Guide to the Papers of Mark O'Connor

MS 7744

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Title
Papers of Mark O'Connor
Date Range
1968-2002
Collection Number
MS 7744
Extent
2.17 metres (15.5 boxes)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia

Introduction

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection comprises papers associated with O'Connor's poetry. There are drafts, many substantially reworked, of a number of his published books of verse, together with reviews of his books, copies of poems published in journals and newspapers and a large group of drafts of poems. There are also transcriptions of tapes made by O'Connor when he was in the field, recording ideas for his writings. A series of correspondence relates mainly to O'Connor's activities as a writer including publication of his work and his participation in literary events. O'Connor's interest in environmental issues is also reflected in papers in the collection which he accumulated through his involvement with the group Writers/Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1875799).

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Mark O'Connor, National Library of Australia, MS 7744, [series and/or folder number]'.

Provenance

The papers were purchased from O'Connor in three instalments received in 1983, 1999 and 2002.

Arrangement

The papers have been arranged into series by the Library. Because they have been added to the collection in instalments, the order of papers within some series may not necessarily be chronological.

The following item has been transferred to the Oral History Section of the Library: CD recording (No. 9837), one of only four made by the ABC, of the program Encounter recorded on 24 July 1998 and broadcast later that year. Entitled 'A.D. Hope, poet of love and mortality', the script and narration were by O'Connor, with the voices of Anne Edgeworth, Michael Thwaites, Jenni Mitchell and Anne Fairbairn.

The Oral History Collection of the National Library holds tapes of two interviews with O'Connor, one in 1975 by Suzanne Lunney and one in 1989 by Diana Ritch (ORAL TRC 2461 and ORAL TRC 328). There are also tapes of a number of interviews with other people, recorded by O'Connor on behalf of the Library.

Biographical Note

Mark O'Connor's personal website (http://www.olympicpoet.com/mark.htm)

Date Event
1945 Born in Melbourne
1965 Graduated English-Classics Hons 1 from Melbourne University. Taught English Literature at the University of Western Australia and at the Australian National University
1972 First poems published
1973 Won the Biennial Poetry Australia International Prize, and again in 1975
1977 Awarded a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship to spend two years living and writing in the Mediterranean region. Travelled extensively until late 1980, mainly in Greece and Italy, and attended the Poets Corner readings in Westminster Abbey in September 1980
1979 Won the Shell-Artlook $1,250 poetry prize with The rainbow serpent and the British Commonwealth Short Story Prize with The black cabaret. In June 1980, won the London Time's Kenneth Allsop Memorial Award
1983 Won the Tom Collins Poetry Prize and the South Pacific ACLALS Short Story Prize. Edited the Australian section of London literary annual Aquarius, 1983
1983 Writer-in-residence at James Cook University, Griffith and Darwin (twice), SACAE, Gippsland College, Charles Sturt and Monash Universities, and UNSW and Queensland State Library
1984 NSW National Parks Writing Fellowship (1984 and 1985)
1985 Series of six talks on ABC television program Science Show
1985 ABC TV documentary broadcast on A Big Country
1986 One-month poetry reading tour of Britain arranged by the British National Poetry Society
1987 Appointed the Thomas Ramsay Science and Humanities Scholar at the Museum of Victoria (one-year residency) to write a book of verse The ship trans-time, which was published in 1989
1987 Edited and introduced Two centuries of Australian poetry published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne in 1988 (reprinted six times)
1988 Married Janet Eagleton and moved to Canberra
1988 Attended the Australian Literature Conference in Denmark
1988 Joined with Judith Wright, Dorothy Green and Anne Edgeworth to form the environmental writers group WESP
1990 Guest on SBS television program Face the press
1990 Sent to Russia (Vladivostok conference) by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
1990 Overseas writer-in-residence (Australia-China Bilateral Exchange) at East China University, Shanghai
1990 Received $3,000 grant from ACT to produce lyrics with musician Judith Clingan, recently completed as The Canberra song cycle
1991 Sent by the Australia Council to represent Australia at World Conference of Poets
1991 Received a $30,000 grant from the NSW National Parks Foundation to work on poems about the High Country
1993 Awarded ACT Literary Fellowship
1994 Appointed Humanities Research Fellow, University of Oregon, USA
1995 Poetry Editor for The Canberra Times
1995 Sent by the Australia-India Council on a one-man tour of universities in India
1996 Published Tilting at snowgums, and was the subject of two ABC documentaries, one in The words to say it series
1996 Poem 'A new ballad of the man from Snowy River' published in the Christmas edition of the Bulletin
1996 Revised expanded edition of Two centuries of Australian poetry published by Oxford University Press in 1996
1998 Published This tired brown land
1999 Appointed H.C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University
1999 Appointed as Olympic Games Poet for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, with a two-year Literature Fund Fellowship from the Australia Council
2000 Published Forever lands: Australia's Northern Territory in words and images
2000 Published Olive tree: collected poems 1972-2000

Biographical Reference(s)

Mark O'Connor's personal website (http://www.olympicpoet.com/mark.htm)

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1976-2002 Show allonly 1

The bulk of this series comprises correspondence relating to O'Connor's activities as a writer. There is correspondence with publishers regarding publication of his books, with editors of journals and newspapers regarding publication of his poems and articles, from organisations regarding his participation in literary events, from schools and other venues with invitations to speak/read poetry, applications for literary grants and arrangement of travel. There is also correspondence with colleagues, family and friends. The correspondence dating from 2000 to 2002 comprises mostly emails, which O'Connor has printed out and kept. A number relate to the development of Readright, an electronic system patented by O'Connor, which provides an alternative way to perceive and learn the English language.

Correspondents include Gregg Borschmann, Michael Crane, John Clanchy, Alan Gould and Noel Macainsh. There is also brief correspondence with Les Murray, R.A. Simpson, Anna Rutherford, Rosemary Dobson, Harry Heseltine, Elaine O'Connor, Christine Toole, Geoffrey Dutton, Vivian Smith, Judith Wright, David Yencken, Peter Alexander, Geraldine Moore, Ellen Frenkel, Michael Worby, Keith Harrison and Johnathon Persse.

File 1-3. Correspondence, 1976-1982 Show allonly 1

File 4. Correspondence, 1988-1994 Show allonly 1

File 5-6. Correspondence, 1982-1991 Show allonly 1

File 7. Correspondence, 1993-1998 Show allonly 1

File 8. Correspondence, 1999 Show allonly 1

File 9-10. Correspondence, 2000 Show allonly 1

File 11-14. Correspondence, 2001 Show allonly 1

File 15-19. Correspondence, 2002 Show allonly 1

Series 2. Reef poems, c1976 and 1984 Show allonly 1

This series comprises the final draft, reviews and cuttings relating to Reef poems, which was published by University of Queensland Press, Brisbane in 1976.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 3. The eating tree: poems, c1980 Show allonly 1

The original draft and cuttings relating to The eating tree: poems are contained in this series. The book was published by Angus & Robertson, Sydney in 1980.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 4. Australian styles: three lectures on verse and drama, c1982 Show allonly 1

This series comprises reviews of Modern Australian styles: three lectures on verse and drama, which was published by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies (Monograph No. 8), Townsville in 1982.

Comprises 1 file.

Series 5. The fiesta of men, 1980-1984 Show allonly 1

Contained in this series are edited drafts and proofs, editorial notes and cuttings relating to The fiesta of men, published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, c1983

Comprises 8 files.

Series 6. Poetry in pictures: the Great Barrier Reef, c1985 Show allonly 1

The poetry of O'Connor and the photography of Neville Coleman are combined in Poetry in pictures: the Great Barrier Reef, which was published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney c1985. This series contains reviews of the book.

Comprises 1 file.

Series 7. Selected poems, c1986-1988 Show allonly 1

Selected poems, O'Connor's first book of collected verse, was published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney and the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, Townsville, c1986. Contained in this series are reviews (c1986) and a program and reviews of a 1988 DanceNorth production inspired by poems from the book.

Comprises 1 file.

Series 8. Poetry of the mountains, 1988-1989 Show allonly 1

Poetry of the mountains combines the poetry of O'Connor with the photography of Ian Brown. It was published by Second Back Row Press, Leura in 1988. Contained in this series are reviews of the book.

Comprises 1 file.

Series 9. Two centuries of Australian poetry, 1988-1999 Show allonly 1

O'Connor edited and wrote the introduction for Two centuries of Australian poetry, published in 1988 by Oxford University Press, Melbourne. This series comprises reviews (1989) and drafts of preface notes and a list of poems for the 2nd edition of the book, which was also published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne in 1996.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 10. Great forest, 1989 Show allonly 1

Contained in this series is a mockup with sketches and reviews of Great Forest, which combines the poetry of O'Connor with the photography of Cliff and Dawn Frith. It was published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney in1989.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 11. Ship trans-time: words for a museum, 1987-1989 Show allonly 1

O'Connor was appointed as the Museum of Victoria's Thomas Ramsay Science and Humanities Scholar in 1987, with a brief to write a book of poetry. He spent a year in the Museum, having full access to all its collections as well as to the information from its expeditions and fieldwork. His book of poetry, Ship trans-time: words for a museum, was the end result and was published by the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne in 1989. Contained in this series are newspaper cuttings relating to O'Connor's time in the Museum and a copy of the publication.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 12. Fire-stick farming: selected poems 1972-1990, 1989-1990 Show allonly 1

Fire-stick farming: selected poems 1972-1990 is O'Connor's second book of collected verse and was published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney in 1990. It was launched by Manning Clark in Canberra in September 1990. This series comprises successive drafts, some heavily edited, page proofs, a copy of Manning Clark's launch speech and reviews of the book.

Comprises 5 files.

Series 13. Tilting at snowgums: Australia's high country in poetry and photos, 1995-1996 Show allonly 1

This series contains papers relating to Tilting at snowgums: Australia's high country in poetry and photos. Comprising poetry by O'Connor and photographs by Klaus Hueneke, the book was published by Tabletop Press, Canberra in 1996. There is correspondence with Hueneke, a number of edited drafts and proof pages.

Comprises 10 files.

Series 14. Forever lands: Australia's Northern Territory in words and images, 1992-1997 Show allonly 1

Forever lands: Australia's Northern Territory in words and images, containing poems by O'Connor and images by John Kirk was published by Beyond Images, Melbourne in 2000. In this series are papers relating to the early selection of poems, together with edited drafts.

Comprises 3 files.

Series 15. The olive tree: collected poems 1972-2000, 2000 Show allonly 1

O'Connor's third book of selected verse, The olive tree: collected poems 1972-2000, was edited by John Leonard and published by Hale & Iremonger, Sydney in 2000. Contained in this series are a number of edited drafts.

Comprises 6 files.

Series 16. Poetry, 1981-2002 Show allonly 1

This series comprises a large number of drafts of O'Connor's poems, cuttings relating to his poetry and copies of his poems published in journals and newspapers. There are Russian translations of O'Connor's poems, drafts of groups of poems entitled 'Other Northern Territory poems' and 'Pilbara poems' and numerous drafts of a poem inspired by the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 in the USA. There is also a small group of drafts of poems written by O'Connor in his capacity as Olympic Games Poet for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

File 1. Miscellaneous drafts, c1981-1982 Show allonly 1

File 2. Miscellaneous drafts, c1988-1995 Show allonly 1

File 3. Cuttings, 1984-1989 Show allonly 1

File 3. Russian translations of poems, 1991 Show allonly 1

File 4. 'Other Northern Territory poems', 1991 Show allonly 1

File 5. 'Pilbara story', 2001-2002 Show allonly 1

File 6. Poems written for the Sydney Olympics, 2000 Show allonly 1

File 7. Drafts of September 11 poem, 2001 Show allonly 1

File 8. Miscellaneous drafts, 1986-2001 Show allonly 1

Series 17. Other writings by O'Connor, 1980-2002 Show allonly 1

The papers in this series comprise drafts and copies of other writings by O'Connor. Included are short stories, reviews, journal articles, lecture notes, seminar papers and addresses he has given. There are also papers relating to O'Connor's involvement in the rewriting of the book Protected area management: principles and practice, which was published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne in 2001.

File 1. Miscellaneous writings Show allonly 1

File 2. Seminar paper, Monash University, 1981 Show allonly 1

File 2. Lecture notes, James Cook University, c1982 Show allonly 1

File 4. Reviews and articles, c1982 Show allonly 1

File 5. Drafts of an article about David Williamson, c1982 Show allonly 1

File 6. Copies of published reviews, articles and short stories, 1980-1992 Show allonly 1

File 7. Drafts relating to Protected area management: principles and practice, 1999 Show allonly 1

File 8-9. Miscellaneous writings, 1993, 1999-2002 Show allonly 1

Series 18. Miscellaneous notes Show allonly 1

This series comprises notebooks and pages of miscellaneous notes relating to O'Connor's writing in general.

Comprises 2 files.

Series 19. Tape transcriptions, 1992-2002 Show allonly 1

It is O'Connor's practice to record thoughts and ideas for his writing onto tape, particularly when he is outdoors. Contained in this series are transcriptions of some of these tapes.

File 1. 1992-1994 Show allonly 1

File 2. 1995-1997 Show allonly 1

File 3. 2001-2002 Show allonly 1

Series 20. Study guides Show allonly 1

This series contains a small group of educational study guides relating to O'Connor's poetry.

Comprises 1 file.

Series 21. Writers/Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population, 1988-1993 Show allonly 1

In 1988 O'Connor joined with Judith Wright, Dorothy Green and Anne Edgeworth to form the environmental group Writers/Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population (WESP/AESP). O'Connor was the first Vice-President and co-ordinator. In 2000 the group was renamed Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). Since its formation, the movement has grown to encompass members and branches throughout Australia. Contained in this series are papers accumulated by O'Connor which relate to the movement and his involvement. O'Connor filed the papers alphabetically in a concertina file, and this arrangement has been retained.

File 1. A Show allonly 1

File 2. B Show allonly 1

File 3. C Show allonly 1

File 4. D Show allonly 1

File 5. E Show allonly 1

File 6. F Show allonly 1

File 7. H-J (note: no papers were filed under 'G') Show allonly 1

File 8. K Show allonly 1

File 9. L Show allonly 1

File 10. M Show allonly 1

File 11. N-O Show allonly 1

File 12. P-Q Show allonly 1

File 13. S (note: no papers were filed under 'R') Show allonly 1

File 14. T Show allonly 1

File 15. U-V Show allonly 1

File 16. W Show allonly 1

File 17. X-Z Show allonly 1

File 18. Papers filed under the heading 'ZETA' Show allonly 1

Series 22. Photographs Show allonly 1

This series contains portrait photographs of O'Connor, a photograph of a portrait of O'Connor painted by Jenni Mitchell and a photograph of O'Connor and Les Murray (1995).

Comprises 1 file.

Series 23. Biographical papers, 1968-1999 Show allonly 1

Contained in this series are papers of a biographical nature relating to O'Connor. They include cuttings of articles about him (1976-1989), several versions of his Curriculum Vitae, programs for events in which he has participated, typescripts of interviews with him, a copy of the transcript for his BA from the University of Melbourne (1968), a list of his literary activities and publications (1992) and a copy of a newsletter from his website (1999).

Comprises 5 files.

Series 24. Miscellaneous papers Show allonly 1

A small group of miscellaneous papers is contained in this series. Included are cuttings, conference papers and a partial diary by O'Connor of an ANU Centre for Archaeological Research Expedition (CAR) to Mutawintji National Park in 2002 (written for a reunion).

Comprises 3 files.

Container List

Series File Box
1 1-7 1
1 8-14 2
1 15-19 3
2 1-2 3
3 1-2 4
4 1 4
5 1-4 4
5 5-8 5
6 1 5
7 1 5
8 1 5
9 1-2 6
10 1-2 6
11 1-2 6
12 1-2 6
12 3-5 7
13 1-6 7
13 7-10 8
14 1-3 8
15 1-6 9
16 1-8 10
17 1-7 11
17 8-9 12
18 1-2 12
19 1-3 12
20 1 13
21 1-7 13
21 8-15 14
21 16-18 15
22 1 15
23 1-3 15
23 4-5 16
24 1-3 16