A Classic Year: 7.0 "Nationality" by Mary Gilmore

"Nationality" by Mary Gilmore is the third poem on the reading list and, at only 8 lines, is by far the shortest. It fully brims with religious overtones which leave me a little cold. Being of the totally opposite persuasion the allusions don't mean a lot to me other than being aware of them from a metaphorical perspective. And, as someone once said of Freud - if it wasn't Freud himself - "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." So I'm not the person to judge this poem. Gleeson-White says of it: "With its compact images and direct rhythmic expression, 'Nationality' has the force of truth." I believe her, even if I don't understand it.

Notes: Be aware that all Mary Gilmore's work is still under copyright and, therefore, not legally available on the web. I suspect, though, that you will be able to find the text of this poem out there somewhere if you go looking for it. Not that I'm inviting or directing you to do so - heaven forbid!

Mary Gilmore wikipedia entry Australian Dictionary of Biography entry
Gilmore on the ten-dollar note Reserve Bank of Australia ten-dollar note page
Portraits of Mary Gilmore

The next four works in this Classic Year:
8. "The Drover's Wife" by Henry Lawson (1892)
9. "Lilith" by Christopher Brennan (1898-1899)
10. Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner (1894)
11. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson (1910)

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 22, 2008 8:41 AM.

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