Bruce Beaver and Rainer Maria Rilke (1993)

As part of my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney I completed an Honours year in Australian Literature in 1993.

In addition to coursework, I completed a 15,000 word thesis, entitled Bruce Beaver and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Australian poet Bruce Beaver (1928–2004) conveniently signposted his fascination with the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) in his published poetic output, with individual poems across several collections addressing elements of Rilke’s art.

This thesis examines the nature of the Rilkean strain in Beaver’s work by means of analysis of both poets’ work. Specifically, it proposes a link between Beaver’s Rilkean spirit and the use of oceanic imagery in his poetry.

Part I analyses Rilke’s New Poems (1907) and The Duino Elegies (1922), together with Beaver’s Letters to Live Poets (1969).

Part II expands on Beaver’s use of the ocean, particularly in the context of the void, or gaps, in his poetry, with an emphasis on the poems in Lauds and Plaints (1974).

Beaver’s and Rilke’s concepts of the artist are also explored in order to gauge the extent and significance of Beaver’s ocean of poetry.

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