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Alan Gould (1949 – )

Alan Gould, double portrait photo courtesy the author Alan Gould, double portrait photo courtesy the author

Alan Gould was born in London, England, in 1949. His father was a British army officer, and Gould spent his childhood in army camps in England, Northern Ireland, Germany, and Singapore––and in his mother’s ancestral home, Iceland––before coming to Australia in 1966. He attended the Australian National University, where he completed an Arts degree, and became involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement. He subsequently gained a Diploma of Education from the Canberra College of Advanced Education, and worked in a variety of occupations, from relief teaching, to nuclear physics technician, to agricultural labouring. Since the mid–1970s he has been a full-time writer.

Gould began publishing poetry in Australian literary magazines in the early 1970s, and his first poetry collection, Icelandic Solarities, appeared in 1978. By 2010 he had published a further twelve collections, which have attracted considerable critical acclaim. His collection Astral Sea was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Prize in 1981, and his volume of selected poems, The Past Completes Me, won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize in 2006. He has also been awarded various grants and fellowships, and has held writer-in-residence positions in Australia and the United Kingdom. Gould has sometimes been linked with others in a ‘Canberra School’ of poets, which flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. He was founding editor of the ANU Poetry Society’s magazine Canberra Poetry and also of Open Door Press, a small press managed by Canberra poets that published hand-set broadside poems. Besides poetry, Gould has written a number of novels, including The Man Who Stayed Below (1981), To the Burning City (1991), Close Ups (1994), The Schoonermaster’s Dance (2000), and The Lake Woman: A Romance (2009). He has also written essays, autobiographical prose and criticism, and has published two prose volumes, Three Streets in Search of an Author (1993), and The Totem Ship (1996).

Poetry Collections
  • Icelandic Solitaries (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1978).
  • Astral Sea: Poems (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1981).
  • The Pausing of the Hours (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1984).
  • The Twofold Place (Sydney: Angus and Roberson, 1986).
  • Years Found in Likeness (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1988).
  • Momentum (Port Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann, 1992).
  • Formerlight: Selected Poems (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1992).
  • Mermaid: Poems and Illustrations (Port Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann, 1996).
  • Dalliance and Scorn (Canberra: Indigo, 1999).
  • A Fold in the Light (Charnwood, ACT: Ginninderra Press, 2001).
  • Tightrope Walker: and other poems (Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2004).
  • The Past Completes Me: Selected Poems 1973–2003 (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 2005).
  • Folk Tunes (Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 2009).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Gary Catalano, ‘Alan Gould,’ Quadrant 42.4 (1998), pp. 61–64.
  • Martin Duwell, ‘Gould’s Shipping News,’ Australian Book Review no. 275 (2005), p. 50.
  • Alan Gould, Three Streets in Search of an Author (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1993).
  • Alan Gould, The Totem Ship ([Hahndorf, SA]: D&S, 1996).
  • K. F. Pearson, ‘The Canberra Poets: The New Australian Poetry,’ in Paul Sharrad, ed., Poetry of the Pacific Region (Adelaide, SA: Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English, 1984), pp. 109–19.
  • Rosemary Sorensen, ‘Alan Gould: The Novelist and the Voyeur,’ Australian Book Review no. 162 (1994), pp. 17–19.
  • Pradeep Trikha, ‘Allan [sic] Gould (1949-),’ in Delphic Intimations: Dialogues with Australian Writers and Critics (New Delhi, India: Sarup, 2007), pp. 122–31.