Tag Archives: Bush poetry

Laughter, Tears & Coffee – Hélène Jermolajew

Standard

 

Balboa Press

ISBN 9781504309363

RRP $14.99

helene

Yes, you already know it if you have read this blog before. I am a self-confessed nerd and was as a child as well. I didn’t just love reading as in stories, I revelled in information books and I LOVED poetry. I still have two poetry books my Mum included in birthday presents; I usurped my older brother’s poetry text books the minute he was done with them. I’ve written it, I won a prize in high school for it and I love teaching it.

So when my friend Hélène recently published her book of poetry I was dead keen to read it. As luck would have it there was an afternoon this week when I was far from feeling 100%, it was rainy and I went to bed like a diva to recover and began to read. Is there anything quite as soothing as poetry for an aching soul? Contrary to Hélène I have no aversion to free verse, indeed it is often my preference but I could certainly well appreciate the rhythm and cadence of Hélène’s verse.

She began writing as a child, has always written and has honed her craft as a member of various groups, as well as performing/presenting in various venues.  She brings the wealth of her life experience to her work. Child of immigrant parents, challenges, highs and lows, family, children, travel and more are reflected in her writing.

This volume of eclectic pieces is categorised by themes such as Nature, Inspired by Beach and Farewells & Memories. Throughout we can share Hélène’s emotions and relate these to our own experiences, although not all.

I think of all that I enjoyed in this, one particular poem stood alone for me in it’s simple poignancy but depths of ‘story’.

Buttons

War came to her door in Belgrade;

She refused

To clean snow-laden streees;

Driven away

In German trucks

Leaving her half-eaten chocolate bar

On the table;

Interned,

Slave labour,

Punching out unknown metal objects,

Moved,

Un-asked;

Another camp,

Sewing,

Buttons, buttons, buttons

On German uniform trousers,

Fifty-two buttons on each pair,

Every day,

Every night;

 

For the rest of her life my mother hated buttons.

 

Well done  Hélène and thank you for allowing me the privilege!

 

Advertisements

Meet Banjo Paterson – Kristin Weidenbach/James Gulliver Hancock

Standard

banjo

Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857980083

Published: 01/04/2015

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Extent: 32 pages

RRP $24.95

The picture book series of ‘Meet……’ has been extraordinarily successful in bringing the biographies of outstanding Australians to younger readers.  Taking simple information and presenting it in a very accessible text accompanied by illustrations has opened up a whole new experience for younger students, giving them all a very clear picture of salient points about each subject’s life and times.

The latest offering in the series examines the life of arguably our most famous poet, A. B. Paterson better known to all as Banjo, beginning with his early life growing up in the countryside near Yass and through to his working in the ‘big city’ where his longing for the outback evidenced itself in his bush ballads.

Banjo’s acclaim as a bush poet was swift and universal – loved by both city dwellers and country folk alike.  Lines from various poems are cleverly quoted to highlight certain events and occasions and Hancock’s illustrations in tones that reflect that landscape offer a visual exploration of others. Readers could certainly try to identify each poem from its given illustrative clue.

Of course, perhaps the most familiar composition for the intended readership is ‘Waltzing Matilda’ which receives its due attention and offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the vocabulary of this famous poem in detail. There is much in here to enrich a teaching program – comparisons of town/country life in Banjo’s time and in the present day, entertainments and hobbies of the past, landscapes and so much more. Here the provided teaching notes will be a terrific bonus.

As with previous titles in the series a double page spread at the end contains a time line of The Banjo’s life and given his involvement with WWI this could be a timely chance to introduce younger students to the man whose work is loved by so many generations of Australians.

Find teaching notes here.

banjo-paterson-at-campsite