So were now in week Seventeen and coming closer to the end of the year which is scary to even contemplate!! I remember when we all just began!! From my recent learning logs, you will gather we have been focusing a lot on our research project. This morning we went through our research project some more but not as in-depth as our last lesson. Anyone who missed this lesson due to the enhancement week confusion, here’s what you need to know:
- This assignment will not be submitted online unlike all our other assignments, for this one in particular, you will need to print it out, along with a cover sheet and then hand in on week Nineteen, at the hub. Sounds simple enough?
- Hopefully you will have noticed I mentioned a cover sheet, this isn’t one you make yourself and attach to the front. For this you will need to log onto Evision and then click onto Modules and once you are there you will see a box which will say “Print coursework sheet cover”, you then need to find the box which will contain your assignment title or lesson name and then click onto generate cover sheet and then you print it out, attach it to the front and bobs your uncle!
We then moved onto an activity where the class were given a poem by William Blake called London which was published in Songs of Experience in 1794. Around the time this poem was written was around the time the French Revolution had begun which English radicals relished in however the revolution contributed to the growth of “radical” political groups throughout England which scared authorities, the French Revolution soon turned into mass amounts of bloodshed and executions. A lot of writers were affected by the French Revolution, Blake especially. So in 1789 Blake published poems (nursery rhymes) he had written and illustrated and named it Songs of Innocence. He then republished the book in 1794 and retitled his book Songs of Innocence and Experience and his aim was to show the two states of the human soul, so to break it down, the good and the evil. If you take a closer look at his poems you can see how they contrast and display the good and the evil. A good example and one of my favourites by Blake is The Lamb which I feel portrays the good side of humanity and in contrast The Tyger which I felt was him portraying the darker elements of the human soul.
Enough of the history!! Lets get down to the good stuff!!
We worked in pairs to analyse the text, look up words we didn’t understand and annotate what we thought the poem meant. It was lovely to see everyone’s different interpretations of the poem; I have previously been introduced to Blake’s work as I also study English Literature, due to this I had already made notes and annotated this poem previously however due to other peers feedback on the poem it was nice to get some different perspectives on the poem, ones I hadn’t seen myself. So below you can find the poem we read by William Blake and here are the annotations I made In class with help of my peers, I have contrasted my previous notes on this poem from my other class compared to todays and it was like looking at the poem with a fresh pair of eyes and a brand new perspective and that was thanks to my peers.
By William Blake
I wander thro each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appals,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
But most thro midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with Plagues the Marriage Hearse
This poem has four Quatrains with alternate rhyming lines which you can find underlined, in bold and italics. There is a lot of repetition in this poem and I felt this was Blake’s way of emphasizing the horror the wanderer describes within the poem.
Charter’d – Everyone came up with many definitions for Charter’d so no one person’s definition was the same however, me and Giulia worked in pairs and we thought Charter’d meant business.
I.N.A.M – This is highlighted and written with the words, down the side of the first stanza. I only learnt this due to one of my peers pointing it out. I learnt that INAM means “Land Free from Assessment”.
Marks of weakness, marks of woe – We believed this signified human suffering, for example the Chimney sweep, the hapless soldier and the youthful harlots as although we never actually meet the “oppressors” and Blake does not outright blame anyone in particular, Blake’s mind forged manacles had set the scene for us as they became more powerful than the actual chains themselves. They are trapped in their own misery.
Chimney Sweepers – These jobs were reserved for children and tiny ones at that as they were small enough to fit into confined spaces and many children died from this work as it was very dangerous, most boys got stuck and died of suffocation. There was no child labour laws and back then and most children had no choice but to go out and work as they needed to help their families earn enough money to live on.
Runs in blood down palace walls – From my understanding the Palace is a symbol of royalty or the government aka power and therefore has blood on its hands, not literally but metaphorically. As it’s the soldier’s duty to protect and serve the government and royalty hence risking his life.
Youthful Harlots – Harlot is just another way of saying prostitute. Our wanderer hears how the youthful harlots curse and blasts the new-born infants tear which I interpreted as 1) regeneration, as they are bringing new life into the world although their living conditions aren’t great and 2) the prostitute is also extremely foul-mouthed due to how they have had to live, what they have had to experience and what they had to degrade themselves to.
Plagues – Venereal disease, there prostitutes and having unprotected sex so there bound to contract infections and pass them along.
Marriage Hearse – I thought was love and death combined as a hearse is what you move a dead body in so for instance could mean the demise of the prostitutes relationships or family relationship as their lives could be short-lived. Short lived due to not being able to seek medical attention to fight off any diseases they contract due to there profession but also because they may not be able to seek any meaningful relationship due to the life they lead.
After finishing with this poem we began to look at another poem which looked to me as a free verse poem. The poem is called “Steal this poem” and was written by gentleman named Kevin. This was another classroom activity and we were told to “rip it apart”, which to anyone could mean a number of things and I wasn’t entirely sure what is was we were supposed to be doing or if what I assumed we were supposed to be doing was even correct. I started to write a new poem using the words from this poem and then afterwards I began to annotate the poem, I included what I thought the poem meant, how it made me feel and jotted down the visual imagery I imagined when reading it. This poem sounds better when read aloud rather than in your head so if you get the chance google It and listen to it!! (If you haven’t already)
Steal This Poem
Take these words
Steal this poem
NO – go on now –
Make it your own
Break it / Fix it
Rip it apart / Remix it
Defy my intent
until all meaning is spent
and then use your tools and tricks
to rebuild it
Cheat my meaning in ways
that make sense to YOU –
Tinker against type
don’t believe my hype
I’m a painter not a poet
using words as ink I write
I refuse to shackle this work
to paper or screen
or that nebulous world in between
in hopes that maybe later you’ll appear
watching my words tumble down the spine of my lies
made up only to be broken / spoken / a token of truth
No, you’re no cheater
you’re a seeker
a keeper of stories in this literary landscape
just like me
So go on:
Steal this poem
Give it a home
I’m already off writing something else
and I’ve left these words all alone
waiting here for you
Peace (in the poem)
After annotating this poem I believe it was written in relation to cheating but it is not looking at cheating in a sense of it being wrong or even being cheating at all, the meaning of cheating is not the same or at least doesn’t come across the same. My definition of cheating (in general) is someone who acts dishonestly; they break the rules, although in this poem it portrays it as if it’s the norm and is no longer cheating / plagiarism (unless the poem is being entirely sarcastic) but I didn’t think it was.
I personally feel that no idea is going to be 100% original, especially when studying higher education as I’ve come to realise that (from my own experience) the questions very rarely change and more or less sound the same. Comparing essay questions this year, to the questions set last year to the previous students, not much had changed so our answers to these questions would sound similar but not the same, as no two people read the same book.
I know this post is long enough so I have only decided to add a few of the words I highlighted from this poem and explain what I thought they mean and how they made me feel.
Then use your tricks and tools to rebuild it – As I have said already, no two people read the same book. People inspire others and this was a perfect way of summing it up as his poem was inspiring and I feel that’s what he was trying to do as he implores us to steal this poem and make it our own.
Maybe later you’ll appear – I liked this part of the poem, this line stuck out for me. I felt it represented finding ourselves and developing our own voice and who knows with that you may inspire others.
Tumble down the spine of my lies – For this I imagined the human skeleton made up entirely of words, probably because it says “spine of lies”.
A keeper or stories – I felt this represented the information we learn and attain as well as our own experiences and our new ones. I feel our past and present experiences can shape who we are today, the choices we make and can effectively shape our outlook on life which I feel can have impact on a person’s writing.
Here is my poem which I made out of the words from the original poem.
I’ll take these words and make them my own
I’ll steal this poem and give it a home
You left it here neglected and all alone
So I plan to Break it / Fix it
Rip it apart and remix it
Let my pen bleed over the page
Until I’m happy with what I have re-made
I’m the seeker
The keeper of stories, just as you say
I’ll doubt you’ll mind if one of your works were to go astray
You had abandoned it here anyway
And whilst your off breathing life into new things
I’ll be here, like a Fox rummaging through your bins
Have you never heard the phrase, one mans trash is another mans treasure?
I’m remixing this for the sole purpose of other peoples pleasure
I’m not a painter nor a poet but I’ll happily take the credit as now you don’t own it
You goaded me to do this and now its been done, I have stolen your words and in my own way have spun.
Throughout the lesson I had been making notes but I had set myself a challenge and the challenge was to try visual note taking. This is because my research project is going to be around note taking and the different methods you can use, looking very closely at visual note taking and linking that to the importance of drawing in learning. Sounds long right? I think my notes went well, I took them home and did some note making, what’s the difference between note taking and note making? You will find out soon enough!! Mwahaha. So here are my notes from today…
Once we had finished with the poems we then moved on to our end of year performances, at the moment it’s just a discussion and everything is still up in the air, today was just deciding our groups. For this project the class is going to be divided into groups of three and we have the opportunity to do one of the following, an art exhibition, a song or dance and theatre/play or if you wanted you could do something entirely different. The performances are going to be three hours long and each group will have a dedicated day to perform there’s. As I said, everything is still up in the air and we didn’t spend much time on it at all, hopefully next week we will look into it a little more in-depth. I hope you liked my post or at the very least found it helpful.
Thanks for reading!!