Sunday, January 30, 2011

Women whose names begin with M.

I am starting to think Wordsworth is a bit of a bore. A bit Wordsworthless really.

All afternoon and evening I have been struggling to put together lessons about one of his poems entitled 'The Affliction of Margaret'. Affliction is an apt word. For 11 stanzas it rambles on about the pain of a mother who wants to know the fate of her son disappeared for seven years. Not that I am trying to make light of lost children, but this really is drab. The rhyming structure admittedly is alright, but the crux of the lament arrives and departs in stanza one. Stanza two gives some background info and there's a nice bit at line 34, but the rest is just dribble. And exclamation marks. Why does a poem with such a sombre tone need three exclamation marks I ask you. My class of sixteen year olds were just starting to see that poetry could be beautiful by last Friday (thank-you Mr Yeats), now alas the word boring is going to crop up again sometime around 9:23am tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile I have been listening to 'So long Marianne' and I think it would be much more wonderful if we could teach Leonard Cohen lyrics. Not poems two hundred years old.


  1. Why do they make kids suffer with Wordsworth, Keats and those other boring arseholes when they can study Donne, Shelley, Yeats, Auden, Elliot and the more energetic and exciting poets?

  2. Men- you speak wise words.

    It was actually 9:28am when the word 'boring' surfaced, so I wasn't too far off.

  3. Do they have to study the poem, is it all totally prescribed?

  4. There is a selection of poems that I must choose from- but the way it's structured I would put then at a massive disadvantage for exams if I didn't teach it. We've finished it now so onto a only moderately boring poem!

  5. Leonard goes down well with 16 year olds, or used to when I taught some of his songs a lifetime ago. Also the Beatles, Dylan, and, more local, Straitjacket Fits, Don McGlashan...well - there's heaps that are more fun and more relevant than that boring old fart Wordsworth.

    But his mate Coleridge is fun. Kids used to love Christabel and her vampire lover.

    == CliveG

  6. Hey Clive- great to hear from you! I remember your love of Leonard.

    Unfortunately, I have a set poetry list, otherwise itdl be great. I've always thought Don McGlashan would be awesome- especially the Front Lawn stuff like 'Tomorrow Night' and 'Andy'