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Angry Penguins

Angry Penguins

ern poetry hoax influence

an Australian quarterly (19406), first edited by Max Harris (later joined by John Reed). It contained poetry and reviews of literature, jazz, film, and sociology as well as art reproduction, from painters such as Sydney Nolan and Arthur Boyd. Where poetry was concerned, the editorial rejection of existing national socialist canons, in favour of the influence of European modernism, was too brash for some tastes, and laid the journal open to the Ern Malley hoax, which effectively killed it. Two poets, James McAuley and Harold Stewart, who professed themselves anxious about the gradual decay of meaning and skill in contemporary verse, concocted sixteen poems from a mass of printed material, drawn from a swamp drainage report, a dictionary, Shakespeare, and other miscellaneous reading matter, and submitted it to Angry Penguins as the work of a recently dead, unknown insurance salesman. Believing it to be a work of originality, the autumn 1944 number became a special issue ‘To commemorate the Australian Poet, Ern Malley’. The hoax constituted a triumph for the anti-modernists which resounded internationally, and set back the influence of modernism in Australia for some time.

[back] Anglo-Welsh Poetry; - Wales, The Welsh Review, The Anglo-Welsh Review, Dock Leaves, Poetry Wales

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