Nativity single work   poetry   "The thin distraction of a spider's web"
Alternative title: The Incarnation
  • Author: James McAuley http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/mcauley-james
Issue Details: First known date: 1954 1954
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Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Form: musical notation
First known date: 2008
Notes:
Commissioned by The Oriana Chorale for premiere performance at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Sunday, 21 December, 2008. Duration: 4 minutes.
Notes:

Composer's note: 'McAuley's "Nativity" is a world of dew drops and spider webs, tender snails' horns and a bare attentiveness of the heart, a world where everyday things become breathtaking and extraordinary. Guiding us in our observations of these everyday natural wonders, McAuley leads us into a meditative, trance-like state wherein we witness the birth of light.

'When setting the text to music, I drew inspiration from the meditative nature of the poem, composing flowing, legato phrases atop a gentle, trance-like arpeggio accompaniment. The soprano and alto voices sing in close harmony and also provide long-held tones which extend like drones across sections of the work. The tenor and bass voices remain rhythmically active throughout the work, sharing their lyrical, rising and falling arpeggio patterns in dove-tail fashion.'

(Provided to AustLit by Matthew Orlovich.)

  • Appears in:
    y Direction : New Literature in Australia vol. 1 no. 3 August 1954 Z923197 1954 periodical issue 1954 pg. 18
    Note: Printed under the alternate title : "The Incarnation"
  • Appears in:
    y Meanjin vol. 14 no. 2 Winter 1955 Z653300 1955 periodical issue 1955 pg. 205
  • 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. 13
  • Appears in:
    y Australian Signpost : An Anthology Edited for the Canberra Fellowship of Australian Writers T. A. G. Hungerford (editor), Melbourne : Cheshire , 1956 Z151543 1956 anthology short story poetry prose biography Melbourne : Cheshire , 1956 pg. 122
  • Appears in:
    y James McAuley James McAuley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1963 Z137188 1963 selected work poetry Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1963 pg. 30-31
  • 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. 69
  • Appears in:
    y Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry Les Murray (editor), Blackburn : Collins Dove , 1986 Z212505 1986 anthology poetry Blackburn : Collins Dove , 1986 pg. 149
  • Appears in:
    y James McAuley : Poetry, Essays and Personal Commentary James McAuley , Leonie Kramer (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1988 Z372595 1988 selected work poetry prose criticism biography bibliography (taught in 1 units)

    This first comprehensive selection of McAuley's prose and verse is arranged by the editor, McAuley's friend and colleague Leonie Kramer, into eight sections, 'each representing aspects of James McAuley's interests and experience ... Within each section the poetry is chronologically arranged; the prose is introduced in such a way as to suggest the relationship between McAuley's poetic preoccupations and his critical and intellectual position.' (Note pp.xxix-xxx). Each section is accompanied by a brief editorial note and extensive end-notes, including McAuley's own notes.

    St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1988
    pg. 42
  • Appears in:
    y The Penguin Book of Christmas Poems K. F. Pearson (editor), Chris Mooney-Singh (editor), Ringwood : Penguin , 1992 Z544080 1992 anthology poetry Ringwood : Penguin , 1992 pg. 19
  • Appears in:
    y Collected Poems James McAuley , Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1994 Z37758 1994 collected work poetry Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1994 pg. 84-85
  • Appears in:
    y Fivefathers : Five Australian Poets of the Pre-Academic Era Les Murray (editor), Manchester : Carcanet , 1994 Z276076 1994 anthology poetry Manchester : Carcanet , 1994 pg. 145
  • 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-
  • Appears in:
    y Little Book of Christmas Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2007 Z1526172 2007 anthology poetry 'This new addition to the National Library's popular Little Books series rejoices in our nation's unique way of celebrating at Christmas time. Ever since the first settlers struggled with their traditional notions of a White Christmas in Australia's December heat, the singularity of an Australian Christmas has been celebrated in verse, art and song. The Little book of Christmas explores Christmas sentiment in Australia with poems by authors including Norman Lindsay, Colin Thiele, Adele Kipping and Les Murray, carols by John Wheeler and even some Christmas recipes. These are complemented by delightful photographs and images from the Library's collections.'--Provided by publisher. Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2007 pg. 1

Works about this Work

Carolling Chorale Caresses a Land of Dewdrops and Spiderwebs Sarah Parkes , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 22 December 2008; (p. 3)
Sarah Parkes reports on the first performance of musical settings by Calvin Bowman and Matthew Orlovich to Christmas poems by Australian authors. The performance took place at the National Museum of Australia on 21 December 2008.
Carolling Chorale Caresses a Land of Dewdrops and Spiderwebs Sarah Parkes , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 22 December 2008; (p. 3)
Sarah Parkes reports on the first performance of musical settings by Calvin Bowman and Matthew Orlovich to Christmas poems by Australian authors. The performance took place at the National Museum of Australia on 21 December 2008.
Last amended 4 Aug 2014 12:18:16
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