Slessor Poetry Analysis Essay

How Is Kenneth Slessor Effective In Conveying His Thoughts And Ideas? (William Street, Country Towns, Beach Burial, Night Ride)

Poets use many techniques to convey their thoughts and purpose in their poetry. In this case, Kenneth Slessor's poetry will be analysed to show his effectiveness. William Street is a poem which discusses about the beauty and ugliness of the red light district. Country Towns, in contrast, romanticizes the country and its sleepy atmosphere. In addition, Night-Ride is also sleepy in tone and tells about a train trip Slessor ttok. Finally, Beach Burial will be discussed about its anti-war themes.

William Street is a very colourful poem by Slessor. With the use of imagery and other literary techniques that help readers sense the environment, Slessor achieves a vivid description of the area. But when contrsasting content with purpose, it is up to the reader to judge what Slessor is trying to convey. Each stanza ends with, "you find it ugly, I find it lovely". This tells readers that it is up to them to make the judgement of whether it is ugly or lovely. In addition, this simply sets two types of opinions and reinforces it through repetition throughout the poem.

The first stanza sets up the atmosphere of William Street, with the "red globes" of light, illuminating the streets. Also, mentions of "flashing neon lights" reinforce the fact that this poem is set during the night. The second stanza brings up the topic of the pawn shops around the area. The trousers in the shops are described as "hung men." This is effective as it gives readers the understanding that these pants were once worn by troubled, desperate men, and it was these characters that walked into the pawn shop. Through this comparison, Slessor has created an environment which is not a satisfactory way of living and causes most readers to find that William Street is not an entirely beautiful place to live.

The third stanza bombards the reader's senses with images of take away shops. Sound devices such as onomatopaia is used in, "grease that blesses onions with a hiss," replicating the sounds of the grill by repeating "ss" sounds. Slessor has used this to good effect, recapturing the sounds of the hissing and smells of these take away shops that are situated on the streets. Therefore, the poet creates a very pungent smell through his use of imagery and effectively creates the atmosphere. The final stanza finalay introduces the humans into the poems. Again, he describes these people as desperate creatures, "grazing the pastures." He paints a very unpretty picture of the corrupted people who dwell in these areas, but finishes the stanza with, "I find it lovely". This poem leaves readers thinking about the area and forces them to judge for themselves.

In Country Towns, Slessor again is vague in his opinions of thie topic. Using inconsistent rhythm and tone, Slessor confuses readers of his true underlying opinion and creates ambiguous meanings. The main theme of the poem is the...

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Softly and Humbly to the Gulf of Arabs,

The convoys of dead sailors come;

At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,

But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire Someone,

it seems, has time for this,

To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows

And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,

Bears the last signature of men,Written with such perplexity,

with such bewildered pity,The words choke as they begin -"Unknown seaman" - the ghostly pencil Wavers and fades, the purple drips,

The breath of the wet season has washed their inscriptions

As blue as drowned men's lips,Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,Whether as enemies they fought,Or fought with us, or neither

; the sand joins them together,Enlisted on the other front.

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