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Evan Jones (1931 – )

Evan Lloyd Jones was born in 1931 at Preston, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. He attended Melbourne High School, and matriculated to the University of Melbourne. While studying at the University in the 1950s, he became associated with a group of writers and poets including Vincent Buckley and Chris Wallace-Crabbe. Jones published his early poems in Melbourne University Magazine, and later in literary journals such as Quadrant and Meanjin. After graduating with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne, he took up a writing fellowship at Stanford University in California, USA (1958–1960). On his return to Australia in 1960, he was given a lectureship at the Australian National University by A.D. Hope, before being appointed in 1963 to a teaching position within the English department of the University of Melbourne, beginning a long academic career there.

Jones published his first collection of poems, Inside the Whale, in 1960. In this and his next collection, Understandings (1967), he established himself as a skilful poet with a keen eye for observation, working within an impressive variety of traditional forms: from lyrics and songs to the more obscure poetic forms such as villanelles and sestinas. He has published two further collections—Recognitions (1978), and Left at the Post (1984)—but while held in high regard by fellow poets his work has not attracted the critical attention afforded to his contemporaries such as Porter, Buckley and Wallace-Crabbe. He has continued to write and publish poetry into his seventies, his work appearing frequently in major Australian literary journals and newspapers. Besides poetry he has published literary criticism—especially reviews—and non-fiction, including a pamphlet in the OUP Australian Writers and their Work series on the Australian poet and writer Kenneth Mackenzie (1969), and an edited volume of Mackenzie’s poems (with Geoffrey Little, 1972).

Poetry Collections
  • Inside the Whale: Poems. Melbourne: Cheshire, 1960
  • Understandings: Poems London: Melbourne University Press, 1967.
  • Recognitions. Canberra: Australian National University, 1978
  • Left at the Post. St Lucia: Qld University of Queensland Press, 1984
  • Alone at Last. Warner's Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2010
  • Understandings. 2nd ed. Warner's Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2010

Suggested Further Reading

  • Bruce Beaver, ‘A Wide Terrain of Psychic Experience,’ Weekend Australian Magazine 3-4 March 1984, p.12.
  • Vincent Buckley, ‘Two Australian Poets,’ Prospect 4.3 (1961), pp. 30–31.
  • Evan Jones, ‘Why Do You Write Poetry?’ Quadrant 22.6 (1978), pp. 61–62.
  • Geoff Page, ‘Evan Jones,’ A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1995), pp. 140–43.
  • Peter Porter, ‘Keeping Up with Jones,’ Scripsi 3.1 (1985), pp. 67–71.
  • R. A. Simpson, ‘Creativity in Harmony,’ The Age 10 March 1984, p. 14.
  • Chris Wallace-Crabbe, ‘The Habit of Irony? Australian Poets of the Fifties,’ Meanjin Quarterly 20.2 (1961), pp. 164–74.
  • Judith Wright, [untitled review], Quadrant 5.3 (1961), pp. 92–94.