Poet Robbie Coburn’s new book of poems, titled Ghost Poetry, takes inspiration from the Mitchell Shire, farm life and gothic elements. ​

By Jordyn Grubisic

WESTERN-GOTHIC is how poet Robbie Coburn describes his latest collection of poems, taking inspiration from the Mitchell Shire, farm life and gothic elements.

He describes his new book of poems, titled Ghost Poetry, as revolving around dreams, recollections and memories.

“A lot of them are very surreal and sort of nightmarish,” he said.

“As a backdrop I often reference the area I grew up in – so there’s a lot of horses, paddocks, rodeo. It’s just a combination of those sorts of things.

“It’s a combination of where I grew up and various introspective kind of works.”

Finding his love for poetry at 14, Mr Coburn was inspired after his mother – a librarian at a primary school – brought home a slim volume of Edgar Allan Poe poetry, titled The Raven and Other Poems, after it had been deemed too inappropriate for the school.

“I thought it looked interesting and when I read it, it completely just changed everything. It was like something made sense that hadn’t before about who I was and what I wanted to do,” he said.

“Ever since then all I wanted to do was be a poet. From there I tried to find as much poetry as I could.

“I went to school at Assumption College. We had a great library and there were great librarians, but the poetry section was tiny. No matter where you are – bookshops or the library – there’s always the tiniest poetry section so if you want to find poetry, you’ve really got to want to find it.

“I was just very fortunate there was a few particular books Assumption did have that really helped me on my way.”

Mr Coburn said the subject matter he wrote about included farms and horses in particular, after growing up around the racetracks as a child watching his father who was a trainer and driver.

“We spent a lot of our childhood at the Kilmore racetrack and every other track in Victoria that you can think of,” he said.

“Along with that, the landscapes of the Mitchell Shire are always something that’s popped up in my writing.

“Whether it’s writing about something like Black Saturday or Kilmore where I’ve spent pretty much all my life – pretty much everything I associate with the subject matter of these poems are a lot of things that haven taken place in the area.”

For aspiring authors and creatives, Mr Coburn recommended writing about what was going on around them or happening in each person’s life.

“I think when you live somewhere – whether it’s Woodstock or Kilmore, anywhere that’s not metropolitan – you feel quite isolated from the possibility of publishing books. It seems like something that is really unreachable,” he said.

“You don’t need to look elsewhere for inspiration about what you want to write about. There’s so much to write about in the Mitchell Shire.

“I think a lot of the reason people don’t find their voice as a writer is because they’re trying to write as somebody else.

“I think if you look into your backyard, it’s the best thing you can do to immerse yourself in your environment and write about it.”

Ghost Poetry is available at all major book retailers, local stores including Kilmore Bookstore and Red Door Books Lancefield, and online.

Visit robbiecoburn.com/ for more information about Mr Coburn including his previous work, recordings and events.

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