‘Will This be Your Poem, or Mine?’ : The Give and Take of Story

THE question of who owns story is perhaps best addressed by telling story. ln ' Poems of the River Wang,' Rosemary Dobson tells this story of Wang Wei and P'ei Ti:

Two poets walking together May pause suddenly and say, Will this be your poem, or mine? May offer courteously, Please take it. No, you first. (186)

It is a story in which the two poets figure the dialogic inclinations of analogical activity. 'Poems of the River Wang' is one of twelve poems making up 'The Continuance of Poetry' (1981), the sequence Dobson wrote to commemorate David Campbell and their joint project translating Russian poetry. As a way of honouring her dead colleague, Dobson borrows freely from his writing, incorporating, for example, his image of the daylight moon. She takes as a way of giving back.

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Published 1 October 2007 in Volume 23 No. 2. Subjects: Aesthetics, Appropriation (Cultural), Writing.

Cite as: Rowe, Noel. ‘‘Will This be Your Poem, or Mine?’ : The Give and Take of Story.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, 2007. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.6f4ca9d0af.