Biography of Joanne Burns
Joanne Burns was born in Sydney in 1945 and has lived there for most of her life, never far from the shores of Sydney Harbour. Over a dozen collections of her writing have been published. Her first poetry collection Snatch was published by The Strange Faeces Press, Notting Hill Gate, London in 1972. In addition to writing in the conventional poetic line break form she has written extensively in the prose poem/microfiction form. She has been particularly interested in the blurring of distinctions between poetry and prose. The use of the monologue form is another distinctive feature of her work. Satiric, ironic perspectives are prominent in her poetry; sometimes she is ludic, parodic. She has a keen eye for the absurd aspects of contemporary living and culture. Her poetry also engages with the esoteric, the cryptic, and the surreal - in a quirky (as opposed to the solemn) manner. Burns has written in the lower case for over thirty years, eschewing capitalisation, which she believes imposes a 'preordained' significance on certain words in the text. She prefers a 'level playing field'.
A polished and well known reader/performer of her poetry in Australia, she first read at The Troubadour, Earls Court in 1972 - having been galvanised by the vibrant poetry reading scene in London where she lived between 1970 and 1972. Her audio recording shows how she sets up a theatre of words, easing the audience into a satisfying space between following her and cogitating on where they might possibly go. These are cogent lessons on how to exercise the imagination.
In 1985 she visited the United States and Canada as a member of the Four Australian Poets Reading Tour. Her work has been produced for theatre, radio, television. She is represented in numerous poetry anthologies, for example - The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry, The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets, The Oxford Book of Australian Women's Verse. Her poetry has been published in school poetry text books, and her book on a clear day has been, and is currently, one of the poetry texts listed for study in the New South Wales Higher School Certificate English Syllabus. Her work has been translated into German, French, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian. In 2003, along with nine other Australian poets, she participated in translation workshops at the Berlin Poetry Festival, organised by literaturWERKstatt Berlin, and supported by the Australia Council for the Arts. She has received a number of writing grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. A detailed literary biography of joanne burns (written by Australian poet Margaret Bradstock) appears in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol 289 (Gale, 2004).
The audio poems were recorded on August 2007 in Sydney, Australia for the River Road Poetry Series )Producer: Carol Jenkins)
Joanne Burns's Works:
Snatch. (London: Strange Faeces, 1972)
Adrenalin Flicknife. (1976)
Blowing bubbles in the 7th lane. (Sydney: Fab, 1988)
on a clear day. (ETT Imprint, 1992)
Penelope's knees. (UQP, 1996) review
Aerial photography. (Five Islands, 1999)
footnotes of a hammock. (Five Islands, 2004)
All of me. (Five Islands, 2004)
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Joanne Burns Poems
his body a paradigm of tattoo husbandry he glowers on the street dreaming himself to be an award
parts of speech notes towards a nuclear ...
war is a noun and so is peace. uranium is a noun like armchair. plutonium and perspiration are both nouns and each has four syllables. bliss and terror are also nouns.
the astroturf blisters, bubbles in the hollywood hills, the forests of the world become landfill, no bushes left to burn, to illustrate those gutsy gods of fire, old deities grown senile on donuts
there were so many books. she had to separate them to avoid being overwhelmed by the excessive implications of their words. she kept hundreds in a series of boxes inside a wire cage in a warehouse. and hundreds more on the shelves of her various rooms.
the library of t-shirts
in order to upgrade the community's appreciation of poetry during the international year of cultural enrichment stage 2, members of the state's library progress committee decided to establish a small library of t-shirts on which would be printed quality verse in vivid, bold colours and lettering.
from our deep cool verandah we spy on the world passing by. we both wear glasses in order to pick out the details. even as children we noticed all.
under a canvas awning, a few metres above sea level, with backs to the harbour the poets are reading — their audience reclines on smooth fresh
under the house in the soft brown soil you lean against bleached wash tubs wringing parrot
it’s still the same, signs on the grass say don’t feed the fish, instead of don’t eat them, still the same tired old sports star tropes, failed golfer falls
Digital Recording (After Eliot)
one thinks of all the hands that whip money out of ATMs quick as condoms, headache pills; that jiggle herbal tea bags in thick
Another New Year
the first week of the new year and indolence drops in as usual uninvited: here’s lassitude like flat champagne flatter than sorrow flat as the image of the year
when the martians moved in to alaska boulevarde they levelled the heritage dwellings and built homes in the shape
cough up quotations from that fossilized
the wall smashing ceremony via legislation stops rats running right through the last mass grab a pollution project with a rehearsal space and win a double pass extra roads completed inside parliament for pets on exit journeys you find
the wall smashing ceremony via legislation stops rats running right through the last mass grab a pollution project with a rehearsal space and win a double pass extra roads completed inside parliament for pets on exit journeys you find it i find it sandstone locksmith look for a grain eligibility criteria indicate notre dame as the next premier recent cafes congratulate pedestrian driven emergencies on fixed leases impatient beds monitor tennis bypass philosophies for a sacred heart open ai