Biography of Bruce Beaver
Beaver was born in Manly, New South Wales. He was educated at the Manly Public School and at the Sydney Boys' High School. He worked at a number of jobs, as a cow farmer, in radio, as a wages clerk, a surveyor's labourer, fruit-picker, proof-reader and journalist, before deciding to write full-time. From 1958 to 1962, he lived in New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
In 1961 Beaver's first book of poetry was published. He wrote his first poem in response to the dropping of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, and continued to write even while working as a labourer. Thanks to his marriage, he was able to become a full-time writer. Even though he suffered from bipolar disorder, Beaver was able to continue writing until close to his death in 2004.
When asked to list their favourite books, Dorothy Porter named Bruce Beaver and is quoted as saying:
Bruce Beaver is one of Australia's greatest and most magical poets. I have been carrying his book Charmed Lives(UQP) around in my bag like an amulet. His poetry is pungent, discursive, feral, disturbing, wise and very funny. Charmed Lives is out of print. It shouldn't be.
Bruce Beaver's Works:
Under the Bridge (1961) Sydney: Beaujon Press.
Seawall and Shoreline (1964) Sydney: South Head Press.
Open at Random (1967) Sydney: South Head Press.
Letters to Live Poets (1969) Sydney: South Head Press.
Lauds and plaints : poems (1968-1972) (1974) Sydney: South Head Press.
Odes and Days (1975) Sydney: South Head Press.
Death's Directives (1978) Sydney. New Poetry/Prism Books.
Headlands: Prose sketches (1986) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Charmed lives (1988) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
New and Selected Poems 1960-1990 (1991) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Anima and Other Poems (1994) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
Poets and others (1999) Sydney: Brandl & Schlesinger.
The Long Game and Other Poems (2005) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
As it was ... (1979) St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press.
The Hot Summer (1963) Sydney: Horwitz.
Hot Sands (1964) Sydney: Horwitz.
The Hot Men (1965) Sydney: Horwitz.
The Hot Spring (1965) Sydney: Horwitz.
You Can't Come Back (1966) Adelaide: Rigby.
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Bruce Beaver Poems
I was friendly with a woman once. It was an unusual experience. There were certain innate boundaries and the inevitably marked frontiers.
At the foot of a northern pylon of the Harbour Bridge I have kept my vigil since the mighty span was built. I come early in the day from worn-out corners of the area and sit when the sun is out until the waning afternoon,
Letters To Live Poets (I)
God knows what was done to you. I may never find out fully. The truth reaches us slowly here, is delayed in the mail continually
Poems For Adrienne Rich (Iii)
As you say in another way somewhere men just dropp women gradually wear-out. The men all nose-dive out of life after getting all entangled
Poem For Adrienne Rich (Ii)
Reading your poems makes me want to make again. Something stirs in me that is no longer man-root, no longer the male imperative
Poem For Adrienne Rich (I)
Wonderful woman, proud to be a person in this day and age of swapped sexes. To feel love for one’s own kind (sex is just an arbitrary accident) —
I’m on intimate terms with so many parts of the night daylight seems duller and far more prosaically formed. At first feebly I learned night’s calisthenics then how to apply them in the arena of day;
Another king I knew had twelve champions, each chosen for his astrological sign. My favourite was the Piscean who combined courage and gentleness but who eventually
Ten adults at a laden table, two children sitting on the floor, one dog to bark when it was able, who could ask for anything more.
Letters To Live Poets (Xii)
Three anti-depressants and one diuretic a day seven and five times a week respectively save me from the pit. I pray while I’m taking them and in between doses
Letters To Live Poets (Vi)
Pain, the problem of, not answered by dogma, orthodox or other- wise. The only problem being how to bear with. You may have an
Lauds And Plants (Xiv)
<i>Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down Simon & Garfunkel</i> what does the world know of you and me together what does it know of us together why should it care
East Of Atlan
<i>for Dorothy Porter </i> Square white roofs with square white towers. Above them, balconies of white abutting, tables richly bearing
Death's Directives (Ii)
Death beckoned me towards the beach the same one on which I’d spent days, weeks, years made up of the hours of my life as a child —
Death's Directives (I)
When life was all about me
like a constraining womb
I wrote poems about death.
I did not call them death poems
but thought they were all about life
in extremis, life as an agony.
Now at the end of winter
death seems to be everywhere,