#Poetrybookreview – Small Town Kid by Frank Prem


What Amazon says

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

My review

This delightful book of poems by Frank Prem is packed with interesting poems about his childhood, growing up in a small town in Australia. I love history and also enjoy learning about people and how they live so this book appealed to both of these interests of mine.

There are poems about a small child being cared for by both of his grandparents while his own parents work and the little pleasures such as eating home made poppy cakes, and peeks into the lives of close relatives such as an aunt who had a very lively spirit that showed through at certain times in her live belying the prim and proper exterior she was expected to display as a married matron.

One poignant poem is about loss of faith following a tragedy:

but when the letter for my mother came

in black-lined airmail

from the village of her parents

she wept with bitterness

of injustice and loss and grief

she cried for so long 

I was afraid

she would never stop.

There is a poem about a family picnic and poems about the outhouse, which really intrigued me:

wide enough

and slippery enough

to swallow a small boy


unless he is carefully perched

on the front edge

as he drums his feet

against the box.

The author clearly grew up in an old fashioned society where people were careful with things and tried to stretch a penny:


for a couple of pounds of paper

and the news

becomes the wrapping

for another feed

of tender young chops.

My favourite of all Frank’s poems, a tricky place (the annual fete) was a superb insight into small town life at the time. I am not going to give you a peep into that poem, you will have to purchase the book and read it for yourself.

Purchase: Small Town Kid


47 thoughts on “#Poetrybookreview – Small Town Kid by Frank Prem

      1. Folks in the city had flushing toilets but on the farm, we just had an outhouse. I hated it and it was very scary for a small kid. I sometimes would wait until I got to school to use the bathroom.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Gosh, Robbie. Thank you. Your review of Small Town Kid makes me feel as though I should go out and buy this book for myself, as though it is someone else’s book that I really need to read.

    Thanks so much. I’m quite delighted that you enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Bushfires are part of the Australian summer, we even call it ‘fire season’, but you never get used to it. Frank’s poems approach the reality from the inside. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful review, Robbie. What a special book, for those of us who lived through his time, and for those who want to learn about the little things in life back then. After all, the little things are really the big things, and Frank’s poetry expresses that well.

    Liked by 1 person

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