Biography of Peter Bakowski
Peter Bakowski is an Australian poet. His poems often use deceptively simple words and images, reminiscent at times of words in a child's picture book, but with some stylistic similarities to the work of writers such as Charles Simic. or Vítězslav Nezval.
Born in Melbourne, to Polish-German immigrants. Bakowski was born premature, with a hole in the heart, he has survived two heart operations. His parents ran a delicatessen, and after completing his secondary schooling he worked in a series of low-paying jobs before opening his own record shop in the early 1980s.
He commenced writing poetry while travelling through Texas in 1983. His early works, including his first book Thunder Road, Thunder Heart (1988), show the influence of American Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski. His poems have appeared in over one hundred literary magazines worldwide, predominantly in English but also in Arabic, German, Japanese, Polish, Spanish and French. He has lived in Melbourne and London, and travelled widely throughout Australia, Europe, North America and Africa, occasionally as an artist-in-residence. In 2007 he became an artist in residence at the University of Macau. He has been writer-in-residence at the B.R. Whiting Library in Rome; the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris; the University of Macau; Soochow University, Jiangsu Province, China; the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia; the Hobart Writer’s Cottage in Battery Point, Tasmania; the Arthur Boyd Estate of “Bundanon” near Nowra, New South Wales; the Broken Hill Poetry Festival, New South Wales.
His travels have provided a wide range of material for his work; his fifth collection Days That We Couldn’t Rehearse contains poems set in Paris, Transylvania, the Upper Volga, Uzbekistan and Sarajevo.
Raised a Catholic, in 1994 he married Helen Bourke, an Irish-Australian seamstress. They live in Melbourne with their son Walter.
His book In The Human Night won the 1996 Victorian Premier's Award, the C. J. Dennis Prize for Poetry. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the same award, for his book Beneath Our Armour.
Peter Bakowski's Works:
Thunder Road, Thunder Heart (Nosukumo Press, 1988)
In The Human Night (Hale & Iremonger, 1995)
The Neon Hunger (Oel Press, 1996)
The Heart At 3am (Hale & Iremonger, 1997)
Days That We Couldn’t Rehearse (Hale & Iremonger, 2002)
Beneath Our Armour (Hunter Publishers, 2009)
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Peter Bakowski Poems
Portrait Of Blood
The thin armour you give the newborn,
Nature Does What Nature Does
Either tortoises live long lives because they don’t hurry or they don’t hurry because they live long lives.
Instructions To Horsemen, Krakow, Poland...
Your journey will be long, dangers certain.
Missing In Action
Although she’s mopping the kitchen floor, Ella is crying. Words come out of her husband’s mouth.
Some worry about going bald, others go bald from worrying.
Jose Anok, Former Prisoner Of War, Hong ...
Two Japanese soldiers tied me to the lamppost with rope. Their commanding officer had a small mole on his right cheek.
I’m in more than two minds about it.
Macau, City Of Exiles
Wen stares into the bathroom mirror, touches lightly his graying hair,
Portrait Of Verna Yan, Crime Fiction Wri...
Ten pages a day in longhand, Verna’s new novel is going well.
When all the things you need to do remain all the things you need to do.
My Zen Answer
You get a grip when you let go.
Portrait Of Diego Rivera, December 1955
I will paint my eroded mother,
Choose Your Moment
Before you lecture a thirsty person, give them water.
Away From Such Vanity
When a man grows a moustache, his eyebrows want to hide in his ears.