Categories: football Date: May 25, 2011 Title: My favourite drop-kick, part 8Poetry in motion...
THE Australian Rules Drop-Kick Appreciation Society is delighted to announce that poet, mathematician and Fitzroy fan Tom Petsinis has been inducted into the society’s Hall of Fame (Literature).
Petsinis’ 2006 book Four Quarters includes the 12-verse, 48-line poem Drop Kick. It is a lovely ode to the lost art, a history lesson (with a reference to the place kick), an instruction manual and finally a gentle call for someone to set plodding hearts somersaulting,/Just once again, before the season ends.
Four Quarters is possibly the most complete, most self-contained book of poetry about Australian Rules football, giving A Kick of The Footy by the Philip Hodgins a run for its money. (See My Favourite Drop-Kick, part 2) http://australianrules.com.au/Books/?newsid=728&mact=News,m5,default,1&m5category=*Books*&m5number=3&m5detailpage=show-news&m5pagenumber=1
The poems are, for the most part, the story of a migrant boy coveting a new game, learning about local culture via the oval ball and the oval ground.
That the ground is the Brunswick Street Oval in Fitzroy makes the poems all the more poignant.
I was lucky enough to hear Tom Petsinis read some of his poems in the Brunswick Street clubrooms a few years back. What struck me was that as a writer, Petsinis knows how to create space, to give the reader somewhere to lead to, somewhere to take the mark.
The poems have simple titles such as Full Forward, Full Back, On the Bench, Club Colours, Boots, Talent Scout. There’s a richness in the simplicity, though, as Petsinis evokes the past with carefully-crafted, finely tuned words and pauses.
One poem, Old Fitzroy, recalls the man at Brunswick Street oval who used to sell
“Peanuts, shillin’ a bag”. Three verses further into the poem Petsinis makes the observation that 30 years later The Lions would leave for another den/Returning with peanut-butter tans.
My favourite verse of Drop Kick is:
In decades with more patience for craft
It was one of the game’s prized ornaments,
Like lacework on a terrace’s verandah,
Or the cursive script that might have written this.
Four Quarters by Tom Petsinis was published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in 2006. It includes illustrations and paintings by Jim Pavlidis (but none, alas, of a drop kick).
Tom Petsinis will be part of Talking Footy, a Victoria University event at the Whitten Oval on Thursday 26 May, from 6.30pm. John Harms will be ‘in conversation’ with the Western Bulldogs’ Daniel Giansiracusa. $10/$5