Susan Hampton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Susan Hampton is a poet who lives in Canberra.


Susan Hampton was born in Inverell.[1] New South Wales in 1949, and lived in Annandale in Sydney for many years. She has taught writing at UTS and other universities. Currently she lives in Canberra with her partner and works in the public library system facilitating book groups. She has written eight books including poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and her work is collected in many anthologies. Several of her books have won national awards. Her work has been translated into Spanish, Chinese and Ukrainian. A selection of her poems appears in ‘Australian Poetry since 1788’, edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray (UNSW Press 2011).

'Hampton has two approaches in her poetry: a style which plays language games, and a realistic and detailed often explicitly autobiographical style. Hampton's output is small but incisive. She is able to express emotion with a lightness of touch.' (Lehmann and Gray).

Her early books include ‘Costumes’ poems, (Transit Poetry, 1981,) and ‘White Dog Sonnets’ ( Fab Press 1987). ‘The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets’, which she co-edited with Kate Llewellyn, became a set text on many writing courses.

Her next book ‘Surly Girls’, won the Steele Rudd Award in 1990. It presents performance pieces and short stories (A&R/Collins Imprint, 1989). ‘A Latin Primer’, published by Cerberus Press in 1999, was written in one day, though it was edited over many months. A sequence of 23 sonnets about Mozart, Latin, addiction and love, it was recorded for ABC Radio National’s program ‘Poetica’ in 2003. The program features poems from early works and a selection from ‘ A Latin Primer’.

'The Kindly Ones’ a 43 page narrative poem (Five Islands Press, 2005) has also been recorded and is available from It tells the story of the three Furies of Ancient Greece who decide to take a holiday from punishing people at the gate of hell and come to contemporary Sydney, stay at the backpackers in Glebe and keep in touch by mobile phone. ‘…a weird satirical travelogue written by one of the Furies. . . It is an extraordinary poem: bold, bitter, intelligent and fantastical.’ (Lisa Gorton) Containing another 50 pages of poems ‘On the Bright Road’, ‘The Kindly Ones’ won the 2006 Judith Wright Award and was shortlisted for the NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards for poetry, the Age Book of the Year Award, and the ACT Book of the Year Award.

Two essays, 'Blood' (7000w) and 'Scale by Scale' (4000w) are collected in anthologies.

After graduating from Newcastle Teacher's College Susan went on to a BA (honours) in English Literature, studying at Newcastle, Macquarie and Sydney Universities. In the 1980s she taught writing at UTS in Sydney. She has a son and a granddaughter. Her work as a Writer-in-Residence included the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, the University of New England, and Varuna Writer's Retreat, where she taught editing.

In 1977 she was a joint winner of the Patricia Hackett Prize (Westerly), and in 1979 won the Dame Mary Gilmore Award for poetry. She also won the Shire of Eltham Short Story Award. Susan has also edited trade fiction and non-fiction books including ‘Stravinsky's Lunch’ (Drusilla Modjeska), ‘Gilgamesh’ (Joan London), and ‘The Poison Principle’ (Gail Bell), which have all won major prizes.

Susan’s latest book ‘News of the Insect World’ (poems, Five Islands Press, 2009) riffs on infinity, nightclubs, fugues, Caracas, the cordless drill, Dante’s ‘Purgatory’, and scarabs and dragonflies.



Short fiction[edit]


  • 'Blood' in Family Pictures edited by Beth Yahp (A & R Sydney 1994) ISBN 0-207-18532-8
  • 'Scale by Scale' in The Best Australian Essays 2007 edited by Drusilla Modjeska (Black Inc Melbourne 2007) ISBN 978-1-86395-419-8



  • About Literature HSC English Textbook, with Sue Woolfe. (Macmillan, 1984) ISBN 0-333-35666-7

External links[edit]