John Millett (poet)
3 February 1921
Niangala, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||Poet, editor, lawyer|
John Millett (born 3 February 1921) is an Australian poet, reviewer and poetry editor. He was editor of Poetry Australia magazine from 1987 until its demise in 1992.
Millett was born in Niangala, New South Wales. His grandmother introduced him to adventure classics such as Robinson Crusoe, Ivanhoe, The Last of the Mohicans and the poems of Walter Scott.
Millett served in England during World War II as a wireless air gunner with the all-Australian RAAF No 10 Squadron, from which experience he wrote the popular Tail Arse Charlie, also adapted for ABC Radio.
After the war he worked in the Repatriation Department. He then went to study law at Sydney University graduating with LLB.
His book Blue Dynamite was Dramatized By Bradley R. Strahan (Editor of Visions International, where he had been regularly published) with the assistance of the Source theater group in Washington, DC where it was performed at several venues in 1988, including the Australian Embassy.
From 1962 he has been involved with Poetry Australia, advising on legal and accountancy matters then becoming editor from 1987. The magazine was conceptualised by Grace Perry to be international while maintaining an Australian presence. International contributors included Ezra Pound, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Richard Murphy, Robert Peters and Margaret Atwood. Translations included early Russian poets by Rosemary Dobson and David Campbell, Laurence Springarn's translations from Portuguese and Mark Scrivener's translations of German classics. Poetry Australia also published special issues of New Zealand, Canadian, Italian, Japanese, Dutch and Flemish, American, Gaelic, French, Austrian, Swedish and Papua New Guinean poetry.
John Millett continued as editor until 1992 when Poetry Australia ceased production. Millett subsequently helped to establish the Poetry Australia Fund and this fund was instrumental in the establishment in 2002 of the magazine "Blue Dog: Australian Poetry", which editor Ron Pretty declares is in 'direct line of succession from Poetry Australia'.
His poetry has been likened to that of Kenneth Slessor. He became a member the Gold Coast Writers’ Association. Millett has won many rewards; the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the Scottish International Poetry Competition twice, the Max Harris Literary Award for poetry, and being short listed four times for the NSW Premier’s Awards. He was also honored in 1999 with an Order of Australia for services to Literature.
Poetry and other works
- Calendar Adam (1971)
- The Silences (1973)
- Love Tree of the Coomera (1975)
- West of the Cunderang (1977)
- Tail Arse Charlie in Poetry Australia (1982)
- A chapbook in the USA in 1983, Come Down Cunderang (1985
- The Nine Lives of Big Meg O'Shannessy (1990).
- A play with Grace Perry, Last Bride at Longsleep (1981)
- A novella, Blue Dynamite (1987), also published as a chapbook in the USA in 1987 and adapted for stage in 1988.