Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


University of Wollongong. Faculty of Creative Arts


It was a few poems into Bestiary when I began writing Psychic Photography. After the completion of Psychic Photography, I wrote Broken Land over a period of a few weeks. Psychic Photography took eight months whereas Bestiary, due to the amount of research involved and the separate identity of each of the individual poems, took about eighteen months. I needed to be working on these three books at the same time in order to break up the intensity, and relieve myself of the kind of concentration required for creative expression. When I am on a run I just allow myself to go with the flow ofthe book until it is finished. I am always working on a number of books at once, but now and again a particular book seems to suddenly come to life for me. The narrative element of the book Broken Land helped this ignition and acceleration. It was a book I had to write quickly without interruption. I was suddenly involved in it and then it was over. It's a collection that I have a soft spot for. In comparison, Psychic Photography was a huge narrative that needed to be cut right down and reconstructed into what it has become. This book was originally four times its present length. Part of its intensity was gained by cutting it right down in order to find the poetry in the paragraph of prose. I could say that the poetry was the jewel in the cave of prose.

What makes these books unique as a triptych, is that I was working on them at around the same time. They were also my first planned books in a thematic sense. My previous three; In The Dog Box Of Summer, William's Mongrels and How Do Detectives Make Love? were in no way planned. In The Dog Box Of Summer was simply a poet's first collection, bright-eyed, a collation of ideas and a little shaky in parts. The second collection, William's Mongrels is a more substantial. Already there is a sense of thematic writing that begins to emerge. Although it was in no way a planned book, I wrote it whilst I travelled around Australia, so a lot of the poems were influenced by this journey. Nevertheless it was still fairly spontaneous in its construction, a book based on various states of inspiration. I was barely developing as a writer. That was in nineteen ninetytwo. I'm thinking my God that trip was wasted. I'm wondering what kind of poetry I would write now, if I travelled right around Australia again. Then I guess in five years from now, I'll wonder what the hell I was writing on that trip.

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