Bush Verse

Why is bush verse so popular in Australia? Published anthologies of bush verse by local authors abound in tourism centres all around rural Australia. Competitions to write or perform bush ballads are found at creative arts festivals, pubs and bush celebrations.

I love the rollicking rhythm of our homegrown poetry style. For me, it is suited to narratives with a twist in the telling, to satire, to political commentary. I also use bush metre for recounts of Biblical stories shifted to a mythical bushland setting.

I don't naturally write 'serious' poems in bush verse. Modern bush rhyme dealing with heavy topics in a mordant tone somehow strikes me as contrived.

I'd rather leave the sentimentality to the 19th century bush poets. Writing in their day could be genuinely sentimental and prosy, without being self-conscious.

These long expansive lines are for storytelling and laughter. On matters of sorrow and tears, my words are briefer.

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