Poet of the Month / Richard James Allen

Poet of the Month – November

Richard James Allen was born in the New South Wales country town of Kempsey. He spent the first ten years of his life in Vietnam and Japan. Upon his return to Australia, he began writing diaries. Gradually the entries became less and less literal and more and more imaginative as he moved from recording to creating worlds with words. By the age of fourteen he knew he wanted to be a poet. His recent collection of poems, Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books) is his tenth book as a poet, fiction, performance writer and editor: http://www.fixingthebrokennightingale.com/.

Widely published in anthologies, journals and online since winning the ‘under-21 section’ of the English Teachers Association of NSW National Writing Competition, Richard has been the recipient of numerous awards, nominations and grants, including a shortlisting for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for his book Thursday’s Fictions and an ATOM Award for his feature film adaptation of the same title: http://thursdaysfictions.com

He won the Chancellor’s Award for the most outstanding PhD thesis at the University of Technology, Sydney. In his dissertation he proposed the idea of the ‘shapeshifting’ poet. He describes poetry as “an energy in search of manifestation, an impulse in search of form, a process of becoming which opens up vistas of an unbounded spectrum of potential outcomes”. These include, in his own case, poems on the page, and poems in other forms, such as dance, film and new media.

Richard has had a unique international career as an acclaimed writer, director and choreographer, with screen adaptations of his poetry and other films shown at over two hundred and fifty national and international festivals and other screenings as well as on television around the world, and live readings, performance adaptations and appearances presented at over one hundred and fifty venues on three continents.

In Fixing the Broken Nightingale he returns from what he calls his “wild cross-platform adventures” to his “original creative form – the poem itself”. For more on his poetry and other projects, visit The Physical TV Company website: http://www.physicaltv.com.au and the Australian Poetry Library: http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/allen-richard-james

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