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John Jenkins (1949 – )

John Jenkins, 2005, photographer unknown John Jenkins, 2005, photographer unknown

John Jenkins was born in 1949 in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Elwood. His parents were specialty tailors who had separate shops in Prahran. They later relocated to Box Hill. He was educated at Burwood Technical School and Box Hill High School and studied Business at the Swinburne Institute of Technology.

Sometimes associated with the group of poets known as the ‘Generation of ’68’, Jenkins was one of the first poets to read at Melbourne’s famous La Mama theatre, and in the 1970s helped to write pop songs with various bands and musicians. His first book of poems, Zone of the White Wolf, was published in 1974, and he has since published eight further poetry collections as well as a volume of experimental short fiction and a verse novel, A Break in the Weather (2003). He has co-written a number of books of poems with Ken Bolton including their verse novel, The Ferrara Poems, which was made into a 40-minute film. Jenkins has lived in London, Sydney and Melbourne, and travelled widely overseas, and in 1995 moved to the country outside Melbourne. Besides writing poetry, he has worked extensively as a journalist, editor, and teacher of creative writing.

Poetry Collections
  • Zone of the White Wolf and Other Landscapes (Armadale, Vic: Contempa Publications, 1974).
  • Blindspot (St Lucia, Qld: Makar Press, 1977).
  • The Inland Sea: Poems (Brunswick, Vic: Brunswick Hills Press and Rigmorale Books, 1984).
  • Chromatic Cargoes: Poems ([Elwood, Vic]: Post Neo, 1986).
  • [with Ken Bolton], Airborne Dogs and Other Collaborations (Melbourne, Vic: Brunswick Hills Press, 1988).
  • [with Ken Bolton], The Ferrara Poems (Adelaide: Experimental Art Foundation, 1989).
  • The Wild White Sea: Two Poems (North Adelaide: South Australian Publishing Ventures and Futures, 1990).
  • Days Like Air (Fitzroy North, Vic: Modern Writing Press, 1992).
  • [with Ken Bolton], The Gutman Variations (North Adelaide, South Australian Publishing Ventures and Futures, [1993]).
  • [with Ken Bolton], The Wallah Group (Adelaide: Little Esther Books, 2001).
  • [with Ken Bolton], Nutters Without Fetters (Berry, NSW: PressPress, [2002]).
  • Dark River: Poems (Woollongong, NSW: Five Islands Press, 2003).
  • Poems of Relative Unlikelihood (Adelaide: Little Esther Books, 2005).
  • Growing Up With Mr Menzies (Elwood, Vic: John Leonard Press, 2008).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Wikipedia entry for John Jenkins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jenkins_(poet) )
  • John Jenkins website (http://johnjenkins.com.au)
  • Jill Bamforth, ‘Jill Bamforth reviews John Jenkins’, Cordite , March 2009
  • Morag Fraser, ‘Best Books of 2008’,  Australian Book Review, January 2009
  • John Jenkins, ‘Jenkins/Bolton: What Next?’ in John Kinsella ed., The Bird Catcher’s Song: A Salt Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (Applecross, WA: Salt Publishing, [1992]).
  • John Jenkins, ‘Understanding the Very New Poetry: The Reality of a Modernist Tradition,’ in John Braybrook, Phillip Edmonds and Robert Hughes, eds., Foundation and Reality: Poetry and Poems ([Footscray, Vic]: s.n., 1977).
  • Geoff Page, ‘Creature of His Time,’ Australian Book Review 307 (2008): p. 58.
  • Scott Thornton, ‘Scott Thornton Reviews John Jenkins,’ Cordite 19 (2004).
  • Alan Wearne, ‘The Ferrara Poems,’ Australian Book Review 114 (1989): pp. 37–38.