Guide to the Papers of Nicolette Stasko


MS 9406, MS Acc06.163

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Nicolette Stasko
Papers of Nicolette Stasko
Date Range
1965-ca. 2005
Collection Number
MS 9406, MS Acc06.163
4.65 metres (28 boxes, 1 folio box, 1 folio bag)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The papers comprise correspondence, notebooks, journals and diaries, drafts and other papers relating to Stasko's poetry, prose, articles and reviews. Also included are manuscripts for Abundance (1992), Black night with windows (1994) and Stasko's as yet unpublished prose work, originally called 'Half Moon Bay',but later called 'The invention of everyday life'.

Amongst the correspondence are letters from friends, other writers and publishers, including Inez Baranay, Bruce Beaver, Beverley Farmer, Norman di Giovanni, Lynn Hard, A.D. Hope, Alane Rollings, Veronica Brady, and John Kinsella.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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


The papers were purchased from Nicolette Stasko in 1998.

The Library also holds the papers of Nicolette Stasko's partner, David Brooks (MS 8075)


The papers were received in good order and the Library has maintained Stasko's file arrangement.

Finding Aid Source(s)

Please note: This finding aid may comprise or contain descriptive information provided by donors, researchers and/or volunteers.

Collection Retrieval Advice

Please note: each consignment in this collection has a separate box number sequence (i.e. there may be multiple Box 1s). Please cite the relevant Class number as well as the Box number when requesting retrieval of material from the collection.

Biographical Note

Nicolette Stasko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1950, the daughter of Alice Cecelia Paliszewski and John James Stasko. Stasko first started writing poetry and stories during her school years.

In 1968 she commenced her Bachelor of Arts at Pennsylvania State University, completing it, with honours in English, in 1971. In 1975 she undertook her MA in Education at Lehigh University. It was during her university years that Stasko's first poems were published. Stasko wrote poetry only sporadically for a number of years while she pursued her teaching career, working in an experimental school for the socially and emotionally disturbed. During this period she also translated parts of John Gower's Confessioamantis with accompanying essays. These were published in a compilation by University Press of America in 1982.

Stasko married an Australian in 1978, travelling in America, Europe, India, Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia, before arriving Australia in 1979. She taught English literature at Perth Modern School.

After separating from her husband, Stasko met David Brooks and their daughter Jessica Lane Stasko Brooks was born in 1985. It was at this time that she began writing poetry again and was introduced to the Perth literary circle, meeting many of those whose correspondence can be found in these papers.

Moving to Canberra in 1986, Stasko worked casually at Narrabundah College and continued to expand her literary friendships and to develop her own writing. She became the associate and fiction editor for The Phoenix review and had her first poem published in Australia in Hecate in 1987. Tim Curnow of Curtis Brown became her literary agent and she began reviewing for newspapers and journals. Her first public reading was with R.F. Brissenden and David Brooks during Canberra Arts Week, and her second with Dorothy Porter and Craig Powell at the Taurus Café.

Abundance was published in 1992, by which time Stasko had moved to Sydney and begun writing full time. Abundance won the Anne Elder Prize and was short listed for other awards. Stasko's writing career continued with readings on radio shows, at the National Word Festival and at many other events, an appearance on 'Vox Populi' on SBS, and invitations to participate in the Melbourne Festival.

A second collection of poetry, Black night with windows (HarperCollinsAngus& Robertson, 1994) was launched by Don Anderson at Annandale Galleries.

Australian literary magazines such as Westerly, Fine line, Southerly, Mattoid, Overland extra, Island and SALT have published her work and it has also been included in the anthologies Shadows in a wall: an anthology of poetry and prose (1986), Wordhord (1989), The poetry of Canberra (1990)and Mendorong jack kuntikunti : sepilihan sajak dari Australia (1991)

Stasko took two years recovering from injuries received in a car accident in 1994. The injuries made typing and reading very difficult, but she was awarded a fellowship at Varuna in 1996 and she began writing again, trying a new area of essays on art and literature (eg for Photofile). She also wrote reviews for the Australian book review.

Ms Stasko became an Australian citizen in 1996.

In 1997 Stasko was included in The New Oxford book of Australian verse (1996)and spent some months working on 'The invention of everyday life'(working title Half Moon Bay). The Australia Council awarded Stasko a Writers Grant in 1997. In 2000 Stasko published Oyster: from Montparnasse to Greenwell Point (HarperCollins). Her third collection of poetry, 'In certain light', is to be published by Black Pepper in 2001.

Item Descriptions

Class MS 9406. Original consignment

Comprises correspondence, notebooks, journals and diaries, drafts and other papers relating to Stasko's poetry, prose, articles and reviews. Also included are manuscripts for Abundance, Black night with windows and Stasko's prose work, originally called "Half Moon Bay", but later published as The invention of everyday life. Amongst the correspondence are letters from friends, other writers and publishers, including Inez Baranay, Bruce Beaver, Beverley Farmer, Norman di Giovanni, Lynn Hard, A.D. Hope, Alane Rollings, Veronica Brady and John Kinsella.

Contained in 13 boxes, 1 fol. box.

Series 1. Correspondence, 1986-98

The first part of the series consists of letters from friends and publishers, correspondence relating to the Phoenix review, postcards, invitations and flyers. There are also newspaper clippings.

The personal correspondence gives an indication of the personal literary friendships that Stasko has formed and of their interest in each other's work. Included are copies or drafts of other writers prose and poetry works in progress.

The submission records in folders 14-17 include copies of Stasko's work, acceptances of her work and related correspondence and rejections and comments on some of her poems. There are also editorial suggestions.

The final part is correspondence relating to Stasko's publications, including some financial records.

Folders 6-10 are restricted. Folder 11 is closed until 2008.

General correspondence, 1986-97 (File 1-5) - Box 1
Correspondence with Inez Baranay (File 6) - Box 13
Correspondence with Bruce Beaver, 1992-98 (File 7) - Box 13
Correspondence with Beverley Farmer, 1988-97 (File 8) - Box 13

Correspondence with Norman Thomas di Giovanni, 1993-95

Correspondence with Lynn Hard, 1990-97 (File 9) - Box 13
Correspondence with A.D. Hope, 1988 (File 10) - Box 13

Correspondence with Alane Rollings, 1989-94

Closed (File 11) - Box 13
Letters received from students after a reading at Spokane Primary School, Washington, 1994 (File 12) - Box 2
'The practice of male editing', containing editorial suggestions for journal submissions and related correspondence, 1988-89 (File 13) - Box 2
Submission records, 1988-97 (File 14-17) - Box 2
Correspondence relating to Stasko's publications, for example, royalty statements, permission rights, remaindering, Public Lending Right information and financial records (File 18) - Box 3

Series 2. Drafts and notebooks

The notebooks contain early notes and ideas. The drafts are of early poems that were never published, and also for reviews, short stories, essays and journal articles.

Notebook containing early poems and also beginnings of Abundance, 1985 (File 1) - Box 3
Notebooks (File 2-4) - Box 3
Early poems which were never published (File 5) - Box 3
Manuscripts of early reviews and prose for the Phoenix review and the Canberra times. (File 6-7) - Box 3
Review and essay manuscripts (File 8-10) - Box 3, 4
Early short stories and early prose fiction (File 11) - Box 4
Short story drafts (File 12-13) - Box 4
Four drafts of 'Passages: the art of Beverley Farmer', and letter of acceptance for publication in the September 1998 Beverley Farmer issue of Southerly (File 14) - Box 4
Drafts of 'Invocation and exorcism', an article written on Adam Geczy's work from the Body exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, for Photofile, related papers, and four slides of Geczy's paintings, 1997-98 (File 15) - Box 4
Unpublished poems (File 16) - Box 4

Series 3. Journals and diaries, 1979-96

The journals are very personal journals of Stasko's life at the time, some containing personal letters as inserts, while the diaries are appointment diaries.

Folders 1-6 are restricted.

Journal, 1979 (File 1) - Box 5
Journal, 1983/84 (File 2) - Box 5
Journal, 1985 (File 3) - Box 5
Journal, 1986 (File 4) - Box 5
Journal, 1988/89 (File 5) - Box 5
Journal, 1989/90 (File 6) - Box 5
Diaries, 1989 (File 7) - Box 6
Diaries, 1990 (File 8) - Box 6
Diaries, 1992 (File 9) - Box 6
Diaries, 1994 (File 10) - Box 6
Diaries, 1996 (File 11) - Box 6

Series 4. Abundance, (1992)

Abundance, a collection of poems by Stasko, was published by Collins Angus & Roberston in 1992. It was launched by J.S. Harry. It won the Anne Elder award, and was short listed for the National Book Awards, and the NSW Premier's Prize, both of which were won by Les Murray, and for the Mary Gilmore Award.

Drafts, ranging from unused early poems to the manuscript sent to the publisher, comprise the bulk of this series. Some notes, fragments and clippings can also be found in the first notebook in Series 2 (MS 9406/2/1) and also in one of the notebooks in series 5 (MS 9406/5/1)

Correspondence relating to the book from the publishers, Stasko's agent, and friends, completes this series. There are a variety of other papers included, such as reviews, papers about the book launch and readings by Stasko of her work, invitations and flyers and some newspaper clippings. There are also papers relating to poetry readings on the ABC.

Unused early poems and drafts (File 1-2) - Box 6
Drafts of the title poem, including a draft with annotations by the American poet Alane Rollings (File 3) - Box 6
Drafts of poems (File 4) - Box 7
Drafts of poems, cover mock up, notes, contents and acknowledgements pages (File 5-7) - Box 7
Manuscript sent to Penguin, March 1991 (File 8) - Box 7
First and second manuscripts sent to Angus and Robertson (File 9) - Box 7
Correspondence, 1990-92 (File 10-11) - Box 7, 8
Angus Robertson literature catalogue that includes Abundance (File 12) - Box 8

Series 5. Black night with windows, (1994)

In 1994 Stasko's second collection of poetry, Black night with windows, was published by HarperCollinsAngus & Robertson.

Edited versions and part versions of the manuscript, the final manuscript and a proof copy of the manuscript form the major part of this series. One of the notebooks contains notes and drafts for 'Kitchen poems' as well as notes and fragments for Black night with windows, while the other notebook also contains early drafts of poems for Abundance.

The remainder of the series comprises poems not used and poems used in a talk at the Five Dock Primary School, correspondence, both personal and with her publisher, and a small file of letters, newspaper clippings, copies of magazines and other papers relating to publicity and poetry readings.

Two notebooks and early manuscript (File 1) - Box 8
Edited draft manuscripts (File 2-6) - Box 8
Various versions of edited manuscripts sent to HarperCollins in Australia, 1995 (File 7-8) - Box 9
Copy of final manuscript sent to HarperCollins (File 9) - Box 9
Final proof (File 10) - Box 9
Poems not used (File 11) - Box 9

Poems for talk at Five Dock Primary School

Correspondence (File 12-13) - Box 9
Papers concerning publicity and readings (File 14) - Box 9

Series 6. 'The invention of everyday life'

The series contains manuscripts, both full and partial and a notebook with early notes for the title. Most of the manuscripts are entitled 'Half Moon Bay', with some variations.

Notebook (File 1) - Box 10
Edited partial and full manuscripts (File 2-12) - Box 10, 11
Copy of manuscript sent to Picador, 1997 (File 13) - Box 11
Edited draft manuscript, February 1998 (File 14) - Box 12

Series 7. Miscellaneous papers

The small group of papers that make up this series includes a copy of Stasko's honours thesis and other papers such as tickets, flyers, a draft paper for a panel discussion and correspondence for the 1992 Melbourne Writers Festival in which Stasko participated. Programs for literary events and manuscripts sent to Stasko complete this series.

Honours thesis: 'Ulysses, the fulfilment of an aesthetic theory', 1971 (File 1) - Box 12
Grant applications, 1993-96 (File 2) - Box 12
Papers relating to the 1992 Melbourne Writers Festival and Stasko's participation (File 3) - Box 12
1993 New South Wales State Literary Awards program and 1994 Sydney Writers Festival program (File 4) - Box 12
Manuscripts sent to Stasko (File 5) - Box 12
Manuscript of Sisters (Angus Robertson, 1993) edited by Drusilla Modjeska (File 6) - Folio-box [unnumbered]

Class Acc06-163. Consignment added 2006

Comprises diaries, correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts of writings, notebooks, notes, research material, printed material, publicity material and grant applications, together with some drafts of writings by others. Much of the draft and research material relates to Stasko's book Oyster: from Montparnasse to Greenwell Point.

Contained in 15 boxes, 1 fol. bag.