10 South Australian poets you should know

One of my intentions in starting this blog is to include a few “waymarker posts” for people who want to discover more South Australian poetry. There’s long been a perception that Australian poets living outside Melbourne and Sydney struggle to achieve the same recognition as poets living in and around those cities.

A case in point is a review published in Australian Poetry Journal in 2012, in which Jaya Savige notes the omission of younger Queensland poets from Australian Poetry Since 1788, a doorstop/anthology edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray:

Perhaps just as notably, [of the poets included in the anthology] there has not been a poet born in Queensland since 1949; yet there have been 30 born in New South Wales and Victoria in that same period.

In the mid-1990s, Geoff Page published A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry, which includes biographical and literary profiles of one hundred poets who were active in Australia at the time. In later posts, I’d like to offer similar profiles of a couple of prominent South Australian poets, albeit in abridged form.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a short list of contemporary poets who (I think) represent a sensible starting point for an exploration of South Australian poetry. These poets are still writing and/or publishing and have had at least two collections of poems published that should be reasonably easy to obtain. I’ve included the titles of one or two books for each.

  1. Ken Bolton – At the Flash & At the Baci (Wakefield), Selected Poems 1975-2010 (Shearsman)
  2. Aidan Coleman – Avenues & Runways (Brandl & Schlesinger), Asymmetry (Brandl & Schlesinger)
  3. Steve Evans – Edison Doesn’t Invent the Car (Wakefield), Bonetown (Wakefield)
  4. Peter Goldsworthy – This Goes with That: Poetry 1974-2001 (Leviathan)
  5. Jill Jones – Screens Jets Heaven: New & Selected Poems (Salt), The Beautiful Anxiety (Puncher & Wattmann)
  6. Cath Kenneally – All Day, All Night (Salt), Eaten Cold (Walleah)
  7. Jeri Kroll – Workshopping the Heart: New & Selected Poems (Wakefield)
  8. Mike Ladd – Rooms & Sequences (Salt), Transit (Five Islands)
  9. Jan Owen – Poems 1980-2008 (John Leonard)
  10. Graham Rowlands – Collected Poems (Lythrum)


  • Lehmann, G & Gray, R, 2011, Australian Poetry Since 1788, UNSW Press, Sydney.
  • Page, G, 1995, A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry, UQP, St Lucia (Qld).
  • Savige, J, 2012, ‘Anthologies and the poetic stock market’, Australian Poetry Journal, vol. 2.1, pp. 84-89.

2 thoughts on “10 South Australian poets you should know

  1. Welcome to the world of blogging Thom!

    Well done thank you for promoting South Australian poetry in a blog. Im sure its one of those ”I’m sure someone else will do it, but noone ever does, until someone does’ sort of things.

    O and may I say, for a poet, you write a darn good blog post!

    I look forward to what’s to come.


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