The Man from Snowy River by Banjo Paterson

Copyright 1961, 1987 edition
Checked out 6 times in 23 years
Last checked out 8 years ago

I like this book but there are a number of problems with it. It’s not American poetry for one. It’s the work of an Australian (but what is the call number for Australian lit?). It has also had lousy circulation, though there remains a trickle of interest. As I’ve mentioned before, even being checked out once a decade isn’t all bad for a book of poetry. I’m going to argue for keeping this on the shelf as a diversity component to the collection. Thus far I haven’t run into any cowboy poetry here (there being a good bit of that going on out west in this country) and this comes close, though a great many of these poems are about racing, especially steeplechases, which one doesn’t see in American cowboy poetry. Still, the title poem is one of cowboy bravado, plain and simple. Since we have cowboy churches in this area, surely there’s a place for a volume of cowboy poetry on the shelves.

Another reason to keep this book is because, poetry or not, it’s a fun book of tall tales. Take, for instance, “Father Riley’s Horse,” in which an outlaw at the end of his days leaves a fast horse with a man of the cloth and the father then decides to run him in a high stakes race to procure the prize for the poor. To top it off, everyone speculates at the end that it was the ghost of the dead outlaw riding the horse in the race.

So I recommend keeping this charming book on the shelf until interest runs out on it entirely.

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About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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