Understanding Australian Bush Poetry


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Australian Bush Poetry is a popular form of poetry that is written by Australian’s or about the country Australia.

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Understanding Australian Bush Poetry

  1. 1. Understanding Australian Bush Poetry written by: Phillip A Ellis Bush poetry has been part of the Australian writing culture for a long time. Poets of the late nineteenth century were especially keen on writing what is popularly known as bush ballads. However, many of the very first poets of bush poetry are unknown as it first spread orally. But some of their songs like Nine Miles from Gundagai are still popular today.Phillip A. Ellis
  2. 2. But what is Australian bush poetry? Simply put, it is the type of poetry that initially spoke of the rural life and Australian bush during the colonial era. The initial poets had no formal schooling and therefore the poems were memorized. To make this easier they introduced verse and rhyme in the poems.Phillip A. Ellis
  3. 3. What is Australian bush poetry as it is known today traces its origins from the arrival of the British in 1788. Initially, what was known as the Colony of New South Wales was inhabited by convicts. Free settlers arrived from 1793 and added a new cultural diversity. But since there was no much formal education, people engaged in storytelling and jokes.Phillip A. Ellis
  4. 4. The stories evolved with introduction of rhyme, rhythm and metre. These aspects made the stories easier to recall. With these friendly changes, the stories quickly developed in bush poetry as it is known today. Even though these initial poets were illiterate, they contributed greatly into the birth and popularity of Australian bush poetry.Phillip A. Ellis
  5. 5. Australian bush poetry has a unique place in the countrys history. It was the first, original home grown culture which eventually became popular with many people. Bush poets explored any subject that was of interest to their audiences. Any interesting topic could generate bush poetry. Bush poets explored any subject that was of interest to their audiences. Any interesting topic could generate bush poetry.Phillip A. Ellis
  6. 6. While the initial bush poetry was largely oral, the emergence ofaffordable formal education to the children in the colonies in the 1830shelped the evolution of written bush poetry. By 1875 it was compulsoryfor children between 7 and 13 years to go to school. At this time,recordings of bush poetry had started.A significant aspect of Australian bush poetry is its beautiful, colloquiallanguage. It reflects some distinct features of the traditional nativeculture of Australians. The underlying themes reflect the concern fordeveloping a distinctive Australian identity especially by earlier bushpoets. This is evident from poems by famous poets like Banjo Peterson(1864-1914) in Waltzing Matilda and Henry Lawson (1867-1922) in TheCity Bushman. Phillip A. Ellis
  7. 7. Today, Australian bush poetry hasgained a lot of popularity. Anassociation known as TheAustralian Bush Poets Association,formed in 1994 seeks to promotethis poetry. It has attracted peopleinterested in writing and performingmodern and traditional Australianbush poetry.There many festivals andcompetitions held every year topromote bush poetry. Schoolchildren also compete for thefamous Dorothea Mackellar PoetryAward which is the longest lastingcompetition in poetry. It is namedafter a famous bush poet DorotheaMackellar (1885-1968). One famouspoem by this poet is My Country. Phillip A. El
  8. 8. Currently, bush poetry is experiencing a huge revival thanks to many bush poetry clubs that continue to be established. These clubs are found both in towns and in the rural areas. There are also many such online clubs. Besides, it has become the norm for bush poetry to be part of the entertainment schedules of many functions such as fundraisers, bush camps and other festivals.Phillip A. Ellis
  9. 9. How to Write Speculative Poetry written by: Phillip A Ellis Poems with speculative themes are written in such a way that readers get into an unknown zone, full of chill and thrill. One of the most striking features of these poems is the beautiful language that is used by the poets.Phillip A. Ellis
  10. 10. Poems like "Spirits of the Dead" written by Edgar Allan Poe is the best example in this regard. A good speculative poem needs to have two major characteristics. First and foremost, it should be musical. Secondly, it should be haunting. By combining beautiful language with imagery, you can come up with a speculative poem that is going to create a positive impression on the mind of your readers. When it comes to writing a speculative poem, first thing that you need to do is to develop a rhyme scheme. You also have an option of not using any rhyme at all.Phillip A. Ellis
  11. 11. Next, you need to decide on the lines that are going to be there in every stanza. Mark it down. Make sure that the lines finishing in the identical letters rhyme with one another. By developing a rhyme scheme initially, you will be able to establish your form in a much better manner. Point to be noted here is that the poem you have written does not have to rhyme but if you opt for unrhymed writing, restrict the usage of rhymes. Giving rhymes on some events and not using it on other occasions can easily have a negative impact on your poem musical flow. To write a good speculative poem, you need to choose subject very wisely. It should fit the theme. In addition, you also need to put focus on the setting.Phillip A. Ellis
  12. 12. Using ghosts as a starting point is not a bad option but there are otherthings as well that fits perfectly into speculative theme.One of the most famous overriding themes in speculative poems is death.Returning from the dead is quite a vital part of these poems.With regard to settings, it includes cemeteries, castles and Gothicenvironments. It has been noticed that unexpected settings can quite anumber of times be more effective, as it comes with a surprise element.When it comes to selection of words in these poems, you need to opt forthose that evoke creepy pictures or the way they sound, help develop amood. Phillip A. Ellis
  13. 13. Some of the best examples in this regard are mentioned below. The Darkness Sound of something breathing in You need to use words that create a sense of wait and curiosity among readers. To write a good speculative poetry, it is of utmost importance that you try to build suspense all the way. In the beginning of the poetry, you need to be descriptive in your approach. As you move on, you need to create more tension. But that does not mean you ignore the importance of your starting stanza. Use it as a background material. You can treat stanzas in your poem as a book chapter. You start reading book with the start, not with middle and end portion.Phillip A. Ellis
  14. 14. @PhillipEllis http://www.phillipaellis.comhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Phillip-A-Ellis-Poet/280625088639753 http://au.linkedin.com/pub/phillip-%20ellis/15/940/112