Saturday, May 16, 2009
Brief Profile of Pam Brown
Pam Brown was born in Seymour, Victoria in 1948 and, due to her mother contracting tuberculosis and her father's military commitments overseas, she spent six formative years in the care of a great-aunt and uncle. She rejoined her family at the age of seven and grew up on military bases in Toowoomba and Brisbane in Queensland. After finishing high school at Mitchelton in 1965 she didn't know what she wanted to do. She got a job in the external studies library at the University of Queensland and, inadvertently, set out to become a librarian. But that career was short-lived and since then she earned a living variously as a silkscreen printer, bookseller, nurse, publisher's assistant, postal worker, artworker and a teacher of writing, multi-media studies and film-making. In 1990, serendipitously, she returned to library work in the life sciences library at the University of Sydney and worked there three days a week for the next sixteen years. She has also been a rock musician and a short film and video maker.
Since 1968 she has lived mostly in Sydney with stints in Melbourne, the Macdonald Valley, the Dandenong Mountains, the Blue Mountains, and Adelaide where she worked for eighteen months at the Experimental Art Foundation. In a parallel life, she lives in Hellbourg, La Réunion and, sometimes, in Zlín, Moravia - in this life she lives in Alexandria in Sydney.
In 2003 she spent six months living in Trastevere, Rome in the Australian poets' studio. She has travelled to Asia, Europe, USA and Québec, Canada and the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
In the 1970s and 80s, like many of her generation, she engaged in left-wing and feminist political activity.
Since 1966, her poetry has been published in many journals both in Australia and internationally. Since 1971 she has published seventeen books, ten chapbooks, three pamphlets and an e-book of poetry & prose. She has also written reviews, essays, filmscripts & performance texts. In 1991 she taught Australian poetry at the University for Foreign Languages in Hanoi, Vietnam. In 1993 Pam Brown was a guest at the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie in Paris, France and at the inaugural International Literature Festival in Berlin in August 2001.
In 2003 she was a guest at the Australian Studies Centre at the University of Barcelona, Spain. In October 2008 she was a guest at the Trois Rivières International Poetry Festival in Québec, Canada and at the University of Richmond, Virginia. She also read poems at Robin's Bookstore in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in October 2008. She travelled to Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic to participate in the Micro Festival Poetry Series in April 2009. She held the Distinguished Visitor's Award at the University of Auckland and, as well as visiting the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, Wellington, she was in residence in Auckland, New Zealand for the month of September 2013.
In 2004, after having been shortlisted twice before for earlier books, her collection Dear Deliria (Salt Publishing, UK) won the Kenneth Slessor Prize, the NSW Premier's Award for Poetry. Her seventeenth collection of poems, Home by Dark was published in 2013 by Shearsman Books in the UK.
She edited four poetry chapbooks in the Rare Object Series for Vagabond Press, Sydney in 2001. For five years, from 1997-2002, she was the poetry editor for the Australian literary quarterly Overland magazine. She was a contributing editor to the U.S.-based annual of poetry and poetics Fulcrum and was associated with the international online journal How2. From 2004 until 2011, she was the associate editor of the online journal Jacket and is currently associated with Jacket2.
Crusty old statement on poetics:
To quote the Australian poet, critic & publisher, Ken Bolton, 'she is a longstanding member of that disorganised band, the leg-pulling opposition in Australian poetry.
Pam Brown in Prague, April 2009 (foto by Trevor Joyce) :
That's all folks