SCC English

Podcasts from the English Department of St Columba’s College, Dublin, Ireland

Voices of Poetry 2020

In 2020, the annual Voices of Poetry evening moved online. Normally, we would be round a single spotlight in the Big Schoolroom listening to words in different languages from all over the world. This time, words were sent from all over the world inwards, to be gathered virtually in this recording.

Our 30th podcast is one of an occasional series on poems on the Irish Leaving Certificate English course. This examines Seamus Heaney's poem 'Sunlight', one of the dedicatory poems called 'Mossbawn', which open his 1975 collection North. 'Sunlight' is a poem of great warmth, recreating a scene from his childhood on the family farm, suffused with the love of and for his aunt Mary. However, it also prefigures disturbance and the eventual disappearance of such an idyll in a more violent society.

Our 29th podcast is the fourth in a series looking at the play Hamlet leading up to the Leaving Certificate next month, and is a close examination of Hamlet's first soliloquy, 'O that this too too solid flesh...', putting the speech in its context and looking at how it expresses the character's deepest feelings about his mother.

Our 28th podcast deals with the first scene in the play Hamlet, which sets a mood of uncertainty, and prefigures some central themes of the play, such as the disruption of the natural order, identity and revenge. The first two podcasts in our revision series prior to the Leaving Certificate exams gathered together individual short talks on 10 characters in Hamlet - the first one was on 1) Fortinbras, 2) Horatio, 3) Laertes, 4) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, 5) Polonius; the second on 7) Ophelia, 8 ) The Player King, 9) Osric, 10) The First Gravedigger.

Our 27th podcast gathers together the final four short 'audioboos' from our series 10 Characters from 'Hamlet', which deal with these characters: Ophelia, The Player King, Osric, The First Gravedigger. Click here for the first six characters. The series looks at the 'lesser' characters in the play, in five-minute chunks. Note that there is a brief gap between each talk.

Our 26th podcast brings together seven more 5-minute talks from the Patterns of Poetry series, which was runner-up in the 2010 Edublog Awards in the category 'Best Educational Use of Audio.' The talks are, in order: (9) Rhyme, (10) Repetition, (11) The Sonnet, (12) Punctuation, (13) Foreshadowing, (14) Metaphor, (15) Hyperbole. Note that there is a brief pause between each talk.

The first 8 talks are available in a single podcast here.

This podcast gathers together the first five short 'audioboos' from our series 10 Characters from 'Hamlet', which deal with six characters: 1) Fortinbras, 2) Horatio, 3) Laertes, 4) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, 5) Polonius. Another podcast will put together the remaining four when complete. The series looks at the 'lesser' characters in the play, in five-minute chunks. Note that there is a brief gap between each talk.

Our 24th podcast puts together in one handy track the first eight of the Patterns of Poetry talks, first published via Audioboo. The eight talks are all under 5 minutes each and are, in order: (1) Introduction, (2) Titles, (3) Alliteration, (4) Personification, (5) Symbols, (6) Onomatopoeia, (7) Cliché, (8) Simile. Note that there is a brief gap between each talk.

There is a full list of the series here.

Our 23rd podcast is the final one of 6 on King Lear. This looks at the end of the play, considering how the famously bleak ending is constructed by Shakespeare. Lear so nearly becomes a play with a comic ending (like its sources and Nahum Tate's rewritten 1681 version). Instead, there is no mitigation: all is dark horror. To read Tate's version, click here (go to page 66 for the ending).

Using the notorious scene in which Gloucester is blinded as a starting point, this talk looks at ideas of blindness and seeing throughout the play, particularly in the stories of the two old 'blind' men, Lear and Gloucester. Lear undergoes a humanising process of development, and starts to 'see' real truths about himself and society; however, in the end this matters little, as he is exposed to devastating grief on the death of his daughter Cordelia

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