English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. McMillan

My name is Tim Sullivan and I am a 10th grader at Catholic Memorial High School in Boston Massachutes. I am currently taking a class, British Literature and our theme for the year is “going back to Beowulf.” Along our travels we have come across a unit on contemporary British writers and poets. I asked my teacher about you and if we would be covering any of your works and he replied to me that we wouldn’t be reading any of your excellent works. However I was wondering if you would be interested in coming to our classroom and share with us some of your works.

As I read your biography on a contemporary writers web site I came across that you hosted a show on BBC1’s network called "football focus." I am an avid sports fan and if you were to come and visit us than perhaps we could get a chance to discuss the similarities and differences in our countries' complicated sports worlds. I see that you founded a "Circus of Poets" which traveled to schools and festival’s etc.It would be amazing if they could come as well.

I did some research on some of your work and I really enjoyed how you ingeniously used Surrealism in tune with the natural absurdities of everyday life: 'I think maybe it's hunger pangs so I start to eat the pizza and the bug unpacks its suitcase and starts to hang its family portraits on my stomach wall' which was from your poem 'The Literary Life'. I also looked into your book Dad, the Donkey's on Fire and was blown away by it. The way you basically made all of the tragedy going on in the Bosnia 'At 10.00 a.m. mime show By the Shuffling Headscarves .Nothing much happens; some shuffling, weeping. Mimed weeping, that is.' Really a great piece of writing.

Mr. McMillan thank you for your time and I hope that you will consider coming to our classroom because I feel that my peers and I would all benefit form meeting you and exploring some of your masterpieces. Because there aren’t enough authors who can and are willing to go into deep thought and to really make people think like you have done in your works. I have talked to my teacher and we are free up until May so if there’s time in your schedule we would love for you to come and visit.

Sincerely, Tim Sullivan





















The rolling hills and fairytale like castles Wales seems almost like a land of a fairytale. The song “Maid of Llanwellyn” fits in with the fairytale like surroundings in which it was written. The song was written by Joanna Baillie, is supposed to be written somewhere between the late 1700’s and the early 1800’s, in Wales. The song is still popular in many homes in and around Wales and is used as a lullaby to children. It is also a popular folk song on that area. This song teaches us the very simplistic and laid-back culture and way of life of the people who live in the Whales countryside.

When the song was written by Joanna Baillie it was intended to speak about the beautiful lakes in Wales. However when her publisher George Thomson read it he asked her why was it about the beautiful lakes of Wales when there are no lakes in Wales she responded with “since lakes would not rise out of the earth for their convenience, and since she was unwilling to alter the line, they would just have to hope that their readers would be as ignorant as she had been when she wrote it.” Thus she wrote the song describing the one beautiful thing in the country of Wales that was not there. Probably as a fantasy and a hope that the lakes would be there.

This song has many functions first and foremost it is a cultural song for all ages. It really does a tremendous job of portraying the simplistic and laid back mood of the people of Whales. The way the lyrics flow so smoothly and the way it is such a smooth song to listen to for example “The farmer rides proudly to market and fair and the clerk at the ale house still claims the great chair but of all our proud fellows the proudest I’ll be while the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.” This just shows the simplicity of the Welch life. The song also has a rhyming pattern. It really sends a message that in a way relates to a sort of Christian belief that no matter how bad things are they will be better when God or the Maid of Llanwellyn is with me.

However second and probably most used function is as a song of hope and prayer. You can tell this function is just as clear as the strict cultural back round in the lyrics such as the first stanza of lines “I've no sheep on the mountains nor boat on the lake nor coin in my coffer to keep me awake nor corn in my garner, nor fruit on my tree yet the maid of Llanwellyn Smiles sweetly on me.” It really is a calm and comforting yet so hopeful that things will get better soon.

There are really no new covers or remakes of this song. I took just a poll survey of my family at Christmas just for kicks and asked if them if any of them had heard of the song and the results were… none of them had. However there is still one true spot in the world where we can still see and hear and feel the presence of the maid of Llanwellyn and that is in the heart of the Welsh countryside where it was originated and where it lives on today.

This song has had a major impact on the people of Wales. As it might be one of the first songs they ever heard. Also it sticks with the people and is sung throughout the country. Each verse of the song is ended with the same phrase and that is “Yet the maid of Llanwellyn Smiles sweetly on me.” And that is truly the one phrase that is echoed most throughout Wales. And through all the minds of the Welsh people.
































In early July of 2005 Muslim extremist group calling itself “Group of al Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe” was responsible for the terrorist attacks in London. These attacks were not like the ones in the U.S. these attacks were in the famous London tube and were similar to the bombings on the metro system in Madrid, Spain. The sole goal of this attack was to spread fear and anguish throughout the world and allowing the extremist group to have the world afraid of them which would give them power. This succeeded for a short while until the world settled down and prepared to pick up the pieces of this brutal attack.

Some of the bombers died in their effort to carry out the attacks however one group of four men was un successful in detonating the bombs and were captured and held after raids from London and Roman police. Ibrahim Muktar, Ramzi Mohammed, Hussain Osman whose lawyer Antonietta Sonnessa was quoted as saying "he had no intention to kill anyone", along with another suspect who was not named were all arrested in relation to the crime. Three of the men were residing in London and the other man was found in Rome. Not speaking for themselves, however, statements were released displaying what lead police to the arrest’s of these suspected bombers, even going so far as to release pictures of these men in the London tube on day of the attacks even within minutes of the attack. In a statement released by Scotland Yard who was originally investigating the case along with British secret service “we believe we have the remaining men responsible and are doing our very best on this case.”

There were many witness accounts to this widespread time of terror however, none more vivid than the account of Angelo Power a lawyer who on board one of the trains during the attack. Power mentions how there was a sudden bang towards the back of the carriage and then “people were physically ejected from their seats” after this Power said “smoke then spewed into the carriage” and people began screaming and then pandemioum occurred throughout the carriage. Now one might say that who in the world could possibly stand to gain from this aside from these terrorists in general and the answer aside from all of the global terrorist we have in our world today no-body would stand to gain from this.

Due to the extremely recent nature of this tragic crime and attack it really hasn’t occurred in any real solid forms of British literature however terrorism has occurred throughout British literature in a much broader sense. This is because bombings happen all the time in British literature. One example is the constant bombings in the book 1984 by George Orwell, also in such classics as Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels of James Bond. This is present in George Orwell’s classic Sci-Fi novel 1984 when the Big Brother system of government is bombing their own people. So this occurrence in a much wider sense has always been in British literature. Also in many British events such as the known terrorist Guy Fawkes whose crimes and background is the subject of the new movie “V for Vendetta” which is based in London. Which includes at the end where a terrorist blows up a large parliament building in you guessed it a London tube trolley.

This crime has hurt many people and has changed and destroyed the lives of enormous numbers of people. The way these attacks were carried out was and is simply barbaric and was aimed to spread fear and panic throughout the world giving those responsible more power than they could ever imagine. Also this attack is a symbol of the way things are in our world today for us.



























Our English language is the most unique and adaptive language in the world. However it isn’t always so great one could use the analogy that English is the school yard bully taking the lunch money being the languages of other cultures n blending it with its own. Since the dawn of the Beowulf the first ever piece of English literature our language has gone through phases and has uncovered new dialogs and new phrases. Some examples of this are how our language has gone from old English to middle English to modern or contemporary English. Now the word Irish stems from the root word Ireland which is a nation off the coast of England and the word Irish is used to describe commonly someone or something from Ireland. The word Irish has severely helped our world today in many ways one of which it is in sporting names such as the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and it is a term used to describe whole regions such as South Boston this is why the word Irish helps our language because it gives meaning and purpose to things that would have none.

The word “Irish” has a very common and popular background. Irish, what comes to mind? How do you feel about it? What does it mean to you? All questions were asked in a randomized survey of 10 Catholic Memorial students all of which reside in the Boston area there response was very simple and bland such as when John Clinton said “why of course it is the people of Ireland,” now when I asked John to use it in a sentence for me he said “the Irish people are simply the greatest in the world.” Now I must say that there was one common definition and that was “the people of Ireland.” However when asked what comes to mind 7 of the 10 students responded “St. Patrick’s Day.” Now of course there was the one student who I will not name who responded with “Guinness” a very popular Irish drink. But that’s beside the point. However when I asked a random collection of adults outside and inside of C.M. they responded for the most part on the question of what “Irish” means to them by saying a relative such as grandmother or father or cousin or in law and so on.

When I asked a foreign speaking man named Miguel Florres on my street how he felt about the word “Irish” his response was as Americanized as it gets “St. Patrick’s Day” now when I asked him to go a little further for me, he finally came up with these: “shamrocks (clovers), corn beef, lucky” and of course with them being from Boston “Southie.” These of course all being words that would remind him of the word Irish. Now this man and his wife are of Latin American decent and when I asked him if Irish or Ireland had ever come up or been a symbol for him like it is for us today and his response was that he heard briefly about Ireland with the IRA and such but other than that things like shamrocks and such were not involved in his culture like in ours.

Our English language has over 800,000 words this we all know, however there has only been one organization that has truly been able to organize, break-down, and take a true record of the English language, this is The Oxford English dictionary (OED). The OED has served as a track record for our language citing definitions, etymologies, roots, and original dates used. Now in the OED the word “Irish” is defined as “Of, belonging to, or native to Ireland.” It was first used in 1205 by Lay “ pa isen Irisce men pat Brutten wes an eornest.” The OED continues to use “Irish” as a root from Ireland and the constant definition of pertaining to the people of Ireland.

The word “Irish” also is very common in literature as well. It is particularly popular in Western Europe. One such example of “Irish” being popular in literature is when it was used in The Irish Rapparees by Charles Gavan Duffy, this was written in 1922. Another example of this word being used in literature is when a poor schmuk named Anonymous used it in his classic poem The Boyne Water, which was also written in 1922. Now these are just two examples of how this word is used in some classic works of literature. Thus proving again how the word “Irish” is helping our world, by adding detail and personality to regular objects.

Don’t judge too quickly however because “Irish” is believe it or not still popular in today’s world and this is shown when we find the word in many current articles. On e such article was published in the London Times, which involved the new ferry that is set to sail across to England. It goes on to detail a major feature that states that bikes will now be allowed on the ferry. Another article was published in yes the Irish Times, which detailed the recent, changes to highway roads and the current economic situation and infustructure.

When we take a step down from the OED we get to the minors and that is what we call the lay mans pocket dictionary. This dictionary’s give very vague definitions and really do not provide an accurate history or origin of the word. This is seen when it is defined as “Of or relating to Ireland or its people, language, or culture,” In The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Another example of this is when the On-line Medical Dictionary defines it as “of or pertaining to the people of Ireland.” One more definition is from the Princeton University online dictionary and it is defined as “of or relating to or characteristic of Ireland or its people [syn: Irish] n 1: people of Ireland or of Irish extraction [syn: Irish, Irish people, the Irish] 2: whiskey made in Ireland chiefly from barley [syn: Irish, Irish whiskey, Irish whisky] 3: the Celtic language of Ireland [syn: Irish, Irish Gaelic]. In all seriousness we can always count on Ivy League to give us what we need, right?

This word clearly is one of the upper echelon of words in our English language. If it is not the top word I can assure you that it is very upset and is working hard to be next on the waiting list. Before we are out of time I would like to restate that the word “Irish” most definitely does help the English language, it does this by giving detail and personality to regular Joe Schmo object in which have none.