This volume of poems, originally published in 1944, provoked a world-wide scandal when they were found to be a hoax. These poems were supposedly the product of a recently deceased mechanic called "Ern Malley". When the hoax was reported around the world, proving "the gradual decay of meaning and craftmanship in poetry", the publisher Max Harris was mercilessly lampooned, and convicted of publishing "indecent advertisements" (the poems) after a marathon trial. This definitive edition contains historical background by Max Harris. Ern Malley was the invention of two Sydney poets, James McAuley and Harold Stewart. "Ern's" imaginary sister, Ethel Malley, sent the 16 poems to the magazine "Angry Penguins" in an attempt to prove that modern poetry was a sham - "We opened books at random, choosing a word or a phrase haphazardly..." said the authors at the time.