‘Country’ in Australian Contemporary Verse Novels

Linda Weste


Research is yet to describe the stylistic preferences that shape contemporary Australian verse novels which provide political and social critique. This article examines Lisa Jacobson’s The Sunlit Zone (2011), Judy Johnson’s Jack (2006), and Geoff Page’s Freehold (2005), texts which share a stylistic preference for representations of speech and thought that are closer to ‘naturally’ occurring oral communication, and which maximise use of vernacular, regional idiom, and colloquial diction. A close reading of these texts identifies the expressivity markers by which they depict attitudes, beliefs, and values pertaining to ‘country’, with particular focus on analysing the interplay of poetic and narrative elements that is instrumental to foreground the ‘natural’, and to correlate their narratives with mimetic, real-world representation.


verse novels; poetic narratives; narrative poems

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