Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Pocketful of Poets

The phrase "a pocketful of poets" isn't really a saying in this country, but it should be. When you consider the fact that a ten dollar note has portraits of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson on one side and Dame Mary Gilmore on the other, having a "pocketful of poets" would mean you've got a wad of cash in small denominations - ready and easy to spend.

Algernon, the library's gorilla, has got us all thinking about having poets in our pockets with his latest display. If you come into the Mabo Library regularly you may have noticed Algernon has been getting more and more involved in our displays of late. He seems to think the fact that he lives in the library gives him special insight into our collections, or something like that.

For Australia day, he's decided to put together a display based around a pet project of his: he wants to get C.J. Dennis on the Australian five dollar note.

"The Parliament House is boring," he said, "And we should ditch it for an interesting poet."

To help back up his claim, he's selected a number of books showcasing the work of all three poets. Not only do we have anthologies of some of their poems and biographies written about them - we also have first editions of some of their books.

If you've never read a poem by Mary Gilmore or C.J. Dennis, or the only Banjo Paterson poem you can think of is Waltzing Matilda, this is a very good chance to get to know a part of our Australian cultural heritage.

And if you have read poems by these writers before, isn't this a great time to refresh your memory or learn a bit more about them?

Besides, Algernon is hoping to drum up enough interest in his "Dennis for the $5" campaign to start a petition...

Then we really will have pockets full of poets.

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