Guide to the Papers of John Tranter

MS 5715

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Title
Papers of John Tranter
Date Range
1964-1993
Collection Number
MS 5715
Extent
3.69 metres (26 boxes, 1 folio item)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia

Introduction

Scope and Content

The collection comprises drafts, correspondence, and publishing material (such as galley proofs, typescripts, and publicity material) relating to research for and publication of a number of Tranter's works.

There are also drafts of various poems (1983-1993), including 'Ariadne on Lesbos', 'The Subtitles', 'Condensed Soup - Four Diversions and a Prose Poem on the Road to a Poetics',and 'Yoo-Hoo Fugaces'; a script of his play The Man on the Landing (1968); articles, interviews, and reviews; copies of various magazines that he has edited, including Poetry Australia, Free Grass and Transit; and papers relating to his role as poetry editor of TheBulletin.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1102656).

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 John Tranter, National Library of Australia, MS 5715, [series and/or file number]'.

Provenance

Papers of John Tranter were first purchased by the Library in August 1977. Further instalments were purchased in December 1988 and February 1989, and donated under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme in May 1993, May 1994, and April 1995.

Arrangement

Tranter kept his papers in good order, and this arrangement has been maintained by the Library. The following list of series and additions to the collection is based on lists received from Tranter.

Separated Materials

A cassette tape of Tranter reading poems from Selected Poems and Under Berlin has been transferred to the Oral History collection.

Bibliography

Tranter's books of poetry include: Parallax (1970) Red Movie and Other Poems (1972) The Blast Area (1974) The Alphabet Murders (1975) Crying in Early Infancy: 100 sonnets (1977) Dazed in the Ladies Lounge (1979) Selected Poems (1982) Gloria (1986) Under Berlin: new poems (1988) The Floor of Heaven (1992) Days in the Capital (1992) At the Florida (1993) Gasoline Kisses (1997) Late Night Radio (1998) Different Hands (1998) He has also edited: The New Australian Poetry (1979) Tin Wash Dish: poems from today's Australians (1989) The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991, with Philip Mead) Martin Johnston - Selected Poems and Prose (1993)

Biographical Note

John Tranter was born in Cooma, New South Wales, in 1943. He is married to the literary agent Lyn Tranter, and has two children. Tranter took his Bachelor of Arts in 1970, majoring in psychology and literature. His career has spanned printing, publishing, teaching and radio production. Tranter published Transit magazine in 1968-1969, worked in Singapore as the Asian editor for Angus & Robertson in 1971-1973, produced ABC Radio's national arts program Helicon in 1987-1988, and was poetry editor for TheBulletin 1990-1993. He is the founding editor and publisher of Jacket, a quarterly Internet literary magazine.

Tranter has been awarded a number of fellowships from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and has been a visiting scholar at various institutions, including the Faculty of Arts at the Australian National University, and Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize for Under Berlin in 1988, and the Melbourne Age Poetry Book of the Year award for At the Florida in 1993. A selection of Tranter's poems appears in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (1988).

Item Descriptions

Class [unnumbered]. Original consignment received 15th August 1977

Series [unnumbered]. Correspondence from writers, 1965-1977

File 1. Correspondence from writers - Box 1

Including Robert Adamson, Bruce Beaver, Robert Bertholf, Walter Billeter, Earle Birney, John Blay, Michael Dransfield, Margaret Dresendorf, Laurie Duggan, Martin Duwell, John Forbes, Rodney Hall, and Alison Hill, 1965-1976

File 2. Correspondence from writers - Box 1

Including Kris Hemensley, Jurgis Janavicius, Alex Josey, Carmel Kelly, Robert Kenny, Rudi Krausmann, Patricia Laird, Roger McDonald, and Jennifer Maiden, 1969-1976.

File 3. Correspondence from writers - Box 1

Including Mike Parr, David Rankin, Philip Roberts, Graham Rowlands, John A. Scott, Tom Shapcott, R. A. Simpson, South Head Press, Max Suich, Tim Thorne, Alan Wearne, Lee White, Michael Wilding, and Edna Wilson, 1965-1977 .

File 4. Correspondence from writers, miscellaneous, 1965-1976 - Box 1

Series [unnumbered]. Miscellaneous items of general literary interest

File 5. Miscellaneous items of general literary interest - Box 1

Including copies of printed Tranter poems, and a copy of The Man on The Landing.

Series [unnumbered]. Magazines edited by Tranter, 1967-1977

File 6-11. Magazines, originals, 1967-1977 - Box 2

Series [unnumbered]. The Blast Area (1974)

File 12. Final manuscript, proofs, copy of published book - Box 2
File 13. Various versions of poems, many not included in the book - Box 2

Class [unnumbered]. Consignment received 19th December 1988

Series [unnumbered]. The New Australian Poetry (1979)

File 1. Drafts of an Australia Council grant application by Martin Duwell, as well as the response, and a preliminary list of poets and poems in order, 1978 - Box 3
File 2. Publishing material including papers relating to the launch, drafts and typescripts of poems included in the anthology, and correspondence between Clive Faust and Tranter, 1978-1979 - Box 3
File 3. Correspondence, mainly between Tranter, Clive Faust, Martin Duwell and various poets included in the anthology, 1977-1984 - Box 3
File 3a. Correspondence with Kris Hemensley, 1977-1979 - Box 3
File 4. Correspondence between Tranter, Martin Duwell and University of Queensland Press regarding the book design, 1980 - Box 3
File 5. Permissions, and records of payments made, 1979 - Box 3
File 6. Publishing material including proofs, publicity material, and correspondence between Tranter, Martin Duwell, and the various poets included in the anthology, 1978-1980 - Box 3

Class [unnumbered]. Consignment received 17th February 1989

Series [unnumbered]. Selected Poems (1982)

File 1-2. Typescripts and galleys - Box 4
File 3. Galley proofs of Crying in Early Infancy: 100 sonnets - Box 4
File 4. Photocopies of galley proofs, and copies of poems for reading at Biennale Sunday, 16 May 1982 - Box 4
File 5-6. Galley proofs - Box 4
File 7. Various papers including annotated typescripts, suggested artwork and book layouts, reviews, and plans for the launch, 1982 - Box 4
File [unnumbered]. Typescripts - Folio [unnumbered]

Series [unnumbered]. Under Berlin: New Poems (1988)

File 8-10. Galley proofs and other publishing material - Box 5
File 11. Annotated typescript, correspondence and other publishing material, 1988-1989 - Box 5

Class [unnumbered]. Consignment received 10th May 1993

Series [unnumbered]. The Floor of Heaven (1992)

File 1. Photocopy of the story 'George' by Christina Stead, featured in the Paris Review, Winter-Spring 1967 - Box 6
File 2. Correspondence with Angus Robertson (publishers) and others, 1989-1992 - Box 6
File 3. Typescript of the original five poems, including 'Jealousy' - Box 6

Author's annotations in red ink. 110 pages. Marked as 'Finalised Jan 92'.

File 4. Typescript of the final four poems included in the anthology, 40 page version - Box 6
File 5. Editor's copy of original manuscript, marked in pencil and ink - Box 6
File 6. Author's copy of original manuscript, unmarked - Box 6
File 7. Editor's galleys in Goudy Old Style typeface (the typeface was changed to Bembo at Tranter's suggestion) - Box 7
File 8. Author's galleys in Goudy Old Style typeface - Box 7
File 9. Galleys in Bembo typeface, marked as 'Master 3.6.92' - Box 7
File 10. Galleys in Bembo typeface, marked as 'Author Pages Inhouse 3.6.92' - Box 7
File 11. Book reviews and a signed copy of the published work - Box 7
File 12. 'Gloria' - Box 7

First main draft of 4-5 June 1986, 10 pages plus cover sheet. Author's minor annotations in various inks.

Draft retyped 27 July 1986, 11 pages plus cover sheet. Author's minor annotations in blue biro and brown ink.

A copy of Gloria, as published by Nicholas Pounder (1986); includes a signed copy of the pamphlet, 11 pages; unused covers (in the published edition covers were coloured by John Tranter and his daughter Kirsten using oil crayons), 4 pages; and photocopies of publishing correspondence, 8 pages.

Draft, subsequent to and much longer than the version published by Nicholas Pounder. 20 pages.

File 13. 'Gloria', draft dated 13 July 1990, 18 pages; draft dated 17 July 1990, 19 pages - Box 7
File 14. 'Stella' (then titled 'Betty') - Box 8

Draft marked as 'Second draft typed up Monday 26 January, 1987'. Extensive interpolations and annotations on various pages. 49 pages.

Draft, undated. In four parts, extensive rewritings. 47 pages.

Draft, dated 9 April 1988. In four parts, with annotations. 50 pages.

File 15. 'Stella' - Box 8

Draft marked as 'Revised at 20 June 1988' (original title 'Betty' is crossed out, with 'At Florenzini's' written in). Arranged in one part only. Annotations in pencil and brown ink. 30 pages.

Draft, undated. Arranged in one part only. Annotations in black ink and brown ink. 31 pages.

Photocopy of a clean typed version, undated, no annotations. Filed away October 1991, 31 pages.

File 16. 'Breathless' (then titled 'Sandra') - Box 8

Draft dated 8 December 1986. Author's annotations in various inks. 7 pages.

Draft dated 15 December 1986. Author's annotations in various inks. 9 pages.

Draft retyped 8 June 1989. Author's annotations in various inks. 9 pages.

Draft dated 2 July 1989. Author's annotations in brown ink. 21 pages.

File 17. 'Breathless' (then titled 'Sandra') - Box 8

Draft 8, dated 4 July 1989. Author's annotations in ink. 20 pages.

Drafts 10 and 11, dated 7 July 1989. Shows change from 'Sandra' to 'Breathless' in page headings, with author's annotations in brown ink. 23 pages.

Draft fragments, undated. Author's annotations in brown ink. 13 pages.

Draft fragment, sequential up to page 12, undated. Author's annotations in black ink. 12 pages.

Draft, undated, typed copy. Filed away 23 October 1991, 12 pages.

File 18. 'Rain' - Box 8

Draft (then titled 'Smith') dated 28 February 1990, author's annotations in red ink. 19 pages.

Draft (then with various other titles – 'Kathy1', 'Smith1a', 'Smith2', 'Kathy2'), dated 28 February 1990, author's annotations in blue biro.45 pages.

File 19. 'Rain' - Box 8

Draft, marked as 'Typed up 26 July 90'.Very brief author's annotations in black ink.42 pages.

Draft, marked as 'Retyped 30 July 1990'.40 pages.

File 20. 'Jealousy', prose draft dated 1 October 1991, 12 pages; and verse draft, dated, 22 October 1991, 19 pages - Box 8

Series [unnumbered]. The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991)

File 21. Various correspondence, mainly between Tranter and Philip Mead, 76 pages, 1990 - Box 9
File 22. Various correspondence, mainly between Tranter and Philip Mead, 165 pages, 1990 to 1992 - Box 9
File 23. Various correspondence, mainly between Tranter and Philip Mead, 80 pages, 1990-1992 - Box 9
File 24. Miscellaneous editorial files, mainly early editorial correspondence, 80 pages, 1986-1980 - Box 9
File 25. Miscellaneous editorial files, mainly early editorial correspondence, 65 pages, 1988-1990 - Box 9
File 26. Various lists of proposed poets and poems, 170 pages, 1989-1990 - Box 9
File 27. Draft contents lists dated from 21 February 1990 to 15 April 1990, 71 pages - Box 10
File 28. Draft contents lists dated from 19 April 1990 to 8 May 1990, 51 pages - Box 10
File 29. Draft contents lists dated from 13 May 1990 to 9 December 1990, 99 pages - Box 10
File 30. Photocopies of various poems considered for inclusion, 100 pages - Box 10
File 31. Permission forms for use of work by poets, typed out for Penguin by Philip Mead and covering letter from Mead to Tranter, dated 5 March 1991, 50 pages - Box 10
File 32. Material relating to the launch of the anthology at the Sydney Festival Writers Week, January 1992, including flyers and advertisements, 40 pages - Box 10
File 33. Various drafts of the much-rewritten introduction to the anthology, 83 pages - Box 10
File 34-41. A complete set of marked-up galley proofs and title for Bruce Beaver's first poem in the sequence Letters to Live Poets, 'Frank O'Hara', added by Tranter (poem was originally published in the late 1960s and untitled until 1991), 150 pages. - Box 11, 12
File 42. Photocopies of various reviews of the book, 50 pages - Box 12
File 43. Copy of the London Review of Books, volume 16, number 22, 18 November 1993, featuring the poem 'Pantoum – The Waiting Room' by Tranter - Box 12

See also Instalments 27 May 1994 and 11 April 1995.

Series [unnumbered]. Martin Johnston – Selected Poems and Prose (1993)

File 44-47. Typescript, with detailed notes on yellow post-it stickers from Nadia Wheatley, used for checking proofs from the publisher, 300 pages - Box 13
File 48. Photocopy of article 'Games With Infinity: the fictions of Jorge Luis Borges' from Cunning Exiles - Studies of Modern Prose Writers, edited by Don Anderson and Stephen Knight, 1974, pp. 36-61 - Box 13
File 49. Photocopies of ten index cards from the Sydney Morning Herald's files, listing some 97 articles written by Martin Johnston from 1968 to 1975 - Box 13
File 50. A bibliography of Martin Johnston's work, compiled by John Tranter, listing some 186 items - Box 13
File 51. Typed transcript of Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 26 June 1990 - Box 14

Discussion concerning the late Martin Johnston, with Roseanne Bonney, Nadia Wheatley, Tranter, and compere Virginia Bell

File 52. Correspondence between Roseanne Bonney (Johnston) and John and Lyn Tranter, from when Roseanne and Martin Johnston were living in Europe, c.1988, 20 pages - Box 14
File 53. Photocopies of book reviews written by Martin Johnston, 150 pages - Box 14
File 54. Photocopies of three print interviews with Martin Johnston, together with photocopies of reviews of several of his published books, 50 pages - Box 14
File 55. Material gathered during Martin Johnston's employment at SBS TV, 50 pages - Box 14
File 56. Typescript notes for the poem 'To the Innate Island', reduced and photocopied, 20 pages - Box 14
File 57. Original typescript for 'The Sea-Cucumber', reduced and photocopied, 80 pages - Box 14
File 58. Copy of Martin Johnston's article 'The Arts', featured in This is Australia, edited by Rudolph Brash (1975). Martin's contribution appears only in the first edition; in later editions the arts are covered by Don Dunstan, 14 pages - Box 15
File 59. Photocopy of typescript of an interview with Martin Johnston by Hazel de Berg for the National Library of Australia, 23 June 1980 - Box 15
File 60. Typescripts of interviews with or concerning Martin Johnston, including: - Box 15

Interview with Martin Johnston by Margaret Jones, 'A chance to write - in a room of his own', Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 1973.

Interview by Tranter on 10 January 1989, and broadcast on Helicon, ABC Radio National, 11 August 1991.

Part of an interview by Erica Travers, 17 June 1989.

Interview by Tranter, Glebe, 23 March 1990.

Interview with George Johnston (Martin Johnston's father) by Hazel de Berg, 13 March 1964, National Library of Australia, tape No 52.

Interview with Charmian Clift (Martin Johnston's mother) by Hazel de Berg, 8 June 1965, National Library of Australia, tape No 105.

Excerpts from the ABC Radio National program Late Night Live, 26 June 1990, concerning the late Martin Johnston; Roseanne Bonney, Nadia Wheatley, Tranter, and compere Virginia Bell.

File 61. Notes by Roseanne Bonney (Johnston) concerning Martin Johnston. 10 pages, dated c.1992 - Box 15
File 62. Martin Johnston's curriculum vitae, with relevant notes and clippings, prepared by Tranter. - Box 15
File 63. Tranter's editing notes, 39 pages. - Box 15
File 64. Literature Board application notes, 20 pages - Box 15
File 65. Notes on the search for the correct spelling of 'BarcaLounger', a chair mentioned in Martin Johnston's account of his early novel Mr Mammoth, 12 pages - Box 15
File 66. Photocopy of galley proofs for Martin Johnston - Selected Poems and Prose (to page 97), with one page of editor's notes - Box 15
File 67. Correspondence to and from Tranter, 100 pages, 1991-1993 - Box 16
File 68-69. Introduction, several drafts in various stages, 150 pages - Box 16
File 70. Photocopy of cover, preliminary pages, photograph layout pages, and photographs, 47 pages - Box 16
File 71. Photocopy of Martin Johnston's short story 'Heady' featured in Prometheus (1970). 'Heady' was later expanded into the novel Cicada Gambit - Box 16
Item 1-3. Three metal Type IV cassette tapes, no noise reduction: - Box 16

Both Sides: Martin Johnston interviewed by Tranter, 23 March 1990.

Side A - poet Laurie Duggan remembers Martin Johnston. Side B - Late Night Live segment concerning Martin Johnston, ABC Radio National, 26 June 1990. Compere Virginia Bell with Roseanne Bonney, Nadia Wheatley, and Tranter.

Both sides: program devoted to Martin Johnston on Helicon, ABC Radio National, Sunday 11 August 1991, recorded off air, fair quality.

Item 4. Cassette tape recording of The Ern Malley Story, a radio documentary by poet/radio producer John Thompson (d.1968) concerning the hoax poet 'Ern Malley' - Box 16

Ern Malley was a persona and a body of work concocted in 1943 by the young poets James McAuley and Harold Stewart, and published in Angry Penguins in 1944. The documentary was first broadcast on ABC radio in 1959. Recording features Max Harris, Geoffrey Dutton, Barrett Reid, Harold Stewart, James McAuley and others, and includes the reading of a letter from 'Ethel Malley'. (The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry is the first anthology to feature the complete poetic works of Ern Malley).

Item 5. Computer diskette, 720 kilobyte, IBM MS-DOS format, containing the four poems featured in The Floor of Heaven, plus two 'readme' files with other matter - Box 16

Class [unnumbered]. Consignment received 27th May 1994

Series [unnumbered]. Martin Johnston – Selected Poems and Prose (1993)

File 1-5. Typescript, 400 pages. - Box 17
File 6-9. Page proofs, marked up by Tranter and the University of Queensland Press editor, 300 pages - Box 17
File 10-12. Page proofs marked up by Tranter and the University of Queensland Press editor, 300 pages - Box 18

Series [unnumbered]. The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991)

File 13-16. Photocopy of the typescript of the book as marked up by the Penguin editor and sent to the printer, 600 pages - Box 18
File 17-18. Page proofs marked up by Tranter, 150 pages - Box 19

Series [unnumbered]. The Bulletin, September 1990 - June 1993

File 19-25. General correspondence, mainly with poets regarding their submissions to The Bulletin - Box 19, 20

Includes Judith Wright, A. D. Hope, John Blight, Robert Adamson, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Andrea Sherwood, Lee Cataldi, John Ashbury, Alison Clark, Dana Gioia, Rhyll McMaster, Jennifer Maiden, Bruce Dawe, Rosemary Dobson, Bruce Beaver, Tom Shapcott, Les Murray, and many more. 566 pages, 1990-1993.

File 26. General correspondence and files, 35 pages, 1990-1992 - Box 20
File 27. Office mail correspondence, 35 pages, 1990-1993 - Box 20
File 28. Correspondence of particular interest, 105 pages, 1990-1992 - Box 20
File 29. Copies of all the published poems, torn from copies of the magazine, 141 pages, dated 4 September 1990 to 1 June 1993 - Box 20

Series [unnumbered]. Drafts of poems

File 30-36. Drafts of poems, being roughly half the poetry work done by Tranter between the publication of Under Berlin (1988) and the publication of At The Florida (1993) - Box 21

Some holograph pages, but most are typed, with revisions in ink or pencil. In most cases poems have undergone five to ten draft stages, with ink corrections and reprinting of each page.Each sheet bears a designation on the verso identifying it as by the author and giving the approximate date, 500 pages.

Class [unnumbered]. Consignment received 11th April 1995

Series [unnumbered]. The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry (1991)

File 1-4. Approximately 700 pages of photocopy material - Box 22

Comprising copies of poems by various authors taken from books and anthologies, and used as the basic manuscript for The Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry.

Series [unnumbered]. Drafts of poems

File 5-9. Drafts of poems, being the second half of poetry work done between the publication of Under Berlin (1988) and the publication of At The Florida (1993) - Box 22, 23

Some holograph pages, but most pages are typed or computer printout, with revisions by hand. Two and a half pages of holograph critical notes by Lyn Tranter. In most cases poems have undergone numerous draft stages, with ink corrections and reprinting of each stage. Each sheet bears a designation on the verso identifying it as by the author and giving the approximate date.

File 10-12. Drafts of poems, 500 pages, dated from 26 July 1986 to 14 September 1992 - Box 23
File 13-15. Drafts of poems, 500 pages, dated from 28 August 1985 to late July 1986 - Box 24
File 16. John Tranter / New Poems 1986. Draft collection of 55 poems, most of which ended up in the collection Under Berlin - Box 24

Includes the narrative poem 'Gloria' and half a dozen uncollected poems.90 pages.

File 17. John Tranter / Ten Haquiri, consisting of ten poems later published in Under Berlin, and presented here as an entry to the 1990 Michel Wesley Wright Prize in Poetry, 13 pages - Box 24
File 18. John Tranter / A Selection of Recent Poems. An early form of the manuscript that became At The Florida. 95 pages, dated October 1991 - Box 24
File 19. At the Florida editorial copy (original title Déjà vu crossed out) - Box 25

A photocopy of the prose poem 'At Naxos' is tipped in opposite the typed version of the poem. 95 pages.

File 20. At the Florida cover designer's copy (original title Déjà vu crossed out) - Box 25

A photocopy of a fax from Tranter to Mark Tremlett at DNA Graphics is tipped in on the first page. 95 pages.

File 21. Drafts of poems for Under Berlin, dated May 1987 to October 1987, 95 pages - Box 25
File 22. Draft of narrative poem 'Stella', 31 pages - Box 25
File 23. Laser printout of author's computer diskette of poems in At The Florida, supplied by the University of Queensland Press, 44 pages, dated approximately 1991 - Box 25
File 24. Five sequential drafts of the four-page poem 'Ariadne on Lesbos'. Many and substantial holograph alterations, 19 pages, dated from December 1991 to 28 January 1992 - Box 25
File 25. Five sequential drafts of poetics essay 'Condensed Soup - Four Diversions and a Prose Poem on the Road to a Poetics' (for Meanjin magazine) - Box 25

Extensive holograph alterations throughout. 40 pages, dated from March to April 1988.

File 26. Photocopies of poem 'Lufthansa', and copies of the article announcing the poem's winning of The Australian's 20th birthday poetry prize, 3 pages, dated 1984 - Box 25
File 27. Drafts of 'Yoo-Hoo Fugaces' - Box 26

Some seventeen fugitive early poems and prose-poems, put together for John Kinsella's Salt magazine, on the understanding that the material would be used. The title is a joke at the expense of Horace's poem 'Alas! Fleeting…' (Eheufugaces). 102 pages, dated late 1991.

File 28. Drafts of a sequence of ten poems at the time tentatively titled 'Flow', later incorporated in At The Florida. 108 pages, dated October 1990 - Box 26
File 29. Invitation list for the launch of Under Berlin. 18 pages, dated May to June 1988 - Box 26
File 30. Drafts of poems, approximately 40 pages, dated early 1985 to July 1985 - Box 26
File 31. Drafts of poems, 48 pages dated October 1984; and 83 pages dated late March 1984 to December 1984 - Box 26
File 32. Drafts of poems, 19 pages, dated 1983 to 1984 - Box 26
File 33. Three drafts of the prose-poem 'The Subtitles', 30 pages, the last marked 'Revised and typed on W/P 16/10/84 JT' - Box 26
File 34. Drafts of 'Sex Chemistry' sequence (25 poems), included in Under Berlin, 30 pages - Box 26