The links below take you to lots of poems by John Tranter.

1976: ‘The Alphabet Murders’, seven sections. ‘The Alphabet Murders… makes a great introduction to his work: its 27 segments… use their meta-detective tales as excuses to talk about reading, writing, associative thought and literary history.’

[»»]1982: ‘Butterfly’ (from Selected Poems, 1982) ‘It’s just one weird thing after another’

[»»] 1995 ‘Yoo Hoo, Fugaces’: Eighteen early ‘Fugitive Poems’ with notes by the author.

[»»] 2004: The Malley Variations: Utilising the computer program BREKDOWN, these ten poems are unwilling collaborations; the voice of Ern Malley is inspired by and speaks through the voices of other writers at key moments in their careers, including Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Yasunari Kawabata, and E. M. Forster.

[»»] 2006: ‘After Rilke’. I have occasionally suspected that the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke was a bullshit artist, so when I turned my attention to his ‘Duino Elegies’ it was not out of kindness.

[»»] 2008 “Five Quartets”. There has been some discussion as to whether T.S. Eliot’s poem “Four Quartets” is a Modernist poem or not: going on its high stodginess and blather quotient, I think not. This poem here, however, is definitely a Postmodernist one; it is a truncated version of “Four Quartets” which, at nearly a thousand lines, seemed to me to be far too long. My version is Eliot’s poem with most of the words removed, and runs to a much more economical seventy-five lines.

[»»] 2009: Nine poems, after Baudelaire. (In Starlight, UQP 2010.) The nine poems consist of loose responses to poems by Baudelaire, responses written in Umbria in October 2009: each poem is followed by the poem by Baudelaire that (loosely) inspired it. This page is about nine printed pages long.

[»»] 2010: ‘Paris Blues’. (In Starlight, UQP 2010.) ‘It’s the early sixties: before heroin, before herpes and AIDS ruined things, before the women’s movement. Jack Kerouac is still alive, though only just, with eight years left to live. But let’s leave America behind and take a cultural detour down to the cellar where a successful American export, a jazz band, is winding up for the night.’

[»»] 2013: Four rhymed sonnets (from the booklet Ten Sonnets [Vagabond Press, 2013].) ‘…some of these sonnets are loosely based on Arthur Rimbaud’s ‘Voyelles’ sonnet which attempts to give colours to the various vowels (un sonnet en alexandrins d’Arthur Rimbaud écrit à Paris dans les premiers mois de 1872, Wikipedia), though with a more variegated palette.’

[»»] ‘The Beach: a superhypermetrical sestina’. The ‘freight of noise and activity, Vietnamese immigrants… an Italian family quarrelling, and a Greek fish shop crowded with revellers in white’: it’s all good fun, and, as the poet contemplates the crowd, ‘The bowl of sand and water [becomes] a kind of memory theatre… when I was a boy in the country I liked to swim, poke at an octopus with a stick and chase poisonous puffer fish through the rippling shallows, then I would wander up the five-mile beach, no one there.’ Whereas ‘Now the beach seems a tedious gritty way to get skin cancer — just as when I was a kid in a country town I longed to live in Australia’s busiest metropolis, Sydney.’ So says Marjorie Perloff, in Jacket magazine 18 at http://jacketmagazine.com/18/perloff.html

[»»] 2012: ‘The Longest Poem in the World’ Check out my (free) multi-part report on the lively 2012 Auckland conference ‘Short Takes on the Long Poem’. The participants wrote the longest poem in the world, in the sand of a sandy beach on Waiheke Island in Auckland Bay. Lots of photos!

[»»] 2010 ‘The Anaglyph’

[»»] The Floor of Heaven: some newer notes.

[»»] The Floor of Heaven: some OLDER notes.

[»»] Not a poem but a prose poem: ‘Letitia’s Lithe Limbs’…



[»»] A PDF file of the first half of the book Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected. Printed copies of the entire book can be purchased from the publisher’s website: http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/search.aspx?Search=tranter



John Tranter, New York City, April 2008,
photo © 2008 Charles Bernstein/PennSound.

Off-site: AUDIO: John Tranter recorded in the USA: «Close Listening» — readings and conversations at WPS1.Org

Off-site: John Tranter, New York, April 3, 2008, Reading from Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected (24:32):MP3

Off-site: In conversation with Charles Bernstein
(29:15):MP3 Close Listening produced and recorded by Charles Bernstein ©2008 John Tranter and Charles Bernstein

Off-site: Poetry reading: at the Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia March 30, 2005:
1. “I Know a Man,” by Robert Creeley (0:24): MP3

Off-site: Poetry readings: in New York City, April 2008: Complete reading (53:38): MP3:

2. Invitation to America (1:57): MP3

3. Miss Proust (2:47): MP3

4. After Laforgue (1:46): MP3

5. Where the Boys Are (0:52): MP3

6. Benzedrine (1:45): MP3

7. Transatlantic (2:13): MP3

8. The Waiting Room (1:40): MP3

9. Poolside (1:09): MP3

10. God on a Bicycle (1:02): MP3

11. Aurora (1:49): MP3

12. Moonshine Sonata (1:04): MP3

13. Voodoo (2:00): MP3.

crying-cover-200w[»»] A PDF file of the book Crying in Early Infancy — 100 Sonnets, Makar Press, St Lucia, 1977. The cover design is by Lyn Tranter. This file is free to read in its entirety on this site, but it cannot be printed. You can order a printed copy of the omnibus volume Trio (see below), which contains this book, from Gleebooks in Australia: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/
or from the publisher, Salt Publishing, in Cambridge UK: http://www.saltpublishing.com/

1876857714cvr.qxdTrio is a 162-page omnibus collection of three books of poetry by John Tranter published over a period of wide-ranging stylistic experiment in the 1970s: Red Movie, his second book, published in 1972, Crying in Early Infancy, a collection of one hundred mainly free-verse sonnets (1977), and Dazed in the Ladies Lounge (1979), with extensive notes. It is only available in printed form from bookshops. The cover photograph by the author is a frame from a television program featuring Gerry Mulligan playing baritone saxophone.

blast-cvr-2010-200wA PDF file of the book The Blast Area is available as a free download from Lulu.Com, published by [»»] Argotist EBooks in the UK. To download a copy typeset by the author, on this site, click [here]. Published as a pamphlet in 1974, The Blast Area was John Tranter’s third book of poetry, and has long been out of print. The poems are varied and strange. Some veer away from common sense into a quirky surrealism, and one ends with a rhyme in English and French (the French borrowed from Rimbaud):

Wax the ski. Compress the snow.
She: Et mon bureau?

The final third of the book consists of “The Poem in Love”, a sequence of fifteen pseudo-sonnets, set up by an epigraph from the dubious Paul Ducasse:

It’s possible that a poem in its own realm of being may take on a life of its own, and thus return by means of love some of the anguish and the suffering invested by the poet in its creation.

Critic Andrew Johnson wrote: “‘The Poem’, in this poem, might stand for the variety of strategies we employ to make sense of the world, and for the fleeting, unstable patterns we think we perceive in our experience. It’s as if having reached an extreme of cynicism about ‘meaning’, Tranter lets it in through the back door, and a new-found humour with it.”

parallax-200wOff-site: John Tranter’s first book Parallax (1970) may be read on the University of Sydney Library SETIS site here: [»»]