Sunday, March 09, 2008

Save the canon!


Sean O'Brien is one of my favourite poets. His work has always shown its rootedness in tradition, even when questioning that tradition - see Cousin Coat, for instance. Here, in an excellent article, he makes a case for the restoration of the canon in education, before something very precious is lost. He's right.

10 comments:

Juliet said...

He's absolutely right. A most beautifully written and powerful piece.

petal47 said...

I taught sixth form students recently who had never heard of T.S.Eliot, and thought poetry was for 'people who like sprouts and beige'. They responded well to Philip Larkin, but were heartily sick of Carol Ann Duffy.

Anonymous said...

Is there such a word as 'rootedness'?

Rob Spence said...

Petal - I think I'm with them on Ms Duffy...
Anon - my dictionary has rootedness...:-)

Anonymous said...

Should have checked, so has mine ...:-)

Rob Spence said...

...and of course, students don't read newspapers. If they looked at today's Guardian, they would find a nice booklet of T.S. Eliot's poems. Auden tomorrow.

jellynewt said...

He's absolutley right.
I can remember being at school and being shown what a powerful tool for expression peoty is. The joy and the reward came from uncovering the allusions and metaphors in the text. It's a shame that, as O'Brien puts it, there is this failure of curiosity. And I would add, in some cases, a willful pride in ignorance.

Re 'students don't read newspapers' - so true. I've seen a couple carrying round copies of The Star... sigh.

Rob Spence said...

Hi Jenni - well, what the shop sells has always been a bone of contention as far s I'm concerned. I blogged about it a long time ago...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure EHU are not the only ones guilty of selling this tripe. Obviously they're on sale for the benefit of students doing 'meeja studies' hey? :-)
Poor Sean O'Brien seems to have been sidelined a bit in these comments, doesn't he? Sorry about that.

hesitant scribe said...

I agree too, and that was before I even read the article.