Mark O'Connor

Mark O'Connor

Mark O’Connor was born in Melbourne in 1945, and graduated from Melbourne University in 1965. He lives in Canberra. In 1999 he was the Australian National University’s H.C. Coombs Fellow, and thereafter a Visiting Scholar in its Department of Archaeology and Natural History. He has taught English at several universities, has published fifteen books of verse, and won many prizes and awards. His poetry shows a special interest in the natural world. He was Australia’s ‘Olympic poet’ for the Sydney 2000 Games, with a fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts to ‘report in verse on the Games’. He holds a doctorate in Shakespearian studies, and is the editor of Oxford University Press’ much re-printed Two Centuries of Australian Poetry.

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'Balloons over our city' by Mark O'Connor

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 31 May 2018
Those big laundry baskets heaving at anchor, a soft lift and falllike a cat landing on feathers Nervous passengers toeing the frost, invited at last, to stand packedin a cut-down phone booth of wicker. Each shot of flame brings a slow delaying lift then the light up-gathering pull of nylonas tugged seams unite to draw on hawsers, cats-cradles – a slow lift to grass-brushing height,then with ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'John at 70 years, the Marriage 40 years old' by Mark O'Connor

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 31 May 2018
For John and Bini Malcolm   Just when you think it’s all coming togetherAnd you could take a bit more of this partnership,Time coughs and observes, it’s been forty years now, more than average,And maybe it’s time to sum up. In the road to the planets and starsThe step from the croft to the town was the harshestThen – for a Scot – the plunge into alien England.Later to the India C ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'Remembering Diana Spencer' by Mark O'Connor

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 31 May 2018
Trapped and snapped, cut from twisted tin,a blowfly on the windscreenpreening its compound lenses. Nothing to be done. They sewed her back,packed the cut flesh in ice and flowers. Not one for white gloves, kneeling to the young and the dyingwhile those lanky knees pushed out,she proved kings were film stars,then deposed the prince. TV made it like a death in the family;anchors maudlinly adding ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'The abiding remorse' by Mark O'Connor

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 31 May 2018
‘We were two cranes, each broken-winged,that hopped and panicked in the dust till welded, seamless, rib to rib,we sprang with equal, matchless strokes to glide above the circling cloudsbeyond the glance of counsellors,perfect, alone, in company’ So wrote the Emperorof plump Kwei Fei, whose bloodhis generals poured in dust, whose love cost him and China everything. Despised and hobbling on ... (read more)

States of Poetry Series Three - ACT | 'Autumn in Acton' by Mark O'Connor

States of Poetry ACT - Series Three 31 May 2018
Season of fructose gladness, its sugars mixedWith melancholy for declining life and year.Now the year turns downwards to the compost tip Rosella parrots with their sideways treadle-ing clawsMove transverse up the fire-thorn sprays,Munch golden berries in a slow exultant dance. But for students in the Acton antipodes the autumn is springtime,When migrating flocks settle in to fresh campus grovesT ... (read more)