Kenneth Slessor Essay

808 words - 4 pages

An inherent tension between stability and change is revealed through recurring images in Slessor’s poetry. To what extent does your interpretation of Slessor’s Out of Time and at least one other poem align with this view? In your response, make detailed reference to Out of Time and at least ONE other poem set for study

Kenneth Slessor is undoubtedly one of the greatest Australian poets of all time. Slessor presents the ideas of tension between stability and change through his exploration of suspended time, and this relationship to death and the finality of death. These ideas are demonstrated throughout his renowned poetry, especially in Out of Time, Sleep and Five Bells. In these poems, ...view middle of the document...

The repetition of the suffixes in “Vilely, continuously, stupidly, Time takes me, drills me” displays the embodiment of time as a knife. This ties into one interpretation of the title as constantly running out of time.

Additionally in ‘Five Bells’,

Memory
Furthermore, memory is explored as a way to escape from the passage of time in his poetry. In Out of Time, when the persona is experiencing a memory, “time leaves the lovely moment at his back”. The persona is seen to be able to brace himself against the pull of time, “leaning against his golden undertow”. The water imagery used to describe time is applied to memory, as “the flood that does not flow”. This is showing memory’s power to suspend time. This distortion is explored through being ,“Fixed in a sweet meniscus, out of time” and “lensed in a bubble’s ghostly camera.” This ties into the second interpretation of the title as being separate from the flow of time, supported by being “out of the torrent”.

Death
Death is a recurring theme that Slessor dables on on his poem's ‘Out of Time’, ‘Five Bells’ and ‘Sleep’. The textual form in ‘Out of Time’ ultimately represents the ever decreasing components of time, thus, conveying the feeling that time is running out and we as humans are unable to slow it to prevent our inevitable deaths. Similarly, in the first...

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