Michael Ondaatje's "Rat Jelly" and the poetics of ambivalence

Sam Z. Solecki

Abstract


Michael Ondaatje's second collection of poems, Rat Jelly (1973), is a crucial transitional work that simultaneously consolidates the early promise and achievement of The Dainty Monsters (1967) and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (1969), articulates Ondaatje's early poetics in a handful of ambitious, sometimes almost allegorical lyrics, and in two of its poems,'Letters and Other Worlds' and 'Burning Hills,' anticipates Ondaatje's turn in the late 1970s and early 1980s towards his Sri Lankan past as a central concern in his poetry and prose. Though the collection contains some of Ondaatje's finest lyrics, it also marks the end of what might be called the modernist phase of his development as a poet, the phase in which one might still hear echoes of Edwin Muir or Wallace Stevens.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.63

Copyright (c) 2000 Sam Z. Solecki

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300