The Burying Party: the definitive Wilfred Owen film

I’m sitting by myself in the Wetherspoons at Liverpool Lime Street station, in the pre-weekend hubbub of a humid Friday afternoon. There’s a poetry book on the table in front of me, a film script on my phone, and I’m waiting for a man I’ve never met to arrive on the London train. How did this happen? Continue reading


On teaching Shakespeare

An interesting take on how to help young people get the most out of Shakespeare, from a fellow blogger and teacher of English Literature:


51QrP0QTnTL._AC_US160_A follower’s question about the teaching of Shakespeare has had me reflecting on my experiences in the classroom.

I was wary of teaching Shakespeare too early on in secondary school. I know there are people who think ‘the younger the better’, but the other side of that idea is dealing with the kind of questions students are likely to ask; I have never been one to censor anything in the classroom, and so waiting until students were – hopefully – of a suitable mature age to be given honest and truthful answers to their questions, felt more sensible to me. Inevitably questions about sex would arise: Shakespeare is full of allusions, references, and, more than anything, word-play. Explaining Romeo and Juliet even to Y9 students demanded a certain level of care… so my personal preference was to wait until Y9.

There is the idea of beginning earlier with something more…

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I took an 11YO to see Macbeth. Does that make me a bad parent?


new copy of Macbeth, purchased to read in advance of the play. The copy I had at school didn’t have a movie star on the front cover.

11YO has been studying Macbeth in high school this term, and as there was a production of it at our local Leeds Arts Centre recently, I thought I’d give her the opportunity to experience it as it was intended – as a piece of live theatre.  (She’s also seen this episode of Blackadder and wanted to know what it was all about!) Continue reading