The Prize-winning Poem

The Prize-winning Poem

It will be typed, of course, and not all in capitals: it will use upper

and lower case

in the normal way; and where a space is usual it will have a space.

It will probably be on white paper, or possibly blue, but almost

certainly not pink.

It will not be decorated with ornamental scroll-work in coloured ink,

nor will a photograph of the poet be glued above his or her name,

and still less a snap of the poet’s children frolicking in a jolly game.

The poem will not be about feeling lonely and being fifteen

and unless the occasion of the competition is a royal jubilee it will

not be about the queen.

It will not be the first poem the author has written in his life

and will probably not be about the death of his daughter, son or wife

because although to write such elegies fulfils a therapeutic need

in large numbers they are deeply depressing for the judges to read.

The title will not be ‘Thoughts’ or ‘Life’ or ‘I Wonder Why’

or ‘The Bunny-rabbit’s Birthday Party’ or ‘In Days of Long Gone By’.

‘Tis and ‘twas, o’er and e’er, and such poetical contractions will not be

found

in the chosen poem. Similarly cliche´s will not abound:

dawn will not herald another bright new day, nor dew sparkle like

diamonds in a dell,

nor trees their arms upstretch. Also the poet will be able to spell.

Large meaningless concepts will not be viewed with favour: myriad is

out;

infinity is becoming suspect; aeons and galaxies are in some doubt.

Archaisms and inversions will not occur; nymphs will not their fate

bemoan.

Apart from this there will be no restrictions upon the style or tone.

What is required is simply the masterpiece we’d all write if we could.

There is only one prescription for it: it’s got to be good.

 

Fleur Adcock

 

Adcock, Fleur (1983) Selected Poems, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Travel journal

An Oxford education

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A captured and stolen history can be found in Oxford. Its museums, galleries and universities; pool, collate, and collect culture. Its own British Empire heritage and that of its once discovered or conquered limits. All boxed and viewed in glass. It holds it up showing it off and in its own way Oxford holds itself up in high regard.

Is it always beauty and class?

I hold education in high regard. I am in awe of well cultured and educated people. I want to be educated too. Even if I am only from a council estate in middle England.

We took the opportunity to be on a coach trip to Oxford and see the free wealth of culture. I enjoyed being part of the art class again, only this time not as their art technician but as a student instead.

Architecture in historical abundance is the result of a stone built medieval town in England; small enough to explore on foot. History and education side-by-side in my favourite place, Radcliffe Square. After coffee and delicious homemade cakes in the Vaults & Garden, in the crypt of the University Church we had recovered from the long coach trip. We were now sketching people busy in the open market along the street.

The distance travelled in traffic jams I dislike a great deal. Oxford was built long before the combustion engine was invented. So motor vehicle access is restricted and parking expensive. Walk or cycle instead is the preferred mode of transportation for most.

My academic and creative brain went wild in an atmosphere cram packed with stories and mysteries from the ages gone by. I was so tired when I got back to the coach.

The light of the Ashmolean museum full to the brim with world Art. It made my eyes water they could not physically stare any longer over the patterns and shaped culture and beauty. The natural history museum’s open hall and stone-flagged floors contradicted to the dark and depths of Pitt Rivers snug atmosphere comparable to a Cotswold farmhouse. This one building brought me to the floor in stunned admiration. I had wondered around learning about evolution, and why animals have developed the way they have according to their environments (I felt like a boffin in the making) when I walked haphazardly through a carved archway. This was like having been drinking crisp bitter tea, then shoving a tray of dark chocolate sweets into one’s mouth. Pitt Rivers museum is a part of the natural history building yet is very different. A deep dark jungle of discovery that had belonged to one very enthusiastic collector. Many items are displayed together at once. There is no sorting except for the helpful staff “pots and pans there, boats over here, jewellery, swords, shields, are on the next floor and the Gods are to the left of the big totem pole Madame”- my case in point.

So I don’t know which kind class you may be. However, I’m sure in Oxford you will find beauty.

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Oxford: The Ashmolean Museum

The present Ashmolean was created in 1908 by combining two ancient Oxford institutions: the University Art Collection and the original Ashmolean Museum.

The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world’s largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.

The Ashmolean is also a teaching and research department of the University of Oxford, providing research and publications of the highest standard in the academic fields of art history, archaeology and history.

Refurbished in 2009, the way that the collections are displayed in the new galleries & enjoyed by the public became the driving force behind the transformation. The galleries are interlinked by one big theme, Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time. This encourages visitors to make new connections between the collections of the Ashmolean. Adding 39 new galleries to the original 1845 Cockerell Building, the Ashmolean’s new wing was designed by award-winning architect Rick Mather.

The Art class and I needed more than the few hours we had to full apriciate the vast collections. However we had a brilliant adventure exploring art history from around the world.

Return To Oxford

So we went back to oxford this time we were on the hunt for botanical illustration and its different usages in design and functions. (aka. the butterfly hunt)

first stop was my favorite emporium of oddities and history The Pitt Rivers Museum.

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Butterflies and tropical flowers were a favorite decoration in Asian countries like China and Japan. even on an Indonesian short-sword from the 18th century.

Next stop was the same building, but this time it was all about the Natural History collection in Oxford. This is the right place to learn about Butterflies:

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Butterflies are flying insects with two pairs of scaly wings and two segmented, clubbed antennae. Like all insects, they have a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), 3 pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and a segmented exoskeleton.

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We learned about how the wings are constructed, how the camouflage of a butterfly works and about the was some species disguise themselves as other less tasty specimens to survive.

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And what’s natural history with a live bee hive to look at and watch…. 🙂

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we also found examples of the useage of botanical illustration. Including a very old Asian parchment depicting a bird winged butterfly from southeast Asia…. ooo!

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Pitt Rivers Museum

Tom, Jemima and Sera.

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“There was so much to see, too much! I wished we had even more time”

“What an awesome collection and a great way to experience history”

“The natural history and science stuff was so clear and so much fun. Well worth the trip”

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The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is a really unique museum. It has archaeological and natural history all combined together in one place. Unlike other museums items are put together by what they are not where they are from or in chronological display. This is great if you’re looking to compare how different countries tackle the same problem.

The museum was founded in 1884 by Lt-General Augustus Pitt Rivers, who donated his collection to the University of Oxford with the condition that a permanent lecturer in anthropology must be appointed. The museum staff are still involved in teaching Archaeology and Anthropology at the University to this day.

The original donation consisted of approximately 22,000 items; this has now grown to 500,000 items, many of which have been donated by travellers, scholars and missionaries.

Items like the shrunken heads are popular with all the tourists. The group of primary school children in front of me during the tour gasped and screamed.