HENRY KENDALL: POETRY PROSE AND SELECTED CORRESPONDENCE book cover   Henry Kendall: Poetry, Prose and Selected Correspondence
Henry Kendall
Edited by Michael Ackland


Cover design by Christopher McVinish using a portrait of Henry Kendall by Tom Roberts from the Historic Memorials Committee Collection, Parliament House, Canberra.

Dustjacket synopsis:
"Henry Kendall is Australia's best known nineteenth-century poet and author of the memorable "Bell Birds".

"This edition offers new perspectives on Kendall's work and stresses the cultural and historical context shaping his thought. His versatility is amply demonstrated by the selection of poems. Included are some not reissued since his death, together with well-known pieces from his most significant books of verse. The prose selection further enriches our understanding of Henry Kendall and of colonial journalism. The letters offer insights into crucial phases of his life, documenting his early family and religious turmoil, as well as his later personal and literary recognition."

First Paragraph from the Introduction:

Arriving at a just appreciation of Henry Kendall and his work has always posed serious problems. During his lifetime, the Australian poet struggled against incomprehension, whether in family or literary matters, and against uncongenial surroundings. Subsequent judgments fluctuated between acclaim and denigration, before settling down to the received image of the poet as a significant but minor colonial author, remarkable personally for a pervasive sense of melancholy, and poetically for mellifluous, descriptive incantations of the Australian coastal hinterland, in such works as "Bell Birds" and "llla Creek". There have been, however, dissenting or revisionist readings. Most notably, Frank Myers, in "The Other Kendall" (see Appendix I), offered a counter-image to that of the ineffectual, sin-racked poet, presenting a man who "did not require or favour apology in any sort whatever; who was very much disposed to take the world fighting; whose lapses were adventitious or involuntary; and whose actual self, otherwise established and environed, might have stood out and been remembered, courageous and strong". A. D. Hope too has drawn attention to the neglected range of Kendall's oeuvre, and in particular to the poetic force of works dealing with non-Australian matter. To date, these divergent emphases remain unreconciled, suggesting the need for an edition such as this, which places Kendall's better known work within the larger context provided by his topical writings, by contemporary responses (in Appendices I and II), and by his correspondence. The correspondence provides important insights into his life and thought, and reveals an unexpected dimension to his verse on biblical and classical subjects; while poetry and prose, uncollected during his lifetime, show a versatility and engagement which go far towards substantiating the claims of Frank Myers. In short, this edition attempts both to cast light on neglected concerns of Kendall, and to provide the reader with the means of forming an individual verdict on the writer's achievement through a generous selection from his many-faceted production, much of it not reissued this century or hitherto unavailable in print.


from Poems and Songs (1862)
The Muse of Australia
The Wail in the Native Oak
To Charles Harpur

from Leaves from Australian Forests (1869)
Prefatory Sonnets
The Hut by the Black Swamp
September in Australia
Ghost Glen
The Warrigal
At Euroma
Illa Creek
Moss on a Wall
On a Cattle Track
To Damascus
Bell Birds
A Death in the Bush
The Last of His Tribe
The Voyage of Telegonus
Charles Harpur
King Saul at Oilboa
from Twelve Sonnets
I A Mountain Spring
IV Attila
V A Reward
IX Dante and Virgil
X Rest
XII Alfred Tennyson
Sutherland's Grave
On the Paroo
Faith in God
The Glen of Arrawatta
At Dusk
In Memoriam: Daniel Henry Deniehy
Rose Lorraine

Uncollected Poems
Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Four
To Henry Halloran
At Nightfall
The Late Mr. A. L. Gordon: In Memoriam
On a Street
The Gagging Bill
A Bog-Borough Editor
A Psalm of Life
An Idol of New Barataria
Outre Mer

from Songs from the Mountains (1880)
Dedication: To a Mountain
Jim the Splitter
Bill the Bullock Driver
The Voice in the Wild Oak
Peter the Piccaninny
The Sydney International Exhibition
The Song of Ninian Melville
On a Spanish Cathedral
Names upon a Stone

Lecture on Shelley and His Poetry
About a Sham
A Fight with a Devil Fish
The Holy Grail
A Colonial Literary Club
The Poems of Thomas Davis
Gerald Manley Supple
Arcadia at Our Gates
Old Manuscripts
An Election in Shamshire
The Flaming Fitz

To: Charles Harpur 25 September 1862
Charles Harpur 19 August 1863
Mrs A. E. Selwyn 2 January 1864
Mrs A. E. Selwyn 9 April 1864
Mrs A. E. Selwyn 25 March [1865]
Charles Harpur 26 August [1865]
Charles Harpur 22 October [1865]
Charles Harpur 12 December 1865
Charlotte Rutter [November 1867]
Charlotte Rutter n.d.
Charlotte Rutter [14 January 1868]
Dr J. E. Neild 22 June 1869
Dr J. E. Neild 19 August 1869
J. J. Shillinglaw [31 January 1870]
A. L. Gordon [February-March 1870]
J. Sheridan Moore 19 November 1874
Peter Fagan n.d.
Henry Halloran 3 July 1879
N.W. Swan 10 February 1880
Frank Myers n.d.
Mrs Harpur 22 March 1882

From the University of Queensland Press paperback edition, 1993.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 9, 2002.