Family poems written by Australians are often presented from the viewpoint of a child and are frequently humorous in character. A good example is Jan Owen’s ‘Little Sister’ that describes the family’s reaction to the arrival of a new baby. Funny family poems can describe members of the family doing strange things, as in Rhyll McMasters’ ‘Washing the Money’, where her father and sister wash and iron pound notes, though the reason for doing this is never clear. Les Murray recalls family Christmas celebrations in ‘The Good Plates’, while in ‘Rainbow’ Jamie Grant looks back to a time when ‘nothing one’s parents said could be untrue’. Eric Beach in ‘we don’t talk sex, religion, nor politics’ makes it clear that the only thing his family cares about is sport: they need to get an extra TV set so everyone can be accommodated.
Of course relationships with family members are not always positive as Alison Clark makes clear in her ‘The Family Romance’. In Dorothy Porter’s ‘Family barbeque’ the perspective is that of an adult child who does not fit in. And mothers can feel a sense of loss as their children grow up and no longer need them, as reflected in Margaret Scott’s ‘Family Portrait’ and Jennifer Strauss’s ‘There were Three Brothers’.
Sometimes the family stories can be those of a relative rather than the poet his or herself, as with Margaret Scott’s ‘Stories of My Mother’s Childhood, Told in Wartime’ and her further ironic look at her family history in ‘Family Tree’. Sometimes the family concerned is not related to the poet, as is the case with John Kinsella’s humorous account of ‘Proportion in Family Portrait in Regional Gallery’. Another example of a funny family poem is Stephen Kelen’s ‘Homer’s Dream’ with its focus on TV character Homer Simpson and his family.
Dad poems - Dad poems are one of a number of subsets of family poems.
Mother poems - Mother poems are one of a number of subsets of family poems.
Sister poems - Sister poems are one of a number of subsets of family poems.
Grandma poems - Grandma poems are one of a number of subsets of family poems.
Brother poems - Brother poems are one of a number of subsets of family poems.