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Stefanie Bennett (1945 – )

Stefanie Bennett was born in 1945 in Townsville, Queensland. Her father Harold Piper was an American serviceman of Native American (Golden Hill Paugussett) ancestry, and her mother Vicki Curro-Piper was of Sicilian descent. After completing her schooling she worked in various jobs in Townsville. In 1964 she married Ray Bennett, but the couple separated before the birth of their daughter Yvonne in 1965. In 1968 she left Townsville, living first in Brisbane and then Sydney, where she was involved in poetry groups and publications including New Poetry magazine. Her first poetry collection, Blackbirds of Superstition, was published in 1973.

Bennett returned to Townsville in 1974, and set up a small press, Cochon Publishing. Since the 1970s she has been involved in numerous writers’ groups and community organisations, and has held various writing residencies. She taught creative writing at tertiary level at the Kedron College of Advanced Education, and at James Cook University, and has been involved in political and ecological activism. Since the late 1980s she has been based at Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland north of Brisbane. By 2010, Bennett had published sixteen poetry collections. Sometimes acerbic in tone, her poems reflect her strong commitment to social justice and environmental issues, and an interest in spirituality, with a special focus on her Native American links.

Poetry Collections
  • Blackbirds of Superstition (Brisbane, Qld: The Author, 1973).
  • Madam Blackboots (St Lucia, Qld: Makar Press, 1974).
  • Shade (Annandale, NSW: Khasmick Press, 1974).
  • Poems from the Paddy Wagon (Townsville, Qld: Cochon, 1975).
  • Radio City 2 a.m. (Townsville, Qld: Cochon, 1976).
  • The Medium: Poetry and Prose (Sydney: Khasmik Enterprises, 1976).
  • Tongues and Pinnacles (Townsville, Qld: Cochon, 1976).
  • [with Mal Andersen], Poets 1977: One + Two (Kedron Park, Qld: North Brisbane College of Advanced Education, 1977).
  • The Tenth Lady (Townsville, Qld: Cochon and White Tara Publications, 1977).
  • Midnight Tulips: poems (St Lucia, Qld: Cochon, 1985).
  • The Last Beacon: poems ([Maleny, Qld]: [Maleny District Community Publishers], 1989).
  • [with R.G. Hay and Anne Lloyd], Three North Queensland Poets ([Townsville, Qld]: Foundation for \ Australian Literary Studies, James Cook University, 1990).
  • The Leaf, the Lion, the Lariat: poems (Maleny, Qld: Press Gang Collective, 1992).
  • Woman of Straw (Maleny, Qld: Cochon, 1996).
  • The Hermit in Translation (Maleny, Qld: Cochon, 1998).
  • Symphony for Heart and Stone (Maleny, Qld: Cochon Collective and Golden Hill, 2009).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Ross Clark, [untitled review], Imago 3.2 (1991), pp. 105–06.
  • Felicity Plunkett, ‘The Hermit and the Ventriloquist,’ Ulitarra no.13 (1998), pp. 167–69.
  • Duncan Richardson, ‘A Select Pleasure,’ Social Alternatives 19.2 (2000), p. 70.
  • Tim Thorne, ‘Review: Symphony for Heart and Stone, Stefanie Bennett,’ Famous Reporter 40 (2009). http://www.walleahpress.com.au/FR40Thorne.html
  • Judith Wardle, ‘Form and Content,’ Overland no.72 (1978), pp. 57–59.