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Peter Minter (1967 – )

Peter Minter, photo by Kate Fagan Peter Minter, photo by Kate Fagan

Peter Minter was born at Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1967; his family has English, Scottish, and Aboriginal ancestry. He grew up at Swansea, near Newcastle, and as a teenager moved with his family to Quorrobolong, in the Hunter Valley. Minter has cited the change of scene from the coast to the bush as an important trigger for the development of his interest in writing. After finishing secondary school he travelled to Japan, where he lived for a year, learning the language and developing a fascination with Japanese culture. On returning to Australia, he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Japanese at the University of Sydney, while also working on his poetry and becoming involved in the Sydney writing scene. After graduating, he moved to the Blue Mountains, where he became involved in the Varuna Writers’ Centre, organising a series of poetry readings there, and co-founding and editing the poetry journal Cordite Poetry and Poetics Review. In 1999 he was awarded the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, which he used to attend the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetics in 2000. He has also developed a career in Indigenous education and literature, teaching at the University of Western Sydney and at the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney.

Minter’s first collection of poems, Rhythm in a Dorsal Fin, was published in 1995. He has since published four further collections, including Empty Texas, which won the Age Dinny O’Hearn Poetry Prize in 2000, and Morning, Hyphen, an extended series of poems juxtaposing lyrical and prose poem forms. Minter’s poetry has been frequently anthologised and has appeared in a number of Australian and international poetry journals. Besides his own poetry, he has edited various anthologies and journals, and published literary criticism and reviews. With Anita Heiss, he co-edited the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature (2008).

Poetry Collections
  • Rhythm in a Dorsal Fin (Wollongong, NSW: Five Islands Press, 1995).
  • Empty Texas: A Selection (Cambridge, UK: Folio/Salt, 1998).
  • Morning, Hyphen (Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2000).
  • Morning, Hyphen (Cambridge, UK: Equipage, 2003).
  • Blue Grass (Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 2006).
Suggested Further Reading
  • Peter Minter [website], online, http://peterminter.com
  • Louis Armand, ‘Empty Texas,’ Meanjin 58.4 (1999): pp. 188–90.
  • Debbie Comerford, ‘A Sunday Morning Chat with Peter Minter,’ Australian Literary Studies in the 21st Century (Hobart: Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 2001).
  • Rosanna Licari, ‘Peter Minter,’ Stylus Poetry Journal no. 24 (2007).
  • Philip Mead, ‘Seductive Writing,’ Australian Book Review no. 217 (2000): pp. 36–37.