National Library of Australia
Correspondence and manuscripts of Brooks' own work, including some of his notebooks and diaries, comprise the bulk of the papers. The development of Brooks' work, from initial ideas and thoughts to a published work, can be traced in these papers. There are also manuscripts of his selections of the poetry of A.D. Hope and of R.F. Brissenden, as well as the work of other writers.
Among the correspondents are Robert and Cheryl Adamson, Silvana Gardner, Alan Gould, Paul Balnaves, R.F. Brissenden, J.P. Hardy, Rosemary Dobson, A.D. Hope, Galway Kinnell, Susan Jeffery, Robert White, Geoffrey Dutton, David King, Ruth Morse, Craig Powell and Eric Domville.
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2108696).
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], MS 8075, National Library of Australia, Papers of David Brooks, [box number and series and/or file number]'.
The papers were acquired from David Brooks in two instalments. The first, in 1989, was acquired under the Taxation Incentive for the Arts Scheme, while the second was purchased from Brooks in 1998.
Brooks' own arrangement of the papers has been maintained by the Library.
The Library also holds the papers of Harland Gordon Brooks (MS 8128) and Nicolette Stasko (MS 9406).
David Brooks was born in Canberra in 1953. As a very young child he lived in Greece and in Yugoslavia, where his father was posted, before returning to Canberra, where he attended school. He attended the Cleveland Heights High School in 1969-70, on an American Field Service Scholarship.
In 1971-74, while studying at the Australian National University, he was involved in the Canberra poetry magazine, both as a poet and as a photographer, and with poetry readings and handpress printing. He also founded Open Door Press with Alan Gould and others. Early friends among Canberra writers included Alan Gould, Philip Mead, Kevin Hart, R.F. Brissenden, Rosemary Dobson, A.D. Hope, David Campbell and Judith Wright. He has since continued to develop many friendships and contacts with other writers, both in Australia and overseas.
In 1975 Brooks was a part time tutor in the Department of English at the Australian National University before beginning study for an MA and a PhD at the University of Toronto. He was an Overseas Contributing Editor to New poetry and Poetry Australia and an agent for the Australian National University and the Literature Board in arranging poet/writers-in-residence. Some of his early poetry was published in the United States and in Canada and he made extensive contacts with poets in both those countries, some of them becoming close friends. Brooks also continued to publish handpress material as well as instructing on, and operating, a handpress at Massey College, University of Toronto.
Brooks returned to Australia, where he had a one-year contract at the Royal Military College at Duntroon, in 1981. At this time he completed his PhD thesis (on the early Cantos of Ezra Pound), became associate editor of New poetry and reviewed poetry for The Canberra Times.
In 1982-85 Brooks was a Senior Tutor in the Department of English at the University of Western Australia. He undertook editorial work for Westerly. His first collection of poetry, The cold front (1983), launched by A.D. Hope, was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Prize and won the Anne Elder Award. His first short fiction appeared in State of the art (1984) and Transgressions (1986). His first collection of short fiction, The book of Sei, was published in 1985, when he also commenced editing Helix.
From 1986 to 1991 Brooks was a lecturer in the Department of English, Australian National University. He continued, with Nicolette Stasko, to edit Helix, which changed its name to Phoenix review, and he reviewed poetry for The Australian and other publications. He was a reader for the Fremantle Arts Centre Press, for Hale & Iremonger and for other publishers, and he wrote regularly for The Age monthly review. An expanded version of Book of Sei was published in 1989 and he edited and published Poetry and gender (1989) with Brenda Walker. The necessary jungle (1990) and Sheep and the diva (1990) followed and in 1990 he also commenced work on The house of Balthus (1996) and Notebooks. During this time he was also host, together with Nicolette Stasko, of joint ANU residencies by Antigone Kefala, Jennifer Maiden, J.S. Harry and Vikki Viidikas (1989) and with John Forbes, Nigel Roberts and Robert Adamson (1990).
In 1990, Brooks resigned from the Australian National University and took up an appointment as a lecturer in Australian Literature at the University of Sydney in 1991. He was Senior Lecturer in Australian Literature from 1992, and became Associate Professor in 2005.
A.D. Hope's Selected poems and Suddenly evening: the selected poems of R.F. Brissenden, both edited by Brooks, were published in 1992. Brooks was the Chair of the NSW Literature Awards in 1993, and has served on the management committee of the NSW Writers Centre, on the Board of Directors of the Eleanor Dark Foundation, and on other boards and committees, for example, the Sydney Festival Writers' Week. The House of Balthus was published in 1995 and Black Sea in 1997. He was briefly an Australian literature columnist on the Financial review in 1997 and has been on the editorial board of Westerly and Southerly, which he has co-edited since 2000. Brooks travelled and lectured in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China in 1994-95, after a two month research visit to Oxford and to Paris in 1993. He has since spent periods living in France, 1998, and Slovenia, 2005. His poetry and fiction have been widely anthologised nationally and internationally, and translated into several languages.
Brooks married Alison Summers in 1975 and separated from her in 1982. In 1983 he met Nicolette Stasko, with whom he lived until early 2004. Their daughter, Jessica, was born in 1985. Brooks married a Slovenian photographer and translator, Teja Pribac, in 2005.
The first instalment included correspondence for the period 1975-80 and contains copies of letters written by Brooks, mostly while he was living in Canada. The main correspondents are Robert and Cheryl Adamson, Silvana Gardner and Alan Gould. Other correspondents include Paul Balnaves, R.F. Brissenden, J.P. Hardy, Rosemary Dobson, A.D. Hope, Galway Kinnell, Susan Jeffery and Robert Whyte.
A second instalment of correspondence mainly dates from the period 1980-91, with some miscellaneous correspondence for the period 1975-82. Brooks has annotated the files with brief notes about the correspondents, who include poets, academics, ex-students, colleagues, publishers and journal editors. Most of the correspondents in the first instalment are again included, as are Eric Domville, Geoffrey Dutton, David King, Ruth Morse, Craig Powell and others.
Correspondence with the following is restricted until the death of David Brooks: Carmel Bird, Veronica Brady, Andrew Burke, Margaret Coombs, the Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Silvana Gardner, Sonia Harford, A.D. and Penelope Hope, Gail Jones, Cate Kennedy, Rebecca King, Galway Kinnell, John Kinsella, Anne McCulloch, Jennifer Maiden, Jane Messer, Les Murray, Penelope Nelson, Mary-Anne Paton, Fiona Place, Craig Powell, Mark Ramsay, Rachel Robertson, John Scott, Pauline Simpson, Michael Stanier, Carolyn Van Langenberg, Brenda Walker, Kaye Watts and Patricia Wilden.
This series contains a complete set of manuscripts and corrected typescripts of 19 short stories entitled The book of Sei & other stories (Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1985).
Manuscripts and corrected typescripts of short stories which were published under the title Sheep and the diva (Melbourne, McPhee Gribble, 1990). Some drafts and rejected stories were received in the second instalment.
This series contains manuscripts and corrected typescripts of 13 essays, originally planned for publication as Literature and excess, but published by McPhee Gribble in 1990 under the title Necessary jungle: literature and excess .
Early notes, research material and both early and later drafts, manuscript and proofs of the novel The House of Balthus (Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1996) make up this series.
Received in the second instalment, this series contains drafts of stories, some rejected parts of stories, edited manuscripts and an unedited manuscript of the book entitled Black Sea (Allen & Unwin, 1997). The stories were written between 1990 and 1996.
A collection of early poetry manuscripts, including early drafts of poems for The cold front (Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1983), together with notes and drafts of early essays, are held in this series. Some of the essays were published, while some were used by Brooks in his MA courses at the University of Toronto.
Manuscripts and corrected typescripts of poems written between 1978-82 were received in the first instalment. In the second instalment there are drafts and fragments of both poems and prose.
Files 1-4 are available for reference; files 5-18 are restricted until the year 2013.
Notebooks and diaries used by Brooks in Australia, Canada and the United States. They contain notes for his poems, drafts and fragments, accounts and arrangements for New South: Australian poetry of the later 70's, a selection (1980), research notes for his PhD thesis, drafts of reviews, stories and teaching and lecture notes.
Edited manuscripts of A.D. Hope's Selected poems, edited and introduced by David Brooks (Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1992) and Security of allusion: essays in honour of A.D. Hope , edited by David Brooks (Canberra, Phoenix Review/Bistro Editions with the Australian National University Faculty of Arts, 1992) which was issued as a special issue of The Phoenix Review and distributed to subscribers as issue # 9.
A colleague at the Australian National University, Brooks was a close friend of R.F. Brissenden and his wife, often visiting them at their house at Depot Beach on the south coast of New South Wales.
Manuscripts and a small collection of other papers relating to Suddenly evening: the selected poems of R. F. Brissenden, (Melbourne, McPhee Gribble, 1993), edited and introduced by David Brooks after Brissenden's death in 1991, are contained in this series.
A collection of other writers' manuscripts, some of which were received by Brooks in his capacity as a reader for publishers.
Peter Boyle, 'Coming home from the world' (1994)
James Bradley, 'Paper nautilus' (1994)
Paul Cliff, 'The wolf problem in Australia' (1994)
Peta Spear, 'My sweet sex' (1994)
Beth Spencer, 'Things in a glass box' (1994)
Adrian Wiggins, 'The beggar's codex' (1994).