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Geoff Page (1940 – )

Geoff Page was born in Grafton, New South Wales on 7 July 1940, into a family with a long connection with the Clarence River district. His grandfather, Sir Earle Page, was the founder of the Country Party, now the National Party, though Page himself has taken the opposite approach to politics, supporting the Labor Party. He attended the Armidale School and then completed an Arts degree at the University of New England.  In 1964 he moved to Canberra where he taught English and History in local schools. He was in charge of the English Department at Narrabundah College from 1974 until his retirement in 2001.

Page's first collection of poems appeared in 1971, as Two Poets, a small volume in UQP's Paperback Poets Series shared with fellow poet Phillip Roberts. Smalltown Memorials (1975) and Collecting the Weather (1978) established many of Page's continuing preoccupations, especially with history, both the history of his own family and Australian history more generally, with a particular emphasis on the violence and loss incurred through wars and the destruction of Aborigines and their culture following European settlement.  To date, Page has published more than twenty collections, as well as two verse novels and Lawrie and Shirley, The Final Cadenza: a movie in verse (2006). Darker and Lighter (2001) won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize for that year. A Selected Poems appeared in 1991.

Page has also been very active as an anthologist, critic and reviewer, his many publications doing much to promote Australian poetry, and poetry more generally. They include A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry (1995), 80 Great Poems from Chaucer to Now (2006) and 60 Classic Australian Poems (2009).

While best-known as a poet and critic, Page has also published two novels as well as a musical biography, Bernie McGann: A Life in Jazz (1997), interviewed a wide range of jazz musicians for the National Film and Sound Archive, and written plays for radio, television and the stage. He has taken part in poetry readings, seminars and conferences in Australia, China, Europe, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. He won the Robert Harris Poetry Prize in both 1994 and 1996 and the ACT Poetry Award in 2004. In 2001 he received the Patrick White Award and in 2006 the FAW Christopher Brennan Award.

 Poetry Collections

The Question in Two Poets [with Phillip Roberts] (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1971).

Smalltown Memorials (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975).

Roger McDonald and Geoff Page (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975).

Collecting the Weather (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1978).

Cassandra Paddocks: poems (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1980).

Clairvoyant in Autumn (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1983).

[with Dorothy Hewett, John Scott, and Pi O], 4 Australian Poets (Marrickville, NSW: Southwood Press, [1985]).

Collected Lives (North Ryde, NSW: Angus and Robertson, 1986).

Century of Clouds: selected poems from the French of Guillaume
Appollinaire (Canberra: Leros Press, 1986).

Smiling in English, Smoking in French: a journal (Canberra: Brindabella Press, 1987).

Footwork (North Ryde, NSW: Angus and Robertson, 1988).

Invisible Histories (Chippendale, NSW: Picador, 1989).

Selected Poems (North Ryde, NSW: Angus and Robertson, 1991).

Gravel Corners: poems (Pymble, NSW: Angus and Robertson, 1992).

Human Interest
(Port Melbourne, Vic: Heinemann, 1994).

Mrs Schnell Arrives in Heaven and other light verse
(Cook, ACT: Polonius Press, 1995).

The Great Forgetting
(Canberra, ACT: Aboriginal Studies Press and National Museum of Australia, 1996).

The Secret (Kew, Vic: Heinemann, 1997).

Poetry at Chats (Narrabundah, ACT: [the Author], 1999).

Collateral Damage (Charnwood, ACT: Indigo, 1999).

The Scarring (Alexandria, NSW: Hale and Iremonger, 1999).

Darker and Lighter (Wollongong, NSW: Five Islands Press, 2001).

My Mother's God and other poems
(Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2002).

Drumming on Water: a verse novel
(Blackheath, NSW: Brandl and Schlesinger, 2003).

Cartes Postales (Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2004).

Freehold: verse novel (Blackheath, NSW: Brandl and Schlesinger, 2005).

Lawrie and Shirley, The Final Cadenza: a movie in verse (Canberra, ACT: Pandanus Books, 2006).

Europe 101 (Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press, 2006).

Agnostic Skies ([Carlton, Vic]: Five Islands Press, 2006).

Seriatim (Cambridge, UK: Salt Publishing, 2007).

Suggested Further Reading

'A Poets' Seminar,' Southerly 63.2 (2003), pp. 118-29.

Adam Atkinson, [untitled review of Freehold: A Verse Novel], API Review of Books no. 40 (2006). http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/52363/20060202-0000/www.api-network.com/cgi-bin/reviews/jrbviewad93.html?n=187604070X&issue=40

David Callahan, [untitled review of Selected Poems], Australian Studies no.6 (1992), pp. 142-45.

Anne Collett, 'Geoff Page Interviewed by Anne Collett,' Germinal 2 (1985), pp. 11-19.

Julian Croft, 'Conversational Poetry,' Australian Book Review no.298 (2008), p. 53.

Alan Gould, 'The Image and the Voice: Geoff Page,' The Totem Ship (Hahndorf, SA: D&S, 2002), pp. 195-200.

Jan Owen, 'Scintillation and Sinew,' Quadrant 35.6 (1991), pp. 79-81.

Geoff Page, 'A Month on the US Poetry Circuit,' Island Magazine nos.25-26 (1986), pp. 22-23.

Geoff Page, 'ANZAC and Why I Write,' Kunapipi 18.2-3 (1996), pp. 332-33.

Robyn Rowland, [untitled review of Agnostic Skies], Blue Dog: Australian Poetry 6.11 (2007), pp. 62-65.