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Peter Skrzynecki Poem Essay

In Peter Skrzynecki's poems from Immigrant Chronicle "Feliks Skrzynecki" and "Migrant hostel", he uses a variety of language techniques to demonstrate his views and experiences of migration. In each poem, Skrzynecki uses one particular language feature, among other, less prominent ones, to create meaning and show a change of perspective. In describing his father, Feliks, the poet embellishes many phrases and exaggerates the truth to the extent that the intended meaning is obvious to the responder. Skrzynecki creates two extended metaphors in "Migrant Hostel" to demonstrate his ideas, which we cannot completely comprehend, in a way that we can understand with recognisable ideas and objects.

"Feliks Skrzynecki" is a poem about Peter's father. The change of perspective described in it is the demonstration of the differences between the father's perspective of Australia, and his son's perspective. They each have totally different perceptions of their world because of their differing experiences in life. Feliks lived in Poland and through World War II, and four years after the end of the war, he and his family up-rooted and settled in a foreign land so different from their homeland that they had trouble adjusting. In Feliks' case, he avoided assimilating to the Australian culture, preferring to stick to his old ways including language, thus alienating himself from the society in which he now lived. In contrast, Peter was born in Europe at the end of the war, and at age four, moved to Australia with his parents. He probably would not remember his life in Europe, and spent only the very early years there. He mainly grew up in Australia so had much more exposure to the new culture and more opportunity to adapt and become a part of it.

"Feliks Skrzynecki" begins with showing the poet's admiration for his father, and describes his loving, caring nature with a simile, "Loved his garden like an only child,". Using words to express Feliks' love for his garden would have been insufficient in giving the audience an understanding. By relating his father's love to a situation and feelings, which can be understood universally, the poet creates meaning. The second stanza continues creating a description of his father, and uses repetition in the describing of actions to indicate the repetitiveness and mundaneness of them, in "From the soil he turned/ And tobacco he rolled". In the third stanza, a clear change of perspective is shown by indicating the author's thoughts. "I thought…...

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Peter Michael SkrzyneckiOAM, (Polish pronunciation: [ˈskʂɨnɛtski]; born 6 April 1945) is an Australian poet of Polish and Ukrainian origin.[1]

Biography[edit]

Born near Dortmund in Germany, Skrzynecki came to Australia in 1949 with his parents, Feliks and Kornelia, as a refugee from "the sorrow / Of northern wars" ("Crossing the Red Sea"). This voyage – a four-week-long sea expedition on the USS General R. M. Blatchford, a converted United States Navy transport ship, was the basis for many of the poems in his 1975 collection, Immigrant Chronicle.

Skrzynecki attended St Patrick's College, Strathfield between 1956 and 1963, completing his Leaving Certificate at the college.[1] His education here influenced many works later in his career.[citation needed]

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England, and a Teachers Certificate from the Sydney Teachers College.

Career and awards[edit]

Skrzynecki has taught various courses relating to literature, including English Studies, American Literature, Australian Literature and Creative Writing. He has received several awards for his contributions to Australian and multicultural literature, including the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry in 1972 for Headwaters, the Captain Cook Bicentenary Poetry Prize, the Henry Lawson Short Story Award, an Order of Cultural Merit from the Polish government in 1989 and in 2002, an Order of Australia.[2] Skrzynecki visits schools and gives lectures on the current topic area of Immigrant Chronicle.

Immigrant Chronicle[edit]

Immigrant Chronicle is a collection of poems by Peter Skrzynecki,[3] remembering the experiences of his family as they immigrated from post-war Poland to Australia. The family, Peter Skrzynecki and his two parents, were in transit for over two years from 1949–51 (either physically travelling, or in a migrant hostel) before they were allowed to begin their new life in Australia. The book also expounds the ongoing hardships that Skrzynecki and his parents still suffer because of their journey to Australia. Immigrant Chronicle was one of the five prescribed "Physical Journeys" texts in the compulsory New South Wales HSC English syllabus, and was a prescribed poetry text for "Area of Study: Belonging" for 2009–14. This core text is the main focus of the unit, and it requires students to find their own related text(s) and compare the texts in the form of an essay.[4]

Among the 48 poems included in Immigrant Chronicle are:

  • 11. "Immigrants at Central Station, 1951"
  • 12. "Feliks Skrzynecki"
  • 16. "St Patrick's College"
  • 18. "Ancestors"
  • 17. "10 Mary Street"
  • 33. "Crossing the Red Sea"
  • 38. "Leaving home"
  • 44. "Migrant hostel"
  • 80. "Post Card"

Bibliography[edit]

Poetry

  • There, Behind the Lids (1970)
  • Headwaters (1972)
  • Immigrant Chronicle (1975)
  • The Aviary (1978)
  • The Polish Immigrant (1982)
  • Night Swim (1989)
  • Easter Sunday (1993)
  • Time's Revenge (2000)
  • Old/New World (2007), selection from his previous eight books, plus the new collection Blood Plums

Novels

  • The Beloved Mountain (1988)
  • The Cry of the Goldfinch (1996)
  • Boys of Summer (2010)

Memoir

  • The Sparrow Garden (2004)
  • Appointment Northwest (2014)

Short stories

  • "The Wild Dogs" (1987)
  • "Rock 'n' Roll Heroes" (1992)

References[edit]