Explain Australian poetry


Explain Australian poetry

Australian literature is the written or literary work produced in the area or by the people of the Commonwealth of Australia and its preceding colonies. During its early Western history, Australia was a collection of British colonies, therefore, its recognised literary tradition begins with and is linked to the broader tradition of English literature. However, the narrative art of Australian writers has, since 1788, introduced the character of a new continent into literature—exploring such themes as Aboriginality, mateship, egalitarianism, democracy, national identity, migration, Australia's unique location and geography, the complexities of urban living, and "the beauty and the terror" of life in the Australian bush.

Australian performance poetry is not a recent phenomenon in English-speaking Australia. It would not be beyond credibility to identify Henry Lawson as Australia's first professional performance poet, but there had been many performance poets in Australia prior to Lawson (real name Larsen, Norwegian father) from the First Fleet onwards. In fact prior to 1890 most poetry in Australia was received orally. The Sydney Bulletin began a campaign of publishing Australian poetry in the 1890s, The 'nationalistic' element fostered overtly at times by Stephens and the Bulletin is indicated in Stephen's review on 15th February 1896, in which he joined Lawson with Paterson as two writers who, 'with all their imperfections' mark 'something like the beginnings of a national school of poetry. In them, for the first time, Australia has found audible voice and characteristic expression'. (Perkins in Bennett and Strauss, 1998) It is generally acknowledged in most of the histories of Australian literature from H. M. Green's in 1962, to the most recent The Oxford literary history of Australia, 1998, that the Bulletin Bush poetry, in its nationalist mission to be Australian, over-zealously mythologised the nature of the Australian identity and that it promoted that ideal long after Federation (1901) and even long after Lawson and Paterson. A. B. Paterson's Waltzing Matilda is probably the most performed Australian poem ever, and has become somewhat of an unofficial anthem of Australia (in sports particularly).

The words of Dorothea Mackellar's My Country, 1908, are probably present in the minds of every Australian, even if they have never seen it written down. I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains. The sound of that early Australian bush poetry is firmly embedded in the national psyche. The largest selling poetry volume in Australia,. C. J. Dennis's Sentimental Bloke in 1915 was poetry to be performed, and was performed. But the voices in that poem and others by C. J. Dennis are character voices, often exaggerated, of stereotyped Australian voices comically represented. Maybe something akin to Paul Hogan's stereotyping of Italians with his 'luigi' or Mark Mitchell's comic representation of the Greek Australian 'Con the fruiterer', CJ Dennis was also humorously reflecting changes in the Australian voice and cultural identity. The Jindyworobak poetry movement of South Australia was very much into sounds and introducing Australian sounds into Australian poetry, the sound of the land and the people that had been dispossessed.

Explain Australian poetry ,  Australian poetry

But this was an appropriation of Aboriginal culture and plagued by dubious[citation needed] political associations. Kenneth Slessor in the 1940s, and Bruce Dawe and Thomas Shapcott, in the 1950s, introduced the sound of everyday Australian voices, incorporating the vernacular and the colloquial language of Australia as part of their poetry. Their voices as heard on the Audio anthology are devoid of the BBC British radio announcers accent often used by Australian poets like R. D. Fitzgerald, A. D. Hope and James McAuley when reading verse (even Dylan Thomas discarded his Welsh accent for the BBC British radio voice.) They speak in the Australian vernacular, the common language of the street. The Commonwealth Literary Fund, which in the 1950s toured Australian poets on reading tours of their works, e.g. Roland Robinson, provided another way in which sounded poetry was promoted by that organization. Oodgeroo Noonuccal  also emerged as an Aboriginal-Australian voice in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1960s poetry readings were associated with the great poetry explosion that was happening globally but also particularly in Australia due partly to the challenging of the self-proclaimed establishment of university poet-professors led by A. D. Hope.

A D Hope strangely enough, due to strict censorship laws and due to sexually explicit nature of his poetry, was more likely to have been heard than read as he didn't publish his poetry until the early 1960s. I t seems public readings were not the preference of academia at the time, as Tasmanian poet Tim Thorne writes in his personal memoirs, I remember my first public reading, as an undergraduate in the early 1960s. It was organized by James McAuley and it consisted of him and me reading our own poems and those of Vivian Smith and Gwen Harwood. Gwen and Vivian were allegedly too shy to read their own. Both, however, were in the audience, and I was acutely aware of their presence as I hoped I did their poems justice. Having got to know Gwen much better in later years, I am amazed that she could have offered such an excuse.

Explain Australian poetry International poets like Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Ted Hughes, Adrian Mitchell from the UK, Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti from the US, came to Adelaide Arts Festival Writers' Week in the late 1960s and early 1970s and gave great, as reported in the newspapers, public performances to town hall's full of people. Explain Australian poetry Postmodernist Hedwig Gorski coined the term "performance poetry" after the strong influences of performing Beat poets like Ginsberg and John Giorno who produced audio recordings of their print poems. Geoffrey Dutton wrote in the Bulletin: "Maybe Yevtushenko is the man who will give the relation between poet and public in Australia the tremendous lift it badly needs and so easily might achieve". Bruce Dawe believed that Yevtushenko's visit would "help to establish in people's minds that poetry is not necessarily and forbiddingly long-hair or academic". That is one of the lasting influences of performing and performance poets.

By the 1970s there was a great push in Australia for the voices to be heard that were other to the Anglo-centric male dominated majority, i.e. women, migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, indigenous Australians, differently abled and gendered persons. For many the poetry reading was the place to be heard. There were many poetry groups and much performance activity in the 1970s. Andrew Taylor, a foundation member of the Friendly Street poetry readings in Adelaide wrote in the Number Ten Friendly Street poetry reader; acknowledging the cultural as well as literary value of poetry readings; In 1975 we had all (Richard Tipping, Ian Reid and Andrew Taylor) recently returned to Adelaide from various extended periods overseas, including time in the United States where small, public poetry readings were very popular and frequent. Many of these were held in bookshops or bars – unelaborate, even casual occasions whose value was to be found as much in the opportunity they gave people to get together with a purpose as in the poetry that was read. 

This was a milestone publication in Australian poetic culture, the first commercially available sound recording of twelve of Australia's most prominent poets of the time. As early as 1973 Eric Beach had started to work as a full-time, grossly under-paid poet, conducting workshops at schools and performing and was a recipient of a grant from the newly formed Australia Council for the Arts. Ania Walwicz, Vicki Viidikas, thalia, Sylvia Kantazaris, Anna Couani, and Pi O emerged as strong non-Anglo voices in performance poetry, and Kate Jennings's anthology of women writers Mother i'm rooted, 1975, highlighted the lack of women in Australian poetry anthologies. Most of the new women writers had engaged with poetry through the activity of poetry readings and not the formal Anglo-centric male dominated academic poetry of the universities. In 1976 the Poets Union was formed, identifying that poetry was indeed work and workers needed to be represented by a union to negotiate their demands. New readings, often centred around performance were held in Sydney by the 'militant' Poets Union there and were the genesis of the later pub poetry in that city. Chris Mansell and Les Wicks, among others, were prime movers in this new movement, organising readings and publishing Compass and Meuse (with Bill Farrow) respectively. The Poets Union pushed for better conditions for poets at the Sydney Festival, which then included writers, and successfully gained recognition and payment.

Australian writers who have obtained international renown include the Nobel-winning author Patrick White, as well as authors Christina Stead, David Malouf, Peter Carey, Bradley Trevor Greive, Thomas Keneally, Colleen McCullough, Nevil Shute and Morris West. Notable contemporary expatriate authors include the feminist Germaine Greer, art historian Robert Hughes and humorists Barry Humphries and Clive James. Among the important authors of classic Australian works are the poets Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, C. J. Dennis and Dorothea Mackellar. Dennis wrote in the Australian vernacular, while Mackellar wrote the iconic patriotic poem My Country. Lawson and Paterson clashed in the famous "Bulletin Debate" over the nature of life in Australia with Lawson considered to have the harder edged view of the Bush and Paterson the romantic.

Lawson is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest writers of short stories, while Paterson's poems remain amongst the most popular Australian bush poems. Significant poets of the 20th century included Dame Mary Gilmore, Kenneth Slessor, A. D. Hope and Judith Wright. Among the best known contemporary poets are Les Murray and Bruce Dawe, whose poems are often studied in Australian high schools. Novelists of classic Australian works include Marcus Clarke (For the Term of His Natural Life), Miles Franklin (My Brilliant Career), Henry Handel Richardson (The Fortunes of Richard Mahony), Joseph Furphy (Such Is Life), Rolf Boldrewood (Robbery Under Arms) and Ruth Park (The Harp in the South). In terms of children's literature, Norman Lindsay (The Magic Pudding), Mem Fox (Possum Magic), and May Gibbs are among the Australian classics, while Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi) is a modern YA classic. Eminent Australian playwrights have included Steele Rudd, David Williamson, Alan Seymour and Nick Enright.

Although historically only a small proportion of Australia's population have lived outside the major cities, many of Australia's most distinctive stories and legends originate in the outback, in the drovers and squatters and people of the barren, dusty plains. David Unaipon is known as the first Aboriginal author. Oodgeroo Noonuccal was the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse.[4] A ground-breaking memoir about the experiences of the Stolen Generations can be found in Sally Morgan's My Place. Charles Bean, Geoffrey Blainey, Robert Hughes, Manning Clark, Claire Wright, and Marcia Langton are authors of important Australian histories.

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