Kenneth Slessor (1901–1971) was an Australian poet, war correspondent and journalist. Born in Orange NSW, he began writing poetry as a child with his first publication appearing in the Bulletin. He began his career as a journalist at The Sun in 1920 before later becoming a war correspondent to the Commonwealth in 1940. He was highly critical of poets such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson, preferring the styles of city-dwelling writers such as Hugh McCrae and Jack Lindsay over ‘bush poetry’. He received the O.B.E for services to literature in 1959. The Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry has been created in his honour with the most recent recipient being Fiona Hile for Novelties in 2014.
Peter Kirkpatrick has written about One Hundred Poems: 1919–1939 (1944) by Kenneth Slessor as part of the Reading Australia initiative. Click here to read his essay.
Further Reading and Links
Reading Australia teaching resources: Selected Poems (1944)
‘Slessor, Kenneth Adolf’. Dennis Haskell, Australian Dictionary of Biography Entry: Volume 16
‘Kenneth Slessor’s Importance’. Clive James, via clivejames.com (April, 1976)
‘Kenneth Adolf Slessor’. Biography on the Australian War Memorial website
‘Kenneth Slessor’. Bibliography on the Poetry Foundation website