Memories Are Made Of This – Part 2

Here lies the second in my series of posts on Edge Hill’s English and Creative Writing course’s ‘best bits’. Today I’m all about the poetry modules, which have all been great and it’s hard to pick out any single moment that’s better than the rest. I think the most memorable moments were at the start and the end of the three years to be honest, but that’s not to say that the second year was sub-par!

In fact, the second year had a well-structured and very inspiring look at different types of sensory poetry. That is to say, we looked at poetry for the ear, poetry for the eye, ‘mind poetry’ (based on unmediated thought, rather than self-censoring) and more. Looking at these different ways of writing poetry not only leads you to enjoy other poetry more on other levels, but also gives you a confidence about writing that is invaluable.

Even more striking than that though, was the module where it all kicked off: first year poetry. I think it could quite easily be described as explosive in the sense that a whole load of preconceptions and things I thought I knew were just blown out of the water. The enthusiasm of the tutors really was infectious (and they maintain that enthusiasm for the whole three years, believe me), and thought the attitude of a lot of people has been that poetry is their least favourite type of writing, I think we’ve all enjoyed poetry more than we thought we would based on their support.

 I’ve talked about the ‘Experimental Writing’ module from the third year before (I’m sure you love my writing so much you’re dying to check it out, so here y’are http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/martin/2012/02/12/the-forefront/), and I think it just gets the top spot for the best moments of the poetry part of the course. If the first year was explosive in dispelling myths and injecting energy, the third year has gone above and beyond. The look at different sensory poems has been developed in the sense of looking at new ways of performing and new ways of looking at the world and how that feeds into your writing. For example, using other people’s work to make a new poem is explored very thoroughly, and though you may be reluctant to enjoy poetry, this module will seem like something else.

Again, I’ve loved every minute of what Edge Hill’s offered me, and I don’t see how anyone else could fail to!

The Euros Are Here!

 

Yes indeedy, love or loathe football you’re gonna be hard pressed to escape it this next month as teams from the four corners of Europe come together to duke it out on the pitch. Don’t worry though, this isn’t going to be a post about my predictions for 2012, I’d only get them wrong anyway! No, this is a post about beginnings. It’s a beginning for footballers and fans across Europe, it’s the beginning of some better weather here in Ormksirk (it’s been gorgeous for ages but then we’ve had a few wet days lately) and hopefully your new beginning at Edge Hill only a matter of months away.

            I remember when I first started three fantastic years ago. It’s this time of year, when the weather’s nice and there’s plenty of reasons to go out that Ormskirk really comes alive. I stayed in halls my first year and the atmosphere is great. You make friends really quick when a load of you are living together, and in the evenings there were always a fair few kick-abouts happening on the grass on campus (for when the outdoor pitches were full, that is), so you get to know people from other halls quickly too. It’s such a friendly atmosphere, I can’t believe I was ever worried about going!

            Of course, if the kick-arounds don’t quench your appetite for footy, the uni bar will gladly oblige. Yes, my local in the first year was a grand total of two minutes away from my bed. You’ll never have it as good as you will at Edge Hill, I can guarantee you. I used to go and watch Liverpool play down there, the beers cheap and the bar staff are great, what more could you ask?

            If that doesn’t satisfy you, well then you are a true football fan! Liverpool is just a short train ride away and is home to some of the best football on the planet. My first time at Anfield was mind blowing. Really, there’s been nothing to compare it with, no live music I’ve ever seen or even playing sport myself, it was one of the best moment of my life. I suppose I should try and be more balanced in this post, I don’t want to upset anyone. Manchester is also close on the train, but there’s no point going there if you want to watch football… Do they have any teams down there? 😛

            So that’s it folks, if footy fever has got your temperature up at the minute you can’t do much better than come to Edge Hill. The friendly atmosphere and the opportunity to take part in many sports on many different levels are just a couple of reasons why the university is so popular, so supportive and so enjoyable. The future begins today!

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 1

I’ve been to the English office recently to get some assignments back (which Edge Hill is actually really good for, all feedback is usually well within four weeks so you don’t spend too much time fretting over the mark!) and reading back over the work and looking at the comments made me think back over the years. All this thinking (it doesn’t happen too often, I can assure you) led me to think a collection of ‘favourite moments’ would be a good theme for a series of these posts, giving you, dear reader, a look into the Edge Hill experience.

For English Literature, it’s very tough to pick out a favourite moment because there are so many to choose from. Even though it’s one of the smallest parts of my degree (a quarter of the credits in the ‘English and Creative Writing’ degree), it has covered a massive range, from the ‘birth’ of the novel, Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Modernists and, in the first year, we studied a modern novel too. That’s a time span of centuries, and this broad view of literary culture has really been inspiring. I think spending a whole year on one movement (namely Modernism) has been brilliant, because I have formed a really in-depth understanding of it, rather than a less developed sense. Of course, when applying to Edge Hill, there are many different options and combinations of degrees to suit your taste, so make sure you research and consider your options thoroughly.

Overall I think my favourite moment has been the completion of a long essay on the concept of Modernism. This was the last Literature assignment, and the longest one of all three years (2,500 words, give or take the customary ten per cent). The work put into that really showcased how much I’d learned throughout the year, drawing on knowledge that had been growing every lecture and seminar. It was also a pleasure to write the essay with all the support I got from the tutors. They not only did a great job getting me to learn about the topic in the first place, but also made sure I was ‘on the right tracks’ with regards to the essay. In-depth notes were available to everyone online via Edge Hill’s ‘Learning Edge’ system to give advice on how to tackle the beast, which worked really well when coupled with face-to-face time in seminars to discuss any issues.

I bet you think I’m joking, but I miss doing those essays! Edge Hill really does nurture your passion for your subject, and I hope that my upcoming ‘memories’ posts will stimulate you too.

It’s Like a Heatwave!

Right now there’s only one word on everyone’s lips, and that’s ‘sunshine’! I’ve touched on some of the good things about Ormskirk before – the beer gardens and whatnot. The day today has just emphasised how fun the market town really is, for me, and I want to tell you about the things you can do when you come to study at Edge Hill (I can’t promise it’s all very mature though!).

So me and some of my friends were originally planning to go to Park Pool, a gym and pool located in Coronation Park. We went there mid-afternoon in the fantastic weather and most of Ormskirk seemed to be there sunbathing, having a kick-around and slurping on an ice-cream. It was thriving, but not packed like sardines in a can, and if we hadn’t been going swimming I’d have loved to lounge around on the grass for the afternoon. Unfortunately the pool closed at 3 pm on Sundays, but guess who came to our rescue?

Edge Hill, of course! Their Sunday pool sessions currently run from 4-5.30 pm, meaning that, after stocking up on water guns in B&M Bargains, we were raring to go (only cost those of us without a membership a pound, cheap at twice the price! There are memberships currently available at Edge Hill’s Sporting Edge that allow free use of the pool though).

So we went there, having a little waterfight along the way, and had a great time at the pool as well. It was lovely to cool down in the water, a fun way to spend time with friends and meet new people but also a fantastic way to stay in shape. I apologise for the ‘diary-style’ post today, but I hope you see why I wanted to share with you the best day of summer 2012 so far!

Don’t Be A Stranger

So as the uni year draws to a close for more and more students at Edge Hill, what’s going to happen now? Is the university closing its doors, battening down the hatches and generally going into hibernation? NO! Of course it’s not, Edge Hill is still very much alive with activity, and you might want to come and experience it.

Whatever stage you’re in for applying to university, still come and have a look. If you’re unsure where you want to go to study, then there’s really nothing like a visit to inform you. Not only do you get more information on your course, but also you’ll get a flavour of the campus and Ormskirk. When I was applying, I even came here after making my choices with UCAS, partly because I liked the place so much but also to familiarise myself with it a bit more. Here’s a link to the open day page on the Edge Hill website with dates and booking information http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergraduate/events/opendays.

There are other reasons to come and visit too, such as going to the Rose Theatre, Edge Hill’s on-campus theatre. This is a great way to get the Edge Hill experience without being on an open day, you’ll get to see the campus and test out some of the facilities, all while being entertained. Can’t be bad, right? I’ve got my eye on an upcoming production by Edge Hill students called Wonderland: The Trials of Alice which is on the 25th and 26th of this month. It’s completely open to the public, as the Short Cuts cinema is too, so don’t be shy! Come down and have a good time 🙂 Here’s a link to the Rose Theatre website for more details and opportunities to see something amazing http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre/whatson.

So, what are you waiting for? Make sure that after you visit you come back soon!

Better than a Hammock

I had my last ever assessment for my degree last Friday. An exam for ‘Beyond English’, where I wrote an essay on semantics, was my finale to three years’ worth of work, and I think it went okay. This isn’t a post about what I’m up to, though, I’d actually like to tell you a story about the build up to this exam, and how it shows the level of support given to each and every student at Edge Hill.

It was Thursday, the day before my exam, and I was at home busy revising when I got a call on my mobile. I wasn’t expecting a call, but when I picked it up it was someone from the Edge Hill offices, telling me that the room for the exam had changed. I hear sometimes from my friends at other universities how bad they are at communication with their students, and I think that’s a real shame. At Edge Hill, the tutors are all really confident about using the online learning tools (namely ‘Learning Edge’, which you’ll become well acquainted with upon arrival!) and tell you about upcoming changes and the like as soon as possible. In this case, with the change happening so soon, they actually took the time to ring around all the affected students so that they’d be made aware.

That to me indicates a fantastic level of support. I’d say it was even better than a hammock!

Building Up Momentum

I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m bragging, but I’ve just been published. If you think I’m happy you’re right 🙂 One of Edge Hill’s many publications is a magazine devoted to poetry and photography called Question Mark. After writing a collection of four poems for my Experimental Writing module, the tutor suggested that people submit them to the magazine and that, fortunately, has just paid off.

To me, this is Edge Hill’s commitment to students summarised very neatly. They care about giving you opportunities, they care about developing your transferable skills and, above all, they care about getting you a job at the end of your course. Through doing my course, where I’ve learned so much about creative writing, and being given an opportunity to be published, I can now put on my CV that my work has appeared in a respected magazine. It really couldn’t be any easier and rewarding!

If you think that’s it though, think again! There’s a crime fiction competition that the uni holds in memory of a great tutor, who I’ve had the pleasure to work with, Jo Powell who passed away last year. I’ve recently submitted a story to this competition, and am awaiting the results eagerly. I just can’t stress enough how supported I feel, the amount of options and opportunities I’m getting and taking advantage of, it really is fantastic. I’m so pleased that I’m building up momentum towards my dreams, and because I went to Edge Hill I’m sure that will continue.

The Start of an Era

Last Friday saw my final lesson as a BA student at Edge Hill. It was quite a poignant moment – realising that your three years’ study is coming to an end and that you and all the friends you’ve made will all be moving on. Rather than being sad, though, we had a great send-off and kept up a Creative Writing tradition: the end of year reading.

As tutor Robert Sheppard pointed out, this is a form of publication (i.e. making public) of your creative work, and a fantastic opportunity to show your skills. It took place in the newly refurbished Hale Hall (you can see it looking all new and sparkly in the background of the picture there) and there was a reasonable turnout too, which doesn’t help the nerves, but the more the merrier when it comes to sharing your work.

The past two years, the reading has been grouped according to the year you’re in, but this time first, second and third years were all there to listen, and some to perform. Mostly people read poetry, but there was a short story and even some music, which just goes to show how diverse the range of chances is at Edge Hill.

It’s not compulsory to read out at this event, so don’t let it put you off if you don’t feel comfortable, you can just sit back and enjoy the other performances. As you can see by the picture (apologies, I know I’m no oil painting!), I couldn’t resist reading out one of my pieces (from my own writing, rather than class work) and, as always, the reception was very supportive.

I bet you’re itching to give it a go, aren’t you? Well, all you need to do is come to Edge Hill and you’ll get the chance!

Is It My Birthday?

No it isn’t, but that hasn’t stopped Edge Hill giving me (well, less solipsistically, all Edge Hill students) another great gift. Media students have been able to team up with the university’s ever pro-active and approachable Student’s Union to form a production company going by the name of ‘Edge House Productions’.

This is a brilliant opportunity that any screenwriters will have coming to Edge Hill (don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get published if scripts aren’t your thing!). It’s a great opportunity for budding media students too. In fact, it’s awesome whatever course you’re doing. After all, it’s not every university that can boast the ability to nurture so much talent across the show-business spectrum and produce great things ( also the on-campus Rose Theatre is proud of its work with students http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre/about).

I’ll certainly be taking advantage, probably send them a short film. The only question now is what will you do when you come to Edge Hill?

‘The Scousest Day on Earth’

Edge Hill has a great reputation for its sports degrees, but you don’t have to be doing one to take advantage of any of the many opportunities for enjoying sport around Ormskirk. I for one love a bit of football, it must be said, and yesterday saw the Liverpool vs Everton FA cup semi-final. The atmosphere in Ormskirk is always great on match day, whoever is playing, but the rivalries inside Liverpool and even with Manchester teams translate clearly for Ormskirkians. It happened that my team won, but in any of the many places you can watch it about the town the buzz is always great, even for neutral fans.

Yesterday saw another important national sporting event take place just a few minutes away from Ormskirk in Aintree. I am, of course, talking about the Grand National. It is not just the event itself that transforms Ormskirk. The preceeding days too have a buzz that is unlike any other, especially Ladies’ Day. I was on my way into Liverpool the other day and it’s like a fever that sweeps the area, the trains are packed with expectant men and women all having a good time. I wrote recently about the buzz on campus at Edge Hill around the time of the elections, and the energy in Ormskirk at this time reminds me of that: anticipation, enjoyment and warmth.

I should just explain, the title of this post comes from a conversation I overheard yesterday. With so much pride in Merseyside around this time of national sporting importance, someone proclaimed it to be ‘the Scousest day on earth.’ That’s a debatable thing to say, perhaps, but it was certainly one of the most fun!