In this thesis I am investigating the work of Australian poets Bruce Beaver and Peter Boyle. Both poets have a significant creative relationship with the writing of Rainer Maria Rilke, and in this study my aim is to read Boyle's and Beaver's poetry in the light of this influence in order to both evaluate its effect on their writings and to arrive at a deeper understanding of that writing itself.
The methodological shape of this thesis stems from this dual aim. In place of the methods often involved in an influence study, this investigation is based on close readings of all three poets, and the tracing of thematic and technical sympathies between Beaver and Rilke, and Boyle and Rilke. Following an introduction that focuses on the way in which influence is itself figured in the work of the Australian poets, the two thematic chapters of this thesis are loosely subdivided into individual discussions of their writing.
The first addresses the topic of sight. In all three poets' work, the awareness of ways of seeing and degrees of attention motivate their poems in significant and varied ways. In Beaver's work, sight is often connected to processes of poetic 'ingestion', to the creation of both internal topographies and external totemic landscapes. I suggest, in this chapter, that these poetic processes are generative forces behind his (traditionally Rilkean) modes of celebration and lament. Sight in Boyle's poetry is involved with shaping and expressing his poetry's acute awareness of human suffering, and is a crucial aspect of what I have called his 'empathic' mode of writing.
This mode of Boyle's is explored further in the second chapter, which focuses on questions of lyric address. In it, I draw on Rilke's well-acknowledged emphasis on poetry's 'you', its turn to the second person, to evaluate how this aspect of poetry's communicativeness functions in the work of both Beaver and Boyle. Underlying this discussion, as well as the first, is an acknowledgment of the importance of space in the work of all three poets. Space, from Rilke's concept of Weltinnenraum - 'world inner space' to Boyle's 'Museum of Space' and Beaver's awareness and transformation of place, is an overarching concern crucial to understanding Rilke's presence in the work of the Australian poets.