Tobin is an Australian writer who writes children’s and adults’ fiction and non-fiction, particularly travel, and poetry and makes up puzzles for all ages. Her published work includes 14 books, including a travel book, puzzle books and blackline masters books of educational puzzles, a children’s picture storybook and poetry books.
Hundreds of her poems, puzzles and articles, particularly on travel, scores of short stories, and some cartoons and comic strips have appeared in more than 100 magazines and newspapers in Australia and other countries, including India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and USA. Meryl Brown Tobin's next publication will be a series of three educational puzzle books, Puzzle Fun Yrs 1/2, Puzzle Fun Yrs 3/4 and Puzzle Fun Yrs Yrs 5/6. The series will be published by Five Senses Education Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia in March, 2010.
Poetry Book Review:
by Meryl Brown Tobin
Reviewed by Chrissie Michaels
A unique collection.
Walk in the Forest is the first solo collection of poems by Meryl Brown Tobin. It brings together poetry that has been anthologised in a diverse range of magazines, broadsheets and journals; some have won awards, others broadcast on radio.
Many poems give voice to the poet’s concerns about world peace and justice. She ensures the reader’s discomfort by questioning morality and the condoning of conflict through silence. Tobin’s message is powerfully evoked through keen irony in ‘Tripping the New Millenium’, where following the ‘Killing, killing, killing’ on a global scale comes the question: ‘How about a trip around Australia?’. Western apathy to the plight of human suffering is evident in ‘East Timor’. ‘Rag Dolls’ is a simple but haunting epiphany of the Kurd slaughters. Tobin always comments with deep compassion about contemporary conflicts, highlighting the permanent scars of war where there are no victors.
Her work equally reflects on the importance of everyday relationships, of achieving personal harmony and a fulfilling existence. Hence sections under ‘People’ and ‘Reflection’ evoke the beauty and gentleness of humanity: ‘I drink riches / from others’ thoughts / pour what I have to share / Open to the world’. Inspiring words from ‘Cup’.
In her concern for the environment, Tobin’s poetry brings to mind the phrase ‘Take only photographs, leave only footprints’. She teases readers with the mysteries of Big Cats and Thylacines (‘Sestina: Striped Mystery’) and impresses on us the need to be responsible caretakers of nature: ‘We return as hordes surge in / a babble in a multitude of tongues / St. Kilda Beach transposed / … / Katatjuta’s sunset approaches/’.
Perhaps her three-lined poem ‘Principle of Life’ best sums up the beauty and thoughtfulness, and ultimately uplifting sentiments of this collection: ‘With love and truth your guides / leading through good and evil / take on the world’.
Its tragedy gives us a lot to think about.
Square cap on dark hair
long black pants
in Kurd native dress
lies sprawled on ground
where she has fallen
moves her body
An older child
perhaps her brother
is lifted by one arm
placed next to her
Chemical bombs leave
Meryl Brown Tobin
Thanks to both Chrissie and Meryl for sharing this great review and poem. Sometimes poetry is a really powerful weapon. Depends on who's carrying it.
Visit Chrissie's Site
Visit Meryl's Site