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Re: Ipswich Poetry Feast

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:03 pm
by Shelley
That's a good question, David. It brings up that eternal debate - should bush poets stick to traditional themes or venture into modern social issues and subjects that reflect the world around us in the 21st century?

As we've so often said, the classic poets addressed life as they saw it happening around them in their day. They dealt with a myriad of themes involving rural life, city life and the burning topics of the time. That made their poetry relevant to their contemporaries and moved it forward from the previous styles from which bush poetry was born. At the same time, some of them also dealt with historical subjects.

Surely in our time there is room for both - a celebration of our history along with a poetical highlighting of modern topics. Your poem "An Even Greater Fear" certainly reflects the world as we know it today. I really don't understand why some written poetry judges find modern topics so challenging - but the fact is, some do. Granted, some competitions specify themes requiring more traditional poems, but in an unthemed competition, a poem's relevance to Australia or Australian life should surely not be limited to "period pieces".

But while opinions remain divided, we will likely continue to make that difficult decision ... can this poem hold its own in a bush poetry competition, or is entering it a waste of money?


Bush Poetry definition on ABPA Assessment sheet

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:45 pm
by Brenda Joy
I am putting this up to see how others feel about this small step...

In the following definition included at the top of the ABPA's current assessment sheet for written poetry --

"Subjects are not limited to the outback, but include modern concerns of the bush or city, however, poems should be distinctly Australian and terminology, particularly outback, should be Australian rather than foreign."

Replacing the words "...distinctly Australian... with "...relevant to Australians..." would broaden the scope considerably allowing subjects of universal concern (but also of concern to Australians) to be deemed acceptable.