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John Tranter's Collection

John Tranter, Sydney, 2009, photo Anders Hallengren John Tranter, Sydney, 2009, photo Anders Hallengren


John Tranter has edited many collections of other writer's work including The New Australian Poetry (300 pages, 1979) and The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (co-edited with Philip Mead, 480 pages, 1991). He compiled and edited Martin Johnston — Selected Poems and Prose (1993, 316 pages, with 20 photographs) and Australian poetry supplements for The New American Poetry and Atlanta Review in the USA. He has been a judge on a number of poetry competitions and has compiled and edited many magazine issues and collections of poetry, as well as acting as executive producer for over a hundred two-hour radio arts programs for the ABC. He is the founding editor of the free Internet magazine Jacket (http://jacketmagazine.com/), the founder of the Australian Poetry Library project, and his homepage (http://johntranter.com/) offers more than a thousand printed pages of poems, notes to poems, interviews, articles, photos and reviews.

Here he shares his liking for eleven Australian poems, each -- like a fingerprint -- different from the others.

Poems Reviewed

‘In The New World Happiness Is Allowed.’ by Peter Porter

Peter Porter grew up in Queensland, and left Australia as a young man, in 1951, to make a name for his poetry in London, then called "home". His passion for high European culture was perhaps magnified by his awareness of his lack of a scholarly backg ...more

Arcadia by Pam Brown

Like her friend Laurie Duggan, poet Pam Brown is alert to the larger cultural contradictions behind many of our most ordinary moments, and these contradictions of course have a political dimension. In this tourist view of the Blue Mountains, she pays ...more

Monkey's Pride by John Forbes

John Forbes died suddenly at his home in Melbourne in 1998. He was forty-seven. His remarkable erudition was lightly-worn, and he was as interested in Australia's traditions of military honour, larrikin humour and laconic understatement as he was wit ...more

advice by Lee Cataldi

Lee Cataldi was born Lee Sonnino in Sydney during World War II.  Because of her Italian parentage, she was classed as an enemy alien. She won the Gold Medal for English at Sydney University and went on to Oxford to a DPhil. Despite her brilliant ...more

This Version Of Love by Dorothy Hewett

Dorothy Hewett, poet, novelist and playwright, died in 2002. As a student at the University of Western Australia she won prizes for drama and poetry, and joined the Communist Party, which she left decades later, after Russian troops suppressed the Pr ...more

Where Was I by Kate Lilley

There are all kind of tourist poems, a genre Pam Brown labelled "747 Poems". This view of Japan is through the eyes of a dazed tourist noticing far too much: the train windows have no point at all, the lunch boxes promise to rival Proust in their ine ...more

[Why does she put me to many indignities] by Lesbia Harford

Lesbia Harford's poem "Why does she put me to many indignities..." holds its main point until the end. Harford, always sickly, died young of a heart problem, but that didn't stop her living life to the full, working in factories, supporting work ...more

Who Praise You by Gig Ryan

The anguish of unrequited love is beautifully caught in this off-beat, angular poem: the double effect of the first person reflected in a mirror like a worshipper, the second person locked in his passivity like an idol, the need to speak and the voic ...more

Nocturne by James McAuley

There was always a passionately grim side to McAuley's view of life as a struggle between the forces of light and those of darkness. He had early been attracted to both communism and anarchism and had abandoned his Christian faith, though later he ad ...more

revisionism by joanne burns

Who would have thought the late sixties could have produced a poet as erudite as joanne burns? There are traces of Patrick White and Barry Humphries behind joanne's sly wit, and no holy image or sacred cow is safe from her deflating parodies. Here th ...more