The MLS Refectory Sesssions Continue

CH27-monk-monastery-refectory-lecternI’ve just got confirmation of room bookings for the next run of MLS Refectory sessions that will take us to mid-year.  Same deal: Wednesdays 1-2, you bring $10, I bring some samples of a poet’s work, and we read and talk about them.  The schedule’s a bit of a patchwork nightmare this time, though, with no two consecutive weeks in the same room, so you’ll need to attend to the schedule carefully.  Link to the PDF below, which comprises the schedule of weekly rooms and poets.

MLS Refectory from 20 April 2016

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A Short Break

imagesAs I enter the home stretch of preparing the final drafts of my Beowulf-book for publication,  I will need to take a short break from regular teaching to give the job my full attention.  That means, once my current run of courses ends, you can expect to see more scheduled courses (including twelve-week courses on The Canterbury Tales, the Middle English Mystery Plays, and some of the classics units we’ve discussed) from August.  I’ll be booking the rooms for those shortly, so you can expect to hear about them soon.  I will keep the MLS Refectory series going on Wednesdays as usual.

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The Post-Modern Plight of the Modern University

I wrote this a while ago, and Arena Magazine published it last year, while I was in hospital recovering from my surgery. A pointless squawk, on the one hand, given how things continue to deteriorate in the corporatised university, but it was fun to write and good to get off my chest.


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Two New Courses Starting

Next week will see the start of two six-week courses:

The Visionary Imaginationborges-desmazieres4

Think of all the ways we extend our sense of sight along many different dimensions of experience and consciousness.  ‘Oh, I see!’ we might laugh on getting a joke.  But we can also ‘see the light’ and have ‘visions’ in many different states and circumstances.  What do we mean by the ‘visionary’?  How have different cultures and times understood and articulated the productions of minds whose reach extends around the normal corners and edges of time and space?  In this course we’ll go exploring, through a selection of texts from biblical antiquity up to the present day.  Come as you are!  I’ll be providing all the texts in a reader.

6 two-hour sessions, course fee $130

Wednesdays 11-1, beginning 16 March

Ross House second floor rm. 2.1


The Poetry of Wallace StevensWallace_Stevens

One of the most imposing figures of mid-twentieth-century American poetry, Stevens orchestrated in his poems a music of the mind and of the imagination both intensely private and large enough to encompass the entire world.  A meticulous artist and an irrepressible philosopher and jester.  We will read and discuss a small selection of Stevens’ poems that I will provide in a reader.

6 two-hour sessions, course fee $130

FrIdays 1-3, beginning 18 March

Ross House first floor rm. 1.1

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No MLS Refectory Next Week

Because of a schedule fire drill in Ross House, I’ve decided to cancel next week’s (10 February) Refectory session. We’ll resume as scheduled on 17 February.

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A Little Weirdness for the New Year: Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

The Czech author Franz Kafka has become a byword for much that is uncomfortable and obscure in literary modernism.  His name is now a well-worn adjective used to describe works with a similar feel to Kafka’s excursions into the hinterlands of the modern psyche.  Few, however,  can match  Kafka’s clear, ringing prose (even in translation) and visionary intensity.  You won’t always know where you are, but the views are enthralling.

In six two-hour sessions, we will be reading and discussing a number of Kafka’s shorter stories and parables, which I will provide in a course reader.

Fridays, 5 February-11 March, 1-3pm, in Ross House first-floor room 1.3

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And So It Begins: The MLS Refectory 2016


What a real refectory looked like. I’m working on my tonsure . . .

The MLS Refectory series begins next week (27 January), at its usual day and hour, Wednesdays 1-2pm, though in the slightly more spacious surroundings of first-floor room 1.1 in Ross House.  Here’s a PDF of the menu for the first twelve weeks:  The MLS Refectory First Series 2016

For anyone who’s not been before, this is a casual lunch-hour discussion group.  You bring $10, and I bring a page of poetry (from modern authors this time around, though we’ve taken in older works previously and will do so again).  All welcome, no experience necessary.

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And They’re Off! First Confirmed Courses for 2016

Hi, everyone, and a very happy new year to you all.  Here is a file containing the confirmed bookings for January-May of 2014.

Confirmed Timetable for 2016 Courses

There have been some changes. Ross house could not accommodate my long-course requests for The Canterbury Tales and The English Mystery Plays, so they’re going to have to wait for winter. But they will happen.

Beyond the short courses I’ve already described in earlier posts (see below) on Kafka and Wallace Stevens, plus the MLS Refectory and part four of the Old English course, I’ve added a six-week course on the Visionary Imagination. It will comprise stories and poetry from mainly modern (i.e. post-18th-century) authors and will explore how different authors have used language to peer over the horizons of everyday experience. I might scan a couple of my sci-fi faves into the mix–there’s no telling. I’ve taught similar courses before at Melbourne and ACU, where they went down a treat.

Since I’m producing readers for most of these courses, it would help if you could let me know what you’re interested in a few weeks before the course is due to begin. Old English and Refectory regulars needn’t bother, though it would always be nice to hear from you!.

I cannot wait to get started, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all again.


p.s. I’ve done all I can with Ross House to finalise these arrangements, but there might be a minor tweak to schedules in one week or another. I’ll post any changes, though I’m not expecting any at this stage.

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My Beowulf Book Proceedeth Apace

lighthouse_adaptive-radius-bre2I’m no graphic artist, but I’ve been having fun messing about with title-page formats for my first-draft-complete Beowulf book.  And, finally, a title that does the job for me.  Link to PDF mockup below.

Title Page mk IV

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First 2016 Courses Booked

I’m really pleased to announce it’s all happening!  I’ve submitted room-booking requests for the courses listed in the schedule available via the link below.  I’ve made a few adjustments to the timings.  My recommendations for texts you’ll want to acquire for either The Canterbury Tales or The Middle English Mystery Plays are unchanged from the previous post.  Cheers!  And see you in 2016.

p.s. There’s no need as yet to book places or pay any fees.  Best to wait till closer to the start-date.

Proposed 2016 courses

Recommended Texts Canterbury Tales and Mystery Plays


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