Geoff Page

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Geoffrey Donald Page (born 7 July 1940) is an Australian poet, translator, teacher and jazz enthusiast.

He has published nineteen collections of poetry, as well as prose and verse novels. Poetry and jazz are his driving interests, and he has also written a biography of the jazz musician, Bernie McGann. He organises poetry readings and jazz events in Canberra.

Life[edit]

Geoff Page was born in Grafton, New South Wales, and studied at the University of New England.[1] Earle Page, who was briefly Austalian prime minister, was his grandfather.

Career[edit]

Page has held residencies at numerous academic, military and political institutions, including Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the University of Wollongong. From 1974 to 2001 Page was head of the English department at Narrabundah College, a secondary college in the Australian Capital Territory. He retired from teaching in 2001.

He has travelled widely, talking on Australian poetry in Switzerland, Britain, Italy, Singapore, China, the United States and New Zealand. His poetic style ranges from lyrical to satirical, from serious to humorous – and often addresses his concerns about contemporary society and politics. Judith Beveridge writes that "Page is a humanely satirical poet. He lets us view our condition with a fusion of the comic and the tragic."[2]

Page is the poetry reviewer for ABC Radio's The Book Show and, for a decade before that, its Books and Writing program.[3]

Page curates the Poetry at the Gods and Jazz at the Gods series at the Gods Cafe in Canberra.[4]

Style[edit]

Australian poet, John Tranter, in his 1983 review of The Younger Australian Poets (edited by Robert Gray and Geoffrey Lehmann) wrote of Page:

He is not a self-promoter, and his modest output has been inadequately represented in recent anthologies, as the editors of this one quite properly point out. His poetry has been influenced loosely by the American William Carlos Williams. In general, the spare precision of Williams' short lines is a good preventive against galloping garrulity, and in Page's hands it delivers a dry and particularly Australian accent and a thoughtful movement from phrase to phrase. The short line, as a model, can be overdone: 'of 3 a.m.' is an example that does little for me. Page's technique is low-key – his French and American influences are invisible in the texture of his localised speech – yet it enables him to range widely among language and experience.[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Selected works[edit]

I look up Wikipedia
and find instead the world,
the way it tends to ramify,
its openness to doubt,
the "more work needed" here and there,
"citations to be added",
an absence of the absolute,
the comfort of the useful
while everything is slipping sideways
and yet it mainly works.
Even those two testaments
were written by successive hands
imagining dictation.
The world, it's plain, is inexact –
and so with Wikipedia.
In love with the provisional
it's planning to embrace the earth
and tweak it into sense.

Geoff Page in Review/The Australian,
p. 20, 31 May/1 June 2014
  • The Question (in Two Poets) (1971)
  • Smalltown Memorials (1975)
  • Collecting the Weather (1978)
  • Cassandra Paddocks (1980)
  • Clairvoyant in Autumn (1983)
  • Collected Lives (1986)
  • Smiling in English, Smoking in French (1987)
  • Footwork (1988)
  • Selected Poems (1991)
  • Gravel Corners (1992)
  • Human Interest (1994)
  • A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Australian Poetry (1995)
  • The Secret (1996)
  • The Great Forgetting (Geoff Page and Bevan Hayward Pooaraar) (1997)
  • Bernie McGann: A Life in Jazz (1997)
  • The Scarring (1999, verse novel)
  • Collateral Damage (1999)
  • Darker and Lighter (2001)
  • My Mother's God (2002)
  • The Indigo Book of Modern Australian Sonnets (as editor) (2003), winner of the 2004 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards for poetry
  • Drumming on Water (2003, verse novel)
  • Cartes Postales (2004)
  • Freehold (2005, verse novel)
  • Agnostic Skies (2006)
  • 60 Classic Australian Poems (2009, and a companion to his 80 Great Poems from Chaucer to Now)
  • Coda for Shirley (2011)
  • A Sudden Sentence in the Air: Jazz Poems (2011)
  • Cloudy Nouns (2012)
  • Shifting Windows (2012)
  • 1953 (2013)
  • Canberra Then and Now (2013)
  • New and Selected Poems (2013)
  • Improving the News (2013)

Undated yet:

  • Shadows from Wire (Poems and photographs in the Great War, as editor)
  • Benton's Conviction (A Novel)
  • Century of Clouds (Selected Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire, translations with Wendy Coutts)

Selected poems available online[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Poetry Foundation: Geoff Page
  2. ^ Back page blurb, Agnostic Skies, Melbourne, Five Islands Press, 2006
  3. ^ Geoff Page's Seriatum
  4. ^ The Gods Cafe Special Events Accessed 30 December 2011
  5. ^ John Tranter: Reviewer