AustLit logo
Stephen Edgar Stephen Edgar i(A20743 works by) (a.k.a. Stephen John Edgar)
Born: Established: 1951 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

BiographyHistory

Originally from Sydney, Stephen Edgar lived for several years in London and for several decades in Hobart. He completed a degree in Classics at the University of Tasmania, and later studied librarianship there. Edgar has mainly worked as an editor, proofreader, and indexer. He was Island's poetry editor from 1989 to 1994. He continued to be the magazine's sub-editor in 2011, in a position he had held since the mid-1980s. He moved back to Sydney in 2005.

Edgar is distinctive among poets of his generation for his commitment to formal verse, for which, Kevin Hart states, he shows 'considerable panache'. He has been compared to A. D. Hope and Gwen Harwood, and also to American poets such as Anthony Hecht and Richard Wilbur. Clive James asserts that Edgar's poems 'are more sheerly beautiful from moment to moment than those of any other modern poet I can think of', and that they are 'models of plain speech even at their most eloquent'.

Sources:

Kevin Hart, Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English.

Clive James, 'Blind Ubiquity', Times Literary Supplement.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Transparencies Fitzroy North : Black Pepper , 2017 11538925 2017 selected work poetry

'On slender toes

Down by the water’s edge
Two egrets effortlessly hold their pose
In sedge.

They hold their pose. This show,
With all chinoiserie’s
Appeal, must be illusory. And so
It is.'

'Stephen Edgar’s nimble-footed new collection Transparencies extends his exploration of the world’s visual aspect, both in itself and as a screen for the mind’s projections. He questions, in the words of Denis O’Donoghue, ‘the delusion by which we think that reality coincides at every point with its appearances’.

'The transparencies of the title are both the daylit images of the natural world, in all their hallucinatory strangeness and beauty, and the occasions they offer us to look through them, now into deep time, as in ‘Day Book’ and ‘The Mechanicals’, now into the parallel universe of the dead, as in ‘The Returns’, or into the world within this one, as in ‘There’. Edgar’s poems look out and reach in. They probe, even as they have an exquisite ear.

'As well as moving poems on his late mother, to whom the book is dedicated, Transparencies has many pleasures. One of them is waiting for the delayed rhyme on ‘David Attenborough’.

(Publication summary)

2018 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Poetry
y separately published work icon Exhibits of the Sun Fitzroy North : Black Pepper , 2014 7846716 2014 selected work poetry

'‘Look, look,’ exhorts the opening poem of this dazzling new collection. The discoveries of observation, both physical and intellectual, ravishing and harrowing, are recounted across a broad sweep of experience. Edgar returns habitually to the character of light. Exhibits of the Sun moves from the ghostly Ferris wheel of Saturn’s rings to the beach pavilion wrapped in ochre fog during Sydney’s dust storm, from the glimpses of a lover’s light-shaped body in the passage of the moon to a vision of a whole lifetime between one eye blink and the next. Presiding over all is Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History, swept away into the future as he looks back on the unravelled pageant of humanity.' (Publication summary)

2015 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Poetry
The Dancer i "I soon had that routine:", 2013 single work poetry
— Appears in: A Sudden Presence : Poetry from the Inaugural ACU Literature Prize 2013; (p. 32-34)
2013 inaugural winner ACU Prize for Literature
Last amended 16 Jul 2013 11:43:21
Other mentions of "" in AustLit:
    X