Expressing Antarctica: A review of Antarctic Inspired Poetry
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
This review explores the representation of Antarctica as an extreme environment, in Antarctic inspired poetry. The volume of work with potential to be included does not permit a comprehensive review instead a cross section of works across a broad time span has been made. The range considers from the late eighteenth century to present day. Poem’s have been sampled to include works from people who have only imagined Antarctica but never visited as well as those who write from direct experience of the environment. It also aims to provides a discussion of how individual experiences and preceding works may have contributed to the images of Antarctica portrayed. The essay is structured as a review of each poem or collection and a final summary. The reviews are divided into three sections defined by time periods, Early Works, Heroic Era and Modern. The first section begins with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Heroic era focuses on poetry written at that time and how it relates to the experiences of those individuals. The Modern section focuses on poetry from ‘professional poets’ who have visited Antarctica as part of the Artists in Antarctica program. Erebus, by Bill Sewell has also been included, this long poem stands apart from the other modern Antarctic poems because the subject is the crash of a scenic over-flight in 1979. Finally a poem from a primary school child is considered as an indication of future images of Antarctica.
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