alan wearne Associate Professor Alan Wearne

Position: Associate Professor - Poetry
Qualifications: BA (Latrobe) Dip Ed (Rusden)
Location: 25.G05C
Phone: + 61 2 4221 4098


'I am an elitist, I am an entertainer,’ says Alan Wearne, a prominent part of Australian poetry since 1968 and the author of four verse collections, a verse novella, two verse novels and Kicking in Danger a satire on Melbourne's football. The first volume of his verse novel, The Lovemakers, won the NSW Premier's Prize for Poetry, the NSW Premier's Prize Book of the Year and the Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award. The Lovemakers Book Two co-won the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies Colin Roderick Award and H.T. Priestley Medal. The Lovemakers has since been published in one volume by Shearsman Books of Bristol, England. His next book The Australian Popular Songbook won the 2008 Grace Levin prize and this was followed in 2012 by Prepare the Cabin for Landing. Since 2011 his publishing company Grand Parade Poets has published 10 books of poetry by the late Benjamin Frater, Pete Spence, Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne, the late Rachael Munro, Liam Ferney, Rae Desmond Jones, Rob Wilson, Michael Aiken, Evan Jones and Cassandra Atherton. [Frater, Munro, Wilson and Aiken are all former UOW students]. 2016 should see his next collection These Things are Real with Grand Parade Poets publishing volumes by Cassie Lewis and Nigel Roberts. Alan Wearne is a Melbourne poet living in exile.

Research Interests

My major intellectual love is History: anything from the Big Bang onwards, though at the moment much of it set in the 20th Century up till [let's say 1980]. History is how I educate myself, Literature and in particular Poetry is how I spend my time.

With much of my recent work I hope to share some of that obsessive excitement I received when encountering narratives that arose out of more recent Australian legends: Christopher Skase and Alan Bond, Mr Asia and the Carlton Crew, Bogle-Chandler and Nugan-Hand. Then there are more local legends, sometimes those known to but a town, suburb, family or group of friends, and these certainly have engaged my imagination in recent times: the young couple in the 1950s and their edgy friendship with a widow their age; the engaging busker muso who turns out a horrifying woman-basher; the brilliant way in which a bewildered gay teenage boy is assisted by an off-beat medico; the couple in a Labor Party branch who are suspected of not just having an `open’ marriage but of being genuine `swingers’; and the young female Maoist who returns to post-1968 Paris and a lover from younger times, only to be dumped and nearly die.

Such narratives are too important to be left solely to novelists, playwrights, film-makers and journalists, no matter how much so many (this writer included) revel in plenty of their final products. There is another mode for telling such tales: riskier, edgier, go-for-broke and word-by-goddam-word, sent out not knowing the who, where and when of its destination (and really, what best-selling author can say that?).

Oh yes, and I write in the belief that There is only one `social media’ that truly counts and that’s poetry!


Full list>


  • 2016  These Things are Real Giramondo, Sydney (verse collection)
  • 2012  Prepare the Cabin for Landing Giramondo, Sydney. (verse collection)
  • 2008  The Lovemakers Shearsman Books, Exeter, England. (verse novel in one volume)
  • 2008  The Australian Popular Songbook Giramondo, Sydney. (verse collection)
  • 2004  The Lovemakers Book Two ABC Books, Sydney. (verse novel)
  • 2001  The Lovemakers Book One Penguin Australia, Melbourne. (verse novel)
  • 1997  Kicking In Danger Black Pepper, Melbourne. (prose novel)
  • 1987  Out Here Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. (verse novella)
  • 1986  The Nightmarkets Penguin Australia, Melbourne. (verse novel)
  • 1976  New Devil, New Parish University of Queensland Press, St Lucia. (verse collection) 
  • 1972  Public Relations  Makar Press, Brisbane. (verse collection)


  • 2009  The Best Australian Poetry 2009 University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.

Documentary Film Collaboration and Appearance 

  • 1999  Conversations With a Dead Poet  (Dir. Geoff Burton) ABC-TV.

Potential Topics for HDR & Honours Supervision

  • Poetry collections, in particular Narrative Verse.

Research Students

  • Bronwyn Lang : Travelling Light

Recent Awards and Fellowships 

  • 2008  Grace Leven Prize for Poetry
  • 2005  Colin Roderick Award for Australian Literature
  • 2002  Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award for Australian Poetry
  • 2002  New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year Award
  • 2002  New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
  • 1987   National Book Council Award
  • 1987   Australian Literature Society Gold Medal
Last reviewed: 11 May, 2016