ON THE STUMP: Bush poet and former South Grafton resident Hunter Kilner.
ON THE STUMP: Bush poet and former South Grafton resident Hunter Kilner.

They yarn and recite all day and all night

By EMMA CORNFORD

THE TAMWORTH Country Music Festival is about more than just yodelling, cowboy hats and guitars.

Each year bush poets gather to recite their work and swap a few yarns at the bush poets' breakfasts and this year former South Grafton resident Hunter Kilner has been performing.

Mr Kilner had always loved bush poetry, but had never written any until he moved to the Clarence Valley in 1990, where he trained racehorses.

"The first poem I ever wrote was when I was in Grafton and I wrote heaps of stuff while I was there because there were plenty of unique characters," Mr Kilner said.

Even the former Grafton City Council was privy to Mr Kilner's talent when he wrote to them in verse to complain about some stray cats near his house.

"I was told the council couldn't do anything until I wrote to them, so (former pound keeper) Barbara Armstrong handed me a pen and paper and I wrote it in about five minutes.

"It was acknowledged in the council newsletter about this in- triguing letter which was a poem. And they even got rid of the cats."

Mr Kilner, who has published two books of his works, said he enjoyed writing bush poetry because of the breadth of feeling, humour and sometimes the exaggeration it allowed.

"It's so descriptive and I think that's what I love about it. You can be humorous and also really poignant at the same time," he said.

"It also tells a story, brings characters to life and even stuff that was written back in the 1850s is still relevant today because of the way it describes characters."

Mr Kilner said people in Tamworth generally reacted well to bush poetry.

"Most of the people who come along to the shows come because they really like bush poetry, but you do get a real- ly good reception," he said.



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