I came up with the idea for these study guides last summer and I’ve been working on them ever since. I’ve always had a rule that I don’t give grinds but – particularly since I started this site – I’ve been under some pressure to change my mind! Between corrections for three exam classes and my adorable but demanding 3yr old the only months I’d have the time (or energy) to give grinds is during the summer – when no-one wants them ;-0
So instead I came up with the idea of “teaching” people the poets on the course using mp3′s. Each study guide is about an hour long and is divided into seven tracks. The first is a short biography of the poet, then a discussion of six (or occasionally seven) of the prescribed poems by this poet and each guide is approximately an hour long. We recorded them in a studio so the sound quality is very good and they’re carefully edited to get rid of any ‘ah’ ‘um’ or occasional cursing when I made a mistake! All you need to do is download them, then stick them on your phone or iPod or whatever mp3 player you’re having yourself. And don’t forget your headphones
I think the beauty of them as an idea is that you can listen to them wherever and whenever you like – on a bus, in a car, when you’re out for a walk or a jog. They fall into the new category of “on-demand” media that’s so popular at the moment. You can pause, rewind, repeat if there’s something you don’t understand and listen to them as often as you like. Hopefully, learning the poetry will be a lot easier this way and at €2.49, a hell of a lot cheaper than €30 an hour grinds!
If you’d like to hear a sample of how the guides sound, here’s my analysis of Patrick Kavangh’s Shancoduff:
Available study guides:
- Elizabeth Bishop
- Adrienne Rich
- Sylvia Plath
- Derek Mahon
- Thomas Kinsella
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Eavan Boland (L.C. 2012)
- Patrick Kavanagh (L.C. 2012)
- Seamus Heaney (L.C. 2012)
Update: Some folks were having difficulties unzipping the downloaded files. Please check out the help page if you too are in need of assistance.