Reprint: Wilmot, the Poet: Contributed to National Tradition

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Frank Wilmot, writing under the pen-name of "Furnley Maurice," was a social poet, who made a distinctive and original contribution to national tradition, being a keen critic, as well as a poet.

This was stated at the University College last night by Mr. T. Inglis Moore, when he delivered the second of his lectures in the series, "Two Social Poets."  

On his death in 1942, Frank Wilmot was manager of the Melbourne University Press, and spent his life in that city, writing, selling and publishing books. He was a prolific poet,     publishing 13 volumes, which covered pure lyrics, reflective odes, descriptive verse, satire, and even a book of children's verses.

Mr. Inglis Moore said that his most mature and valuable poetry was in his ''Melbourne Odes," published in 1934, one of which won the Dyer Centenary Prize during Melbourne's Centenary celebrations. Here he set out to give "Imaginative significance to everyday objects" in a modern, unpoetical language. Thus, he is important as a poetic revolutionary in Australia in his use of modern idioms to describe modern life.

Other poems in the Melbourne series included one on the agricultural show at Flemington and "The Victoria Markets, Recollected in Tranquility." From "Ode to a Grey-Haired Old Lady Knitting at an Orchestral Concert, Price Two and One, Plus Tax," his imagination created a fine poem, just as his sardonic humour found expression in the satires called "Odes for a Curse-Speaking Choir."

In conclusion, Mr. Moore pointed out that Wilmot was placed in the first six of Australian poets. His special value will probably be as a romantic realist, who presented Melbourne life around him in a highly individual amalgam of brute fact, satiric humour and penetrating imagination.

First published in The Canberra Times, 27 September 1945

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 7, 2011 8:45 AM.

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