The Drama of the Separate Self in Rae Desmond Jones’ The Mad Vibe

The poems of The Mad Vibe indicate a development in the poet's conception of himself. The collection works toward a dramatic resolution of Rae Desmond Jones' need for wholeness and separateness of self. The importance of a differentiated self is emphasised by Sarah Cirese who writes: 'Although personality theories differ in many ways, most share a concern with aspects of the quest for separateness and wholeness.' Jones' problem is that he over-includes people and objects into his ego boundaries, or fails to make those exclusions which define the free and responsible and differentiated self. By over- absorbing people and things the poet fails to see them as they actually are—as discrete centres of meaning or reality.

But how does the poet distinguish himself from others without becoming rigid or fixed, because not including people and things in the self's boundaries leads to a loss of materials for art and personal growth? And how does the poet create a core self, and thus a sense of realness, which controls his conventional orbiting selves and his more rebellious and eccentric ones? Jones seeks in The Mad Vibe some power to overcome his habit of distorting reality into his own obsessive shapes. There is, as a consequence, the drama of a poet endeavouring to liberate his self's potentials through meaningful contact with the world, and at the same time to assimilate his vibrations into a whole and separate self.

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Published 1 October 1979 in Volume 9 No. 2. Subjects: Australian poetry.

Cite as: Irwin, Trevor Q.. ‘The Drama of the Separate Self in Rae Desmond Jones’ The Mad Vibe.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, 1979, doi: 10.20314/als.265a818ba1.