'Tommy Ruff is a fresh catch of pointed poems from the deep south of Australia, by a poet well known for not fitting in to available categories. The poems date from 1968 to 1984, including previously unpublished and newly polished work, as well as forgotten favourites from four collections. Sensationally, ‘A Shoebox Full of Grasshoppers’ is illustrated with a diagram of the sexual relationships which inspired the story. Three typewriter poems hint at the direction which Tipping would take, becoming internationally recognised for his visual poetry and textual objects. Other poems range from the political to the poignant. At their heart is an appreciation of home ground.
Richard Kelly Tipping is an original Adelaidean born in the year of the Chinese Communist revolution who lived in the city for thirty years before moving to the east coast. While in Adelaide he co-edited Mok, the first of a wave of small press poetry magazines which redefined Australian poetry in the late 1960s; graduated in humanities from Flinders University; helped start the on-going Friendly Street poetry readings in 1975; and held his first solo exhibition of word sculpture The Everlasting Stone at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Tommy Ruff is his umpteenth book.' (Publisher's summary)