Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Potluck #Poetry – stripping by Frank Prem


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Frank Prem is an Australian author with two collections of poetry that describe his childhood growing in a small town… and the second, the dreadful wildfire that rapidly engulfed communities and took many lives. Both of which I have read and can recommend. I am delighted to be allowed to sample his archives to share with you.

In June 2017, Frank posted a poem a day.. and so I have chosen the poems he posted on this day and then the subsequent poems that correspond to his posts here…

stripping by Frank Prem June 25th 2017

beneath the paint
the timber
resides

mountain ash
that once grew
oh
so tall
so straight
in the heart
of the rain forest

length by length
painted
canary bright
used to seat the children
swimming
in municipal pools

Yellow Board

beneath the paint
still pure
heartwood

in dabs and blobs
a coating applied
of a jelli-um

a something derived
from a something

wait and watch
paint cracks
and bubbles rise
soaking deep
while lifting

Yellow Scrapings1

I feel the burning
of the stuff
seep into
across my fingers

this is not sport
it is a fire
of redemption

and as the scraper
ploughs
and digs
yellow ribbons curl
above the sludge
and fly
off to the side
away to ground

but  where the paint
is pushed away
pale
like new skin
cloistered beneath a parasol
the wood
the straight grained wood
is revealed again

Clean Board

I would not have thought
to be so moved
by this
rescue
and revelation

but when the garish
yellow-ness
is gone
what is left
is the passing purity
of mountains

©Frank Prem 2017

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Books by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Devil in the Wind on Goodreads

I’m not a poetry person, at least not normally, but I cried when I read ‘Devil in the Wind’ by Frank Prem. It’s about the Black Saturday fires that claimed 173 lives here in Victoria.
I was at home in Warrandyte that day. I’d sent the Offspring away, but I was at home with Dad and the animals because Dad had mild dementia and…I don’t think any of us really believed. I listened to 774 radio all day and some horrific reports were being phoned in, but we had the best roof sprinklers money could buy, and fire-resistant shutters. I was sure we’d be fine. And we didn’t really believe.

The next day, the reports started coming in and finally, we believed.

It was ‘all in together’ for a while after Black Saturday. We grieved, and donated food, and money, and hay because the animals were starving, and because we were alive and so many were not.

The togetherness has disappeared now, but we had it for a while, and I thank Frank Prem for helping me remember.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

My thanks to Frank for allowing me access to his archives and I suggest that you head over and enjoy for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Poetry – long night, moon by Frank Prem


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Frank Prem is an Australian author with two collections of poetry that describe his childhood growing in a small town… and the second, the dreadful wildfire that rapidly engulfed communities and took many lives. Both of which I have read and can recommend. I am delighted to be allowed to sample his archives to share with you.

In June 2017, Frank posted a poem a day.. and so I have chosen the poems he posted on this day and then the subsequent poems that correspond to his posts here…

Moon 1

long night, moon by Frank Prem June 18th 2017

long night
moon
you don’t know
when to be gone

I see you there
so small in the sky

is this your home
now
with the nights
so cold

long
night moon
why do you delay
your going

the daytime
is no time
for you
small moon

the dark night
is alone
and longs to feel
the bright
of your glow

it is a long night
moon
will you burn yourself
in the day time

or
long night moon
maybe
you should
go

©Frank Prem 2017

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Books by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Devil in the Wind

Devil in the Wind is not an ordinary collection of poems as this book tell the story of the awful fires that ravaged parts of Australia in February 2009, destroying homes, livestock, forests and people. Each poems gives a different and unique insight into the effect of the fires on different people in different roles in society, including the firefighters, as well as description of how they reacted to the fires, with fighting spirit, brazenness, prayer or despair.

I live in a country that is also plagued by raging fires from time to time and I have felt the fear of being undecided as to whether to fight or flee. If you make the wrong decision you can needlessly loose everything or you can end up dead, along with your family. Frank Prem has captured the turbulent emotions, confusion and conflict that people experience during times of crisis. He also captures the spirit of survival and the ability of people to rally and recover.

A few of the stanza’s that captured my imagination in this book are as follows:

“a young fella went up
to the hamper
crawled right inside it

buried himself in the clothes
and wouldn’t come out

took two and a half hours
to get him to speak”
From ever again

“the sound I heard
was like ten or twelve jumbo jets
down at the airport
all screaming their guts out
at the same time”
From evidence to the commission of enquiry: overview

I would recommend this book to both lovers of poetry and people who are interested in historical events. Frank Prem’s poetry is powerful, but easy to read and understand. A most enjoyable book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

My thanks to Frank for allowing me access to his archives and I suggest that you head over and enjoy for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck Psychiatry 4: Acute Observations -the futility of triple words by Frank Prem


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Frank Prem is an Australian author with two collections of poetry that describe his childhood growing in a small town… and the second, the dreadful wildfire that rapidly engulfed communities and took many lives. Both of which I have read and can recommend. I am delighted to be allowed to sample his archives to share with you.

In June 2017, Frank posted a poem a day.. and so I have chosen the poems he posted on this day and then the subsequent poems that correspond to his posts here…

Psychiatry 4: Acute Observations -the futility of triple words by Frank Prem June 11th 2017

sitting in the dining room
the back corner where he won’t get disturbed
he’s got a book of rules out
dictionary thesaurus and words
a world of words

he does so many pages a day
a genius at the triple-word plays
because he practices moves and combos
knows a little-used term to describe
a master scrabble player
that includes a q tile or maybe a j

he’s scored five hundred
he’s scored five-fifty
he’s scored on every play
in this game of ours
while I’m stuck
looking for a way to turn my tiles in
try to find better letters
maybe find a triple word he hasn’t claimed yet

but then
he really ought to be good for the big scores
he’s got the dictionary open
at eight in the morning and anyway
it’s time for me to make my way to the meds room
to line up anti-psychotics in plastic cups
a thesaurus won’t keep his eyes open
he’ll be sleeping
dreaming about big scores
about jousting in tournaments

about victory

in his room
non-compus
before a result is declared

©Frank Prem 2017

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Books by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Devil in the Wind on Goodreads

Apr 29, 2019 Joy RS rated it Five Stars

Very moving, beautiful, and terrible. This book is more than I can adequately describe, so bear with me here. It’s a poignant account of a terrible event, which, living on another continent, I had heard of, but didn’t properly take in.

It’s not a gruesome book, just incredibly moving: a salute, in a way. The author has taken the words of those who witnessed and survived the tragedy and woven them into poetry. I do hope that in some manner it brings these people catharsis and at least a few nights of undisturbed sleep.

When people die so terribly they deserve to be honoured and remembered around the world. I was left with a profound sense of respect, as well as a reminder that we should never take for granted every precious every moment of life. What can we do to live the life we were born to, given that some have never had the chance?

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

My thanks to Frank for allowing me access to his archives and I suggest that you head over and enjoy for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Poetry – trenchman #1: the trench man’s tools by Frank Prem


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Frank Prem is an Australian author with two collections of poetry that describe his childhood growing in a small town… and the second, the dreadful wildfire that rapidly engulfed communities and took many lives. Both of which I have read and can recommend. I am delighted to be allowed to sample his archives to share with you.

In June 2017, Frank posted a poem a day.. and so I have chosen the poems he posted on this day and then the subsequent poems that correspond to his posts here…

#Poetry – trenchman #1: the trench man’s tools by Frank Prem 4th June 2017.

Friends 1

see them at rest
they are embracing
like weary comrades

they have dug
straight
and dug deep
they are weary now

can you see
in the lost space
the shape
of an absent digger
moving clay around

one leg knee buried deep
the other bent
underneath him

first
the mattock
wielded
then trenching
with the small spade

begun in the morning
as just an idea

pushed through
to lunchtime
it is a line

deep
into evening
the trench
has been opened

trench-man
can rest
and his tools
embrace

Friends 3

©Frank Prem 2017

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Books by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Small Town Kid

Brenda Telford 5.0 out of 5 stars Magic! May 24, 2019

Magic! Aussie author Frank Prem’s Small Town Kid is written in verse, but it’s poetry as I’ve never read before (and I’ve never been a poetry person!) It brought back memories for me – the cracker night; the bonfires all around town; blowing up the teacher’s letterbox with a penny banger. I’m sure I got up to all the mischief Frank and his friends did!

Easter and the fete, with the ducks which went too fast and avoided the pellets to win a prize; the clowns which invited the balls into their mouths, again for a prize. And fairy floss and its sugary delight. The author tells it from his young age right through to adult and fatherhood; the fun, the mischief and the tragedies.

Frank Prem writes in a fascinating and intriguing style, capturing memories with ease. Small Town Kid is one I highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

My thanks to Frank for allowing me access to his archives and I suggest that you head over and enjoy for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Small Town Kid by Frank Prem


This week I am reviewing an memoir that is a collection of poems and stories about growing up in a small town in Australia, Small Town Kid by Frank Prem.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

My review for the collection

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of this lovely collection.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Frank Prem – Welcome to Beechworth, Victoria, #Australia


Today Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

Hello and welcome to my hometown of Beechworth in north-east Victoria, where we nestle in the foothills of the Victorian Alps within easy reach of snow and skiing.

The north-east is awash with pretty and charming small towns and interesting villages, but Beechworth is a special place. It sits in the centre of an historical golden triangle of interest to visitors and tourists alike. The beauty of the scenery through the seasons has to be seen to be believed and won’t be easily forgotten (particularly the gorgeous foliage on display in the autumn), and immaculately preserved honey-granite-constructed buildings of historical significance occur all through the town.

Beechworth traces its roots to the late 1850’s, when it rapidly became one of the richest goldfields in Victoria, and was recognised as a centre of some influence in colonial Victoria. In total, some 212,500 ounces of gold were produced.

Relating directly to the gold rush period, you might like to look out for a few of the significant buildings, such as the original prison and telegraph office on Ford Street (where you can send an old-fashioned telegram), the post office located on the main intersection in town, and the old Gunpowder Magazine located in the bounds of the Gorge that looks across at the town and was the source of the granite hewn to make these buildings. Guided walking tours of Beechworth cover many of the points of interest mentioned so far.

A consequence of the early success of the town was the advent of bushrangers in the district, the most famous being the notorious Kelly Gang comprising Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne, who pillaged in and around the district during the late 1800s. Kelly himself was held in a cell in Beechworth, while his mother, Ellen Kelly (née Quinn), was imprisoned at one time in the local gaol, and former friend turned police informer Aaron Sherritt was murdered by the gang member Byrne at the locality of Woolshed, just outside Beechworth.

I and all of my childhood mates were of course, at one time or another, the one and only ‘real’ Ned Kelly – marauders through the wild bush around the township, growers of voluminous amounts of imaginary facial hair, holders-up of tourist vehicle traffic trying to circumnavigate the Gorge on the tourist road.

More contemporary points of interest would have to include the Beechworth Bakery , which is now well-known in many parts of Australia, the Beechworth Brewery, a multi-award-winning local microbrewery, and the Beechworth Sweet Shop Company. These are particular favorites for me in my life around the town – the bakery for early morning coffee before I start work, the brewery for gourmet pizza lunch when my wife and I want an informal lunch out, and the sweet shop… well, whenever the yearning for hand-crafted dark chocolate calls.

The town holds more festivals and gatherings than I can recount in full, but a few of them come to mind. The The Golden Horseshoes Festival is perhaps the main draw card for visitors and takes place every Easter. The story goes that a horse was shod with golden horseshoes by an election candidate in 1855 and ridden through the town.

Goodness knows what that would have done to the horseshoes, but it suggests there was a lot of wealth about the place. This festival culminates on Easter Saturday morning with a massed parade of exhibits on floats that often seems to go on forever.

Other festivals include the Harvest Festival, the Celtic Festival, the Kelly Country Pick  and of course the Ned Kelly Festival. There are definitely plenty to choose from, and the town fairly bursts at the seams with tourists whenever a festival weekend arrives on the calendar.

But why am I living here? What does this town mean to me?

I grew up in Beechworth, the son of an immigrant family that settled here in the migration wave that took place in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I have memories that curl around my mind rising from every street corner, particularly from the schools, the state and catholic primary schools as well as the local high school. But the wilderness calls me too, recalling my youthful solitary adventures whenever I glimpse the forested Gorge that surrounds the town.

And the old Mayday Hills Psychiatric Hospital reminds that it gave me my career as a psychiatric nurse, each time I step onto the grounds to wander the wooded parkland surrounding the old buildings. It amazes me to see the ‘For Sale’ signs on dilapidated wards where I and my family before me used to work. Privatisation is an amazing thing when places like an old lunatic asylum, as it once was, can be repurposed into hotels, accommodation and private housing. Who would have thought?

This is my home town, I wrote my first poems here, and I bid you….
…welcome to Beechworth.

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

An extract from one of the recent reviews for the book

This delightful book of poems by Frank Prem is packed with interesting poems about his childhood, growing up in a small town in Australia. I love history and also enjoy learning about people and how they live so this book appealed to both of these interests of mine.

There are poems about a small child being cared for by both of his grandparents while his own parents work and the little pleasures such as eating home made poppy cakes, and peeks into the lives of close relatives such as an aunt who had a very lively spirit that showed through at certain times in her live belying the prim and proper exterior she was expected to display as a married matron.

The author clearly grew up in an old fashioned society where people were careful with things and tried to stretch a penny:

“sixpence
for a couple of pounds of paper
and the news
becomes the wrapping
for another feed
of tender young chops.”

My favourite of all Frank’s poems, a tricky place (the annual fete) was a superb insight into small town life at the time. I am not going to give you a peep into that poem, you will have to purchase the book and read it for yourself.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you have enjoyed this lovely nostalgic post from Frank about his home town… he would love to receive your questions and feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with author Frank Prem #Australia


Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

Hello Sally, and readers.

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

We will find out more about Frank’s new release a little later in the post… but first let’s find out which of the questions he has responded to.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

I’m not really much of a cook, and what I do tends to be done in the oven – baked potatoes, spare rib casserole with a lot of produce from the garden in the marinade (savory tomato sauce from our own tomatoes, when possible). It always comes out well, and we do a lot of leftovers.

Probably my best dish, though, is a no knead bread recipe that I’ve adapted for my own use.

This recipe has travelled around a bit, but I think it originated with the New York Times Cooking Department and made famous in a video that is still the primo reference, I believe.

I had started out thinking that I might like to learn how to make bread when I retired from work, and I had sourdough in mind as the thing to do. I reminded myself, though of a couple of things:

  1.  I have always felt a little sad to see folk (aspiring writers in particular) who have left a passion to be attended to after they finish their working life, only to find that they need years to develop the most basic skills they will need. For instance, wanting to write, and knowing you have a story to tell is not enough to make you a writer or a storyteller. It takes practice and craft development.
  2.  I am fundamentally lazy, and the babysitting of sourdough yeast, and the need to get my hands mucky with dough were very unappealing prospects.

I could hardly believe the recipe for no knead bread when I came across it. Basically it is as follows:

• 1/8th of a teaspoon of dry yeast
• 13oz of cold water
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 430-450gm of flour.

Check for an actual published recipe online (there are many variations), but that’s the basics.

Method

The ingredients are popped into your preferred cauldron and stirred – muttering a spell of binding is optional – and mixed without ever getting hands into the dough, on a good day, into the oven and there’s your loaf.

I use more yeast these days to get the rise I want in 2 hours, and add a considerable quantity of dried fruit (figs, apricots, cranberries, dates) and also nuts and seeds to make it a fruit and nut loaf for breakfast toast.

Yummo!

What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday was Leanne and my honeymoon when we spent a week in tropical North Queensland (Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest). Part of the time was on a Reef cruise and part in the rainforest.

It was a wonderful time, with the chance to see the colourful coral, listen to the parrotfish eating the coral, and check out islands and atolls. Not forgetting the turtles!

That was on the cruise. On land we had Cassowaries outside our hut, gecko’s inside it and crocodiles sunning themselves on the river not very far away.

Whenever the subject of holidays arises, both of us think back to that holiday as our benchmark for what a holiday means.

Sally here:  It is an amazing spectacle and I can understand why this holiday was so special.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

I grew up in the country, in the little town of Beechworth, until the age of around 22 years. I then spent around 20 years living in a beachside suburb in Melbourne.

I’ve been back in Beechworth for around a dozen years or so, now, and I like it. I believe I will see out my time in this spot just below the Victorian Alps. I find I get nervous in the city. It is all agitation and bustle. It is only out of the city that I feel I can properly be myself.

Sally here: It looks like a fabulous place to live and I found this short film about the town.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I grew thinking I should be a rock star. Screeching songs in my bedroom. The more tortured, the better. My only problem was that I couldn’t play an instrument, and I sounded like rubbish.

As a young fellow, my parents acquired a guitar for me that stood, as I recall, taller than me. Mum and dad took me along to a renowned local teacher, who must have been in his late seventies at the time and I had a lesson. One dreadful lesson.

Less than a week later the man had passed away. I always assumed the two events – my lesson and his passing – were related, and that was grounds to never go near an instrument again.

That has changed now. My wife Leanne is a talented music teacher and singer/songwriter among her other talents and gifts and she has worked magic enough to allow me to play the ukulele well enough to sing to, either as my own accompaniment or as part of a singing group.

So yes, I have sung in public, both unaccompanied and in a group. As proof, I offer a Facebook upload of the 2018 Spring Sing Choral group performing to friends and family at out break-up in November 2018. The song is an original composition by Leanne and myself and the group had a lovely time performing it.

How many different languages can you speak and what are they?

My family were of Croatian origin, and I grew up with Croatian as my first language until I went to school. I was actually quite embarrassed by having to use the language in any way or place that might be overheard by others. The embarrassment of a child who felt different enough already, as the son of immigrants, I suppose.

I don’t claim proficiency in that tongue, at all, but occasionally I have used the language, or some of its words in my poetry, to illustrate a point or to attempt to write in another language.

I recommend it as an exercise to anyone who has a second language, but caution that the need to think and to express yourself in another language presents some serious poetic challenges.

My thanks to Frank for sharing something about his life in Beechworth, the stunning Barrier Reef and his passions. One of those is obviously writing and here is his recent release.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the early reviews for the book

From the dedication poem, “I Can Hardly Wait to Show You”, to “Circular Square Town”, Frank Prem’s chronological journey from infancy to the present has a familiar feel to it; almost as if you were take a walk through your own memory lane to recall the innumerable small, but unforgettable moments that make up a life. Frank’s style is minimalist, with plenty of room to fill in the blanks with your own conjecture or possible parallel memories. Written about an Australian town that was a gold-rush town in its day, it touches on those times as well as describes the landscapes there. Frank’s work is approachable, understandable, and sensitive in its handling of the most delicate of subjects.

My favorite poems, in a book of favorites – they’re all good! – are: “poppy cakes”, “frenki boy”, “the exuberance of my aunt”, “loss of faith”, “picnic story”, “the dawn of civilisation”, “the hallways of st. joseph’s”, “pumpkin rock terrorists”, “a tricky place (the annual fete)”, “fight”, “sweet maureen”, “libby’s puzzle”, “vale”, “palmer’s not”.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

I am sure that you have enjoyed meeting Frank as much as I have and I know he would be delighted to hear from your.. thanks Sally.