broadsheet 20 features Ken Bolton (Australia)

The latest issue of broadsheet, No. 20, November 2017, features the Australian poet and art critic Ken Bolton, who has had influence on contemporary New Zealand poetry since 1996. The issue celebrates his work and includes poets with a lasting connection with Ken Bolton, both in New Zealand and in Australia.

Poets included are: Pam Brown (Australia), Jenny Bornholdt, Laurie Duggan (Australia/UK), Michael Farrell (Australia), John Forbes (Australia), Dinah Hawken, Cath Kenneally (Australia), Gregory O’Brien (Australia), Ella O’Keefe (Australia), Michael O’Leary, Mark Pirie, Dominic Symes (Australia) and Tim Wright (Australia).

Editor Mark Pirie writes in the Preface:

“Ken Bolton, the well known Australian poet and art critic, has had influence on contemporary New Zealand poetry since 1996. That year, through the recommendation of Gregory O’Brien, he was invited along with his partner, Adelaide poet/broadcaster/novelist Cath Kenneally, to appear as guests at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in Wellington. His readings were impressive. My father and I were in the audience then and we were gripped by his early, evocative and painterly inner city poems of the 1970s.

I went away from that reading purchasing his Selected Poems (Penguin Books) and collecting his other books via personal correspondence and wrote several early poems mimicking Ken’s style, such as Two Poems – An Impression of the Sea (ESAW, 2004) first published by Jack Ross in brief. Ken was certainly a good guide in my formative years of writing poetry.

Ken Bolton visited again to read at Wellington venues in 2006. A St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki, reading included myself, Ken, Cath Kenneally and Dinah Hawken. Michael O’Leary was the MC that day, who had earlier met with Ken in 1996 with Iain Sharp and had published a mini book of Ken Bolton’s poetry that year in the ESAW Mini Series.

It’s nice to welcome Ken back by featuring him in a New Zealand journal. As with previous issues of broadsheet, I have invited and included work by poets that have formed lasting connections with Ken both in Australia and across the Tasman. Ken, also a small press publisher/editor (Otis Rush magazine, Little Esther Books and other imprints) has published Gregory O’Brien and other New Zealand poets in Australia and contributed an Australian poetry selection to my former magazine JAAM, No. 10 (1998) that included the two poems here by his late friend, John Forbes.

Ken recently retired from the Experimental Art Foundation and bookshop in Adelaide where he worked for many years. His musical interests such as jazz and blues music are reflected in my poem tribute.

Thanks to all those who sent in contributions and supported my idea of a special Ken Bolton issue in recognition of his influence on and goodwill towards New Zealand poetry from abroad.

Mark Pirie
Wellington, November 2017”


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