My Favourite 5 Poets - #1

Henry Lawson, Australia, 1867 - 1922.

Australia's greatest ever writer.

Born on the Grenfell goldfields in New South Wales, to a Norwegian seaman turned gold miner, Neils Larsen, and a young mother Louisa who was also a writer. The family name was anglicised upon young Henry's birth. But throughout his life of writing he often affectionately referred to himself as Harry Larsen.

Louisa became an editor, publishing her own work as well as the early work of her son. In 1887 at 20 years of age his first poems went into print. His most successful prose work While The Billy Boils appeared in 1896.

He took it up to the contemporary writers who mostly came from the wealthier class and wrote in a more romantic style. In contrast Lawson wrote hard edged realism, often with a political theme. He is said to have created and defined an Australianess: laconic, humane, egalitarian.

Possibly his most famous work, the short story The Drover's Wife, is a brutal sad depiction of the poverty and bleakness of early Australian bush life. In his stories he created unforgettable recurring characters such as Jack Mitchell, Joe Wilson (my favourite), Steelman & Smith.

His poetry would be looked down upon nowadays by the post-beat kind of writers, for it was all done in the old colonial ballad style, following the rythymic form of genre such as sea shanties. But his langauge is stark and vivid, his images possibly the best word descriptions ever of the Australian people and their homeland. His message harsh but humorous.

My favourite.
61-65, M
Sep 10, 2012