The Ascent of Heracles single work   poetry   "The matron goddess Hera walked the earth"
Is part of The Hero and the Hydra James McAuley 1956 sequence poetry
  • Author: James McAuley http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/mcauley-james
Issue Details: First known date: 1956 1956
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Notes

  • Third poem in the sequence.
  • Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard quoted from this poem in the Federal Parliament on 19 October 2010. Gillard was speaking in the debate on Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan. Gillard used these lines from the poem's ninth stanza: '... I never shrank with fear / But fought the monsters of the lower world / Clearing a little space, and time, and light, / For men to live in peace...'

    Some newspaper sources reporting on the speech, and quoting the reference to McAuley, gave the poem's title as 'The Ascent of Hades'.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y A Vision of Ceremony : Poems James McAuley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1956 Z137699 1956 selected work poetry Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1956 pg. 51-54
  • Appears in:
    y Collected Poems 1936-1970 James McAuley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 Z136303 1971 selected work poetry Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 pg. 55-59
  • Appears in:
    y Collected Poems James McAuley , Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1994 Z37758 1994 collected work poetry Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1994 pg. 68-73
  • Appears in:
    y Australian Poetry Library APRIL; APL; The Australian Poetry Resources Internet Library John Tranter , Sydney : 2004- Z1368099 2004- website

    'The Australian Poetry Library (APL) aims to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of Australian poetry by providing access to a wide range of poetic texts as well as to critical and contextual material relating to them, including interviews, photographs and audio/visual recordings.

    This website currently contains over 42,000 poems, representing the work of more than 170 Australian poets. All the poems are fully searchable, and may be accessed and read freely on the World Wide Web. Readers wishing to download and print poems may do so for a small fee, part of which is returned to the poets via CAL, the Copyright Agency Limited. Teachers, students and readers of Australian poetry can also create personalised anthologies, which can be purchased and downloaded. Print on demand versions will be availabe from Sydney University Press in the near future.

    It is hoped that the APL will encourage teachers to use more Australian material in their English classes, as well as making Australian poetry much more available to readers in remote and regional areas and overseas. It will also help Australian poets, not only by developing new audiences for their work but by allowing them to receive payment for material still in copyright, thus solving the major problem associated with making this material accessible on the Internet.

    The Australian Poetry Library is a joint initiative of the University of Sydney and the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL). Begun in 2004 with a prototype site developed by leading Australian poet John Tranter, the project has been funded by a major Linkage Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC), CAL and the University of Sydney Library. A team of researchers from the University of Sydney, led by Professor Elizabeth Webby and John Tranter, in association with CAL, have developed the Australian Poetry Library as a permanent and wide-ranging Internet archive of Australian poetry resources.' Source: www.poetrylibrary.edu.au (Sighted 30/05/2011).

    Sydney : 2004-

Works about this Work

Leaders Scale Poetry's Register Luke Slattery , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 20 October 2010; (p. 2)

Luke Slattery reports on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's use of James McAuley's poem 'The Ascent of Heracles' in the Federal Parliament on 19 October 2010. Gillard was speaking in the debate on Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and used these lines from the poem: '... I never shrank with fear / But fought the monsters of the lower world / Clearing a little space, and time, and light, / For men to live in peace...'

Slattery notes comments from poet John Kinsella about the Prime Minister's 'use of poetry for that "heroic" purpose'. Kinsella disagreed with the poem's use, saying: 'Poetry certainly offers points of entry into a discussion in ways that no other text or speech can do. But it can also show the ironies of the position of him or her who quotes it, even if the text seems apt.'

[Note: Slattery gives the title of the poem as 'The Ascent of Hades'.]

Victory of Truth in a War of Words Piers Akerman , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Mercury , 25 October 2010; (p. 17) The Daily Telegraph , 22 October 2010; (p. 46)

Piers Akerman reports on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's use of James McAuley's poem 'The Ascent of Heracles' in the Federal Parliament on 19 October 2010. Gillard was speaking in the debate on Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and used these lines from the poem: '... I never shrank with fear / But fought the monsters of the lower world / Clearing a little space, and time, and light, / For men to live in peace...'

Akerman notes John Kinsella's disapproval of Gillard's use of poetry in the debate. In response, Akerman writes, Kinsella's 'views illustrate the preposterous belief held by the chattering classes that the Left alone has some bizarre sole right to determine which side of politics may use literary references, even when those references are clearly at odds with the Left agenda.'

[Note: Akerman gives the title of the poem as 'The Ascent of Hades'.]

Leaders Scale Poetry's Register Luke Slattery , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 20 October 2010; (p. 2)

Luke Slattery reports on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's use of James McAuley's poem 'The Ascent of Heracles' in the Federal Parliament on 19 October 2010. Gillard was speaking in the debate on Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and used these lines from the poem: '... I never shrank with fear / But fought the monsters of the lower world / Clearing a little space, and time, and light, / For men to live in peace...'

Slattery notes comments from poet John Kinsella about the Prime Minister's 'use of poetry for that "heroic" purpose'. Kinsella disagreed with the poem's use, saying: 'Poetry certainly offers points of entry into a discussion in ways that no other text or speech can do. But it can also show the ironies of the position of him or her who quotes it, even if the text seems apt.'

[Note: Slattery gives the title of the poem as 'The Ascent of Hades'.]

Victory of Truth in a War of Words Piers Akerman , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Mercury , 25 October 2010; (p. 17) The Daily Telegraph , 22 October 2010; (p. 46)

Piers Akerman reports on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's use of James McAuley's poem 'The Ascent of Heracles' in the Federal Parliament on 19 October 2010. Gillard was speaking in the debate on Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and used these lines from the poem: '... I never shrank with fear / But fought the monsters of the lower world / Clearing a little space, and time, and light, / For men to live in peace...'

Akerman notes John Kinsella's disapproval of Gillard's use of poetry in the debate. In response, Akerman writes, Kinsella's 'views illustrate the preposterous belief held by the chattering classes that the Left alone has some bizarre sole right to determine which side of politics may use literary references, even when those references are clearly at odds with the Left agenda.'

[Note: Akerman gives the title of the poem as 'The Ascent of Hades'.]

Last amended 4 Aug 2014 12:01:31
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