The ABC Book of Australian Poetry

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry

A Treasury of Poems for Young People

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry introduces readers to a vibrant and engaging collection of poems, each carefully selected by multi award-winning author Libby Hathorn to help ignite and foster a love of poetry in young Australian people.

The author of over 50 books for children, Libby is passionate about poetry's enjoyment and also sees it as a means of stirring creativity in all of us.

She takes readers on a poetic journey all along the river, from the water's source, down the rugged mountains, across the plains, through country towns and the city, and finally out to the sea. Here are Australian landscapes and life, as seen through the eyes of some of our best Australian poets.

With exquisite illustrations by Cassandra Allen, The ABC Book of Australian Poetry includes favourites from poets such as A B 'Banjo' Paterson, Henry Kendall, Dorothea Mackellar and C J Dennis; as well as more contemporary poets such as Judith Wright, Les A Murray, Gwen Harwood and Steven Herrick, making it truly a collection to be treasured.

From the author:
'My wish for the ABC Book of Australian Poetry: A Treasury of Poems for Young People was to compile a rich collection of Australian poetry, peppered with old favourites alongside works of contemporary poets, which would offer readers pleasure and renewed appreciation of our Australian culture and land.

I have been concerned that works of certain classic Australian poets may be slipping out of sight, while the fine works of poets of our time may never be heard or read by young people. This anthology gave me the opportunity to invigorate classic works and highlight contemporary Australian voices, using the metaphor of the river of life for each section and reflecting so aptly on the phases of our history.

I hope this collections stirs something in the heart and mind of young and old alike, so that the poems will be shared, read aloud, even sung, for the sheer pleasure of their particular Australian poetic voice and identity.' - Libby Hathorn

Libby Hathorn has had a lifelong love affair with poetry. She finds it a continual source of inspiration in her work and in her life, with many of her stories beginning with fragments of poetry. Libby has won awards and commendations for her novels and picture books for young people, several of which have been adapted into movies, plays and opera. She is currently working on a fantasy novel and her arts program 100 Views, bringing poetry to schools, especially to teachers in Australia and overseas.

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry
Harper Collins
Author: Libby Hathorn
Illustrator: Cassandra Allen
ISBN: 9780733320194
Price: $29.99

Interview with Libby Hathorn

Why did you decide to combine this book of Australian poetry?

Libby Hathorn: It was a way of connecting some of the traditional works like The Man from Snowy River (Banjo Paterson) and My Country Dorothea Mack Ellarwith newer poets like Judith Wright and her magical poems on Birds and Steven Herrick a younger writer who kids can't get enough of... Using the trajectory of the river flowing from mountain top source to the sea was a lovely way to make a journey across this remarkable land of ours through poetry.

Many young people are not interested in poetry, how will this collection ignite a love of poetry in young people?

Libby Hathorn: This collection is one about love of country, flora fauna, landscape and people, and I hope will 'sing out' to young readers and of course especially to those who teach or read to young people. It's one of my greatest concerns as a writer and an Australian that young people in general do not have much meaningful contact with poetry that no simply reads for enjoyment. Also that no one commits it to memory say, in the way my parents did and in fact I did at school, enjoying the rhythm and rhyme of the words and the spell that poetry can cast, and the humour it can evoke. And yet when it is read to them young people often respond with a welter of writing of their own.

Many Australians dismiss poetry and say that they "don't understand it", how can you convince these people to give The ABC Book of Australian Poetry a shot?

Libby Hathorn: Give poetry a chance! Some poetry sings On Frosty Days (David Campbell) and needs to be read and re-read or heard over like a great song, Song of Yellow by John Shaw Neilson (others are a short sharp comment or even a joke or present an instant picture like The Beach (William Hart Smith), while others again tell a great Australian story like The Man from Ironbark (Banjo Paterson) but all of them affect our emotions in some way. Dipping into the book there will be some poems that do not necessarily speak to you, but I can guarantee the reader will find many that do.

What do you like most about poetry?

Libby Hathorn: That it delights the senses, touches our hearts and is clever, clever, clever! It's succinct and yet can have a mountain of meaning; it provides food for thought and can lead the way; for example just copying the way a poet writes, and writing about something important to ourselves, can enhance our own thinking and writing, as we find our own voice. For example, to model some work on the very first poem in the collection by Mary Duroux I Am the river by trying one, say, I am the city, demonstrates the simple elegance of the word, and how 'easy' making a shape and meaning on a page can be.

How does the older poet's poetry work alongside more contemporary poets in The ABC Book of Australian Poetry?

Libby Hathorn: It's a poetry trail of the history of our land from wonderful Aboriginal voices to bush poet's right through to contemporary writers. For example, there are quite a few bird poems that are both old e.g. Bell Birds by Henry Kendall and new like Judith Wrights Parrots- but both are showing a love of nature and I think it's important to see the way language and style change over time, and yet meanings can be eternal.