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Abstract

In The Breaking of Style, Helen Vendler observes that "in lyric writing, style in its largest sense is best understood as a material body." The body of style resists reshaping, and though the breaking may seem, at last, as fluid as water, many poems may be needed to prepare the transformation. This essay explores the emergence of an original voice through the first four collections by the distinguished Australian poet, Chris Wallace-Crabbe. It tracks the agonistic forces of two distinct styles, present from the beginning of Wallace-Crabbe’s oeuvre, demonstrating how these stylistic sources led through gradual transformation to the poet’s mature voice.

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