Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Wearne, A. R. "Prepare the Cabin for Landing." Sydney: Giramondo Poets, 2012.



Research Background

This collection of poems written between 2008 and 2012 comprises four sections: (i) A group of narrative poems that cover topics such as young high school teachers of the 60s; hip, swinging, inner-urbanites from out of the 70s; the Nugan Hand Bank; the literati at conference time. (ii) An account of quasi- bohemia in the context of mainstream suburbia. (iii) A continuation of my The Australian Popular Songbook, suite of poems inspired by such songs from the 1880s to the 1980s. (iv) The Vanity of Australian Wishes, a large scale Juvenal/ Dr Johnson inspired satire centred on what irks me and what requires celebrating re Australia.

Research Contribution

This book (in some senses a series of imaginative historical documents) is very innovative in its choice of subject matter and the means by which they are described and narrated. Often utilising such traditional forms as sonnets, villanelles and quatrains etc the book is strongly supported by the poet’s use of the vernacular, on his own famed terms, with The Vanity of Australian Wishes being seen as also a homage to Juvenal’s 10th Satire and Dr Johnson’s version The Vanity of Human Wishes.

Research Significance

Published by Giramondo, Sydney this book received very good reviews in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, the Australian Literary Review and Australian Book Review. By far the fullest account of the volume appears on Martin Duwell’s Australian Poetry Review website:



Wearne is Australia's poet-moralist, a master ofits idioms, the recorder of its pretensions, and thescourge of its big-noters, con-artists and crooks. In'The Vanity of Australian Wishes' he pays tributeto Samuel Johnson and Juvenal, 'who knew thatcombination of bemusement, annoyance, angerand despair to which your country can drive you,though always aware of its entertainment valueand dramatic potential'. The collection includesan affectionate portrait of three Melbourne highschool teachers in the early I 960s, and a sagawhich records the destinies of their pupils, satireson the world of finance and drug-dealing, literaryacademics and the libertinlsm of baby-boomers,and seven new poems based on Australian popsongs.