Prepare the Cabin for Landing

Giramondo Publishing 2012

Artarmon NSW

ISBN 9 781920 882945

AWARDED: Fellowship of Australian Writers Christopher Brennan Award, 2015

Wearne is Australia’s poet-moralist, a master of the idioms, the recorder of its pretensions, and the scourge of its big-noters, con-artists and crooks. In ‘The Vanity of Australian Wishes’ he pays tribute to Samuel Johnson and Juvenal, ‘who knew that combination of bemusement, annoyance, anger and despair to which your country can drive you, though always aware of is entertainment value and dramatic potential’. The collection includes an affectionate portrait of three Melbourne high school teachers in the early 1960s, and a saga which records the destinies of their pupils, satires on the world of finance and drug-dealing, literary academics and the libertinism of baby-boomers, and seven new poems based on Australian pop songs.


Using the combination of vernacular and interior monologue like no other, Wearne’s verse narratives are an indispensable resource for any future historian wishing to understand the atmosphere and the mentality of Australian urban life in the last third of the twentieth century and beyond.’

Jamie Grant

Alan Wearne’s poetic versatility is stunning: he escalates his precise social observations and adaptable language through comic rhymes to build a masterpiece of brutal decline.’

Rae Desmond Jones


‘In Prepare the Cabin for Landing, [Wearne] explores behaviours of multiple selves; his interest is with the way that life falls. This brings a great flexibility to his use of satire from good-humoured raillery to sharp parody to ridicule to invective to narratives of dark irony. He keeps the rigours of censure constantly in play.’ Michelle Borzi Long Paddock vol. 75 no 3, 2016

‘Wearne is so wild and ramshackle, each line is such a jumble of atonally disordered syllables, and yet principles of rhyme, even of reason, do cohere, or almost cohere, in a verse that is often roughly anti-lyrical but at the same time remembers the great “prose” masters of verse from Pope to Meredith.’ Peter Craven The Sydney Morning Herald 9 April 2013

”Despite the increasing frequency of narrative poems, the work of Alan Wearne is unmatched. Nobody has even begun to approach the complexity of his portraits of life in post-war Australia and this most recent book adds another group of poems to the overall corpus.’ Martin Duwell Australian Poetry Review March 2013

‘Like its predecessor The Australian Popular Songbook, this new work is packed with Wearne’s quirky satire and… his talent for narrative.’ Geoff Page ‘From Nugan Hand to men on the land: the vivid poetry of unsentimental blokes’ The Australian 16 February, 2013

‘This is what is important: not the ills of the world and the vexations of society, but friendship. In the book’s final poem, ‘The Vanity of Australian Wishes’, this is even more evident. It self-consciously shadows Johnson’s ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’, which in its turn, imitated the Tenth Satire of Juvenal, and cuts a wide swathe through Just About Everything Since the War, with Hogarthian cariacatures popping up at every turn. Is that Hawkey? That’s definitely Howard! A footy player: but which one?’ Peter Kenneally ‘Boomers’ Australian Book Review February no 348, 2013, p. 61

Juvenal, Samuel Johnson and Alan Wearne are satirically triangulated in Prepare the Cabin for Landing, a riotous transversion tenanted with Australianists, wowsers, dobbers, suburban prophets, social-networkers, battler billionaires and motivational speakers… Wearne tears apart the ‘deluded layers’ and allows us to see ourselves afresh.’ Michelle Cahill ‘Aspects of Australian Poetry in 2012’ Westerly June vol 58 no 1 2013, p.68-91


Sharkey, Michael ‘Imperial Nigrescences’ The Poetic Eye: Occasional Writings 1982-2012. Netherlands: Brill: 2016. (p.82-89)

Scotney, Fiona ‘Review Short: Alan Wearne’s Prepare the Cabin for LandingPoetry Review August 6, 2013.

Nashar, Claire ‘As the New / Gets Newer’: Rethinking the Possibilities of a New Australian Lyric’ Southerly vol 73 no 2 2013 (p. 153-164)

Craven, Peter ‘Prose and Parody with Whine of Strine’ (Taking wing on a flight of fancy’ Sydney Morning Herald March 23-24, 2013 (p.33).

Musgrave, David ‘Fasten your seatbelts: Prepare the Cabin for Landing by Alan Wearne’ Sydney Review of Books May 3, 2013.


Some poems in this collection had appeared previously and the book acknowledges the following:


Sun Herald

The Best Australian Poems 2009 (Black Inc.)

ABC Radio National’s Poetica

Highland FM’s Verbose Calamity,

Poetry International website

Solongbulletin website


Giramondo Publishing

ISBN 978-1-920882-94-5 (pbk)