|Schools and movements|
Cavalier • Metaphysical
|Country and region|
English poetry • Scottish poetry
At the point of the first colonization, Indigenous Australians had not developed a system of writing. There was a transmitted oral tradition, mainly about mythology. David Unaipon (1872-1967) provided the first accounts of Aboriginal mythology written by an Aboriginal: Legendary Tales of the Aborigines. Unaipon is known as the first Aboriginal author. Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920-1995) was a famous Aboriginal poet, writer and rights activist credited with publishing the first Aboriginal book of verse: We Are Going (1964). The voices of Indigenous Australians are being increasingly noticed and include the playwright Jack Davis and Kevin Gilbert. Writers coming to prominence in the 21st century include Alexis Wright, Tara June Winch, and Yvette Holt. Many notable works have been written by non-indigenous Australians on Aboriginal themes. Examples include the poems of Judith Wright, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally, and aIlbarana by Donald Stuart.
19th and 20th centuriesEdit
Henry Lawson, son of a Norwegian sailor born in 1867, was widely recognised as Australia's poet of the people and, in 1922, became the first Australian writer to be honoured with a state funeral. Two poets who are amongst the great Australian poets are Christopher Brennan and Adam Lindsay Gordon; Gordon was once referred to as the "national poet of Australia" and is the only Australian with a monument in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in England. Both Gordon's and Brennan's (but particularly Brennan's) works conformed to traditional styles of poetry, with many classical allusions, and therefore fell within the domain of high culture. However, at the same time Australia was blessed with a competing, vibrant tradition of folk songs and ballads. Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson were two of the chief exponents of these popular ballads. Lawson is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest writers of short stories, while Paterson's poems The Man From Snowy River and Clancy of the Overflow remain amongst the most popular Australian bush poems. 'Banjo' was also responsible for creating what is arguably the most famous Australian verse, "Waltzing Matilda ". At one point, Lawson and Paterson contributed a series of verses to The Bulletin magazine in which they engaged in a literary debate about the nature of life in Australia. Lawson said Paterson was a romantic and Paterson said Lawson was full of doom and gloom.
Romanticised views of the outback and the rugged characters that inhabited it played an important part in shaping the Australian nation's psyche, just as the cowboys of the American Old West and the gauchos of the Argentine pampa became part of the self-image of those nations. Other poets who reflected a sense of Australian identity include C.J. Dennis and Dorothea Mackellar. Dennis wrote in the Australian vernacular (Songs of a Sentimental Bloke"), while McKellar wrote the iconic patriotic poem My Country Prominent Australian poets of the 20th century include Dame Mary Gilmore, A.D. Hope, Judith Wright, Gwen Harwood, Kenneth Slessor, Les Murray, Bruce Dawe and more recently John Forbes and John Tranter. More recent and emerging Australian poets include Peter Minter and Judith Beveridge.
Contemporary Australian poetry is mostly published by small, independent book publishers. However, other kinds of publication, including new media and online journals, spoken word and live events, and public poetry projects are gaining an increasingly vibrant and popular presence. 1992-1999 saw poetry/art collabotrations in Sydney/Newcastle buses & Ferries - Artransit from Meuse Press. Some of the more interesting and innovative contributions to Australian poetry have emerged from artist-run galleries in recent years, such as Textbase which had its beginnings as part of the 1st Floor gallery in Fitzroy. In addition, Red Room Company is a major exponent of innovative projects.
- Australian Bush Poets Association
- Australian Bush Poetry
- The Library of Australiana page at Project Gutenberg of Australia
- Bibliography of Australian Literature to 1954 at Freeread
- Lead organisation for Australian bush poetry Australian Bush Poets Association
- Bush Poetry Ballads and Yarns Aussie Bush Poetry
- Australian Bush Poetry Verse & Music Site Bush Verse
- Australian website for students of poetry Poetry Resource
- Biography of Henry Lawson Australian Dictionary of Biography
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