Date of Award
Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)
Colby College. English Dept.
John R. Sweney
I have tried, in this collection, to give various brief glimpses of life as seen through a unique and distinct "I." The title "Off Soundings" is an old nautical term indicating vast ocean areas beyond the 100 fathom line where soundings could not be made. In that respect, I hope these poems create a sense of those parts of being where things are tenuous and in flux; where soundings cannot be made. Some of the poems have a transcendental twist in which ascension to a natural realm is the moving to unmeasureable but elevated senses; is off soundings. In keeping with the title I have tried to assume a nautical tone throughout. The first section. "Megunticook." is an Indian word meaning "big mountain harbor." It describes an area of the Maine coast around Camden. I feel it is in line with my ideas for this work because it is an area where high mountains meet the sea; where the convergence of land and water is most marked and natural elevation can be stressed. "Shoals" is a section where the land forms in the water represent danger. Here, the absence of deep water, the absence of sound and conventional perceptions, causes everyday events to take on fearful and forboding dimensions. All of this is not resolved in "Beam Reach" but there is a tone of clear sailing; of "pressing on regardless" to deeper to water.
Recommended CitationWelte, William H., "Off Soundings" (1977). Senior Scholar Papers. Paper 524.
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