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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three Nov-Dec 2023.
Soldier boy and the Rural Fundamentalists by Sarah Tiffen
– book review by Les Wicks
Published by Gininderra, 2017. Available at: https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/
Last year I was grateful for the opportunity to tour large parts of rural Australia with my new book. I found myself constantly amazed & humbled by the diversity & strength of the women writers I worked with there alongside the sacrifice & good graces of those who organise writers groups in their community.
Sarah Tiffen is one of those who works tirelessly for development/exposure of local writers while cementing literature as a cornerstone of their region’s cultural life. She is a contemporary poet from the Riverina. Her works have gained attention in the literary world. as she shares her experiences and observations of life, including themes such as love, loss, farming & the environment.
One of the most notable aspects of Tiffen’s poetry is her use of imagery. She has a skill for creating vivid pictures in the reader’s mind through her words. Her poems are filled with detailed descriptions of the world around her, from the colours and textures of the landscape to the intricate emotions of the human heart.
Another strength of Tiffen’s poetry is her ability to capture complex emotions in a simple, straightforward language. She has a talent for distilling complex feelings and experiences into relatable, accessible language that resonates with readers.
Her works have been praised for their emotional depth, rare but rich imagery alongside accessibility. There are several pieces addressing the clarion call of the “rural fundamentalist”. This is a somewhat problematic phrase for me with associations of hillbillies or WACO. But the reader is quickly directed to its meaning here as that which is fundamental to the lives of regional Australians.
© Les Wicks
Les Wicks Over 45 years Wicks has performed widely across the globe. Published in over 400 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 36 countries in 15 languages. Conducts workshops & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 15th book of poetry is Time Taken – New & Selected (Puncher & Wattmann, 2022). https://leswicks.tripod.com/lw.htm
Sarah Tiffen, author of six volumes of poetry celebrating a rural Australian sensibility and a Riverina aesthetic – deeply tied to the place where she was born, where she lives and works and where all her ancestors lie buried. Recognised by Les Murray, Donald Hall, shortlisted for the ACU Poetry Prize several times, and founder of Riverina Writing House – an independent publishing house and centre for writers and writing – Sarah’s work echoes Dylan Thomas and Seamus Heaney and Murray, evocative, spiritual, raw – she also is a mother and teacher.