More voices! More words! The Southbank International School in London is hosting a community learning Salon: an exclusive opportunity for members of this lively educational community to join together in the exploration of ideas.
Program description: The Community Learning Salon offers members of the Southbank community (parents, students in G9-12, staff, faculty, administrators…) an opportunity for a playful exchange of ideas beyond the classroom. In our weekly hour-long after-school meetings, we will use a short work of literature to consider the human experience and sharpen our critical learning skills through the discussion. The nature of the Salon conversation allows for a bridge across age and life experience to find shared ground in discovery and knowledge. The study is facilitated by Toby Brothers, a dynamic literature instructor with experience conducting seminars for adults and students in English and world literature, poetry and creative writing in London, Paris and San Francisco. For history and more details about the Salon, see http://www.litsalon.co.uk/
“To think that we have at our disposal the biggest thing in the universe and that it is language. What one can do with language is infinite.” Helene Cixous, French Philosopher
Week One Introduction, poem study: Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Sestina’ Bishop uses a demanding form to explore the uncontrollable nature of grief; this sharp and tender poem is a good starting place for a close consideration of language. No pre-reading is necessary for the first meeting.
Week Two: September 29th Short Story: ‘The Liar’ by Tobias Wolff offers a protagonist caught in his own world, using language to separate and shield himself from those he loves- and fears. Email Toby for copies of the story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Week Three October 6th Short Story: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper‘ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Often disappears into the category of a feminist work, this subversive first person narration gives a glimpse to the dangers of an artistic temperament smothered by care- loving, oppressive care. I will provide readers with notes on the world of late 19th ct. women, particularly in regards to medically care and psychiatric treatment. This is a haunting and riveting read.
Week Four Poetry study: Emily Dickinson: poetess of playful subversion… ‘I Started Early, Took My Dog’ and ‘Tell all the Truth But tell it slant’ Dickinson is considered one of the great American poets but many find her work elusive. We will use these two sample works to discover howDickinson uses language to enter profound questions about meaning, purpose and belief in short, tightly structured bursts of sparkling language.
Week Five ‘Sonny’s Blues‘ by James Baldwin
Set in racially-divided Harlem in the 1950s, Baldwin’s long short story tells of a lost brother, mean streets, inheritance, nobility and cowardice, and ultimately of the transcendence available in art. This piece- with its riffs, swoops and echoes comes as close as almost any text I have read to the experience of musicality in writing.
The remaining five sessions will be determined by participant interest. Choices include a longer work (Rushdie, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Faulkner are just a few of the possibilities) or continued consideration of short stories and poetry with an opportunity for creative writing in response to the ideas generated by the Community Learning Salon.
DETAILS Thursdays 3:45 to 4:45 pm, starting 15 September…Study continues for 10 weeks (recommended participation: minimum 6 sessions). Free of charge to members of the Southbank Community.