About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Drawn from Paradise by David Attenborough and Errol Fuller

Drawn from Paradise (Harper Collins, 2012)
It was a delight to read this coffee-table book about the European discovery, art and natural history of the birds of paradise. The illustrations are works from artists over the centuries dating back to lithographs from the 17th Century. Birds of Paradise reached Europe long before Europeans explored the island of New Guinea. Plumes and skins were traded along what was once known as the spice route and found their way to the royal houses of Europe. As the hunters took the feet and wings off the birds before they were traded, Europeans of the time assumed that birds of paradise floated in the air and never roosted.
   This book shows the development of our knowledge of birds of paradise over the centuries and the way in which they were named by taxonomists.
   For those of us who adore these birds, this book is a 'must have' as it shows their important place in history and indeed, in European art.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pacific Poets # 4 Dan Taulapapa McMullin

Dan Taulapapa McMullin

Dan Taulapapa McMullin lives in California but his heritage is Samoan. Dan was born in American Samoa and identifies himself as part of the Fa'a Fafine culture. He is a poet, artist and film maker. He has recently published a selection of poems in a book entitled Coconut Milk. The poems are critical of the relationship Pacific cultures have with Western cultures. The poem 'Tiki Manifesto' is a good example of how Taulapapa views the tourist industry. Many of his poems also give voice to the experience of being Fa'a Fafine and how prejudice haunted much of his formative years.
Coconut Milk
(University of Arizona Press, 2013)
   Taulapapa has an honest, raw and uncompromising style.The poems are written in blank verse and many follow a narrative style. Some of them are funny; some are confronting. Snippets of Samoan language and idiom permeate his work.