An award-winning Australian writer has courted controversy by rewriting the iconic Aussie poem The Man from Snowy River, which was also made into a popular film released in 1982. The writer/poet, Marcus Ten Low, who hails from Brisbane, refers to himself as an “artivist” and is a vegan. This rewrite is titled Dead Man From Snowy River and takes the position of the two horses, one ridden, and the wild horse who wants to be free.

A man wearing a white mask.

(Marcus Ten Low Facebook)

“Horses are heavily exploited, whether that be for the horseracing industry, taking on work in place of humans, or doing things which horses are not naturally inclined to do,” Low told ABC News  in Australia. “My agenda is to give justice. [In my version] the man is thrown into a ravine, and he accidentally dies. It’s not an easy poem to deal with, I get that, but I think I’ve been fair.”

Reaction to Low’s efforts, which he posted to a private Facebook Group, has been notably hostile. One commentor wrote, “I can’t believe you would dare to butcher a Banjo Patterson work. There are some things which are sacred in Australian society.”

Low has been a vegan since 2018, and feels his reworking of the classic poem is a necessary part of an evolving culture to one that sees intrinsic value in animals, not just economic or exploitative value. He suggested that works such as Patterson’s iconic poem are open to criticism and “torn down just as the statues of (Christopher) Columbus need to be dismantled.”