П. O. was inspired to start writing poetry in 1970 when he heard Johnny Cash reciting (religious) poetry while tuning his guitar. П. O. thought he could do as well or better. His work ranges from standup-type rants to 'conceptual' page poetry and concrete poetry, with a heavy emphasis on wordplay and capturing the vitality of everyday speech. Thematically, he commonly portrays the issues of non-Anglo-Celtic working class life.
He has had numerous books published since his first, Fitzroy Brothel in 1974, more notably the epic verse novel 24hrs. From 1978 to 1983, he was involved in producing the radical poetry magazine 925. He is a fixture of Melbourne's performance poetry scene and has edited an anthology of performance poetry (Off the Record) for Penguin. His most recent book is Big Numbers: New and Selected Poems (2008).