Australian Poetry Wins the Day

It was 1998,
70,000 Australians visited a website
20,000 voted in a poll.
Australia's favourite poem was chosen,
FIVE BELLS was given the victory toll.

'In Sydney, by the spent aquarium-flare
Of penny gaslight on pink wallpaper,
We argued about blowing up the world,
But you were living backward, so each night ...'

Read more about who voted for the poems and what it was all about here

The writer and poet, Kenneth Slessor wote Five Bells in 1939.  He was born in Orange, New South Wales and lived in Sydney from 1903 for all of his life until his death in 1971.

He loved cities and Sydney and he worked as a journo for the Sydney Sun and Smith's Weekly. From 1956 to 1961 he was editor of the Southerly magazine. He has a metal plaque in the 'Writers Walk' at Circular Quay, Sydney.

Five Bells - full poem at Poem Hunter.

Kenneth Slessor's Five Bells by Ivor Indyk at Australian Literary Compendium 2010

Photograph taken by Larry Rivera from

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