English Department activities this half term

Auden Society

The English department have had two meetings of the Auden Society this term, and it has been wonderful to see the breadth and depth of literary interest from our students. At the end of November, the Society was led by Phoebe W, our President, who spoke on Mary Wollstonecraft, her life and her works as well as the importance in considering Mary Shelley alongside – this was particularly useful for our Lower Sixth pupils who are currently studying Frankenstein. Felix D M and Toby P-R followed with an engaging snapshot of John Donne and a great performance of two The Flea and Death Be Not Proud (Sonnet X). Lastly, Ben H spoke passionately and personally about his love of theatre, and gave the group an insight into his familial inspiration that has been so important to him. In December, the English Department held our Christmas-themed event and, alongside Maddie W’s excellent quiz, the group heard from a number of speakers, all with a festive focus. Miranda H-S and Kitty R spoke on The Muppets Christmas Carol and argued it should be seen as a postmodern masterpiece, not just as a film with puppets loosely connected to the Dickens novel. Larkin A presented confidently on Tolkein’s Letters from Father Christmas and the group were able to discuss the longevity of tradition and the place of letter writing in modern society. Ruby concluded with a focus on Carol Ann Duffy’s The Mistletoe Bride and The Christmas Truce, as well as a link to her role as Poet Laureate and the controversial 2009 poem The Twelve Days of Christmas. From here, the meeting ended by considering the role of a Poet Laureate and the role poetry has as in politics or as a form of protest. Thank you to Phoebe W who has continued to lead the Auden Society with unbridled enthusiasm this year. The English Department’s next gatherings include the Burns Night Supper in January, and a gathering in February to celebrate the life of Auden during his birthday month.

Year 9 and 10 Poetry Recital Competition:

The Year 9 and 10 pupils have worked hard to learn their poems, some of them self-written, for the various rounds of the recital competition this term. To learn a poem off-by-heart is not an easy thing to do, so the English Department would like to commend everyone who has taken part. The following pupils have got through to the final round which will take place in Fishmongers’ Hall when we return to school in January:

Amelia M-L, Do Not Go Gentle by Dylan Thomas

Scarlett H, Last Breath by Carly Dugmore

James C, O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

Zac I, The Brightest Field by R.S. Thomas

Ilana B, Dear Mum by Brian Patten

Sam H, Climate Change (own poem)

Cerys D, He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W.B.Yeats

Klara B, Save Our Earth by Jessica Roberts