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Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 8. Monday, July 1, 1963

Aussie Poet Mudie Shows Maturity

Aussie Poet Mudie Shows Maturity

"The North-Bound Rider," by Ian Mudie. Published by Rigby Ltd., Adelaide. 56 pages.

This is Mr. Mudie's ninth volume of poetry and in the best of his poems there is evidence of a maturity that makes even the heaviest cliche get off the ground. This may be linked up with his advocacy of verse speaking and his belief that all poetry should be spoken.

His volume runs the gamut of all the Australian images, the vast outback, the beach and memory, the unrealistic city, Ned Kelly, the old farmer, the mildness of Australian winters, the snake, and destructive semi-tropical rain.

His first poem, giving the title to the volume, is the attempt of the poet to find a place for himself in the "horrible terrain"; to build his own existence, there where he is, without drifting to England. It Is this purpose that many of the other poems carry on with, "to examine my thoughts, my surroundings as I actually am." There is a deep symbolism in the name of the area the poet seeks, "Tombstone." and In the tough pragmatic anti-intellectualism he meets.

"Books" they would snort. Huh books.'

The romanticism present in so much of his poetry is shown clearly in this poem where "the dreaded region" is both his pain and joy at creation. In "Afternoon at the Beach" Mudie turns the moving time present into a moving time past and then achieves a three dimensional effect by pushing this into the time future. But his introduction of a nuclear shadow on the time future is clumsily done:

"Tell me is that not a mushroom shadow, high on the clear sky."

"Tell me is that not" is clumsy as is "… It makes me wonder, in "Silent Birds," which relies too much on the pace the author moves us along at, to gloss over some bad cliches.

Mudie uses Yeat's image of the swan in "Girl And Swan," but reverses the process, so that the girl rejects the swan. But "And hastens from this place" seems far too impersonal for the direct relationship Mudie has built up between the reader and the girl with the swan. In "Love is a Black Swan" the poet skillfully invokes the erotic rhythm of love making …

"Love is a black swan, is the black swan

But, oh, the blood on the beak."

But there is a contradiction in his poetry. He uses devices like "you're not dead, you're not dead," to create the humanistic impression a man is a man, is a man … and yet he cannot reconcile this when he uses nature as the foreground for a poem …

…"The fork turning the soil …

… A million things slain, and another million made homeless …" while we "Cluck at the news Of perhaps a hundred Somewhere dead."

In "How long is Permanent" this same paradox is apparent. Permanent is "Not long enough, answer the hills. Not long enough

When his thoughts are not just mundane, not just picking up the local idiom for its own sake, Mr. Mudie's poetry is very good.

He is also able to relate his rural poetry to an industrial society.

" … Roadways blossom

In shining paddocks of neon lights

Where petrol blooded monsters Graze on electric flowers."