#Bookreview #Poetry – Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

Book reviews

What Amazon says

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

My review

Devil in the Wind is not an ordinary collection of poems as this book tell the story of the awful fires that ravaged parts of Australia in February 2009, destroying homes, livestock, forests and people. Each poems gives a different and unique insight into the effect of the fires on different people in different roles in society, including the firefighters, as well as description of how they reacted to the fires, with fighting spirit, brazenness, prayer or despair.

I live in a country that is also plagued by raging fires from time to time and I have felt the fear of being undecided as to whether to fight or flee. If you make the wrong decision you can needlessly loose everything or you can end up dead, along with your family. Frank Prem has captured the turbulent emotions, confusion and conflict that people experience during times of crisis. He also captures the spirit of survival and the ability of people to rally and recover.

A few of the stanza’s that captured my imagination in this book are as follows:

“a young fella went up
to the hamper
crawled right inside it

buried himself in the clothes
and wouldn’t come out

took two and a half hours
to get him to speak”
From ever again

“the sound I heard
was like ten or twelve jumbo jets
down at the airport
all screaming their guts out
at the same time”
From evidence to the commission of enquiry: overview

I would recommend this book to both lovers of poetry and people who are interested in historical events. Frank Prem’s poetry is powerful, but easy to read and understand. A most enjoyable book.

Purchase Devil in the Wind

50 thoughts on “#Bookreview #Poetry – Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

    1. I experienced a bush fire that came really close to our house when I was a young girl, Elizabeth. I remember my parents wetting all around the house with a hosepipe and beating at the flames with wet sacks. Terrifying.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Robbie, thank you for your wonderful review. I confess I don’t hear a lot about your fires, but they must be huge when they get going. Much in common.

    I’m sharing this where I can and inviting folk to visit your site and find out a little more about your work, too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s getting worse, Robbie. The fire seasons are becoming a back-to-back phenomenon here and elsewhere, which means there is also less ability for different countries to help each other out.

        A bad business.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tandy. Thanks for commenting.

      There were a number of causes and a lot of individual fires.

      The one that was closest to where I lived was caused by a power line coming down.

      I know some others were caused by arson, and there is some reference to that in the collection, but the poems deal mostly with the reactions of individuals to the circumstances they were confronted with.

      I hope you enjoy the book, if you end up buying it. I don’t think there is quite the same take on the events anywhere else.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the ground is laid for the fires to be bad ones, now, Tandy. The dry times are so much drier. Areas that would never have been considered at risk burn fiercely, now. Very bad prospects, looking ahead, I’m afraid.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hi Tandy, Frank has answered your question. I read that there were approximately 400 small fires all at the same time. Some of them got entirely out of control. So terrifying. There is talk of arson in the write up I read and I think three people were arrested. Power lines were also a problem, as Frank has said, because of the high winds at the time.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. This book is really worth reading, Jacquie. So unusual and descriptive. I looked up heat waves, fires and hurricanes during 2018 and 2019 today on Google and the results are horrific. Now parts of the UK are flooding.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I read a non-fictional account of a big fire recently, that one in California, and it is a terrifying turn of events. It is important to raise awareness and make us reflect upon it, especially so powerfully. Thanks, Robbie and congratulations to Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

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