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Alison Croggon

b. 1962


There is no reason for me to write poetry, except that I want to; there are, rather, compelling reasons for me to stop. But I know it's too late now. - Alison Croggon

The Elwood Organic Fruit and Vegetable Shop

Alison Croggon

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Songs of a Quiet Woman

Alison Croggon

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Billie Holiday

Alison Croggon

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Seduction Poem

Alison Croggon

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About Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon (b. 1962) has been described as "one of the most assured of a new generation of Australian poets." She is the author of three full-length collections published in Australia, whilst a selected poems, The Common Flesh: Poems 1980-2002 appeared in the UK in 2003 (Arc Publications). Her poetry has won or been short-listed for several of Australia's major awards. In addition, she has written plays, libretti, translations, criticism, and fiction. In 2000 she was Australia Council Writer in Residence at Pembroke College, Cambridge University.

Croggon's early experience was one of rootlessness: born in South Africa she lived in England from 1966-1969 before moving to Australia. She has suggested that this early experience of dislocation may form the source of her particular creativity, investing her work with the fluidity of an exile. Her poems have been described as "amphibian", shifting in style and form as they seek ways of articulating an authentic response to the world. Voice is a recurrent theme: in 'Seduction Poem' the narrator exhorts her lover to "put down your grammatical tongue" - true speech needs to move beyond normal daily interactions. The struggle between conventional expression and true voicing is dramatised in 'Songs of a Quiet Woman' and this tension between singing and silence informs many of the recorded poems. Her aptly entitled sequence, 'Amplitudes', is one example of Croggon's search for an uncompromising and uncompromised language. Mixing the quotidian and the mythic and driven by a caustic anger at what the ideology of consumption is inflicting on the world, the poems speak in prophetic tones. However, Croggon's poems also sing the world's praises in words that are sensuous to the point of ecstasy: it's no surprise that many of them have been set to music.

Her own reading voice accentuates the rhythmical. The long pauses she allows between stanzas act like rests in music. Her precise delivery is a pleasure that emphasises speaking as a physical act; the movement of tongue against teeth and lips, the mouthing, as she puts it in 'Amplitudes', "of a fabulous excess".

Her recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 3 December 2002 at the Audio Workshop, London, UK and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Selected bibliography

Theatre, Salt Publishing 2008

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Attempts at Being, Cambridge, Salt Publications, 2002

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The Common Flesh: New and Selected Poems, Todmorden,...

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The Blue Gate, Melbourne, Black Pepper Press, 1997 - out...

Alison Croggon Reading from her poems, The Poetry...

This is the Stone, Victoria, Penguin Books, 1991 - out...

Prizes

1989 Victorian Council for the Arts Poetry Fellowship

1991 Winner Anne Elder Prize, This is the Stone

1991 Winner Dame Mary Gilmore Prize, This is the Stone

1993 Australia Council Fellowship

1995 Australia Council Fellowship

1996 Australia Council Fellowship

1997 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards (Poetry Prize shortlist), The Blue Gate

1998 Poetry Book Club of Australia (Highly Commended), The Blue Gate

1998 C. J. Dennis Prize for Poetry (shortlist), The Blue Gate

Prize website

1998 Australia Council (New Works) Grant

2000 Australia Council Writers Fellowship

2002 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize (shortlist), Attempts at Being

2002 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Attempts at Being

Prize website

2002 Pushcart Prize, USA (nominated), Attempts at Being

Prize website

Links

Recordings

Alison Croggon Reading from her poems

1from Domestic Art (1990)

2from Howl: 2,3

3Seduction Poem

4Emily Bronte

5Billie Holiday

6The Edgeless Page

7Songs of a Quiet Woman

8Notes

9Two Sonnets

10The Elwood Organic Fruit and Vegetable Shop

11Angels

12Bird

13from Divinations

14Cuneiforms

15Afterwards

16A Unicorn

17Chekhov in Sakhalin

18Leaves

19Amplitudes

A tour of the Children's Archive with Jean Sprackland

There are so many good poems in the Children's Poetry Archive, it's hard to know where to start! I'd like to share...

Featured Guided Tours


Books & cds by Alison Croggon