September 4th, 2008

Week 6 Entry + My Best Entry from Weeks 1- 6

This week Nikki divided us into groups to look at different poems of twentieth century Australia. Our group got to look at Michael Dransfields’ “Pas de Deux for Lovers” p 270. The poem, while short and sweet, was full of the complexity of emotions that surely reside within the hearts of us all. It has two distinct sections. The first section says things like “morning ought not to be complex” and “so simple.” It gives the reader an impression of an easygoing type of person not bent on the constraints of a relationship nor the commitments that it entails. The second section is almost a polar opposite of this view of thinking. The poems progression into the second section is signified by the single word “yet”. This word is place singularly on its own line suggesting a pause, a moment of thought whereby the character obviously changes his mind realizing that perhaps things aren’t so simple. The poem is about a relationship. Perhaps this poem is about a one night stand and the man thinks about how easy it would be to slip away while the girl still sleeps. The second section of the poem has the man look upon the girl, noticing the gold of her hair. It is at this point where things become more complex and he asks himself “how then shall I leave?” Somebody in the class suggested that perhaps this poem is not about a one night stand at all, but perhaps about a couple who have been in a long relationship. He wants to leave her but he stays because he is drawn to the comforts of her ongoing beauty, and also it would be too hard for him to break her hear and start fresh with a new woman. The language of the poem has a simple tone that talks of love in a matter-of-fact-way and yet has glimpses of the transcendent, almost a sense of a deeper, less superficial view of what love can truly mean and the effect it can have over a person. I enjoyed this poem very much. It had secret messages hidden within it such as the meaning behind the phrase “Day is so deep already with involvement”. This is a beautiful notion suggesting that just to wake up next to someone signifies a deep kind of connection and involvement that completes that soul and prolongs the heart.

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Also in our lecture, we actually had a great little discussion about why we write poetry. Based on my own experience I write poetry for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s to express something that’s beyond ordinary words or sometimes it’s to share a special moment. Last semester I kept getting frustrated because even though poetry is English words on a page, I could not understand it for the life of me what was actually being said. I now understand that it is not just ordinary words on a page, it is remarkable poetic language expressing something that is far beyond the constraints of normal words, it’s something bigger than ordinary language. It is the expression of some intense source of human experience.
We also looked at early day poet Christopher Brennan. Keeping in mind the reasons I like to write poetry I wrote these four lines in the style of Brennan hoping to capture the experience of rain and the special moment of seeing a raindrop splash:
Rain from the sky, rain splashes the hillside,
and rain washes bare the tortured ground.
Heavy beads like sweat from heat into the river ride,
until they halt amongst the mud, no further will they bound.    

Also, this is the URL for my best entry from weeks one to six:

http://melissa-st.livejournal.com/4681.html

In our tutorial we looked at Judith Wrights “A Document” page 179. The poem is of a person recounting their experience of reluctantly selling a forest that was given to him, passed down from generation to generation perhaps, through his family. The forest is to be cut down for development and more specifically, the tree- wood would go into bomber planes for WW2. The selling of the forest is not done lightly; it is done with a great deal of thought and pain. The emotional struggle of such a decision is emphasised through Wrights use of repetition, “I signed, but still uneasily...remember that I signed uneasily...I sold the coachwood forest in my name. Both had been given me...both name and woodland had been given me.” The character of the poem obviously finds it hard to come to terms with the fact that with his name, his signature, he sells the forest. Both things that were given to him, his name and his forest he has sullied. Wright also personifies the forest. This is perhaps to acknowledge a deeper betrayal of humanity, or to represent the forest as Kin who is being handed over to the enemy, “a flesh- pink pliant wood...” The poem has an uneasy feel whereby the character is arguing within himself, asking the reader why do I have the right to sell something hundreds of years older than myself? Did a tree mature for hundreds of years merely to meet hurried axes? I enjoyed this poem as it really put humanity and nature into perspective. Humans are represented in a way that makes us realize our own weaknesses. 

Also, we were given a short answer question about Alex Millers “Journey to the Stone Country.”
Does Miller allow us to experience what he describes in the sentence “Bo was speaking of another reality”? – 262. Here are some of the ideas I had:
  • The reality Bo was speaking of is the life Annabelle grew up in, with its racial differences, yet she was oblivious to its depths because of her young age and naivety. She never met Grandma Rennie and she can’t remember her young life with Bo, it was more dreamlike to her than some sort of reality.
  • Miller links the reader closely to Annabelle from the beginning through her experiences. We learn things as she does. We’re linked to the reality she slowly remembers and explores. We learn of the other reality through Annabelle’s progression into the future.
  • With Millers introduction of the Bigges, we become aware of just how blurred the line between legend and reality really is. The more we begin to learn of the truth, the less abstract things seem, “There were all kinds of rumours about what really happened...” – p252.                                                          
  • Through Bo’s storytelling we learn of hidden and secret realities unknown to Annabelle and in fact even to Bo until he actually finds himself reflecting on the past.   
Now, the most exciting part of the week was definitely our visit to the Art Gallery of NSW. I’ve been there many times before, a couple of times to see the amazing Art Express Exhibition and other times for HSC Art to get our heads around the concept of portrait paintings or Sculpture work. This visit was all about Works that somehow reflected the Australian landscape, most obviously through subject matter but as well as through the artist attitude or the overall mood of the work itself. The highlight if the visit was defiantly Lin Onus’ “Fruit Bats” (1991). It boldly declared the strong continuance of Aboriginal presence within a developing land.  The work consisted of fibreglass sculptures of fruit bats, featuring rrark on their tightly wrapped wings, a type of traditional cross hatching design, hanging from a Hills Hoist clothesline. It is the epitome of the co-existent and strained relationship between what is traditional to the land and what can be summed up as an urban eye-sore invasion. I enjoyed the work with the eyes of a hundred bats staring outwards into mine spreading a message of undying nature that would resist the attempts of the man to either attempts to destroy it or fill it up with concrete, machinery, and barbed wire.