[Editor: This review of Mary Hannay Foott’s book of poetry, Where the Pelican Builds and Other Poems, is an extract from the column “The Reviewer”, published in The Queenslander, 30 May 1885.]
We have received a small and unpretentious volume of poetry from the pen of Mary Hannay Foott, entitled, “‘Where the Pelican Builds’ and other Poems,” published by Messrs. Gordon and Gotch.
Mrs. Foott is already known in Queensland by her poem “An Australiad,” published in the last Christmas number of the Queenslander, and in other parts of Australia by her poem “The Melbourne International Exhibition,” published in the Australasian 2nd October, 1880.
As a rule our local writers are below mediocrity, and one is almost afraid to open a volume of poems when informed that it is the work of a local author, but in the case of Mrs. Foott matters are different, and it is pleasing, therefore, to welcome to the world of letters one who has undoubted claims to recognition as an Australian songstress.
The poems are all of them comparatively short pieces — most of them dealing with Australian subjects — and throughout these latter runs a strong feeling of affection and admiration of the new country destined, if Mrs. Foott’s aspirations are fulfilled, to become great and glorious. Though there is nothing excessively striking, all the pieces are meritorious to a certain extent, the phraseology exceedingly happy at times, and the versification and rhyming correct and pleasing. Some of the shorter poems are well worth quoting, but the best advice to readers is to get the book for themselves, for it is one which those who wish to encourage our local muse — at present in sad straits — need not be ashamed to patronise.
We congratulate Mrs. Foott on her admirable little production, and hope it will command the sale which it merits, both from the intrinsic excellence of the verses and the pleasing yet modest form in which it has been issued by the publishers.
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), Saturday 30 May 1885, page 858
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