Francis Webb- the most unjustly neglected poet of the 20th Century (Herbert Read)


We have just spent 2 weeks exploring a huge range of Francis Webb’s poetry, from his earliest “Images in Winter” through to his last, magnificent “Nessun Dorma”. In between we have looked at his fascination with Australian exploration in Eyre All Alone and have studied his response to inmates in the hospital in which he was incarcerated in the Ward Two series. As well as this we have wondered over his deep fascination for birds, in “On First Hearing a Cuckoo” (based on Frederick Delius’ wonderful composition on this subject), in his celebration of “The Black Cockatoos” (based on his experiences in Galston NSW), and his resonating line: “Bird song is your resonating touch” (in his tribute to the art of Anthony Sandys). What a feast in all this!!! What an amazing word-smith and creator of meanings out of so much hardship. Oh yes… we also looked deeply at The Canticle Webb’s amazing tribute to the poet of Il Cantico de Frate Sole and his (St Francis’s response to the Leper)….

So for Blog topics:

*Bird song is your resonating touch. Start a poem with this as your first line.

*Chose any one of Webb’s poems that we explored in class and say what it is that you find most attractive in it. This is not a lit. crit. essay, but your own personal response to the power of poetry.

*Can you share any aspect of your own experience of life that parallels something of what Francis Webb went through? Does your way of coping resemble that of Francis Webb? What can we learn from Webb’s way of creatively dealing with his own difficulties.

*The gull in a green storm clear as the maker’s name “Images in Winter”. Write a paragraph either creative or critical that celebrates your understanding of the meaning of this line.

*Say in a nutshell (or a paragraph) what has most interested you about this brief familiarity with Webb’s work. This could be in the form of a letter to a friend or to a member of your family.


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