Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry

Australian Poetry

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Despite perhaps seeming out of the typical Australian character, poetry played an important part in the founding of Australian literature. Two poets who vie for the position of greatest Australian poet are Christopher Brennan and Adam Lindsay Gordon. Gordon was not born in Australia but the Azores, to Scottish parents. Despite this he is often called the "national poet of Australia" and is the only Australian with a monument in Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in England.

Both Gordon’s but particularly Brennan’s works are made up of traditional styles of poetry with many classical allusions, which can be thought of as high culture, but there was also a competing, vibrant tradition of folk songs and ballads. Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson were two of the chief exponents of these popular ballads and ‘Banjo’ himself was responsible for creating what is probably the most famous Australian verse Waltzing Matilda.

Prominent Australian poets of the twentieth century included A. D. Hope, Judith Wright, Kenneth Slessor, Gwen Harwood, David Rowbotham, Les Murray, Jennifer Maiden, Will Ogilvie and Kevin Hart.


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