The lighthouse keeper's wife, and other stories ;and, Ceremony for ground: narrative, landscape, myth

Barbara Temperton

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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The focus of this project is on poetry, narrative, landscape and myth, and the palimpsest and/or hybridisation created when these four areas overlay each other. Our local communities' engagement with myth-making activity provides a golden opportunity for contemporary poets to continue the practice long established by our forebears of utilising folklore and legendary material as sources for poetry. Keeping in mind the words of M. H. Abrams who said "an integrated mythology, whether inherited or invented, is essential to literature", I set about collecting and transforming into poetry narratives drawn from Albany and (for the third poem) from the north of Western Australia that draw on their dramatic landscapes. The creative writing component of this project The Lighthouse Keeper's wife, and other stories consists of three long, narrative poems. 1. "The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife" Based on folklore surrounding the keepers of the old Point King Lighthouse and their families: a lighthouse keeper, his wife and three daughters spend their days - and nights - in a very precarious environment. 2. "The Gap" "The Gap" at Albany has a notorious reputation. So does Julz. From the moment she arrives with the shearing team, life for the farmer's son takes a different direction. 3. "Jetty Stories" Every year the bird woman follows migrating flocks from the rim of the Arctic Circle south to the tidal flats of the Kimberley and then, at the right time, she follows them north again. When tragedy strikes, the bird woman's haunted lover finds himself travelling further south. The dissertation "Ceremony for Ground: Narrative, Landscape, Myth" succinctly examines the theory and history of narrative; contemporary narrative poetry and its techniques; landscape naming practices, and folkloric myths (including ghost stories). The folklore component also contains the elaboration and analysis of several local narratives: "Reddin's Ghost", "Fisherman's Ghost", "The Gap" and "Tidal Flats". (Appendix 4 contains other local legends) The dissertation concludes with a section on sidebars (or marginalia) offering a solution to the problem of the dominance of contemporary narrative poetry by narrative itself.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006


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