One weekday at a nearby mall, I bumped into good friends, the Matin-Ao couple with their two children. We exchange pleasantries and tidbits of family news for some while. Then this dear friend Honeylene asked me, ” Would you like to attend an Australian Literature class? I am in it. We have started only this week. You can still catch up if you join us next week. It is for free. It is sponsored by the Australian Catholic University in tandem with the Holy Family Church. It is part of their Clemente Mission etc, etc… .”
It did not take her long to convince me. I have had long desired to know more about Australian literary materials.
Monday, the 11th of March 2019 was the next day of class. So I made efforts to go.
I have to take a bus to reach the Holy Family School at Emerton. Honeylene and I agreed to meet at the churchyard. However, the bus I planned to take was running late that day. I arrived at the church area thirty minutes later. The class had started. Honeylene was no longer at the churchyard. I texted her about my arrival. Apparently, she had informed the administrative figure(s) about it. The nice, kind lady, Heather, met up with me at the church lobby. After a brief introduction we walked up to the classroom up the hill.
Heather offered me a seat and a bag with some classroom materials. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with the lecture – discussion of Prof. Michael Griffith. I liked the discussion of the salient points of the poem” Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest ” by Charles Harpur.
Looking around, I saw Honeylene with another compatriot, Vivian, from the Philippines. The sight of them was a boost to my self confidence. Not seeing them might have made the moment daunting. The students were diverse, age- and perhaps ethnicity -wise. That I still have to know in due time.
Professor Griffith conducts the class in a smooth, easy and friendly ways. Everyone gets encouraged to participate. Using the poem of the day as a platform for analysis, the written biases and prejudices and beliefs of the author were brought up to the surface for the students to scrutinise in the light of today’s values and outlook.
I’ve been away from the classroom for more than ten years now. That brief experience of two hours in Prof. Griffith’s class was an alleluia for me. Thanks God for my friend Honeylene for bringing me into the Clemente program. Thanks God for Heather for facilitating my entry into the class. Thanks be to God for Prof. M. Griffith for accepting me into his class. For all these my joy of writing verses and poems is resurrected.
English 102: Australian Literature: An Introduction
Clemente Mission Australia: Mt. Druitt –