Jacket author notes: Pam Brown Pam Brown

Pam Brown’s twelfth collection of poems, 50—50, was published by Little Esther Books in 1997. Vagabond Press produced a chapbook titled Drifting topoi in 2001. Text thing was published by Little Esther Books in 2002, and Salt (UK) published Dear Deliria: New and Selected Poems in 2003.
She has a blog at http://thedeletions.blogspot.com/
Send Pam an email.

Photo: Pam Brown, Rose Bay, Sydney, 2003


Jacket 1: Poem, New Maxim(u)s
Jacket 5: Interview with Carolyn Burke about her Mina Loy biography
Jacket 9: Three poems: Arcadia, In the Flat, From a Daihatsu
Jacket 14: Poem, Paris, France
Jacket 15: Pam Brown reviews Shimmerings, by S.K. Kelen
Jacket 16: overland poetry supplement, with Introduction
Jacket 19: Two poems: On eventually entering the library, and
      Retarded pretensions
Jacket 22: Three poems: Moments, Weeds, and Lightbulbs
Jacket 22: Pam Brown in conversation with John Kinsella
Jacket 22: Susan M. Schultz reviews Eleven 747 Poems, by Pam Brown
Jacket 24: Brian Henry reviews Dear Deliria:
      New and Selected Poems
, by Pam Brown
Jacket 35: Pam Brown reviews «Carrier of The Seed» by Jeffrey Side (BlazeVOX Books, 2007)


Pam Brown was born in Seymour, Victoria in 1948. Eighteen months later, her mother contracted tuberculosis and her father’s military commitments took him overseas, so Pam spent her 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. That career was short-lived and since then she has 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 where she is currently employed. 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 Blue and Dandenong Mountains and Adelaide where she worked for eighteen months at the Experimental Art Foundation. In 2003 she spent six months living in Trastevere, Rome in the Australian poets’ studio.

She has travelled to Asia, Europe 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 fourteen books of poetry & prose. She has also written reviews, essays, filmscripts & performance texts. In 1991 she used Australian poetry in assisting English teaching 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.

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 is a contributing editor to the U.S.-based annual of poetry and poetics Fulcrum and the international online journal How2 .

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Statements on poetics

A benign compulsion nudges my writing practice. The process is to track lines of thought, to collect and record glimpses, to use snatches of language and try to place them at a slant to a linear norm. I write poetry in the shadows of the twentieth-century post-Modernist idea that after the A-bomb, linearity is anachronistic. Generally though, my continuing aim is intelligibility.

The eruption of innovation in poetry (& every other art-form) in the 1960s, in tandem with a new wave of global politicisation, influenced my generation irrevocably.

For poetry to exist in corporatised western societies, whose undeniable context is power, it has to be sceptical of the status quo, questioning, probably experimental, or at least apply an unanticipated use of language and form — that is, be interesting to be poetic.

Poetry might bring me into nuanced engagement (with a reader). It’s a risky means of making an encounter accompanied as it is by all the doubtful artifice, murmurings and disruptive stuttering of that desire.

My topic is local. The poems rarely leave whatever street I’m on. They are as mobile and as mutable as my daily life.

My attitude, anti-Wordsworthian in a way, can be summed up by a stanza from Joachim du Bellay’s sixteenth-century ballad The Regrets —

“Now I forgive the delicious lunacy
Which made me use up all my best years
Without my work bringing any advantage other
Than the pleasure of a long delinquency.”

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Pam Brown: Bibliography

Books Published

Sureblock, P.Woolley, Melbourne, 1972

Cocabola's Funny Picture Book, Tomato Press, Sydney, 1973

Automatic Sad, Tomato Press, Sydney, 1974

Cafe Sport, Sea Cruise Books, Sydney, 1979

Correspondences, Red Press, Sydney, 1979

Country & Eastern, Never-Never Books, Sydney, 1980

Small Blue View, E.A.F./Magic Sam, Adelaide, 1982

Selected Poems 1971-1982, Redress/Wild&Woolley, Sydney, 1984

Keep It Quiet, Sea Cruise Books, Sydney, 1987

New & Selected Poems, Wild&Woolley, Sydney, 1990

This World. This Place, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1994

50–50, Little Esther Books, Adelaide, 1997

Text thing, Little Esther Books, Adelaide , , 2002

Dear Deliria (New & Selected Poems) , Salt Publishing, UK/USA/Aus, 2003


Little Droppings, Never-Never Books, Sydney, 1994

My Lightweight Intentions, Salt/Folio, U.K./Perth, 1998

Drifting Topoi, Vagabond Press, Sydney, 2000

eleven 747 poems, Wild Honey Press, Ireland, 2002