Geoff Page is a poet, reviewer and advocate for Australian poetry. Born in Grafton on the north coast of New South Wales, into a conservative and politically active family of graziers on the Clarence River, he was educated at the Armidale School and the University of New England 1958-1962. In 1959 he spent three months in National Service. Page moved to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, in 1964, and taught English and History in Canberra schools. He was Head of the English Department at Narrabundah College from 1974 until his retirement in 2001.He has run monthly poetry readings in several successive cafés, most recently at The Gods Café and Bar at the Australian National University. His reviews of poetry in leading Australian newspapers, journals and on ABC Radio National have been important in promoting public awareness and understanding of Australian poetry
Page, a significant voice in Australian poetry, who features in many anthologies, has published 18 collections of poetry, as well as four verse novels, since his first collection of The Question in the volume Two Poets was published by UQP in 1971. In addition he has written novels, criticism and plays as well as editing a number of anthologies, most recently his collection of essays and poems, 60 Classic Australian Poems (UNSW Press).
While Page’s poems are more formal than free verse, rhymed and very often in iambic tetrameters and trimeters, they also owe something to the larrikin tradition of Henry Lawson, many with rural settings that narrate yarns. The poet Robert Gray notes, "Geoff Page has become one of the very finest celebrators of our culture, in its broadest sense; of particulars of our history, and uniqueness. His work is full of great affection and is written without pretension or program."
Page’s major themes tend to be religion (he declares himself an agnostic), war and music. His poems about jazz and classical music might be his most joyous work, a celebration of musicians and composers. Place also figures largely in his work, in particular the Clarence River area, with its characters and landscape. Death is a frequent visitor to his work, and he often takes up issues of injustice, writing on events such as the clash between Aboriginal and British culture during the white settlement of Australia.
Page's reading shows fine use of dynamics, with some poems delivered in a relaxed nearly laconic style, while in others poems, such as 'The Visit' he moves along with a story teller’s pace and timing. His reading sets off the fine metre of the works, and the playfulness of their construction. These poems were recorded and produced in Sydney by Carol Jenkins, for Page’s audio CD Coffee with Mile published by River Road Press.
Geoff Page's Favourite Poetry Sayings:
"I'd feel the need for
a tiredness with the
(from 'I think I could turn awhile')
- Geoff Page
2006 FAW Christopher Brennan Award
2001 Patrick White Award
2004 Australian Capital Territory Poetry Award
2001 Grace Leven Poetry Prize