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The formulaic text: The poetry of Bruce Dawe

Mishra, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-0193-9736 (1987) The formulaic text: The poetry of Bruce Dawe. English in Australia, 82 . pp. 37-46.

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The initial impetus of this paper goes back to 1983 when a group of M.A. in Literature and Communication students came to Murdoch University for their annual on-campus weekend. The students were mainly school teachers enrolled in the external mode of the degree and primarily from Western Australia. We chose to discuss Bruce Dawe for obvious reasons.

In re-reading my notes with a view to their publication, I was struck both by their provocativeness and by the nature of the models constructed to interpret Bruce Dawe's poetry. Moreover, the basic outline of Dawe's poetics began to emerge with a strong enough clarity to warrant a somewhat extended examination of his verse. To foreshadow the rest of this paper what I find in Bruce Dawe is that he writes to a formula and in the discourse of the indicative mood. He has a strong monological presence, no doubt a function of his sense of the 'Australian speaking voice' which does not, as we are told often enough, have to 'resort to any kind of inauthentic vernacular.'' Finally, he seems to me to be ideologically unsure of his ground. Let me now move on to the argument itself.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Australian Association for the Teaching of English
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