The Sydney poet Bruce Beaver died in February 2004 after a long struggle with kidney failure that kept him on dialysis for more than a decade. He was seventy-six years old. Beaver was seen as a sympathetic older figure by many poets of my generation, born a dozen years later. I met him when I was in my twenties, and found him to be a generous friend. When the poet Michael Dransfield, younger still, called on him in the early 1970s, it was a natural meeting of minds. In one poem in The Long Game and Other Poems, Beaver says that ‘poor Dransfield draped / me with a necklet of dandelions / once and kissed my forehead / in what must have been / a satirical salute’. I have a feeling that the salute was heartfelt, but Bruce was painfully modest.
John Tranter’s two latest books Urban Myths: 210 Poems: New and Selected (2006) and Starlight: 150 Poems (2010), have together won six major Australian awards. A new book, Heart Starter, will be published in 2014 in Australia and the United States. He received a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong and is an Honorary Associate in the University of Sydney School of Letters, Arts and Media and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has published more than twenty collections of verse, and has edited six anthologies. He founded the free Internet magazine Jacket in 1997 and granted it to the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, he is the founder of the Australian Poetry Library at <http://poetrylibrary.edu.au> which publishes over 40,000 Australian poems online, he founded the Journal of Poetics Research at poeticsresearch.com, and he has a Journal at johntranter.net and a vast homepage at johntranter.com.
From the New Issue
A Spanner in the Works: The extraordinary story of Alice Anderson and Australia’s first all-girl garage by Loretta SmithReviewed by Sharon Verghis
The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a cosmopolitan culture by Orlando FigesReviewed by Michael Shmith