Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

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Game of Groans

posted: 6.13.13 by Jack Solomon

[Editor’s Note: This blog post discusses plot details from the recent “Game of Thrones” episode “The Rains of Castamere.”]

HBO’s highly successful adaptation of the George RR Martin “A Song of Fire and Ice” novels might have been titled “Middle Earth Meets the War of the Roses Meets the Sopranos Meets Quentin Tarantino.”  But I’ll admit that “Game of Thrones” was a much handier choice.

Up till now I’ve had nothing to say about the series beyond the fact that it is another signifier of a continuing medieval revival that began with the enthusiastic embrace of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by the baby boom generation back in the 1960s, and which has been continued not only by the successful filming of those works in the new millennium but by a whole series of “sword and sorcery” entertainments in popular literature, cinema, and video games (indeed, long before there was “World of Warcraft” there was “Dungeons and Dragons,” while Harry Potter himself is a descendant of Tolkien’s reworking of the wizard tradition).  But with the recent broadcasting of “The Rains of Castamere” episode of “Game of Thrones,” an interesting difference has appeared within this system of medieval-themed phenomena, and as I cannot say often enough, it is the differences within a semiotic system that points to cultural significance. [read more]

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Poetry Speaks! Now Online

posted: 12.14.09 by archived

Reading poetry aloud in the classroom is a great idea. Sometimes, however, you ask for volunteers to read and get…total silence. Sometimes even students who are willing to read don’t do the poem justice. Sometimes you have bronchitis. Luckily, is here to help., officially launched November 4, 2009, aims to “create a space where poetry can be discovered and rediscovered.” The brains behind it, Dominique Raccah,  is the founder of Sourcebooks, Inc. and the publisher of the New York Times bestseller Poetry Speaks, (the book), which included three audio CDs of poets reading their work. From the success of that book, she knew she had the fan-base to support the Web site. Online, she’s able to provide many more audio and video resources that foster interest in reading, writing, and listening to poetry.

The site, in the works since 2005, is always adding new features and content. It’s also been developing alliances in the poetry and performance work. A few publishers (Naxos AudioBooks, Tupelo Press, Marick Press) have partnered with the site, and its advisory board includes Anne Halsey from the Poetry Foundation, Bruce George, co-founder of Def Poetry Jam (HBO), and Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States.

The site has three main sections: PS Voices, which has text and audio for poems by well-known poets (some read by the poets themselves); SpokenWord, devoted to slam poetry; and YourMic, which allows user-poets to upload and share audio and video files of themselves reading their own works. Right now, the site features a short poetry film called “The Captain,” which features the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, read by Allison Janney (one of my favorites!). You can watch the film and read the poem here.

The site also has a PoetryMatters blog and a Poetry Store.

Yes, a poetry store. Of course, there are plenty of places online to post text, audio, and video files of poetry., however, charges for poems: You can buy the text, the audio, the video, or a combination package. And your payment helps to directly support the poet. The set-up is similar to iTunes: a 30-second professional audio recording is free, but the whole poem in MP3 format is 99 cents. (A recording of “The Raven” is nine minutes long; “Ozymandias” is only one minute, forty seconds; both cost 99 cents.) If paying for poetry makes you balk, think of it as breaking the tired-out tradition of the penniless poet.

Do you like to use recordings of poetry in your classes, or do you prefer live readings? Would you consider asking your students to post their own poetry on a site like this?  What other resources could a site like provide?

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Categories: Creative Writing, Joelle Hann (moderator), Literature, Popular Culture
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Use Newsreel Videos for Background and Analysis

posted: 7.29.09 by Traci Gardner

If you’re looking for historical videos to use in the classroom, HBO Archives has a great new resource available for you — all you’ll need to do is create a free login. The ASCD community blog explains:

The March of Time newsreel series, produced from 1935 to 1967 by Time Inc., is now online in its entirely, courtesy of the HBO Archives. All films are free, but registration is required. They were first shown in movie theaters and on television and were more long-form than typical Hollywood-produced newsreels.

The newsreels, primarily dating from the 1930s, include historical events, cultural happenings, and biographical profiles. Each one holds possibilities for the classroom. Here are some examples and suggestions for their use:

There are dozens of videos on the site, and no matter which newsreel you choose, you’ll find a snapshot of life in America or around the world. It’s a handy collection with limitless possibilities for composition and rhetoric teachers.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Literature, Popular Culture, Teaching Advice, Teaching with Technology, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
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