Memories Are Made Of This – Part 5

If anyone read my last post, talking about the start of the Premier League season and A-Level results day, I sure hope you had much better results than Liverpool against West Brom! Feel free to comment, let me know how well you did 🙂

Anyways, on with the show! Today I’ll be looking into one of the most intrinsically interesting bits of the English and Creative Writing course at Edge Hill. The ‘Creative Writing’ part is self-explanatory, but the ‘English’ bit is made up of Literature (already covered in one of my earlier posts) and Language, which is today’s feast for the mind. The diagram, which I hope you’re curious about, shows the parts of human head that are used to produce speech.

Overall, the Language part of the degree is as well structured as the Eiffel Tower. When you start off at the bottom, the focus is fairly wide. In the first year I was looking at an introduction to the history of the English language one semester and linguistics the next. The second year saw a development of the history side of things, but introduces modules that you are free to choose yourself (I chose an introduction to sociolinguistics, combining my interest in linguistics with social theory. Hard work, yeah, but it really brought home that linguistics is an impressive science that we can see at work in everyday life). The third year had even more freedom as there were no compulsory modules so, according to my Eiffel Tower analogy, you can taper it to whatever end you want. My only regret is that i couldn’t do everything!

The whole point of my ‘memories’ series of blogs is to look back at best bits. So then, what exactly are the best bits now that I’ve outlined the overall goodness of the course? It’s another genuinely tough question… Could it be the discovery of how changeable our linguistic behaviour is in different social situations (for example, do you speak to your best friends in the same way as you would to your grandparents? Do you swear more in some circles of interaction than others? Well, you’ll find out so much about things like this that you probably hadn’t even thought of before)? Could it be the module called ‘Beyond English’ that shows how English has influenced the rest of the world, and how different languages can be from each other on every level?

You know what, I know it’s a cop-out but I can’t pick out one moment over another. There really is something for everyone; historians, scientists, sociologists and even more can find modules that will interest them, expand their knowledge and improve their employability when they graduate. I think the best bit has been the whole experience, especially working with the most passionate tutors you could ever wish for (including someone who had a big part to play in a recent popular film francise. If you ever have the pleasure of a class with Prof. Anthony Grant, ask him to tell you more, though you may have to wait until the third year before he spills the beans!).

Though it may sound odd, I hope that after you come to Edge Hill, and have a fantastic experience like I have, you have as much trouble picking out a favourite moment. The thing is, when the university is so brilliant overall it is a positive – rather than a negative – that it’s difficult to pick a stand-alone moment. I hope you’re looking forward to having an awesome three years here soon.

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!

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.