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August 21, 2019


#Poetry Omar Musa inspiring Australian voice!

by N@ncy

Poem:   A Homeland




Parang – with a name like this (knife)
I expected blood, gore, guts.
I got insight, openness, much humanity,
at times a palpable joy.
No ‘Hippa to Da Hoppa’ rap beat
…only the beating of a true poet’s heart.

  2. Omar Musa gets standing ovation in Sydney 2013 TEDx talk:


My notes:

What does ‘Parang’ mean?
Malaysian short stout straight-edged knife

Who is Omar Musa?

Omar bin Musa (1984)
is an award-winning author, poet and rapper from Australia.
He has released three solo hip hop records and three books of poetry.
His debut novel Here Come the Dogs was published in 2014.
Here Come the Dogs was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award.
Musa was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.

What is his background?
Musa is the son of Australian arts journalist Helen Musa and
Malaysian poet Musa bin Masran.
He is of Suluk, Kedayan and Irish ancestry.
He studied at the Australian National University
and the University of California, Santa Cruz
Musa was the winner of the Australian Poetry Slam of 2008
that gives him a bit of clout

Part 1 – Parang (14 poems) = 9 are excellent….5 are very good!
Part 2 – Lost Planet (8 poems)
Part 3 – Dark Streets (5 poems)


  • My notes for part 1
  • …I’ll let you discover the rest of Musa’s poems!
  • They are a joy to read!


Part 1
Trancevery good – poet feels contact with story telling ancestor
Parangvery good contrasting images of ‘parang’ guardian angel of gangsters
….but also house builder and opener of paths
Belongingvery good “crystal thread of belonging”
…in touch with ancestoral as “steam unwinds from stories”
Blowpipevery good – weapon of the forests shoot at “…the throat of the past.”
The Old Roosterexcellent– triangle: poet – parang – arrogant, stutting rooster
Muhammad and Muhammadexcellent– nephew and baby cousin meet
…” his feet bicycling in air” sees “…tigers the size of pillows”
The Rotten Toothvery good…never put off a dentist appointment!
“…tooth turned sewer-black”
Collapsed Starexcellent
young man meets old man…who taught him chess…”a collapsing star”
Lightnig Over Sandakan excellent – young man visits dying grandmother
“…memory trembles, rain-written”
FELDA excellent “…perfect pattern of oil-rich trees minting money
…there was jungle here once, fecund”
(The Federal Land Development Authority is a Malaysian government agency that was founded to handle the resettlement of rural poor into newly developed areas and to organise smallholderfarms growing cash crops.)
Sunyi – (Sanskrit ‘silent,empty’) – excellent – very touching jungle story
Forest Fireexcellent – jungle plundered for profit
A Homelandexcellent – poet’s return to his homeland…but it has changed! “Exile’s folly”
The Parang (knife) and the Keris (dagger)excellent description of poet’s own blade
“…I made it….found the iron ore….beat it into the Italic font I….sharpened it.


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 26 2019

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this Nancy. I have heard Omar Musa perform live, and see his mother regularly at arts events around town (though I’m not sure she knows who I am!) Omar Musa is wonderfully inspiring, thoughtful, provocative, and I need to review him on my blog too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oct 26 2019

      I was so impressed with this poet and his collection.
      Cover is daunting..but the content is captivating.


      • Oct 26 2019

        I think the thing is that he’s so clever and articulate, but so clever as well.

        Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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