Joanne Burns graduated in 1966 from the University of Sydney, and became a teacher of English and creative writing in schools and tertiary institutions. Between 1970 and 1972 she lived and worked in London as a teacher.
Burns's first poetry collection Snatch (1972) was published in London by Strange Faeces Press and since then she has published many collections. She was well known for her performances in the early 1970s where her work was performed with a feminist theatre group, the Lean Sisters. Burns travelled in Europe and Asia and in 1985 was a member of the Four Australian Poets reading group that toured in the United States and Canada.
Burns has taught creative writing for many years in schools, tertiary institutions and in the community. She has been a tutor/lecturer in the Five Islands New Poets residential workshops at University of Wollongong (1998-2001). She has published in a number of genres, including poetry, short fictions and dramatic monologues, a number of which have been produced for theatre and by ABC Radio. The title piece from Blowing Bubbles in the 7th Lane has also been produced by ABC Radio National. She has also written a book of children's stories. In 1996 she was the recipient of an Australia Council Writer's fellowship.
Her work has been widely published and she has contributed poetry to many journals, such as Overland, Meanjin, Cordite, Island and Blue Dog.
The title of Joanne Burns’ new collection brush highlights the reader’s first experience of a poem, its initial electricity; and the way the poem offers a surface of words that proceeds to reveal their possibilities or intentions. The central sequence ‘road’ is an animated display of the fashions of being in contemporary life – these poems are cheeky, playful, mercurial, surreal. Then there is the sequence called ‘bluff’, which excoriates twenty-first century financial culture with bite, hilarity and a sense of the absurd. There is a section devoted to personal memoir, including a five-part poem featuring Bondi beach, and a suite of memory fragments depicting twentieth-century modes of travel. The final group of poems, ‘wooing the owl (or the great sleep forward)’, explores the night, sleep and dreams, with their strange tones and surprising perspectives. There are 80 poems in the collection, most of them short, stressing the compressed pleasure that only poetry can offer. [From the publisher's website]
An Illustrated History of Dairies2007selected work poetry A new collection by Joanne Burns, a poet noted for her laconic satirical style, Its nine sections offer an energetic mix of forms, perceptions, poetic strategies and shifts, which ensure that her subjects are always seen from an unexpected angle. -- from Libraries Australia record.