continuum notes

Publié le 22/05/2020

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« Notes : continuum Context : Allen Curnow, born in 1911 and died in 2001 in Timaru, New Zealand.

He was born in a highly religious family, received a religious education and attended for a short time a Theological College.

He quickly put an end to his pious education and chose a different path, a career as journalist.

Allen Curnow later on drifted to a poet career.

His most important work is an anthology of poems named “Continuum: New and Later poems” which he wrote between 1972 and 1988. His poems mainly revolve around the themes of religion, myth and symbolism. Overall: In this poem, Allen Curnow writes about his sleeplessness caused by a lack of inspiration in writing material.

He decides to go for a walk to remedy his insomnia. He describes us what he sees and feels while outside his house.

He writes about himself.

The principal themes of this poem are: Insomnia, Writer’s block, Confusion, and Religion.

The poem is composed of seven stanzas, three lines each.

There are no rimes and no clear rhythm.

Sleep and Insomnia: The main theme about the poem is insomnia. The story takes place at night, and the poet would like to fall asleep but, he is having trouble with that.

All of this is said by explicit words  3 rd and 4 th verses Writer’s Block: The poem displays the lack of inspiration of the writer.

 5 th verse “nor to think thoughts”.

How it is not possible to find material.

He goes out in search for creativity but nature isn’t providing it. His lack of creativity is also seen when he ends with « or something » at the end of a stanza.

He himself doesn’t know what he is writing about. Confusion : • His thoughts are unclear as he is practically dosing off, he really doesn’t understand what is going on. • This sensation is reinforced by the multiple enjambments between stanzas.

(“ The chill of the planking underfoot rises // in the throat “ (v.5-6),  Breaks the fluidity of the poem, sentences broken down in very unnatural ways (they loose their meanings) • The first letter of each verse is not a capital  it creates a continuous flow of words, rarely interrupted by full stops.

This continuous flow can explain the title “continuum”. »


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