1979: The New Australian Poetry

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Okay — this is a trip into the distant past: 1979! Things were fine in seventy-nine, or so they say. Now, how to you explore this site?

First a couple of reviews from 1980: Rae Desmond Jones takes a very smart look at what this anthology means in terms of John Tranter’s output of poems, here.

Second, the late Martin Harrison takes a long and detailed (and very British) look at what this anthology means in 1980 in terms of the fate of modernism in Australia, here.

Then, to look at each poem in the anthology (and there are hundreds!) you can check out the Contents pages: each poem title has an automatic link to that poem, here.

Then, a light-hearted look at how these crazy poets saw themselves. Well, not quite. “They Dared to Live”, below. And below that, the fronts, backs, and the twenty-four contributors.

They Dared to Live!
The Generation of ’68 and The New Australian Poetry flyer.
Inserted into copies of «New Poetry» magazine 1979. The «Surfers Paradise» launch party was held in March 1979. Published here under the Creative Commons licence Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives: CC BY-NC-ND

This flyer advertising the publication of «The New Australian Poetry» (Makar Press, 1979), and on the verso «Surfers Paradise» magazine number two, was distributed with an issue of «New Poetry» probably in late 1979. Written, designed and typeset by John Tranter, it echoed the sense of playfulness that was an important part of the poetry (and of the general approach to life) of that generation of writers. This HTML version imitates the layout and typestyle of the original.

They Dared to Live!
They Dared to Live!

Drugs and sex weren’t enough! In the turmoil of the late 1960s a new generation of writers burst onto the scene. Heedless of restraint, and filled with urges they themselves only half-understood, they wanted — and demanded — more! Much more!

Driven by the frenzied rhythms of pop music, half-crazed by mind-bending psychedelic drugs, reeling from one bizarre sexual encounter to another, they forged for themselves the ultimate thrill — POETRY!
But not the poetry you are used to in the classroom! No, these wild and talented youngsters recklessly overthrew all the accepted traditions of English verse! The art they created flamed and raged across the page! Torn from their own anguish and ecstasy, their brilliantly-crafted writings will stun you into a new understanding of your own deepest urges!

Now, for the first time, a major publisher has dared to bring together the best poems of this generation. Makar Press, highly respected as a publisher of fine, scholarly books, printed in hard-to-obtain limited editions on the best quality paper, will soon release THE NEW AUSTRALIAN POETRY. For those with the courage to take up the challenge of this disturbing and brilliant work, here is a rare opportunity, exclusively limited to readers of this magazine.

Fill in this coupon, mail it straight to the address below, and we will rush you — as soon as our busy printing schedule allows — a special pre-release copy of The New Australian Poetry. Twenty-four of the most skilled and outspoken poets of the decade collected in more than 350 pages of fine paper, specially stitched and solidly bound, scrupulously edited by the most respected literary publishers in Australia — rushed direct to you in a plain wrapper bearing only the distinguished crest of Makar Press!

The burning contemporary issues which these poets so frankly explore are only part of the rich experience you will gain from this book. It is also destined to become a classic of Australian culture, an enduring monument to the great gifts squandered so freely by these young writers, to the publisher’s courage in bringing it before the public, and to you — the reader — for whom, after all, these poems were written! Don’t delay any longer! Take the chance we now offer you to participate in the most thrilling experience in our cultural history!
Our special pre-publication price of $10 — post free — can never be repeated!


TO: Makar Press,
P.O. Box 71, St. Lucia, Qld. 4067.
Yes! I am ready to face the challenge of The New Australian Poetry! Please rush me — Immediately your busy printing schedule allows — a copy of this gripping collection, in a plain wrapper bearing only the crest of Makar Press, at the special pre-publication price — available only to readers of this magazine — of only $10 — Post Free! I enclose cheque/ postal note/ money order (cross out whichever doesn’t apply).

…………………………………… P’code.……………

Insert New Poetry-Surfers Paradise

On the verso of the flyer an advertisement for Surfers Paradise was printed:

S U R F E R S   P A R A D I S E

143 Union Street, Erskineville, NSW 2043

After a delay of four years, issue number two of Surfers Paradise —
the Steve McGarrett Commemmorative Issue — is now out!

Featuring new poetry and prose by:

Stephen Kelen, Laurie Duggan, Martin Johnston, Mick Forbes,
Robert Harris, Phillip Hammial, Gig Ryan, Nicholas Pounder,
John Forbes, Christopher Kelen, John Tranter and Alan Jefferies,

together with brilliant illustrations.

This hand-made product is limited to 250 copies, and is not easy to find in your average bookshop! So make sure of getting yours by sending a cheque, money order or postal note for $2 to this address, and get your copy, post free, by return mail:
143 Union Street
Erskineville NSW 2043
Don’t forget to include your own name and address!

And at last, the fronts, backs, and the twenty-four contributors to The New Australian Poetry, 1979:

[»»] 02 Introduction

[»»] 03 Bruce Beaver, 1928-2004

[»»] 04 Rae Desmond Jones

[»»] 05 Nigel Roberts

[»»] 06 Michael Dransfield, 1948-1973

[»»] 07 Vicki Viidikas, 1928-1998

[»»] 08 Tim Thorne

[»»]09 Robert Adamson

[»»] 10 Martin Johnston

[»»] 11 Jennifer Maiden

[»»] 12 John Tranter

[»»] 13 Ken Taylor

[»»] 14 Charles Buckmaster

[»»] 15 Robert Kenny

[»»] 16 Kris Hemensley

[»»] 17 Clive Faust

[»»] 18 Walter Billeter

[»»] 19 Rudi Krausmann

[»»] 20 Philip Hammial

[»»] 21 Garrie Hutchinson

[»»] 22 John Jenkins

[»»] 23 John Forbes

[»»] 24 Laurie (Laurence) Duggan

[»»] 25 Alan Wearne

[»»] 26 John A. Scott

[»»] 27 Biographical and Bibliographical Details

[»»] — 1980 Rae Desmond Jones’ review

[»»] — 1980 Martin Harrison’s review