Document Type

Creative Work

Publication Details

Wearne, Alan R., 2008, The Australian Popular Songbook, Giramondo Publishing Company, Artarmon, 93p.



Research Background
This collection of poems written between 1998 and 2007 comprises three sections: ‘The Australian Popular Songbook’, a suite of poems inspired by such songs from the 1880s to the 1980s, ‘The Metropolitan Poems’, a group of poems inspired by Melbourne and Sydney suburbs and the Illawarra, and ‘Breakfast With Darky’ a monologue centred on post war leftist politics. Among many areas portrayed are politics across the ideological spectrum, the underworld, relationships between the sexes, family living and the poet’s own life.

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This book (in some senses a series of imaginative historical documents) is very innovative in its choice of subject matter and the means by which they are described and narrated. 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.

Research Significance
The book won the Grace Leven Prize (Australia’s oldest poetry award) and 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 here.