Tracing the Spectre of Death in Francis Webb's Last Poems

Bernadette Brennan


In much of Francis Webb's poetry "the tale brings death" ("A Drum for Ben Boyd") but death remains largely off-stage. The poetry eschews the space of death and seems unwilling to explore the possibility of nothingness. There is a significant change, however, that is particularly noticeable in Webb's last three published poems. This paper focusses on the naming of death in "Sturt and the Vultures" but it traces first a progression in Webb's poetry - from "A Death at Winson Green" through "Socrates" and "Rondo Burleske: Mahler's Ninth" - in which the poet seems increasingly ready to contemplate the possibilities of the void.


Francis Webb; death; void; poetry

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