THE BOOK SHOW SHARES THE SECRETS OF
SOME GREAT AUSTRALIAN POEMS
Five classic Australian poems enjoy the spotlight in a special feature to be presented during The Book Show on ABC Radio National from 12-16 May.
Each of the five 40 minute programs examines one classic Australian poem. They are all familiar poems, open to many readings, but each gives up new secrets as it is revisited.
12 May - Kenneth Slessor, Five Bells
Ivor Indyk, Emily Maguire and Robert Menzies explore the dark, watery delights of Five Bells and show why, in 1998, it was voted Australia's favourite poem. Themes of time, magic, death, memory, displacement, the immigrant sensibility and the continual possibility of failure brought about by an uncertain self make this episode compelling listening.
13 May - Judith Wright, Rockpool
Can Judith Wright's tough, unsentimental look at the cruelties of life and death teach us how to die? Find out why Veronica Brady, Val Plumwood and Michael Ackland think it can.
14 May - CJ Dennis, The Glugs of Gosh
CJ Dennis presents his readers with three alternatives: whether to speak out against the system and be killed; second to speak out against the system, then to become part of the system with the hope of reforming it; and, thirdly to speak out against the system - then run away. Can the rebel spirit survive and which choice does Dennis make?
15 May - Rosemary Dobson, The Continuance of Poetry
A study of Rosemary Dobson's manuscript papers reveal how the poem finds the poet and how words seem to know more than we do. It is the most abstract episode of the series because it focuses most closely on the qualities of language, the sound, the shape, the texture of words
16 May - A.D. Hope, The Death of the Bird
The secret life of Hope's poem from its first imaginings to the many new meanings it has acquired is evidence of how we read poetry as much as about how it works. Clive James cites The Death of the Bird as one of his favourites, while Ann McCulloch reads the poem as a mantra.
This series of poetry programs is the result of a partnership between ABC Radio National, the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University and the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).
The Book Show poetry series will be broadcast at 10am (Local Time) on ABC Radio National from 12-16 May and will also be available to podcast and stream at abc.net.au/rn/bookshow.