When Australian’s think of poetry many would probably immediately recall Banjo Patterson’s Clancy of the Overflow or perhaps Dorothea Mackellar’s immortal lines from her poem ‘My Country’- I love a sunburnt country, poets of whom lived in another lifetime from many of us.
Bendigo author Lorraine Marwood is a passionate poet who brings to readers of her latest two books from Walker a perspective of life how it is in contemporary rural Australia.
Her background of life in rural Victoria (she was born and raised in rural Victoria and has lived for most of her married life on a dairy farm with her husband and their six children) is evident as the hardships and joy of living in the country is portrayed in her verse.
Marwood’s poetry usually does not rhyme and such is the case in her latest book A Ute Picnic. Her use of succinct language is richly woven and instils diverse imagery in the mind of the reader that is at times poignantly evocative such as in ‘Tree, a Portrait’ (p 46) where the life of a tree is described as being ‘…a community house’ or a ‘…a balloon lung, breathe in carbon dioxide exhale oxygen, fresh red blood’; or the lovely tribute to an old dog on page 62.
The book has been divided into various thematic chapters, with many children’s first choice probably being the section entitled ‘Cow tracks and fact and other poems about animals and manure’.
After reading this book I then wanted to and read her previous work, ‘Star Jumps’, a children’s verse novel set on a dairy farm during a drought and told through the eyes of a young girl. I was left with a lump in my throat at the end.
‘[A Ute Picnic took me] …18 months or more to come together,’ Marwood told me via email. ‘I’m thrilled that Walker are willing to put out a collection from one poet- and that a children’s poet. [There are] -lots of new poems in this collection, but a couple also collected from ‘Redback Mansion'[a previous poetry book by Marwood.]’
Marwood is an award-winning poet who has been widely published in literary magazines across
Australia, as well as magazines in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada. She is the author of several children’s novels and collections of poetry; she has been the Australian editor of the UK literary magazine Tears in the Fence and is a writer of poetry ideas and teaching plans for The Literature Base. She also conducts workshops on poetry and story writing skills and is a judge for many writing competitions, including the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.
‘A Ute Picnic and Other Australian Poems,’ by Lorraine Marwood, (2010) Walker books, RRP $15.95 paperb