Australian Literature Week 7: Contemporary Poets

Who are some of Australia’s finest contemporary poets? The list is very long, but we focussed in on some of the very best: Romaine Moreton, an indigenous poet who celebrates the continuing creative force of her culture, despite the huge difficulties they face:






David Malouf, novelist and poet who powerfully captured the feeling of being a child during the second world war in his poem “The Year of the Foxes”, describing his mother’s efforts to make ends meet by selling fox furs to young women “in love” with American GIs. You can hear Malouf read his own poem here (click on the image of the GI Girls):

GIOther poets we looked at included Les Murray, especially his poem “The Quality of Sprawl” with its sanctification of Beatrice Miles as an iconic Australian who carried within her life an ability to challenge all the corrupt hierarchical structures of her day. Click on this photo of Beatrice Miles to see a modern version of her life:

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Murray’s poem fits in beautifully with the theme we have been exploring of the “invisible”, “formless” beauty, that capacity, as Judith Wright spoke about it of allowing the mountain to have “its own meaning”:

I’ve no wish to chisel things into new shapes.

The remnant of a mountain has its own meaning.

This connects also with David Malouf’s character Ashley Crowther in Fly Away Peter:

“… this was the first landscape he had known and he did not impose that other, greener one upon it; it was itself. Coming back, he found he liked its mixture of powdery blues and greens, its ragged edges, its   s   p   r   a   w  l,  the sense  it gave of being unfinished. These things spoke of space, and of time in which nature might be left to go its own way and still yield up what it had to yield; there was that sort of abundance. For all his cultivation, he liked what was unmade here and could, without harm, be left that way. 

So what are some Blog topics that will engage you with some of the awesome poetry we have looked at this week?

1/ Chose any one of the poets in our list for this week and create a mini-digital kit promoting their work and promoting what you see is their value to our society today. Who are the poets: Jennifer Maiden, Yahia Al-Samawy, David Malouf, Les Murray, Robert Adamson, Michael Dransfield, Ken Bolton, Kevin Hart, Judith Beveridge, Anthony Lawrence.

2/ Chose a single line from any one of the poems you have read this week and construct your own poem based on this line. Introduce your poem with a brief introduction as to why you chose this particular poem.

3/ Write a letter to Beatrice Miles. Tell her why we need people with the calibre of her spirit in Sydney in the 21st Century.

4/ Begin practicing your Youtube skills (in preparation for Transmedia Yay!) and present a mini-documentary on one of the poets we have on our list for this week.

4/ Create your own topic, building it around any of the poets we have studied, sharing an aspect of your own life and experience.


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