Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tas Lit Tues: Vivian Smith

Yes! A themed day!

When I was still in the "just planning and dreaming" stage of this blog (about a week and a half ago) one thing that I decided I really wanted to include was Tasmanian Literature.

I love books. I studied them at university for FOUR years. I even did a course on Tasmanian Literature. I own books written by Tasmanians (though I sold some of them, thinking I would never read them again... quoting them on a blog did not enter my mind).

Why on Tuesday?
Because it sounds cool! Say it out loud: "Tas Lit Tues". See?

I thought I would start this series with a poem by one of Tasmanias best known poets: Vivian Smith.

Vivian Smith was born in Tasmania in 1933. He now lives in Sydney, but many of his poems are interested in portraying the Tasmania that he knew when he was young.

This poem is simply about Tasmania, which I think is an appropriate way to start the series.


Water colour country. Here the hills
rot like rugs beneath enormous skies
and all day long the shadows of the clouds
stain the paddocks with their running dyes.

In the small valleys and along the coast,
the land untamed between the scattered farms,
deconstructed churches lose their paint
and failing pubs their fading coat of arms.

Beyond the beach the pine trees creak and moan,
in the long valley poplars in a row,
the hills breathing like a horse's flank
with grasses combed and clean of the last snow.

What do you think? Does this poem remind you of the Tasmania you know and remember?


  1. Hi, any idea where this poem was first published?

  2. 2008, according to this site:

    It might be prudent to do some more research into it if you need to know for academic purposes, however :)

  3. Thanks for responding Kathy, it's a tricky one to track down! The 2008 version was on a CD of Smith reading his own poems, so I'm guessing it was published earlier than that in text form somewhere. It is for academic purposes, but I've had no luck finding it. Thanks anyway!