I Spy With My Little Eye…

A new sculpture on campus (sorry, this was supposed to be posted last Wednesday, but apparently my new phone doesn’t like my laptop so I can’t upload a picture of what I’m talking about)! It’s outside the library, so if you’re on an open day you can see it there (sorry!).

I know that might not seem all that newsworthy, especially compared to the building of The HUB, but I think it’s important. For a lot of students, coming to uni means staying away from home for long periods of time. We have folk coming here from all over the country and beyond, and it’s easy to miss home, friends and family. But, apart from being in the nice town of Ormskirk and near the great cities of Liverpool and Manchester, the campus itself at Edge Hill does its best to keep vibrant. After all, it’s one of the main reasons why I chose Edge Hill over some of the other places offering the degree I wanted

This is something not a lot of other universities have thought about, and it means that some students are having to spend time not just away from the familiar, but in a dull and, sometimes, depressing environment (I won’t name any universities in particular…). When you come to Edge Hill, though, it’s so easy to feel at home. If you haven’t heard that we have a lake on site, then you really haven’t researched your uni very well! But yeah, the lake, the ducks, the sculptures and the greenery all make the campus a place you actually want to be, even over home!

Another Visit From a Legend

To anyone thinking of coming to Edge Hill to study Creative Writing, I’ve got to say that you’re thinking of a great choice. Last Friday we were visited by Cliff Yates, a poet, who came into our class to read some of his poetry and do some writing exercises with us.

I saw Cliff a year ago at a reading at The Rose Theatre on Edge Hill’s campus, and I really like his poetry. It is warm, amusing and evocative, yet can be very poignant and startling too. As a man, he really is the epitome of a good bloke: open, talented, energetic and friendly. The session he ran went really well, I’m actually developing a poem further that I wrote in one of the exercises.

When you’re looking at universities, ask exactly what you’re going to get out of it. Edge Hill’s Creative Writing tutors are all published and practising writers, but the course is never allowed to get stale with the inclusion of these visiting writers. They really do bring a fresh burst of inspiration into the room and, if you have your common sense hat on, they bring an opportunity to expand your network of contacts in the industry.

Your course will benefit you massively in what you want to do with writing; your skills will vastly improve and your employability will be better. What more could you ask? Oh yeah, your course will genuinely be fun, inspiring and awesome, take it from me!

If you’d like to know more about Cliff Yates, here is his blog: http://cliffyates.wordpress.com/

The Forefront

Today I thought I’d blog a bit more about my poetry classes, being fairly controversial as they are at the minute. I don’t mean controversial in a bad way, but they are dividing opinions amongst me and my friends, so I thought I’d let applicants know what they may be letting themselves in for!

The module I’m studying has been titled ‘Experimental Writing’ by the tutors, and it certainly does have a feel of alchemy about it. It essentially deals with multi-sensory approaches to poetry (for the mind, the ear and the eye). I’m sure we’ve all been brought up on the kind of poetry that rhymes and conforms to a certain metre (Sonnets being a classic example of people counting out syllables), so when you learn in the first year that ‘to rhyme is a crime’ and making the metre regular is a waste of time, it’s a bit shocking. This module goes ten steps beyond that, believe me!

An alphabet-structured poem using associative cognitive methods of writing sounds interesting. A poem involving two different words (‘like’ and ‘attracts’) placed in a certain way around the page is bizarre. Poems inspired by the five vowels, including Monty Python-esque screeching in their performance are unsettling. This is a small sample of what we have covered in one lesson. That gives you a flavour of what we look at, and you might be like some of the students who say ‘that’s definitely no poetry’. You could be like some of the others who say ‘there’s method in that madness’. You might even be like me, you can see the pros and cons and aren’t really sure what poetry is anymore (not that I’m sure I’ve ever really put my finger on it!).

But in this kind of confusion, in this place that is so far out of our comfort zones, there is a rich diversity of new possibilities for writers. Right or wrong as our opinions may be (if there is such a thing in this case), the potential is immense, and I think that if you want to come to Edge Hill, you have to be prepared to walk the untrodden paths, get a little lost in it all but be safe in the knowledge that your hard work is going to produce breathtaking results in the end.

P.S. The poem featured at the top of the page is the one that’s currently on our module handbook, Bob Cobbing’s ‘Square Poem’.

Film Festivitites

 Last Wednesday saw the 49th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival come to the Rose Theatre at Edge Hill. I can’t pretend that I understood all of the films, some of them being quite obscure and ‘arty’, but that didn’t stop me from having a really good time. The night opened with a film (called ‘Nulepsy’ if I remember correctly) featuring a naked old man on a skateboard and ended with a Chinese animation that… how do I put this? Let’s just say a frog with a human face was singing pop music (‘Hand Soap’). So the festival certainly wasn’t lacking any variety, and also some rather trippy visuals!

The story of getting the festival to the university is interesting in itself. One man’s vision to share the festival with a UK audience has taken four years, and certain changes of employer, to be realized. Better late than never, I say! The good news is that he hopes to carry on supporting the festival, and even wants to see an Edge Hill student win one of the prizes some day. I think that’s a fantastic idea and I’ll certainly want to pop into the Rose Theatre, even when I’m no longer a student, to watch.

If you want to know any more about the film festival itself, click on this link: http://aafilmfest.org/49/index.php/events/category/animation

If you want to know more about the Rose Theatre on Edge Hill’s campus, take a look at this: http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre That’ll tell you more about the types of thing you’ll be able to enjoy when you come here. They’ve also got a facebook page, so ‘like’ that and you’ll automatically get updates.