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Craig Powell (1940 – )

Craig Powell Craig Powell

Craig Powell was born in Wollongong, New South Wales, in 1940. After graduating from the University of Sydney with a degree in medicine in 1965, he went on to train and practice as a psychiatrist. From 1972 to 1982, he lived in Canada, training at the Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis. After returning to Australia he has worked in private practice in Sydney, and as a Visiting Medical Officer at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Powell began publishing poetry in the mid 1960s, his work first appearing in journals and magazines including Twentieth Century, The Realist, and Poetry Australia. His early work was influenced by Bruce Beaver and Francis Webb, to whom he dedicated, respectively, his first and second collections, A Different Kind of Breathing (1966) and I Learn by Going (1968). His poetry, which often reflects on his relationships and experiences with people suffering from mental illnesses, has also been strongly influenced by his psychoanalytic training. To date he has published nine poetry collections, including a volume of Selected Poems 1963–1977 (1978), and he remains a regular contributor to Australian literary magazines.

Poetry Collections
  • A Different Kind of Breathing: Poems.  Sydney: South Head Press 1966
  • I Learn by Going: Poems. Five Dock, NSW: South Head Press 1968
  • A Country Without Exiles: Poems. Five Dock, NSW South Head Press 1972
  • Rehearsal for Dancers: Poems. Winnipeg, Canada: Turnstone Press 1978
  • Selected Poems 1963–1977. London, Canada: Killaly Press 1978
  • A Face in Your Hands. Berrima, NSW: South Head Press 1984 (Poetry Australia #97)
  • The Ocean Remembers It Is Visible. Princeton New Jersey, Quarterly Review of  Literature 1989
  • Minga Street: New and Selected Poems. Sydney: Hale and Iremonger 1993
  • Music and Women’s Bodies. Wollongong, NSW: Five Islands Press 2002
  • The Poem as a Place: and other Poems. Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press 2004
  • Poems for a Marriage. Warners Bay, NSW: Picaro Press 2008


Suggested Further Reading

  • Lawrence Bourke, ‘Return that Refines’, Australian Book Review no.152 (1993), p. 49.
  • Oliver Dennis, ‘Men Gotta Tell Their Stories’, Australian Book Review no.248 (2003), p.42.
  • Kevin Hart, 'Losing the self in the lyric moment', The Age Saturday Extra, 21 August, 1993.
  • Paul Kavanagh, ‘Tenderness Towards Existence: Craig Powell Talks with Paul Kavanagh,’ Poetry Australia no.107–108 (1986), pp. 112–19.
  • Craig Powell, ‘Poetry in a Shrinking World’, Five Bells 10.3 (2003), pp. 9–11.
  • Craig Powell, ‘The Language of the Poem’, The Phoenix Review no.3 (1988), pp. 21–28.
  • John Sheppard, [untitled review of Music and Women’s Bodies], Five Bells 10.3 (2003), pp. 56–58.