Rotary talk and Paul Farley poems

The blog has taken a back seat lately but I hope to increase the posting – a blog has to be regularly produced and have a clear purpose, so I’m rethinking that. On Monday, I was the speaker at Dunbar Rotary Club and I talked about improving students’ use of the web. My sister Elaine is the current president of the club and indeed, the first female president. What was interesting was that the audience almost totally expected me to talk about searching the web i.e. they associated use of the web, with searching. My focus was on “reading” images and video. I got the attendees to be my Year 7 class and asked them to discuss what they remembered after seeing some images and then a video. I then stressed that we wanted school students to be critical readers of what they find on the web. It was clear that most of the audience had not taken this kind of critical view themselves when using the web, and many told me that it was a learning experience. My final image (see below) was a kangaroo at Pomingalarna in Wagga Wagga. The audience admired the cuteness of kangaroo and the view of the Australian bush – a very positive photo? Not completely, as the photo also contains some Paterson’s Curse, an invasive weed.

The latest Poetry Book Society Choice is The Dark Film by Paul Farley. It’s a collection with striking imagery, sometimes of everyday objects. For example, in Quality Street, a box of sweets is seen through a child’s eyes. Many of us will remember unwrapping Quality Street sweets, holding the coloured paper in front of our eyes and seeing the effect on our surroundings. Farley’s poem starts with red: ‘The wrapper of a strawberry cream/ unpeels a vivid red to dye/ the evening bloody monochrome’. InThe Airbrake People, a child listens to the sounds of lorries’ air brakes: ‘I’d count the minutes between each hiss:/ all exhalation, nothing but dying fall/ as if the night itself received a puncture’. This is a book of poems to savour – read each one at least twice and then go back the next day and you’ll reveal even more hidden depth.

Kangaroo at Pomingalarna

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One Response to “Rotary talk and Paul Farley poems”

  1. Kate Reid Says:

    It is interesting to do those kind of information literacy lessons with a group of adults, isn’t it? the range of critical thinking displayed is often startling, for both positive and negative reasons.

    I do not recall Paterson’s Curse with any fondness – I am one of those unfortunates who suffer badly with hayfever when the weeds turn bush areas into oceans of purple, such that even the sight of my favourite colour would produce distressingly unladylike language rather than gasps of delight.

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