, Research Paper
Poetry is capable of expressing complex emotions and ideas in words and forms that appear simple. Discuss with reference to two or more poems. Poetry is capable of expressing emotions, feelings, different views and ideas. This is true to say in many of Gwen Harwood s poems. Prize Giving and At the Arts Club both present different and opposing views of the world in a form that appears simple. The age old theme that Harwood bases many of her poems around appears; the clash between science and art. Harwood expresses these ideas and themes with the use of poetic devices and different persona s that she has created. The characters Krote and Professor Eisenbart both represent different and opposing views of the world and are the main vehicle that Harwood uses for thematic development. Krote, a European musician has a passion and a need to release the music inside himself, clashing with the socially repressed Eisenbart who s career in science has left much to be desired. Professor Krote is certainly not a professor of science, but a professor, creator and lover of music. His name meaning toad in German is symbolic of his nature. Harwood created the character of Krote to express and represent a certain view of the world that very much lives in Harwood herself. Krote represents the arts; music and culture thrive in his world, science an logic have no relevance. Harwood is very much a music lover herself and created the character of Krote for this reason; portraying an artistic view of the world filled with culture and life. Although some may argue that it a some what tainted view of the world as Krote is a hopeless, unemployed, alcoholic. There is a sense of failure about Krote, being alone in this foreign country, away from the culture and arts that he misses in Europe. His environment is what is killing him. At the Arts Club tells of Krote s performance at a small arts club. The uncultured guests are there to enjoy and learn of the art of music, Krote s specialty. However, this is not the case as Krote s audience is more concerned with the interaction between the fake guests. There is a sense of pretentiousness and false intention in the uneasy atmosphere of the Arts Club. The play opens with, Krote is drunk, but still can play. The drunken genius has come to privilege the audience at the Arts Club with his rendition of Brahms, a complicated masterpiece of piano music. However, Krote knows that the yawning guests, more concerned with the supper that is being prepared, are not concerned with his skills, so he let s the loud pedal blur a dubious trill. The imagery that these harsh words, blur a dubious trill, creates is that of an uneasy atmosphere. Harwood uses these harsh word purposely in order to get a feeling of the environment, as does she let the poem run loose towards the end as it does not so much flow, but wander in order to reiterate this uneasy environment. A pause. Chair squeaks. The hostess claps, wrongly does not suggest what the title At the Arts Club entails; cultured guests admiring music and arts.
There is a suggestion that Krote s audience are fake and pretentious, they are compared to ill placed ornaments, which us almost what they are. Harwood has thought long and hard about the brilliant word choice that sum up exactly these ostentatious nobody s. Knick-knacks in shadow boxes wink at gewgaws suggests the sense that the guests have been ill placed and are uncomfortable. They are compared to unusual ornaments which suggests the emptiness and face value of these snobs. Krote, trying to inject culture into these erroneous nobody s puts them through hell. Prize Giving on the other hand involves one of Harwood s other fictional characters she uses as a springboard for thematic development and to bring across views. Professor Eisenbart, the complete opposite to Krote is asked to attend an all girls school prize evening; he humbles himself and goes along for the publicity. Eisenbart represent views of Science and logic, as he is a professor of Nuclear Physics. Harwood does not portray Eisenbart as so much of a genius, perhaps this is due to her preference of the arts over science. Eisenbart appears in a gown of fur and silk, assuming the position of Rodin s Thinker. Harwood has picked her words carefully once again in this poem as she creates imagery with phrases like, insect nervousness, suggesting something buzzing and alive with the noise and movement of a thousand insects. When Eisenbart sees a girl out of the buzzing assuming the same position as he, he realizes he is being humored. The girl with titian hair challenges him mentally. The girl has awakened a yearning inside of Krote that years of science has repressed. He is like a nervous school boy alive with passion for the first time. A rose hot dream, described Harwood, the rose symbolic of women and fertility. The fact that girl has titian curls and not just red or blonde suggests that she is a little more risqu and interesting; representing arts and culture. Eisenbart finds himself presenting the girl with a prize for music and then having to shake her hand. Two opposing worlds meet and clash at the same time. The cheeky girl awakens Eisenbart s sexual frustration and he finds that he must tease his gown. Art clashed with science and logic as their two hands met and professor. Eisenbart becomes the titian girls real prize instead of the trophy she receives; and Eisenbart is left as the sage fool. Harwood has created Eisenbart and Krote to explore a theme that she is most interested with, the clash between the worlds of science and the arts world. Harwood s poetry expresses certain themes and ideas that will always be on opposing sides. Imagery and word choice are also Harwood s dexterity as she creates imagery to portray the uneasy environment or and embarrassing situation. Harwood is definitely a poet that writes from the heart and perhaps from personal experience. The messages she aims to convey are extremely complex but have been expressed in simple ways which helps the reader to a fuller understanding of the poem.
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