Kenneth Slessor, A Great Australian Poet

Essay by ClassmanHigh School, 11th grade April 2007

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Kenneth Slessor (1901-1971), poet and journalist, was born on 27 March 1901 in Orange, New South Wales. As a school boy Slessor edited his school magazine.Throughout his life Slessor had been a journalist, war correspondant for WW2 and a poet. It is in his poetry today that we explore the concept of memory and the significance of his writings in Aussie Literature.

Memory is the ability to store, retain and recall information, be it an event or emotion. Memories can be triggered by a stimulus. This can be a smell, sound, taste, sight, emotion and or event. In many of Slessor's poems memory is expressed. Two of Slessor's poems that are particularly usefull to understand this concpet of memory are Beach Burial a tribute to the Australian war efforts at El Alamein and Country Towns a descriptioin of a typically Australian Country town.

Beach Burial is depressing to read but Slessor has effectively brought the scene to life so vividly - I could close my eyes and hear the waves on the beach, see the bodies rolling in the surf.

Beach burial gives an insight into the war, which could only have been portrayed by an onlooker. Its pictorial effect and descriptive tone tells us much about Slessor's memories of the bodies rolling in the surf and the constant "Sobbing and Clubbing" of gunfire. Slessor purposefully wrote this poem to describe the tragic reality of war. Slessor has used the Simile " Blue as drowned men's Lips" is comparing the colour of the faded ink on the makeshift tombstones of driftwood, to the horrific image of the washed up dead.

Country Towns is a peaceful description of the Australian country town. The rhythm and tone of the Poem is quite lethargic and Dreamy. Like Beach Burial, the poem is...