Main Creek poet publishes poetry book

Soul Man: Poet Jeff Hetherington with his book which is now for sale.
Soul Man: Poet Jeff Hetherington with his book which is now for sale.

People have been telling Jeff Hetherington for years to put his poetry into a book.

The Main Creek man started writing poems in his teens and when he worked at Cetnaj in East Maitland he would write a special Christmas or Easter poem to share with colleagues.

People would regularly ask him to put the work into a book, a suggestion he shrugged off.

"Eventually I succumbed to the pressure and decided to go through all my poems and select some for publication," he said.

From the huge folder of poems written over three decades Mr Hetherington worked with KRD Print in Newcastle for the final product: Soul Man.

"It was a relief when it was finally done," he said.

"When I left work I said the the guys I was going to get a book done and asked who was interested and had quite a few requests come through.

"That was back in 2014. It's taken me till now to get it out."

The father of four and grandfather of five said he derives his inspiration from various sources. The poems are largely faith based and there are odes to people and general poems.

One of the poems, Wise Eagle and the Mongrel was based on a colleague who went fishing at the river in Allworth.

"Once I get the initial sentence or even a word it flows on from there," he said.

An elder at the Presbyterian Church, Mr Hetherington has lived in the area since 2004 after tiring of the traffic in East Maitland.

Longtime Dungog Chronicle readers may be familiar with Mr Hetherington's work as the paper's former editor Janelle O'Neill ran his first published work in the 2008 Christmas edition of the Chronicle which then became an annual tradition for many years.

The former Minister of Dungog Presbyterian Church, Tony Adams, said the the poems tell of family, community and about Jesus.

"Jeff's poems are compelling," he wrote in the foreward to the book.

"Having read his opening verse, I'm curious to know what he's going to say next. So I read the second. And before I know it there's a picture being painted in my mind, and reasons to believe."

The book is available from Gallery on Dowling, Dungog Museum, Clarence Town Presbyterian Church and Destiny Haven at Brookfield.

Profits from the book are split between Generate (which provides scripture in schools) and Destiny Haven.