This dissertation is comprised of two components, a collection of poetry entitled An Absence of Saints, and a critical essay, Poetry in Transit: Movements in E-Poetry and Publication in Australia. An Absence of Saints is divided into three sections: Istria, Botany Bay, and Lazarus at the beach. These three sections are largely concerned with documenting my family’s experiences during and after the Second World War in what is now called Croatia, with recollections of my childhood growing up as a migrant in Sydney, and with more recent personal experiences. Writing for me has been a way of making sense of the world, and, as such, this is a deeply personal collection which also encompasses the themes of history, biography and memoir. The individual poems are widely published, and the manuscript won the 2009 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and was published by University of Queensland Press in August 2010. The collection subsequently won the 2010 Anne Elder Award and the 2011 Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry.
Poetry in Transit: Movements in E-Poetry and Publication in Australia seeks to contribute to knowledge of the emergence of e-poetry through qualitative interviews and an analysis of contemporary development focused on a review of the current literature. This essay examines six propositions about e-poetry and its publication which are the result of the process of writing the collection and considering whether to publish it digitally or in print. Firstly, a literature review argues for a revised definition utilising a broader description of digitised poetry and digital New Media poetry in order to encompass the Australian online environment. Secondly, new technologies have enabled poetry to be published in unexpected ways using a range of media without the total exclusion of print. Thirdly, poetry published online has, until recently, been less valued than when it is produced in print, due to issues with authenticity. Fourthly, publication of poetry online has had implications for the formal development of experimental e-poetry in terms of reader interpretation. Fifthly, in relation to poets, it has implications for poetic practice, production, reception and preservation. In conclusion, I discuss my decision to publish my poetry collection in print format, on the basis that this form offers the potential for future use of the print-on-demand or e-book option.