Essay about Robert Gray Poetry

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Born in 1945, Robert Gray is an Australian poet renowned for his imagistic style, drawing strength from his fastidious concern for the precision of language and a meticulous contemplation of physical existence. Gray’s works are unconventional in structure, and prevalent throughout his poems are the recurring themes of humanism, consumerism and naturalism, peppered with allusions to personal experiences. Gray’s thematic concerns arise from his personal context, alongside his love of the Australian environment, “My poetry is very physically located” and his Buddhist ideals which influence his literary style. Gray’s thematic concerns and themes are manifest in all of his poems, demonstrating copious readings, including psychoanalysis and…show more content…
A post-modern reading explores intertextuality, where the philosopher Heidegger inspires Gray, through the description of his mother as “very warm” and as “extending care”, expressing Gray’s affection towards his mother.

Gray’s father is criticised repeatedly throughout the poem, demonstrating his influence on Gray’s life. Anthropomorphism and sensual imagery are utilised by Gray to criticise his father, “a small lizard, dragged through her lips,” symbolising, through psychoanalysis, “that bitterness” in Gray’s mothers life. The anthropomorphism as a “bull,” criticises him for being selfish. Vivid imagery helps encapsulate a macabre description of his “hopelessly melancholic” father, portraying him as “thin lips, on the long boned face,” painting a sympathetic portrait of his father: “we are all pathetic.” The two-tiered structure of the poem allows Gray’s mother to be juxtaposed to his father, “a university man”, but also manifests a feminist reading making discernible women being marginalised in society. Gray’s naturalistic ideals are depicted through the personification of imagery, “up in those hills”, and “the sun standing amongst high timber”, displaying the peacefulness of nature.

“The Meatworks” satirically represents Gray’s thematic concern of humanism and naturalism, in relation to the sadistic description of a North Coast slaughterhouse. Gray’s naturalistic and Buddhist ideals
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