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.
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.