Poetry Australia

I’ve spent the last day or so thinking about my presentation coming up in Castlemaine in a few weeks time. Part of that thinking got me digging through my piles of old poetry magazines and I found this old favourite, Poetry Australia. This for me was the Australian poetry magazine, dedicated specifically to poetry and always full of good poems. It helped that my first poetry mentor Philip Martin, at Monash University, had a book case which seemed full of past issues and I loved to browse through them before tutorial. I always wanted to be published in this magazine and I finally did have several poems appear there in the late 80s. The magazine has folded since, but Blue Dog, from the Poetry Australia Foundation, is firmly in its mould.

This cover is from issue no 65, which appeared in Dec 1977. It featured poets such as Jennifer Rankin, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Gwen Harwood, Judith Wright, Alan Gould, Alan Wearne, Andrew Sant and plenty more. My favourite poem in the issue is probably Gwen Harwood’s Space of a Dream, with its gorgeous opening:

For the first time since your death
I see you alive in a dream

I also liked Jamie Grant’s article Poets Writing Poems about Poetry and for a long time I followed his theorem, ‘that the tendency to write poems about poetry increases in inverse proportion to the competence of the poet’. I’ve avoided writing poetry about poems pretty much ever since!


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