BEACH BURIAL # Background and Context In 1940, Kenneth Slessor became Australia’s official war correspondent first reporting from Northern Africa. It was a battle in El Alamein, an obscure railway stop west of Alexandria that in the course of a few days became known around the world for turning the fortunes of war. In November 1942, the Allied Eighth Army, comprised of at least 10 nations of the British Empire, broke German and Italian lines to push Rommel’s Axis troops back to Tunisia and defeat in Africa.
Five Visions of Captain Cook # Captain1 James Cook (1728 – 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. There can be no doubt he was an extraordinary navigator honoured internationally, even by the French.
Judith Wright # Judith Wright (1915–2000), among Australia’s foremost literary figures, poet, essayist, activist, dedicated herself to writing and fighting for a more humane Australia. Her passion was the land and the first Australians and the role of women. She was often furious about what she saw as the betrayal of all. John Hughes Born into a wealthy well established settler family in the New England region of NSW, she grew up on a station, riding horses, mustering, and managing properties.
Rosemary Dobson 1920 – 2012 # Born to a British father and an Australian mother, one of two daughters, Rosemary had a troubled childhood. Her father died when her older sister, Ruth, was seven and she, five. The mother moved in with various family members. Rosemary Dobson was a painter and a poet, during one of the most contentious periods of Australia’s cultural wars; modernism and conservatism, and nativist or European traditionalism.
Sleep- Kenneth Slessor # Context & Subject Matter This poem compares sleep with a number of aspects of life - the unconsciousness of sleep the preconsciousness of life in the womb, the act of sexual congress, the gestation period in the womb and birth. Just like going to sleep is an abandonment of self so is the s*xual act of submission to our senses which can result in a sperm uniting with an egg to form a zygote developing into a foetus and later emerging as a human being facing the real world.
Kenneth Slessor 1901 - 1971 # Kenneth Adolphe Schloessor (Slessor) is recognised as one of Australia’s formative poets who, while drawing on European traditions and modern experimentalism and innovation, gave a distinctive Australian voice to Australians from 1920 to 1946. Born in Orange, educated at North Shore Grammar, where he edited an unofficial magazine, **Printer’s Pi, **Slessor had his first poem published in The Bulletin at only 15 years.
Slessor – a biography # A full biography available at: http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/ Born in Orange NSW, in 1901, as Kenneth Adolphe Schloessor , moved to England briefly and then to Kogarah when he was 13 and then to Chatswood at 15. He attended the Church of England Grammar School - Shore . Throughout most of his career Slessor was involved in journalism either as writer or editor and in 1940 he became Australia’s official war correspondent.
Wild Grapes # I. Subject Matter: The poet visits an old abandoned orchard and shows how passing time and nature have transformed and destroyed human effort. Nature is supreme? II. Sound Effects: Read the poem aloud. Comment on the Sound Effects, verbal music, its rhyme, rhythm and melody. Assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc. (Blending, repetition patterns, slow/fast movement, Melody, tone, mood, atmosphere, voice. The eerie haunting of a ghost mystery with a touch of nostalgia.
**Slessor Five Bells ** # I. Context & Subject Matter # This is a poem written some ten years after the death of a friend whose haunting memory recurs whenever the persona hears the ships ringing Five Bells. Slessor writes much about the harbour; water as seen from a distance, from the safety and comfort of a harbourside home - likely that of his uncle, a relationship through marriage to Captain Francis Bayldon, who lived at Darling Point who had a magnificent nautical library.