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Man from Snowy River and Other Verses Paperback – July 28, 2009
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About the Author
A.B. (Andrew Barton) Paterson (1864-1941) was born near Orange in New South Wales and achieved fame as a short story, ballad and legend writer, drawing on his experiences growing up near Yass. He is the major folk poet of Australian literature, publishing many books of verse, short stories and two novels.
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U.S. readers may recognise the title of this collection from the film which bears a more than passing (yet not terribly accurate) resemblance to Paterson's poem of the same name. Read the poem, it is stronger and the `Man' more mythic in Paterson's verse. You may also recognise "Waltzing Matilda" a poem later set to music that narrowly missed becoming Australia's anthem, certainly more Australians know the words to Waltzing Matilda than our official anthem, `Advance Australia Fair.'
Yet Paterson is more than this. The comedic "Mulga Bill's Bicycle' is perhaps as well known to Australians. The tale of the proud and arrogant Mulga Bill who claims "none can ride like me" and "I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight." rolls on in an inevitable but rollicking and funny way.
His `Clancy of the Overflow' perfectly captures the Australian mood of living in the city yet eternally drawn to our wide brown land. It's final paragraph sums it superbly.
And I somehow rather fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal --
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of The Overflow.
I always enjoy reading his verse. It is easily read, quite short and many of them marvelously humourous.
To conclude Paterson is a strongly and uniquely Australian poetic voice. This collection has the best of his verse. I'd recommend it to all who have ever enjoyed one of his verses and to all who might enjoy some simply constructed but strongly evocative Australian poetry. Even fairly young readers would enjoy a lot of the poems in this collection.