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Gary Catalano (1947 – 2002)

Gary Catalano, photograph courtesy the Estate of Gary Catalano Gary Catalano, photograph courtesy the Estate of Gary Catalano

Gary Catalano was born in Brisbane on 30 October 1947, of Italian and Anglo-Australian parentage. He attended Trinity Grammar School in Sydney, leaving school in 1963 and working in a variety of occupations before concentrating on writing full-time from the late 1970s. His first poetry collection, Remembering the Rural Life, was published in 1978; he would go on to publish nine further collections, including The Empire of Grass, joint winner of the Grace Leven Prize for 1992. He was particularly well known for his use of the prose poem form.

Catalano also worked as a literary and art critic, writing several books on Australian art and art criticism including The Bandaged Image: A Study of Australian Artists’ Books (1983) and The Solitary Watcher: Rick Amor and his Art (2001), and he also published a collection of short stories, The Woman Who Lives Here and Other Stories (1983). He died after a long illness, on 8 December 2002.

Poetry Collections
  • Remembering the Rural Life (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1978).
  • Heaven of Rags: 40 Poems 1978–1981 (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1982).
  • Slow Tennis: Poems 1980–1983 (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1984).
  • Fresh Linen: Sixty Prose Poems 1980–1986 (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1988).
  • The Empire of Grass: Twenty-Eight Poems 1983–1989 (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1991).
  • Selected Poems 1973–1992 (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1993).
  • Household: Eleven Poems (Goulburn, NSW: Finlay Press, 1998).
  • Jigsaw: Poems and Prose Poems (Brooklyn, NSW: Craftsman House and Paper Bark Press, 1998).
  • Light and Water: Forty Prose Poems, 1980–1999 (Braidwood, NSW: Finlay Press, 2002).
  • New and Selected Poems 1973–2002 (Charnwood, ACT: Indigo, 2007).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Martin Duwell, ‘The Catalano World,’ Australian Book Review no. 299 (March 2008): pp. 57–58.
  • Geoff Page, ‘Gary Catalano,’ A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1995): pp. 41–44.
  • Ron Pretty, ‘Gary Catalano’s Jigsaw,’ Ulitarra 15 (1999): pp. 157–60.
  • Vivian Smith, ‘Gary Catalano,’ Quadrant 47.6 (2003): pp. 56–57.

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