By Jake Lynch
Sydney: Insight Horizon, 2023
Australia’s first published collection of eco-socialist poetry goes on sale this month. Pommy Granita, by Sydney University academic Jake Lynch, offers “progressive comic verse” on topics including the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, climate action and the right to protest, and the Sydney garbos’ strike.
Brought to bookshelves by NSW micro-publisher Insight Horizon, the poems interweave humorous insights with inspiration for struggle and resistance against injustice. In one, "Al-Nakba Day", Lynch reflects on a lifetime of anti-racism campaigning, including solidarity for Palestinian rights:
We ate no citrus when I was a lad.
You could buy fascist oranges from Spain,
But the flavour would come with bitter taint.
Racist ones, from South Africa, the same.
We eschewed those, despite the TV ads,
Running with no apparent sense of shame.
Which just left Jaffas, labelled ‘from Israel’.
The one remaining case where justice failed.
The writer “stood up to the Israel lobby over the academic boycott”, the book-cover notes, and “appeared on TV screens worldwide as a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion". In "Net Zero or Bust," he references poetry about the wonders of nature, now under threat from global heating:
We can’t eat money, as more now discern;
One of these days, the politics will turn.
It’s we who must force the point to its crux,
Through petitions and — yes — sometimes roadblocks,
Though it makes the four-wheel-drive owners cuss.
Else we’ll find the payback will be on us:
The lavish plains and paddocks will stay dry,
Or drown beneath floodwater where they lie;
And that karmic ghost-dog from Gundagai
Turn out to have shat in our tuckerbox.
Lynch performed "Rime of the AUKUS Submariner" at the commemorative event to mark Hiroshima Day, on August 6, at Sydney Town Hall.
Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees AM, poet and founder of Sydney Peace Foundation, praised the collection as a “clever” and “refreshingly original” and an “indictment of injustice, peppered with insightful, humorous comments on contemporary events”.
A special benefit launch event will take place at Sydney’s Gleebooks, in its temporary home at 181a Glebe Point Road, at 6pm on Wednesday September 27, with a free bar sponsored by Sydney University and Insight Horizon. All author and publisher proceeds from sales on the night will be donated to the Sydney Anti-AUKUS Coalition (SAAC).
To book a place at the Gleebooks launch event, visit: https://www.gleebooks.com.au/event/jake-lynch-pommy-granita/