9th December 22
Year 10 English students were busy this week penning poems for the Greenpeace National Poetry Competition. Students were given the task of writing poems in a variety of forms on environmental issues. This was a great opportunity to be able to voice their concerns about our impact on the natural world and the pressing need for preservation and conservation. Oceans polluted with plastic, denuded rainforests, species extinction, polar-bears adrift on melting icecaps, rising sea-levels: these were some of the challenging subjects tackled by the class and submitted to the competition online. Special mention should be made to Mathew Cartlidge for his poem “The Forest Man”, a powerful indictment of the palm-oil industry and its role in the destruction of the of orangutans’ natural habitat.
On another note, Cathy David took A-Level English Literature students to see Othello at the National Theatre. This is a set text for the poetry paper so it will be a great opportunity for the students to see the play as Shakespeare intended – as a text to be performed live in front of an audience. In the latter half of the seventeenth century when the theatres reopened after the restoration of the monarchy, Othello was staged more than any other of Shakespeare’s plays. Its enduring popularity is a testimony to the play’s power. It still speaks to us across the centuries– about race, sexual jealousy, and the nature of human evil. It should be a memorable evening.
Nick Taylor’s Poetry Club meets most Tuesdays at 4pm. Year 13 students have been building their knowledge and skills in reading aloud, translating and analysing the Middle English of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. What is the late 14th century attitude to astrology and how does it clash with Christian values? Is our moral nature written in our physical appearance or DNA? Can men and women ever find equality and mutual love and respect within marriage? How often do we really tell the truth? Chaucer is a challenging text at A Level, but it can be very rewarding and is a very valuable calling card for any students wanting to study English Lit at university. One alumna in her first year at UCL kindly wrote a letter of thanks to Nick explaining that everything they did on Chaucer has been invaluable in her studies in her first year, which is rather nice to hear.
Simon Pearson, Head of Humanities/ English Teacher