Bruce Dawe Poetry and Its Textual Integrity

In your view, how have poetic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in Bruce Dawe’s poetry?

The poetic techniques of Bruce Dawe have effectively communicated the memorable ideas of the typical person he commonly depicts and the way in which they respond to the world they live.   Dawe explores their dependency on material possessions, the rituals one develops and follows in order to create meaning from existence and the pressures placed on individuals and communities to conform to social expectations. These ideas are especially evident in the poems ‘Life-cycle’, ‘Enter Without So Much as Knocking’ and ‘Homo Suburbiensis’ where Dawe provides insight into the life and psyche of the average man. In each poem, the techniques used, highlight the issues Dawe believes relevant to the 1960s society in which he wrote. His main concerns were for the consequences of the growth of commercialism and the fascination with achieving an idealistic lifestyle in the post-war period.

Bruce Dawe explores the growing trend of humankind’s excessive obsession for material matters. He illustrates how the average man, whom he largely portrays, can become so dependent on such fixations in order to establish an identity within a community, as this may be the only happiness they experience. The poem ‘Life-cycle’ demonstrates the effect an obsession with football can have on a person from birth to death. It highlights the extent of the fanaticism of people, not only relevant in the poem’s Australian context of the 1960s but the effect can also be seen in present times. The supporters dependency on the result of a game is highlighted in the line “And the tides of life will be the tides of the home-team’s fortunes” where the repetition of ‘tides’ creates a comparison between a man’s state of emotion and the outcome of a sporting match. This evokes a sympathetic response from the reader as they understand how these material obsessions can in fact have a deeper meaningful and...