Philip Mead was educated primarily in Australia, gaining his B.A. (Honours) from the Australian National University (1975), an M.A. from La Trobe University (1981), a Dip. Ed. from the University of Melbourne (1982), and his Ph.D from the University of Melbourne (1990). He has held academic positions at Deakin University, University of Melbourne, and the University of Tasmania. At the University of Melbourne, he was Lockie Fellow in Creative Writing and Australian Literature from 1987 to 1991 and Lockie (Senior) Lecturer in Australian Writing from 1991 to 1994. From 1995 to 2009, he was Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Tasmania. He was then appointed the inaugural chair in Australian literature at the University of Western Australia.
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature describes his poetry as being 'concerned mostly with the inward experience, the consciousness of mutability, the curious paradoxes of memory .... or the promise of meaning offered by the natural scene.'
Mead's research interests include Australian literary and cultural studies (including the literature of Tasmania), contemporary poetry and poetics and Shakespearean institutions.
Networked Language : Culture and History in Australian Poetry2008single work criticism 'Networked Language: Culture and History in Australian Poetry is the result of a fascination with poetic language and with the networks of culture and history within which it lives. The language of poetry, which may appear obscure or annoyingly uncommunicative, is nevertheless always meaningful in the time and place of its creation. This study presents new ways of understanding Australian poetry, drawing on an equal fascination with the artifice of poetry and the complexity of culture. It is about the way poetry changes in relation to its social, political and historical contexts, the way poetic communities and the readerships of poetry have changed through history, and continue to change in the present.' (Publisher's blurb)