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|Title:||The Mechanics of Being Alive: Major Themes in the Poetry and Prose of Al Purdy|
|Authors:||Douglas, Jane Elizabeth|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>Al Purdy once said that the poet writes about "the mechanics of being alive"¹. "Being alive" is a very large and therefore somewhat vague subject, and Purdy's writing, in keeping with this focus, covers a wide variety of subjects. This thesis is an examination of Purdy's poetry and prose aimed at showing that there are thematic patterns and a unity of vision consistent throughout his wide range of subjects and interests.</p> <p>Purdy's central point, found in Poems for All the Annettes (1962) to the present, is that to be alive as humans means we must live in full knowledge of the fact of our own inevitable dying. The first chapter of this thesis, entitled "The Season of Man", points out the prevalence of the theme of impermanence in both early and recent poems and in Purdy's one prose work, No Other Country.</p> <p>Subsequent chapters show that there are other consistent themes in Purdy's writing that grow out of this first and ultimate concern and have to do with how Purdy manages to find peace and enjoyment in being alive, alongside a full acceptance of the processes of time and decay. The chapter "Running" deals with Purdy's belief that such peace is won by active involvement in life, in being truly alive. The next chapter, "This Is a Map of Myself", shows how both Purdy's nationalism and his response to the landscape are shaped by his need to combat the sense of alienation generated by the knowledge of mortality. Purdy's use of the imagination to create a sense of interconnectedness between people of the past, present and future is discussed in "The Long Misty Chain". Again, Purdy's interest in finding continuity in life grows out of his struggle for personal validation and survival. The final chapter, a brief consideration of Purdy's aesthetic purposes and style, shows that he often uses his gift of poetic vision as a means of coming to terms with what he understands to be the realities of life.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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