Peter Skrzynecki - Belonging

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The investigation of Peter Skrzynecki’s poetry has greatly enhanced and expanded my knowledge and understanding of the complexities of belonging.

Although it is hard to get an exact or specific definition of belonging, the general definition of belonging is to be part of or connected with. Belonging could also be defined as acceptance as a natural member or part or happiness felt in a secure relationship. There are many themes and aspects to take into consideration in relation to belonging, or not belonging. Inclusive in these themes are security and stability as well as exclusion and alienation.

Peter Skrzynecki has written many poems, some of which are about his European background, his experiences as a migrant in Australia, the problems associated with being an exile as well as his parents dispossession and difficulties encountered by them. Each of these poems relates to the theme of belonging, or in many cases, not belonging. The study of Skrzynecki’s poetry is ideal in helping to extend ones understanding of themes such as exclusion and a sense of not belonging. Two poems in particular that demonstrate these themes are “10 Mary Street” and “St. Patrick’s College”.

Skrzynecki’s poem “10 Mary Street” tells the story of the house that Peter and his mother Kornelia and his father (although not biologically) Feliks moved into in 1951, after arriving in Australia from Germany. It also features an in-depth description of his childhood in relation to living at 10 Mary Street. Also included in this poem is description of the connection Peter has with his parents. A reoccurring theme of time is present throughout the poem 10 Mary Street. This is shown with the constant repetition of the line “For nineteen years”. The use of this repetition allow us to engage as to how long Peter had stayed at the house as well as to reinforce the long period of time. Another theme present throughout the poem is that of security and stability in relation to belonging. This is...
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