Rebecca Bullard

Rebecca Bullard

I'm an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Reading in the UK. I'm looking forward to exploring poetry with you.

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  • Welcome, everyone! It's great to see so many people from different walks of life and different parts of the world coming together to think about poetry. I'm really looking forward to working with you over the next couple of weeks.

  • Hello everyone - it's Rebecca here, your lead educator for the course. It's great to see lots of you joining our facilitated run. I'll be here for the next two weeks with mentors Sarah and Alannah. We're looking forward to exploring some poetry with you this week and, next week, to write some new poetry of our own. Thanks for contributing all your lovely...

  • So many great questions here, Angela. I love the fact that you respond to and question the minutest details of this poem.

  • Oh, what an interesting connection that is Susanne! It's amazing how one poem can call to mind snippets of other texts, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • I love the idea of being on 'team speaker'! Thanks for sharing the things you wonder about in this poem. Wondering is an underrated activity, I think.

  • What a wonderful response, Sylvia. I love the way you consider the emotional impact of the different patterns you identify.

  • Yes -- I think that does sometimes happen, Matt. Sometimes poems help us to see things in and about ourselves that we hadn't previously noticed or understood.

  • It's wonderful to read these really imaginative responses to three very different poems. It can be quite hard to visualise a poem as a room -- it takes quite a leap of imagination, and some people find it easier than others. It might feel like a strange way to think about poetry at first, so please don't worry if you're finding it a bit tricky. Have a go --...

  • I completely agree. There's a kind of alchemy in the relationship between words and music.

  • These are wonderful memories, Lesley. Sounds as though your parents were proud of your poetry even if you were embarrassed! I was also really lucky to have wonderful English teachers all the way through school.

  • Wonderful! I'll be interested to hear whether it works for you, Teresa.

  • Hi Alannah -- and hello to everyone joining the course today! I'm so looking forward to journeying into poetry with you all over the next few weeks.

    I think that poetry creates different associations for us depending on all sorts of factors -- the season we're in, the things that are going on in our lives, how we're feeling... I think that for me, during...

  • You have all shown amazing sensitivity, courage and commitment in your responses here. It can be quite hard to think about poetry in a new way -- for instance, by imagining a poem as a room. Sometimes we can feel quite vulnerable when we do it. Thank you so much for your willingness to experiment in this way! I am so enjoying reading all of your responses.

  • I'm so enjoying reading your descriptions of rooms that are important to you. They are hugely evocative. I'm struck by how many of the senses are engaged in rooms that are important to us: sight, hearing, smell, and touch all figure in what you've written as a group so far.

  • There are some wonderful, thoughtful responses to the three poems here. Why not find someone else who has engaged with the same poem as you and compare their response to your own? It's always fascinating when the same poem elicits different responses in different readers.

  • Hello, Alannah and hello everyone. It's great to see so many people here on the course already. We're really looking forward to working with you on this course over the next two weeks. I'm going to suggest three more words that are important for me when I think about poetry: vision, song, and joy!

  • Thank you, everyone, for taking part in this adventure in poetry! It's been a real privilege to follow your comments and to read your ideas and your poems. I'm honoured that you've chosen to spend your time with me, Alannah, Yinka and everyone who produced recordings for the course over the past few weeks. I hope that it inspires you to go on writing and...

  • Thanks for this lovely comment, Sue. The films for this course were made by a company called MotionBlurr Studios, which was set up (quite a while ago now) by one of my former students. It's always a pleasure to see what our students go on to do in their careers after university, and an even greater pleasure to get to work with them both before and after they...

  • Wow! Lots of these posts read like one-line poems, complete in themselves -- just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing them.

  • Thank you *so much* for your generosity in giving and receiving feedback. It's a real act of kindness and grace to spend time with someone else's work. We can learn so much from one another, I think.

  • Today, I'm looking out at the clover that peeps through the grass in my garden. Some people might think it needs mowing, but not the bees!

    I'm really enjoying reading about the things you're looking at and imagining where in the world you might be.

  • Has anyone tried playing this game over a video call? It could be a good way to connect with friends and family while we're socially distanced.

  • There's a great deal of very delicious-sounding creativity on this thread! I wonder -- what effect has the recent lockdown had on people's creativity? Maybe you've found it hard to focus on things you usually enjoy, or maybe you've discovered (or re-discovered) new kinds of creativity? I'd be interested to hear your experiences.

  • It's fantastic to see so many of you noticing different patterns in the poem. It really brings home to me the benefits of this online format, where we can read one another's comments and learn from each other.

  • @SueSpencer Hi Sue -- that's a great question. A caesura is a stop or pause in the middle of a line of poetry. You can read more about it here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms?letter=C. (I really like this poetry glossary from the Poetry Foundation website; hope you find it useful too.)

  • It's really interesting to put David's and Joanne's observations together here: if the poet is using soft sounds about a harsh landscape, that's a kind of tension that it might be exciting to notice and think about as we respond to the poem.

  • I love Simon Armitage's work and this article. Thanks for sharing the link, @NathanFirby.

  • There are lots of different ways to respond to the exercise, Maggie, so please don't worry. Some people really like to visualise a room like you have here; others keep the idea of the room as more of a metaphorical guide. Both are great and definitely neither of them is a 'wrong' kind of response. Thanks for your contribution!

  • Wow! I love touring through these rooms. It feels like passing through the collective memory of this group of learners. Your descriptions capture so vividly the experience of being in these different places, and the physical and emotional feelings they gave you. Thank you for these brilliant contributions.

  • Yes - I love it when that happens, @zaraE. It's interesting that Leigh Hardy says something similar in his comment, below.

  • Welcome, everyone! It's very exciting to see people joining this course from all over the world. I'm really looking forward to spending time with you over the next two weeks.

  • Personal is great, Sue. Thanks for these lovely words. Enjoy the course!

  • An accomplishment indeed! Congratulations, Sarah, and thanks for your lovely comment.

  • Diolch, Stanley -- mae'n anhygoel! / Thanks, Stanley -- that's amazing! It's wonderful that so many people are enjoying this course. I'm delighted to see the range of responses to it.

  • Thank you so much, everyone, for your contributions to this course. I'm sorry that I can't respond to each of your comments individually but I have read them all. I am deeply grateful to you for spending time with me, Alannah and Yinka over the last two weeks. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to journey into poetry with you. I've loved reading your poems...

  • What a wonderful poetic response to the course, Saskia! Thank you so much.

  • That's really helpful feedback, David -- thanks so much.

  • Thank you, Emil - and thanks to your teacher too!

  • Thank you, Wyn, for these lovely comments and for participating in this course.

  • @JacquelineF I'm so pleased that this course has inspired you and @MarjoleinGurses to go on to sign up for more!

  • Thanks for all your reviews, Natalie. I hope you receive some more feedback on your poem soon.

  • I'm really delighted that so many of you are enjoying receiving and offering feedback. Many thanks for engaging with one another in such a supportive way!