Auden Society meet to discuss topics presented by pupils
23 May 2021
What with chocolate cake, caramel bars, and quality chat galore, who wouldn’t have wanted to attend the most recent edition of the Auden Society? In attendance was a bumper crop of twenty keen Year 11 and 12 students, all eager to hear from Callum, Leila, and Joe, whose talks covered a wide range of topics.
Leila, for obvious reasons, chose to spend her birthday evening telling the group about her thoughts on Shakespeare in the curriculum and encouraging her audience to consider why he is there and whether he still deserves his place. It was interesting for the students to compare the 1994 A level curriculum and consider whether the texts taught then had changed much at all, and if not, why not. Leila was followed by Callum who presented on his recent experience of a Norfolk Cambridge Society Lecture that centered on ‘Why Poetry Matters’. Drawing on several details from the lecture, a variety of poets, as well as providing his own spin on the views of Percy Shelley, Callum made a strong and vital argument for ‘why poetry matters’.
Our final speaker, Joe, used an extract he had studied in class to speak about the writer George Gissing. In his inimitable style, Joe gave us the illuminating history of Gissing and his pessimism – don’t forget the pessimism. We were lucky enough to also have a surprise appearance from Mr Kinder in the audience, who, in a coincidental conversation with Mr Baker just after supper, heard that Joe would be speaking about George Gissing. Mr Kinder revealed to the audience that Walter Gissing was a student at Gresham’s and one of Eccles’ first boys, sadly dying on the first day of the Somme. We were lucky enough to hear about Walter’s time at Gresham’s and hear his poetry contributions to the school magazine in 1903.
The talks, group discussions, and, of course, the guest appearance, made for a fantastic evening and the next installment on the 16th June promises to be a triumph, with hints that Harry Potter might even be making an appearance.