English 10: Writing Portfolio


Catholic Memorial High School



Creative Writing  

Dear Mr. Blake Morrison,

My name is John LeBlanc. At the present time, I am a student at Catholic Memorial High School. In English, class we are studying contemporary British authors such as Seamus Heaney, P.G. Woodhouse, and Monty Python. As you know these authors are very good writers. Unfortunately, in our English class we have not been able to read or hear any of your poetry or books, even though we would like to. In this case, I would like to casually like to invite you to join our studies, so that we may be able to hear some of your work in our class room. I fear that if you do not come, we will not be able to hear or read any of your works

Although much of my class has not heard much of you work I have started to read your book, And When Did You Last See Your Father. I like this book because it is about your father. I choose this book because I don’t really see my father much. I also choose this book because it’s a story of you fathers life and death, which made me interested in reading it.

If you do come, which I hope you do. I am looking forward to seeing you and hearing some of your work. If you do come I wish that you would read some of your work to us and help us become better writers.


John LeBlanc































Taliesin’s Prophecy is a welsh folk song written in the 8th century by an anonymous author. It was about a man who some people thought was a mythological person but was actually a real bard in ancient Wales. It also sounds kind of like and urban legend but in fact Taliesin is a real man. Taliesin’s prophecy teaches us about the philosophical and cultural ways of ancient Wales in the 8th century.

Taliesin is the earliest poet of the Welsh language whose work has survived. His name is associated with the Book of Taliesin, a book of poems written down in the 10th century but which most scholars believed to date in large part from the 6th century. He is believed to have been the chief bard in the courts of at least three British kings of that era. In legend he became the status "Chief Bard of Britain." And was responsible for judging poetry competitions among all the royal bards of Britain. A few of the marks awarded for poems are still around in the margins of manuscripts. Taliesin's life was later the subject of 16th century mythological work by Elis Gruffydd, who may have relied on existing oral tradition about him.

Taliesin’s Prophecy alsotells us how the culture of 8th century Wales was. It tells us how all mens fortune was down from father to son for example “Driv'n from their fathers' realm, to make the rocks their dwelling place! I see from Uthyr's kingdom the sceptre pass away, And many a line of bards and chiefs, and princely men decay. But long as Arvon's Mountains shall lift their sovereign forms, And wear the crown to which is given dominion o'er the storms.” It also tells us how the people use to live in castles and work in court yards.

The song also tells us about the philosophy of 8th century Wales, which was to pretty much live to the end of time according to this quote from the song “And tells me that for ever shall live the lofty tongue, To which the harp of Mona's woods by Freedom's hand was strung.” The author of the song is always talking about living forever. Maybe the author has so much pride in Wales that he thinks that Wales will last till the end of time.

Tasiesin’s prophecy has tought me much about the philosophy and culture of 8th century Wales. I also learned that some peoples storys can sound so legendary that over time people stop believing there real and then people become mythical characters and don’t get recognised for the great things they do in there life time.


























In Birmingham, Alabama on March 8, 2006 three Birmingham college students where arrested and charged in connection with a string of Alabama church fires. The students Ben Mosley and Russell Debusk, 19, and Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20, are suspected of 9 of 10 Alabama church fires. They thought by burning churches they would have more authority then god.

After the church burnings Matthew Lee Cloyd told a witness that he and a friend “had done something stupid.” He not only did something stupid but he got himself into a lot of trouble. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said "It's a good day when we can tell the people of Alabama that we believe this is an isolated instance." Gov. Riley said this after the students where caught.

Although the men who had burned down the churches did not benefit from this crime the Baptist churches that burnt down benefited and did not benefit. The church benefited by getting a new church and there community became more tightly nit. It also didn’t benefit because it had to pay for a new church to be built. Other than the church nobody else benefited.

This same crime is found in George Orwell’s 1984.the quote says “it was bombed in -- oh, many years ago. It was a church at one time, st clement danes, its name was.” The quote clearly states that the church had been burned down or had bombed. This relates to the crime because they both have burnt down churches and destroying religious buildings.

The students are behind bars and the fires are under control. It looks like the Baptist churches weren’t the only one to benefit from this incident. It looks to me that the state of Alabama is now safer that the criminals have been caught. Now the students no that even burning churches will not get you more power than god.


























Language has changes the way we live almost everyday as the language grows daily and gets bigger as years go by. One language such as English grows daily and is almost like a melting pot of all different languages. One word for example is knowledge. It is a very commonly used word and is often used on the streets. The English language is a powerful language is a power full language, so power full that most countries when you go there traffic signs are in there language and also in English.

The Oxford English Dictionary has a wide variety of definitions for the word knowledge. The O.E.D. has up to 16 entries for the word knowledge. One of the 16 terms in the O.E.D. is the 5th term which is the fact of knowing a thing, which sounds like the base term that we use it as today. The sixteen definitions of knowledge in the O.E.D. are all different for example the14th definition is a branch of learning which is completely different from the base definition that most common people know. Although all of the definitions are different there are some that do sound similar in the way the definitions are worded. For example the 10th definition which is acquaintance with a branch of learning which sounds much similar the 14th definition.

Although the O.E.D. is the best source of information for the definitions of a word, there are other sources out there that are reliable. One of those sources is The Merriam-Webster Dictionary who definition of knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained threw experience or association. There are dictionaries with definitions that similar to each other, such as the Dictionary of the English Language which is familiarity, awareness or understanding gained threw experience or study. There are also definitions that don’t sound alike, like the definition that comes from the American Heritage Dictionary is the state or fact of knowing which is not like the first two at all.

The word knowledge is so important that it has had the privilege of being used by such great writers as William Shakespeare, Jane Austin, and Marlowe. Shakespeare uses the word knowledge in his famous play in act 7 of Henry VII, he says “If the.. seid knowledge had never be made.” Jane Austin’s famous book Pride and Prejudice also has line with the word knowledge that states “till the evening after the visit was paid she had no knowledge of it.” The book Massacre by Marlowe uses it like this “Of my knowledge, in one cloister keep five hundred fat Franciscan friars.”

To brighten my understanding of the word knowledge I decided to take my research to the streets to see how people were using it in there conversation. The first person I asked to use the word knowledge in a sentence was William Wilson. The sentence he gave me was “I use my knowledge to learn plays.” This was only one person’s sentence for the word I felt as if I need more ways to use it in speech so I asked Chuck Dowd and he gave me the sentence “He had a lot of knowledge.” I felt that I had a pretty good understanding of the word but out of pure curiosity I asked Julian Coloruso and he said “Scientists have a lot of knowledge.”

 Since I had seen what it meant on the streets I decided to see how it would be used in a more technological source so I decided to look for the name in the titles of articles of news papers and magazines. The first headline I found was from Golfworld magazine vol. 59 dated to 4/7/2006 the name of the article was Local Knowledge. One source wasn’t enough so I had to find two the next article I found was from the American History Review vol.111 and it was titled Destiling Knowledge.

I felt after I did the research that it would have been better if I found the word in the text of the article so I decided to look up the work knowledge in the text of different writings. The first article I found was from Baseball Digest vol.65 of Jun2006. The article had a sentence that said “Minnesota's Joe Mauer is a left-handed batter with good knowledge of the strike zone and has the potential to be the best overall catcher.” This was good but it never killed any one to find out a little more about something, so I kept looking. I came across an article from Psychology Today vol.39 of Jun2006 that said “It is said that the game does not require knowledge and math skills.”

When I finally thought I was done with my research it hit me what is the word knowledge like to foreign language speakers. A went out and found a 32 year old man named Juan Castillo who was a former citizen of Puerto Rico. I asked him if he had ever herd of the word knowledge before and he said he had. After I had confirmed he had herd the word before I asked him if it was hard to learn the word and he said the only hard part was learning the silent k in the front of the word. I also happened to run into a Russia man named Vladimir Korfikov and I asked him if he had herd of the word and he said that his English wasn’t very good and he didn’t no what I meant and he had never herd of it before. The last foreign language speaker I happened to come across was a man named Ricardo Benandez a 23 year old Mexican man. When I asked him about the word he said he had just herd about it the other day and he didn’t no much about it. I asked him how he herd the word and he said he herd it from his friend. I asked him if he had trouble learning it and he said the same thing as the man from Puerto Rico.

I have found out that the word knowledge has had an effect on people’s lives. This also proves that just one word can make a difference for any one. In saying that I have found that the English language has grown to be one of the most spoken languages in the world and it has an effect on every body’s life no matter where you live, where you’re from, or who you are. Language is important.