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No. 33  June. 2018
 
   
   
   
   

 


一、編輯報告 EDITOR'S REPORT

本期範文賞析(SPOTLIGHT),由本中心教師黃翊之老師撰寫,分析的文體為詩句,挑選英國著名詩人Robert Herrick的作品予以賞析,提供讀者欣賞不同文體的撰寫策略,以及觀覽其遣詞用句之美。恰巧,本期教師專訪(STAR OF THE MONTH)的主角安馬克老師,將為讀者帶來其創作詩句的歷程與作品"The Cemetery at Fengang"(於2016年發表於香港線上期刊Cha: An Asian Literary Journal),供讀者一窺詩句底下的渾厚情感與文字藝術。最後,讀者園地(PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS)則收錄2018三分鐘英語學術簡報競賽的首獎得主,臺灣大學生化科學所馮聖富同學,所撰寫之得獎感言與備戰歷程分享,期盼能帶領讀者深入了解這場競賽所帶來的影響力與啟發。
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二、範文賞析 SPOTLIGHT
 

黃翊之老師 撰文 (Written by Adrian Huang, Adjunct Assistant Professor of AWEC)

"Bid me to love, and I will give a loving heart to thee."

—Robert Herrick

Background Information:

Not only being a 17th-century cleric but an English lyric poet, Robert Herrick was a poet of various modes, whose poetic pleasure is meant to tell his readers with a world of abundance and diversity. Born in Cheapside, London, England in 1591, Robert Herrick was the seventh child of Nicholas Herrick and Julia Stone. He attended Cambridge in 1613, at first studying at Saint John's College, but transferring later to Trinity Hall, and graduating in 1617 with a Bachelor of Arts. Since Herrick was a kid, he always had a strong passion for composition and theology. In 1620, he took his Master's. He also joined the group of young poets in London that gathered around the great poet and playwright Ben Jonson to professionally pursue his poetry writing. He was ordained in 1623 and became the vicar of Dean Prior in Devonshire six years later. As a follower of Ben Jonson, Herrick undertook Jonson’s mission of rejuvenating English poetry by adapting the English language to both ancient Greek and Latin forms. He enthrallingly blended the Greek style of lyrical poetry into English literature. Not only were his lyrics graceful, but they systematically adhered to the structure of classical form and successfully preserved the implications to classical literature as well as mythology.

His reputation rested upon his Hesperides, a collection of lyric poetry, as well as the much shorter Noble Numbers, spiritual works, published together in 1648. The title, Hesperides, is a conceit based on the legend of nymphs who guarded with a fierce serpent the golden apples of the goddess Hera. Hesperides approximately contained 1,400 poems, mostly very short, many of them being brief epigrams. He frequently applied interesting metaphors like female bodies, floral imagery, and lovemaking to not merely personify life including its adversities as well as prosperities but reflect philosophical nature. Throughout Hesperides, the flowers most commonly adopted are roses, daisies, and lilies. The roses usually come with the theme of love. They are personified as such or a lady that the speaker of the poem is in love with. Daisies, on the other hand, generally symbolize nature as a whole. Lilies always stand for the essence of natural things. These flowers carry the deeper meaning of life. All of these metaphors directly stem from Herrick's philosophy of hedonism, seeking pleasure as the ultimate life goal.

Writing Analysis:

Let's take "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" as an instance and illustrate the first line and second line in the beginning stanza. From the title, we can observe that the speaker is addressing this poem to a group of virgins. He is advising them that they ought to gather their rosebuds while they still are able because time is rapidly passing. He drives home this point with some images from nature, including flowers dying and the sun setting. He argues that one's youth is the best time in life and the years after that may be changed. The speaker finishes off the poem by inspiring these young virgins to take advantage of their time by getting married before losing any opportunities.

The first line and second line: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, /Old Time is still a-flying

  • The poem starts with the speaker firmly asking the virgins to gather their ("ye") rosebuds while they still are capable of ("while ye may"). "Old Time," after all, is swiftly passing ("a-flying").
  • The "a" in "a-flying" is just an older way of pronouncing one verb, not really connoting anything.
  • "Ye" is an old word for "your" and "you."
  • It is not crystal clear if the speaker is making a simile or metaphor for something deeper or referring to actual rosebuds. Readers, being intrigued by this expression, will have to wait and see.

In Hesperides, Herrick composed complimentary verses, elegies, epigrams, marriage quotes, love songs to imaginary mistresses, etc. His lyrics were remarkable for their technical mastery and the interplay of rhythm, imagery, and ideology. As a traditional as well as an innovative poet, Herrick magnificently featured a mix of classic and modern elements through the Bible and patristic literature, contemporary writers, folklore, as well as madrigals.

“To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”
by Robert Herrick

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,

Old Time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.

 

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,

The higher he's a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run,

And nearer he's to setting.

 

That age is best which is the first,

When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times still succeed the former.

 

Then be not coy, but use your time,

And while ye may, go marry;

For having lost but once your prime,

You may forever tarry.

三、教師專訪 STAR OF THE MONTH

受訪老師: 安馬克老師 (Interviewee:Marc Anthony, Project Instructor of AWEC)

Marc Anthony has been known for his excellent teaching on academic writing and oral presentation at National Taiwan University. Beyond that, his real passion consists in the writing of short stories and poems. Before coming to Taiwan for a teaching position, Marc lived in Paris for around four years; there he encountered his writing mentor by chance along with a certain degree of a friend's push. This encounter through words won Marc an invitation to join her writer' workshop in Paris, where writers from all over the world, amateur and professional alike, gathered to come up with new ideas for inspiration and composition. It is the long sojourn over there that inspires Marc about the importance of writing autonomy and mutual appreciation in place of constrained writing along with trenchant criticism

Although more adept at writing short stories, Marc found that poetry more suited his Taiwan experience. His kaleidoscopic experiences in Taiwan inspired many poems about the people and events around him. Here is one of them, which was published in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal:

The Cemetery at Fengang 

First you see the broken earth

Along the road discarded ash

Some broken urns and shattered glass

And from the sea the cosmic breath

Sends a chill down through your bones

Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang

 

Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang

This hopeless land of blackened earth

Burnt trees jut out like jaunty bones

The paths are strewn with stones and ash

The heated wind suspends your breath

The broken sun explodes in shattered glass

 

A silver strait, a sea of glass

Lies below beyond the grasp of Fengang

You sweep and clean the dirt and ash

From family tombs, this place on earth

Where no one speaks, bereft of breath

All that's left are names and bones

 

And in this place where sticks are bones

And water is just like glass

The wind supplants the need for breath

Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang.

Now bow and bless the God of Earth

Whose realm includes this dirt and ash

 

Who rules the flesh that's turned to ash.

You disinter and clean the bones

Sifting sorting through the earth

Take care, avoid the broken glass.

Welcome to the cemetery at Fengang

You rest for now and catch your breath.

 

A prayer is said in whispered breath

The offered incense burns to ash

You set back down the road to Fengang

You leave behind your father's bones

A Taiwan Beer, his favorite glass

Reminding him of life on earth

 

And though you leave the ash and earth and broken glass

You feel it in your bones, the sigh of cosmic breath

Calling you back to the cemetery at Fengang

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四、讀者園地 PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

馮聖富同學 撰文 (Written by Michael Feng, Winner of the 2018 Three-Minute Thesis Competition)

All the things that you dreamed of, the visions that you saw. Well, the time is drawing near now. It's yours to claim it all." These are lyrics from one of my favorite songs,"Son of Man," the soundtrack of the famous Disney movie Tarzan. I believe these lyrics truly portray the whole story of my participation in the 2018 Three-Minute Thesis Competition. The story began in April, 2017, prior to which I just made up my mind to enroll in the Master's program in the Institute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan University. Before deciding which lab to join, I bumped into a 3MT poster while strolling on campus."How could it be possible to convey one's research within just three minutes?" Out of curiosity, I started Internet-surfing for more information of the competition and was surprised by its international reputation since the first establishment in Australia back in 2008. After attending the information seminar, I was further amazed that it was the first time for the competition to be held among three top universities in Taiwan: NTU, NTNU, and NTUST. Even now I can clearly remember the scene I saw sitting in the last row of NTU Liberal Education Classroom Building R101 for the Final on 25 May, 2017. It was a huge classroom which can accommodate up to 400 people, but at that night, even the aisles in-between were fully occupied. Even though it was difficult for me at that moment to imagine how much pressure one might shoulder for presenting in front of such a huge crowd, hearing loud cheers and applause from all of the audience already dazed me. However, each time a finalist came onto the stage, suddenly the whole room fell into complete silence, with only the voice coming out from the mouth of the finalist. Time was not the only challenge. Since 3MT welcomes graduate students from all departments and not all of the audience have a science background, candidates need to translate their academic jargon into colloquial language. "It will definitely be fantastic if I could make my parents and my sister (whose major is modern dance) understand what I'm doing in the lab." Fascinated by my own thoughts, I told myself, "Next year I will be on the stage."

One year may seem long for most people, but to me it flied like an arrow. A month after the Final, I was lucky to join a lab which I like and started my thesis soon. During the following period I kept thinking how to make my thesis understandable to others, including those people from a different discipline or even totally out of academy. I tried to reach friends or anyone who was willing to listen almost everywhere, such as in the aisles of my building, on campus, or in a line waiting for the shuttle bus between NTU and Sinica. I shared my thoughts about my research either in Mandarin or in English. A week ahead of the Final, I even held a Mock Presentation at my institute and I invited all friends and professors to help with my rehearsal. Eventually, I am glad that I reached my goal set one year ago and fortunately received a prize that I had never ever thought of. In the end, I want to give thousands of thanks to those friends and professors who kindly gave me advice and help me revise my presentation drafts throughout the process. More importantly, I also want to thank every teacher and every staff in the Academic Writing Education Center of NTU. Without any of you, we, 12 finalists and over 150 applicants and all the audience, could not have such an enjoyable journey and a special night on 11 May, 2018! It is not an easy task to hold this kind of huge competition, especially when it includes students from three universities, but I hope we can have another one again next year and every year that follows. I already encourage one of my friends, who will enroll in our institute this September, to attend this competition next year, and this time I hope to be seated in the VIP area with a Golden Ticket! For those who never attend this competition before but have a keen heart to share your own thoughts, please come and join us next year! Just like the last few words written in the lyrics of "Son of Man," come here and present your own work "for all to see."

Michael Feng

 

Photo Credit: Dr. Lara Chen

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