The Revelation Of Truths: The Preoccupation With Life, Love And Loss In Kate Llewellyn's Poetry

2254 words - 10 pages

Kate Llewellyn is one of the most important contemporary Australian poets whose

poems deal with a variety of themes – life, love, loss and pain along with the

delineation of her emotions and experiences gathered while leading her everyday life.

Thus she has taken for her themes simple, everyday sentiments which are intense

enough, leaving deep impressions on her mind and in the process giving rise to these

emotions which she has recorded in her poems.

An attempt will be made in this paper to look into the different aspects of her poetry

and to analyse the ways in which she uses her rich experience to uncover truths

about life and its myriad shades.

Kate Llewellyn is one of the most important contemporary Australian poets whose

poems deal with a variety of themes- life, love, loss and pain along with the

delineation of her emotions and experiences. In recent years, she has emerged as

an influential voice in the field of Australian poetry. Born in 1940, she has been

writing and publishing poems for almost twenty six years , her poetry books numbering

seven in all till date. The first collection of her poems was titled Trader Kate and the

Elephants and was published in 1982. This collection was followed by other collections

as Luxury(1985), Honey(1988), Figs(1990), Crosshatched(1994) and Later Poems, the

last collection being written between 2000 to 2005.

Any study of all these poems in these collections would bring out a common

characteristic- their themes deal with the poet’s personal experiences gathered in the

course of living her life. The mood of these poems is a mixture of joy, sadness and

melancholy and they deal with the poet’s immediate felt experiences. Thus they have

intensely emotional and subjective qualities which bring out the poet’s innermost

feelings. In each volume of poetry we can observe this trait manifested through the

various themes she has chosen.

In her very first collection, Trader Kate and the Elephants, there are poems

which deal with various interesting themes drawn from different spheres of life.

Thus a study of the titles of the poems will reveal the wide range and scope of her

themes. Thus the opening poem of this collection is titled “Elephants” where the poet

tries to capture the intermixture of beauty and power that is associated with these beasts :

such a creature

thick grey beautiful

as a calling cloud. . .

. . . their volcanic groans

have deep song

I dance when I hear . . . (2-4, 12-14)

Thus, the poet is visibly fascinated by these huge creatures, getting the dual impression

of tremendous strength and beauty that is perhaps not celebrated generally. We are

naturally reminded of William Blake, the 18th century English Romantic poet...

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