The anthology consists of one poem from each of his chosen authors and includes a short biography on each author at the end of the book. The collection includes verse from well-known Australian writers such as Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson and Dorothea Mackellar but also includes a delightful array of more obscure entrants. Many of the included writers contributed work for The Bulletin, Australia’s longest running magazine.
There are many humorous poems, such as ‘My Other Chinese Cook’ by James Brunton Stephens, and even a reference to a Harry Potter, well before JK Rowling brought one to fame (‘Taking the Census’ by Charles Harpur). The variety of works cover an array of topics, however the references to the flora, fauna, characters, landscapes and sports throughout the collection are typically Australian. My personal favourites included ‘Death of a Whale’ by John Blight, ‘The Cliff’ by David Rowbotham and ‘The Old Colonist’ by Andrew Taylor, the two former due to the wave of emotion they evoke and the latter for my lifelong love of felines.
I have never read an anthology of poetry before, however I was recently drawn to this one whilst browsing at my local library. I am very pleased I took the time to read this as I feel I now have a greater knowledge, not only of those who have contributed to Australia’s literary history, but of our country’s history in general.