Jaya Savige grew up on Bribie Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland. In 2001 he was awarded the University Medal for an Honours degree in English, and went on to complete a Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing. He has been a tutor at the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland and in 2007 was a writer in residence at the B.R. Whiting Studio, Rome. He has served as poetry advisor to the Australian Literary Review. In 2009 he began his PhD as a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University.
Surface to Air2011selected work poetry 'Surface to Air, evolving over a period of five years from 2006 to 2011, is an impressive follow-up to Savige's extremely successful debut Latecomers. It charts Jaya's various poetic influences during this period, which have included David Malouf, Peter Porter, Les Murray and Giuseppe Ungaretti.
'While many of the poems in latecomers, concerned the history and landscape of Bribie Island, where Savige grew up, this collection is about leaving the island and as such, it signals a departure from Latecomers.
'The title, Surface to Air, conveys the central themes of the collection, which include: the archaeological exposure of history, both personal and cultural, to the present; the struggle for literal inspiration, (a title of one of the poems) in contemporary life, with issues ranging from consumerism to personal grievance and loss; the ubiquity of violence, and the relationship between actual violence and the simulacrum of violence and war (connoted by the phrase "surface-to-air missile"); among others. It is also an invitation to be mindful of the surface effects of language.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Winner of the prestigious Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, Jaya Savige’s latecomers is a first collection of poems by one of Australia’s most exciting young poets. Lively, playful, and always intelligent, Savige’s poems show an awareness of place, of the inescapability of history, and a personal commitment to the precision of language. ‘The poems in latecomers go beyond what we take for granted these days in a first collection: refinement of language and cadence, allusiveness, wit. Moving easily through abstract wonders and the streets of the inner city, they return for nourishment to family and ‘the Island’ – Bribie, its fishing-life and beaches – as a test always of what is native and endures’ – DAVID MALOUF' (Publication summary)