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Thomas Shapcott

Thomas Shapcott
Thomas Shapcott is an Australian poet, novelist, playwright, editor, librettist, short story writer and teacher. He has received numerous rewards and accolades for his work, and in 1989 was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia.

‘Bruce Beaver – A Poet’s Poet’ by Thomas Shapcott

May 2004, no. 261 01 May 2004
Bruce Beaver died peacefully in his sleep on February 17, a few days after his seventy-sixth birthday. He had been under dialysis for a dozen years, so the news was not unexpected. But it is always a shock and a sadness when a commanding poet dies. Bruce Beaver (born in 1928) published his first collection of poems, Under the Bridge, in 1961, a time when Australian poetry was paddling through som ... (read more)

'To Music' a poem by Thomas Shapcott

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
Only the young can wholeheartedly love ancient music. It is fancy-dress, sound pared to its bones As if the naughty flesh were simply the prop for the idea of fabulous costumes, or sackcloth and ashes Such as we never dream of today.                            &nbs ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 'Amor Mundi: True Stories – Days of Bombardment and Martial Law in Belgrade' by Dusan Velickovic

May 2001, no. 230 01 May 2001
This excellently produced little paperback from a new Australian publisher, Common Ground Publishing, comes with a story behind it. Dusan Velickovic may be remembered by some Australians; he came to this country for several months back in the mid-1980s under a Literature Board Familiarisation scheme, and on his return to Belgrade he did much to publicise Australian writing. Frank Moorhouse, B. Won ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 4 Poetry Books by Regional Publishers

February–March 1980, no. 18 01 February 1980
The phenomenon of the Fremantle Arts Centre Press in Western Australia is one of the instructive publishing success stories of the past decade. It is a frankly regional venture, and by concentrating on the local market and the immediate writing scene it has built up a secure base of interest – and sales. Out of a real or imagined (but widespread) sense of slight, or exclusion, has emerged the o ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 'Helpman: The authorized biography' by Elizabeth Salter

May 1979, no. 10 01 May 1979
This is a book that is unashamedly intended for the Aunty market, not the arty market. It will flourish in circulating libraries and must have solved many a Christmas dilemma (the publishers, I’m sure, budgeted on that). It is happily and old-fashionedly enthusiastic in tone, and tells the story – as authorised – with admiration and lots of incident. As a Helpmann compendium, it is sufficien ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 'Maydays' by David Rowbotham

August 1980, no. 23 01 July 1980
It is five years since Rowbotham’s Selected Poems, one of that extraordinary number of summing-up volumes that has been, perhaps, last decade’s most telling and characteristic factor. The need to gauge one’s own work (and focus) from some working perspective has always been the basis of a living poet’s Selected Poems. But this decade’s perspective makers have, almost without exception, s ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 'Modern Australian Poetry 1920–1970' edited by Herbert C. Jaffa

June 1980, no. 21 26 August 2022
This book, researched, written, and published in the United States, fulfils an immediate Australian need. Sweat on that you local academics, publishers, and timid promoters of the Oz product. It is called ‘A guide to information sources’, which makes it sound very ‘Australian Literary Studies’, but in fact it is an eminently readable, browsable volume. ... (read more)

'Storm over Port Phillip', a poem by Thomas Shapcott

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
After the painting by Rick Amor Wait. Sometimes the waiting seems interminableBut that is the trick with water. The darkGathers up your apprehension and you seekSome other way of confronting, if you are able,The idea of storm. It is not possibleTo think of wind and rain without every black Possibility of destruction. The bleakSea ensures that. This always was fate’s timetable. Sometimes t ... (read more)

Thomas Shapcott reviews 'The New Australian Poetry' edited by John Tranter

February–March 1980, no. 18 01 February 1980
The intention of this anthology is to sharpen our understanding of what was distinctive in the poetry of ‘the generation of ‘68’ (Tranter’s label). Though he himself, as well as Robert Adamson, Michael Dransfield, and Tim Thorne, were publishing before 1968, and the ‘senior’ figures (Bruce Beaver, Ken Taylor) were certainly fully formed, the tag is useful. It raises more questions, bu ... (read more)

Obituary for Geoffrey Dutton, 1922–1998 by Thomas Shapcott

October 1998, no. 205 01 October 1998
Geoff Dutton was a man-of-letters who for many years made (with Max Harris) Adelaide seem one of the lively centres of Australian literary culture. One thinks of him in association with the magazines Angry Penguins, Australian Letters, and the original Australian Book Review, not to mention the inauguration of an Australian publication list for Penguin Books, and then, when that soured, the settin ... (read more)
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