Volunteers’ Week Featured Poem: The Tyger by William Blake

 

Especially for Volunteer’s Week, our Featured Poem comes from our Volunteer anthology Poets Don’t Lie. William Blake’s The Tyger has been chosen by Barnet volunteer Fred.

Continue reading “Volunteers’ Week Featured Poem: The Tyger by William Blake”

Featured Poem: Tell all the truth but tell it slant— by Emily Dickinson

I hope you enjoy this week’s Featured Poem – ‘Tell all the truth but tell it slant’ by Emily Dickinson.

She argues that on certain occasions the truth may be too much and that people are too sensitive to the ‘dazzling’ and ‘bright’ ‘superb surprise’. I absolutely love the comparison of truth to a blinding light. She says the best way to tell the truth therefore is with a ‘slant’ – is this in order to let the listener down gently? To prevent a reaction with too much emotion – perhaps sadness or anger?

 

This poem is a taster of what you can expect to see at our shared reading groups running this weekend at Latitude Festival – see our bio on the Latitude website here. We look forward to seeing some of you there!

 

 

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

 

As Lightening to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind-

 

Emily Dickinson

Featured Poem: Children’s Song by R S Thomas

As this week is Children’s Book Week I chose Children’s Song by R. S. Thomas for this weeks Featured Poem. It is a wonderful poem which is narrated by a child observing an adult, rather than the usual form which is told from an adults point of view. I love how it portrays a great intelligence and observance, a tale of the underrated brain of a child!

For more on Children’s Book Week follow us on Twitter, where we asked this morning, What is your all-time favourite children’s book?

Enjoy!

 

Children’s Song

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.

R S Thomas

Featured Poem: The Little Dancers by Laurence Binyon

This week’s Featured Poem is The Little Dancers by Laurence Binyon. I love the final line of this poem, ‘their eyes shining, grave with a perfect pleasure’ which sums up the children’s enjoyment at their simple pleasure in the dreary setting.

Children’s Literature is certainly in our minds at The Reader this month, our next Short Course ‘A Whizz-tour through the wonderful world of Children’s Literature‘ is happening in less than 3 weeks, and preparations are well under way for The Secret Garden of Stories, our first ever children’s literature festival happening in the last weekend of August.

I hope you enjoy this week’s Featured Poem.

 

 

A Whizz-tour through the Wonderful World of Children’s Literature – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses/short-course-for-serious-readers-a-whizz-tour-through-the-wonderful-world-of-childrens-literature.aspx#sthash.9y7UikNn.dpuf
A Whizz-tour through the Wonderful World of Children’s Literature – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses/short-course-for-serious-readers-a-whizz-tour-through-the-wonderful-world-of-childrens-literature.aspx#sthash.9y7UikNn.dpuf
A Whizz-tour through the Wonderful World of Children’s Literature – See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses/short-course-for-serious-readers-a-whizz-tour-through-the-wonderful-world-of-childrens-literature.aspx#sthash.9y7UikNn.dpuf

The Little Dancers

 

Lonely, save for a few faint stars, the sky

Dreams; and lonely, below, the little street

Into its gloom retires, secluded and shy.

Scarcely the dumb roar enters this soft retreat;

And all is dark, save where come flooding rays

From a tavern–window; there, to the brisk measure

Of an organ that down in an alley merrily plays,

Two children, all alone and no one by,

Holding their tattered frocks, thro’ an airy maze

Of motion lightly threaded with nimble feet

Dance sedately; face to face they gaze,

Their eyes shining, grave with a perfect pleasure.

 

Laurence Binyon

 

Featured Poem: Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

With only 3 days until the first performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Calderstones Garden Theatre, everybody here at The Reader Organisation has been turning their attention to William Shakespeare. It seems therefore only fitting to focus on one of Shakespeare’s poems this week, and I have chosen one of his most famous Sonnets, number 116.

 

The sonnet attempts to define ideal love, as something powerful and everlasting, unaffected even by time. The line ‘Love’s not Time’s fool’ stands out to me, and it suggests that many aspects of life are affected by time, yet a strong emotion like love has the power to hold its own.

 

Much Ado About Nothing also tells the tale of love, as it portrays two love stories between Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Benedick. We look forward to seeing you at the Globe performances at Calderstones this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For now, I hope you enjoy this week’s poem.

 

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark, 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wandering bark, 
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle’s compass come: 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
   If this be error and upon me proved, 
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 

Shakespeare and… Assertiveness

shakespeare b&w

 

Short Course for Serious Readers: Shakespeare and… Assertiveness

Saturday 24th May, 10am-4pm

Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool. L18 3JB

 

£30, £15 for concessions (includes lunch)

 

“I can live no longer by thinking”
– Orlando in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’

It is the start of Shakespeare season here at The Reader Organisation! You may have heard about the exciting arrival of Shakespeare’s Globe to The Garden Theatre at Calderstones in June (all information can be found on our Events page here), but to kick things off we present our next Short Course for Serious Readers, ‘Shakespeare and… Assertiveness’.

We know reading Shakespeare can enrich our lives in so many ways, but have you ever turned to the Bard for guidance on particular behaviours, attitudes and skills that can be put to use in contemporary work and life?

In this first instalment of our ‘Shakespeare and…’ series of short courses, Casi and Grace will lead you through different models of assertiveness as presented in Shakespeare’s work, and consider ways in which we can put this to practical use in our own lives.

Nervous about reading Shakespeare? Be bold and join us! No prior knowledge of Shakespeare’s work is needed. Some prepatory reading will be sent in advance, including extracts from As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and The Winter’s Tale.

The course will run from 10am-4pm and lunch plus all copies of the texts will be provided.

Short Courses for Serious Readers are for anyone who loves shared reading and getting a grip on great literature with like-minded company. Led by some brilliant readers, thinkers and teachers, these courses enable you to take a break from life for a while to immerse yourself in great literature.

Places on the course cost £30; £15 concessions.

To get more information about Shakespeare and… Assertiveness visit our website.

To book your place contact Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 207 7207.

What do you think? Reflection over the Bank Holiday

“The opportunity to discuss themes and points raised in the text and hearing other people’s take on things has enabled me to see other aspects I would not have discovered by myself.”

     – Group Member

Last week saw the start of Brian Nellist’s 6 week course ‘What Do You Think?’ which is being held at The Lauries Centre in Birkenhead. Readers have begun to explore stories where the ending is contradictory or unsettled, and doesn’t offer closure. Endings to stories like these often play on our mind long after we have read them, and start to make us reflect on our own surroundings and reality.

Have you had any moments of reflection over the Easter weekend? Perhaps you have been inspired over the bank holiday to delve into some classic literature you have always been meaning to read. Why not extend this interest by booking onto ‘What Do You Think?’ – it is not too late! Join Brian for our latest Short Course for Serious Readers and explore stories by Chekhov, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield and many more fantastic authors.

The course starts again on Monday 28th April and runs for 4 more weeks after that on the 12th and 19th May, and the 2nd and 9th of June. The sessions run on Monday mornings from 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, and all texts plus refreshments are provided.

Short Courses for Serious Readers are for anyone who loves shared reading and getting a grip on great literature with like-minded company. Led by some brilliant readers, thinkers and teachers, these courses enable you to take a break from life for a while to immerse yourself in great literature. Brian’s courses on a Monday morning will allow you to regularly join together with a group, reading and feeling good in turn.

Places on the course cost £45 ; £25 concessions.

For more information on ‘What Do You Think?’ visit our website. You can book your place by contacting Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or by calling 0151 207 7207.

Family Matters

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Short Course for Serious Readers: Family Matters
Saturday 26th April, 10am-4pm
Calderstones Mansion House, Calderstones Park, Liverpool. L18 3JB

 

£30, £15 for concessions (includes lunch)

 

Illustration © 1990 by Shirley Hughes

A child, more than all other gifts
That earth can offer to declining man,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts
—William Wordsworth

Now we are in April and the clocks have turned back, we are well and truly stepping into Spring. We have a whole host of Short Courses lined up in the next few months, where you can spend time reading together as a group in the beautiful surroundings of Calderstones Park.

Come join your guide Esther Harsh at the end of the month on a journey through meaningful moments of family feeling in literature. Esther is a student studying in the Reading in Practice MA program at University of Liverpool, researching family feeling in Victorian literature.

Together you will be reading passages from great Victorian works, including Silas Marner by George Eliot, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and other works by Elizabeth Gaskell and William Wordsworth.

The course will run from 10am-4pm and lunch plus all copies of the texts will be provided.

Short Courses for Serious Readers are for anyone who loves shared reading and getting a grip on great literature with like-minded company. Led by some brilliant readers, thinkers and teachers, these courses enable you to take a break from life for a while to immerse yourself in great literature.

Places on the course cost £30; £15 concessions.

To get more information on Family Matters visit our website. You can book your place by contacting Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or by calling 0151 207 7207.

What Do You Think?

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Short Course for Serious Readers:
What Do You Think?
Mondays 10.30-12.30,
6 sessions running between 14th April and 9th June
The Lauries Centre, Birkenhead, CH41 6EY

 

£45 for 6 sessions, £25 for concessions

 

Illustration by Clifford Harper/Agraphia.co.uk from theguardian.com

 

As part of our Short Course programme this Spring we invite you to consider ‘What Do You Think?’ with Brian Nellist – godfather of the Reader Organisation and inspiration to Merseyside readers for many years.

After watching a play on the box my uncle Arthur used to grumble “They never finish anything properly nowadays”.

It made me realise that modern stories rarely offer closure and often leave endings open to the reader. Such stories are told to prompt reflection rather than to offer settled conclusions, and so they begin to make us question how we respond to reality. When we are then confronted by actual people, situations and events we often have varied and contradictory responses. It’s arguably Chekhov who began to write these novels which led the reader up the garden path and then left them perplexed by the end.

– Brian Nellist

Brian will be exploring this notion of unsettled endings whilst reading stories by Chekhov himself, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Lawrence, Doris Lessing and William Trevor. The course will run at the Lauries Centre in Birkenhead on Monday mornings at 10.30-12.30.

With Easter running late and other bank holidays during this period the sessions will be running on the following dates – April 14th and 28th, May 12th and 19th and June 2nd and 9th.

All copies of the texts as well as refreshments and good company will be provided.

 

Short Courses for Serious Readers are for anyone who loves shared reading and getting a grip on great literature with like-minded company. Led by some brilliant readers, thinkers and teachers, these courses enable you to take a break from life for a while to immerse yourself in great literature. Brian’s courses on a Monday morning will allow you to regularly join together with a group, reading and feeling good in turn.

 

Places on the course cost £45 for the 6 sessions; £25 concessions.

For more information on What Do You Think? visit our website. You can book your place by contacting Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or by calling 0151 207 7207.