Monday, January 12, 2004

Norman Talbot
(1936-2004)


Sad news for Australian poetry. Norman Talbot died last Thursday 8 January 2004. He was an important and larger-than-life figure in Australian poetry and will be much missed.

Norman Talbot was born in Suffolk, and educated in England, getting his BA from Durham and Ph.D. from Leeds. He came to Australia in 1963 with his wife Jean (also a fine poet) to take up a university lectureship in English at the University of Newcastle. He remained in the Hunter area of NSW ever since. After teaching at University of Newcastle for 30 years he retired in 1993 to write full time, poetry, fantasy, science fiction, among other things.

He was always active in writers’ circles and in publishing. In 1964 he and a group of friends founded Nimrod Publications, which he took over in 1965. This small firm published over four hundred writers from the Hunter Valley, in nearly forty books. He was president of Catchfire Press, another Hunter-based press, when he died.

He published hundreds of poems plus a number of poetry books, which included:
The Book of Changes, a collaboration with artist John Montefiore, Nimrod Publications, 1999
Australian Skin, Suffolk Bones, Hamlet Publishing, 1997
Four Zoas of Australia, with introduction by Gwen Harwood, Paper Bark Press, 1992
Where Two Rivers Meet, Nimrod Publications
The Kelly Haiku and Other Widdershin Tracks, Nimrod Publications, 1985
The Birds of Britain Series: Poems, Nimrod Publications, 1989
Son of a Female Universe, South Head Press, 1971
Poems for a Female Universe, South Head Press, 1968

Four Zoas of Australia was short-listed for the National Book Awards and the Victorian Premier's Award. He won the Broadway Prize in 2002 for the poem sequence, 'Seven New South Wales Sonnet-Forms'.

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