John Bennett – brief CV

John Bennett has a PhD in poetics and is a widely published, performing and award-winning poet. Since moving out of Sydney’s Inner West five years ago he has been working with photography and video.


Prizes and awards:
Winner of the Newcastle Poetry Prize; Winner of the inaugural David Tribe Poetry Prize; Runner up in many others competitions (Broadway Prize; Red Earth, Warana, Vincent Buckley). Recipient of Bundanon and Varuna fellowships; Sydney Harbour Artist of the Year and Poet in Residence at the Macleay Museum, Sydney. Varuna and Bundanon fellowships


Book Publications
• Invitation to Jagun, Wagtail, 2013;
• A Pocket Diary, Flying Island Books, 2012;
• Field Notes, Five Islands Press, 1998;
• A Measure of Place, Penguin Books, 1993 (out of print).


Nature Writing:
‘Real Fables’, Southerly, 73:2, 2013
Runner up Wildcare Tasmania International Nature Writing Prize, March 2013


Has been a guest at various literary festivals including: the Bryon Writers Festival; the Brisbane Writers Festival with the didge player William Barton; the 2010 Australian Poetry Festival; the 2010 West Cork Literary festival and the 2011 & 2012 Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival.
Performs at the Coffs Regional Gallery from time to time.
Performed Antarctica, a poem for multiple voices at the Griffin Theatre, Sydney. This piece was later produced by ABC radio’s ‘The Listening Room’ with four actors.
Recorded poetry from the Solitary Islands project for ABC local radio. Oct 2013.


Multi-media Performances
Solitary Island Poems, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Aug 2013
‘The Art of art’, Coffs Regional Gallery, 2012 & 2013
‘The Wild Circumference” in a multi-media presentation with slides and soundtrack at various venues including Harold Park Hotel and the Forest Lodge, Sydney, 1993
Performed extracts from Antarctica for live voices and sound-track at the Griffin Theatre, Sydney, 1989. Subsequently produced by ABC radio for four voices.;
Produced a sound-track of Antarctica for a Sony walkman while viewing paintings by the Wynne winner Ian Bettinson, The Butchers Exhibit, Art gallery, Sydney, 1985.


As well as showing in community galleries on the Mid-North Coast he has held exhibitions of photographs at: NPWS Heritage Centre, Blackheath, Oct 2013;  Matilda St Gallery, Macksville, Sept 2012; Balmain Watch House, Sydney, Oct 2011.

His photographic work has been used locally by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Nambucca Valley Tourism, Valla Community, Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival.
His video work has been shown on TVS and at various festivals including the Sydney Writers Festival, 2010; and the Newtown Underground Film Festival, Sydney, 2010.


Festivals, as a featured performer
Bryon Writers Festival; Brisbane Writers Festival; West Cork Literary Festival; Writers Week, Festival of Sydney, Australian Poetry Festival, Sydney; Festival of the Sun, Jervis Bay; Blue Mountains Poetry Festival; Franco-Anglais de Poesie, Paris; Australian Book Fair, London.

Readings / presentations
Overseas: UK, Canada, France and Switzerland. Australia: Many in Sydney , Melbourne, Newcastle, Wollongong, Armidale, Adelaide, and Darwin. Presented papers on poetics and run workshops at various conferences and Writers Centres, schools (Sydney, Hobart, Armidale, Dubbo) and on New Media, the UK (Nottingham University, the Menzies Centre, London).

ABC (The Listening Room, A First Hearing, Poetica, Radio Eye 360) ABC Mid-North Coast, Radio 5UV, Eastside Radio, 2SER and 2NVR.

I developed and taught a course on New Media at the University of Wollongong, and more recently developed and taught a course on ecological art and literature at Continuing Education, Sydney University. I continued this course and up here in northern NSW with community programs. I have given talks on natural aesthetics at art galleries in Sydney and regional art galleries in NSW.
BA Hons 2:1, Philosophy & Sociology, Keele University, 1977;
Master of Creative Writing, Wollongong University, 2003;
PhD, ‘A New Defence of Poetry’. Wollongong University, 2007.
I was President of the Poets Union of Australia and in my advocacy and my artistic practice have worked to nourish poetry in all its forms to reach a broad audience. I do take political stances, was the Sydney convenor for Poets Against the War, organising readings, media interviews and the delivery of 10,000 poems to the Prime Minister of the day.
I have been Artistic Director of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival (BRWF) for the last four years (a voluntary position).

I have been involved in mentoring indigenous writers and working with them for the BRWF. I have also been working with Solitary Islands Marine Park history project and save Sawtell terns.

Image: Mary White, the esteemed paleobotanist and myself at Dorrigo Rainforest Centre.