograph of yourself from say ten years ago and thought ‘I don’t recognise that person’ I have, quite a lot and maybe I should reconnect with these images and these times I had in my life. Appreciating more of what is around you and what is happening is what I think Thomas is trying to do and having thoughts of things changing or that you may never see these places again can cause sadness. By recognising this I think we and Thomas can appreciate more from now on.
‘All the sun long it was running, it was lovely’ stayed with me when reading the poem. It reminds me of long summer days when I was child, days that went on forever, it was hot all day and the sun would follow you around and time wasn’t really a thinking point. Now I am older I have more idea of the time and place of the day and how the shadows can tell you the time, tell you the seasons and tell you that the days are changing. Time is precious and it is hard to believe that maybe a day you have spent in the house, cleaning and doing housework in your pyjamas you wont be able to get back. Even though it is what you wanted to do on that day, that day is gone and there will always be cleaning to do. Everything is marked by time and it scares me a bit how fast it is passing.
Alfred Jane’s, Dylan Thomas, 1934, (oil on canvas)
Taken from- http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02929/Dylan-Thomas-by-Al_2929795c.jpg -accessed 20th July 2016
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Taken from- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/wales-dylan-thomas/10760157/fern-hill-dylan-thomas-poem.html– accessed 20th July 2016
Rhyme -The Carrion Crow by John Heath Stubbs.
‘A carrion crow sat on an oak and watched where the line of battle broke
A carrion crow crow sat on an ash- he hears the spears and shields clash.’
Rhythm- The Boneyard Rap by Wes Magee
‘This the rhythm of the boneyard rap, knuckle bones click and hand bones clap’
Repetition- O Captain! My Captain!, by Walt Whitman
‘O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;’
Aliteration- The Latest School-G.K.Chesterton
‘See the flying French depart, Like the bees of Bonaparte’
Assonance- Who has seen the wind? –Christina Rossetti
‘Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you,
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.’
Consonance- T was later when the summer went- Emily Dickson
‘T was later when the summer went
Than when the cricket came,
And yet we knew that gentle clock
Meant nought but going home.’
Onomatopia- The Bells- Edgar Allan Poe
‘Hear the sledges with the bells –
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle…’
Personification- Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now- A.H. Houseman
“Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.”
Simile- My Mistress ‘Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun- William Shakespeare
‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.’
Metaphor- Sonnet 18- William Shakespeare
‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day,’
Imagery: Preludes –T.S Eliot
‘The winter evening settles down
With smells of steaks in passageways.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps. And then the lighting of the lamps.’
All websites and links accessed 28th July 2016.
The Hertfordshire Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist, farm, granges, doubled up among the hills, And cattle grazing in the watered vales, And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods, And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere, Confused with smell of orchards.
Slough by John Betjeman
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now, There isn’t grass to graze a cow. Swarm over, Death! Come, bombs and blow to smithereens those air-conditioned bright canteens. Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans, Tinned minds, tinned breath.
The Lost Land by Eavan Boland
I can see the shore of Dublin Bay. Its rocky sweep and its granite pier. Is this, I say how they must have seen it, backing out on the mail boat at twilight, shadows falling on everything they had to leave? And would love forever? And then I imagine myself at the landward rail of that boat searching for the last sight of a hand. I see myself on the underworld side of that water, the darkness coming in fast, saying all the names I know for a lost land: Ireland. Absence. Daughter.
Which poem speaks about place in relation to identity and exile?
I feel The Lost Land by Eavan Boland talks about leaving a place that the people in the poem and also the writer loves. He says ‘shadows falling on everything they had to leave? And would love forever?’. It gives the idea of a hasty exit, they are leaving and never coming back again. They have left at nighttime, the words conjure up colours of sadness, a rocky sweep and granite pier grey, desolate and black.
You don’t really know why this boat is leaving but we know it is a mail boat. Is it to do with a war? Is it an illness? prisoners? Was the mail boat used for other business other than post? It is written from a feeling point of view. My guess would be that the writer has visited Dublin and is looking at the harbour and imagining an event that has happened and relaying these feeling to the reader. Is it about a boat sinking? Is this the writers interpretation? What happened?
Which poem purely evokes a sense of place?
The Hereford Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is poem that is based around place. It is very evocative of what the writer sees and feels and she relays to the reader the sense and sights. ‘netted in a silver mist’ as the reader of the poem I can see that mist and I know what the writer means and where I have seen it myself, usually in September.
By the writer just giving you words that conjure up a place, then adding colour and smells and then insights into what is happening; cattle grazing, walking around and smelling the flowers and the wood smoke. Walking in the orchard and seeing wasps on apples. I want to be there!
Which poem makes a social comment about progress and place?
John Betjeman makes a social comment about progress and place in his poem simply called ‘Slough’. He paints a very dismal picture of it, all grey and depressing. A bit like after a war. It has been changed and broken so there is no point in carrying on with it anymore. Progress only goes so far and you must have the minds of the people who live there with you, if not then places start to evolve into something they were never meant for. ‘Isn’t fit for humans now, there isn’t grass to graze a cow’.’tinned minds, tinned breath’ is this to do with rationing or the drudgery of everyday life? people shuffling around, making the best of it? ‘bright canteens’ Does he mean office blocks? new buildings being built with no character? everybody couped up in one place doing the same thing, eating the same thing and all leaving together into this grey desolate place?
I don’t fancy going to Slough after reading this especially as Betjeman wants it bombed. Bombed to make it better and how it used to be? Has he picked the place-name as it rhymes with certain words? slough, now, cow?
(Taken from P84-85 Creative Arts Course materials http://www.oca-student.com/sites/default/files/oca-content/course-pdfs/ca4cat_140414_red.pdf– accessed 15th July 2016)
Poetry (from the Greek poiesis — ποίησις — meaning a “making”) is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic meaning. Not only a way of saying but also of seeing. (Wikipedia) Poetry is a crystallisation of language; it magnifies a moment, a feeling, an image or an experience to give it precision and impact. If prose flows on the page, poetry lifts off the page. “The poem, with its roots in ritual, brings speech and vision together in such a way that the person experiencing it might be transported to an alternative awareness.” (Morley & Nielsen, 2012, p.67) There’s a common perception that poetry is ‘difficult’ – and some of it is. Many people who read novels and short fiction avidly haven’t read a poem since they were at school. When did you last spot someone reading poetry on the bus or train? But there is more overlap between poetry and prose than you might realise. Stories aren’t exclusive to prose – many a poem tells a story – and poetic writing isn’t exclusive to poetry. Poetry is the foundation of good prose, a form of expression – a way of saying and seeing. “Poetry is not made to be sucked up like a child’s milkshake, it is much better sipped like a precious malt whisky.” (Fry, 2007, p.xxii)