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Poetry? For today’s readers? Yes, and not just for those who buy their poetry collections religiously either: this book is for everyone. Frustrated by the perception that Australian poetry is dry, inaccessible and focused only on the country’s landscape, acclaimed poet Jamie Grant decided to form his own collection. One that properly encompassed the liveliness of our country’s writing and showed that the only thing dry about Australian poetry was the humour within it.
The collection ranges from the early nineteenth century of Francis Macnamara and Charles Harpur, through the later years of CJ Dennis and Henry Lawson, right up to the present day of Gig Ryan, David Malouf, Stephen McInerney and Kate Jennings. The preoccupations of the different eras are given a full airing – convicts and stockriders, the challenges of drought and war, the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, the divide between the city and the bush, and the different approaches of generations X, Y and Z.
The ‘smaller’ issues have their outing too: love, barbecues, giraffes, sky writing and pumpkins so big they don’t seem real. For anyone curious about what makes Australians who they are, this collection is a must-have. Illustrated throughout with etchings by Bridget Farmer, this book should be in every Australian home.
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