Mason, R.A.K.

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    Irony in R.A.K. Mason's Poetry
    (Taylor & Francis, 1982) Daalder, Joost
    Previously, the author has presented R.A.K. Mason as essentially a sensitive modern romantic at odds with the New Zealand where he spent his life from 1905-1971, and with, in a larger sense, not only man but also the universe itself. Concentrating on this side of his sensibility, the author has rather tended to ignore Mason's technique, and in the present essay he wishes to redress the balance somewhat by examining the kind of ironic devices Mason uses, and to what effect he puts them.
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    R.A.K. Mason: The Poet as a Pacific Christ
    (Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English, Flinders University, 1981) Daalder, Joost
    The vast majority of Mason's poems derive their individual character not only from his use of language, but also, and above all, from his perceiving of himself as a Christ in New Zealand, ignored and victimised by a society consisting of Pharisees.
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    R.A.K. Mason's Universality
    (Rinsen Books, Kyoto, 1998) Daalder, Joost
    Mason is writing about the plight of man, trapped in a hostile place, i.e. our planet, which, in the space of the universe as a whole, is 'fixed at the friendless outer edge'. Even if perhaps a poet in an isolated country might see our earthly existence more readily in these terms than someone in, say, London, the fact remains that Mason does not draw attention to the origin of his feeling as inspired by his country, and that he produces a statement couched in general terms, as though it has universal applicability.
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    The Religious Experience in R.A.K. Mason's Poetry
    (Editions Rodopi, 1996) Daalder, Joost
    When I first read R.A.K. Mason's poems several years ago, I was inclined to see the Christ figure in them as essentially - or at least most frequently - a reflection of the author himself, in the role of a victim of his New Zealand society circa 1920-1930. I do not resign from this view now to the extent of seeing it seriously mistaken. But I have come to see that Mason's portrayal of Christ is not as simple as I once thought, and my present awareness that there is more to it also prompts me to consider the more general question of the religious experience within Mason's poems.
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    Ambiguity and Ambivalence in R.A.K. Mason
    (Kunapipi, 1983) Daalder, Joost
    The author examines one of R.A.K. Mason's best known poems, Ecce Homunculus, with concern for some of the poem's ambiguities and the possibility that they reveal ambivalence, or at least a richness of meaning, rather than trivial word games or ineptitude. The Christ figure in the poem could be seen as a disguise for the poet himself, victimized by New Zealand society, but no matter whether Mason saw himself as Christ or not, it is more important to note that his attitude to the Christ figure is ambivalent.
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    R.A.K. Mason and the Passing of Time
    (Caxton Press, 1981) Daalder, Joost
    R. A. K. Mason (1905-71) is a hauntingly impressive poet who not only shows himself acutely aware of where he is as someone who `Burnt Dian's temple down at Otahuhu' (with an imagination reaching beyond a geographical presence which is nevertheless intensely felt,) but who also has what amounts to a profoundly interesting obsession with the relationship between the present on the one hand, and the past or the future on the other. In this essay, Daalder examines the various ways in which this obsession manifests itself as something ultimately Romantic and modern rather than, say, Christian as that word might have been understood in, for example, the Renaissance.