australian poet

Chris Mansell is an Australian poet. She was active in Sydney in the 1970s and 1980s as an editor and poet and since the 1980s has lived in regional Australia where she continues to write, perform, and edit. She remains preoccupied with the physical//intellectual landscapes and worked with Tommaso Durante editing the poems for his artist’s book, Terra Australis.

In 1978 she founded Compass poetry & prose a little magazine which published many of the young Australian poets of the time. She closed the magazine in 1987 and soon after, became a member of the collective which founded Five Islands Press.

Like many poets of her generation, she makes her living by performing her work, publishing and teaching writing at various institutions. Although primarily a poet she has also written a number of plays including Some Sunny Day. Always interested in experimentation with form, she now also works in digital media. She founded PressPress, a small independent poetry publisher in 2002.

Chris Mansell's collection of poems, Shining like a Jinx, won the Amelia Chapbook Award, USA. In 1993 she won the Queensland Premier's Award for poetry for ‘Yarmul’ which later appeared in her Mortifications & Lies; Redshift/Blueshift was short listed for the NSW Premier’s Award; she has also won a number of prizes for her short fiction.

After lecturing in creative writing at the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney, she attended the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) Playwright’s Studio. She took a break from lecturing in 1990 when she was writer in residence at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, and then, after a National Book Council tour in Queensland, she was writer in residence with Kaleidoscope Community Arts Company in Hobart, and later with Gambit Theatre Co in Launceston, Tasmania. Later, she was editor in residence at the Royal Australian Historical Society in Sydney, and was writer in residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Centre in Perth.

Her collection of poems Day Easy Sunlight Fine was short-listed for the National Book Council’s Banjo Awards and then she was writer in Residence with Flightpaths (Next Wave).

Since then she has been a mentor to nine poets within Australia under the aegis of the Australian Society of Authors, the Northern Territory Writers Centre and the South Coast Writers Centre.  She was director of the Shoalhaven Poetry Festival from 2002-2005.

In 2005, Kardoorair Press published Mortifications & Lies which was described by Margaret Bradstock as ‘an important book, both stylistically and thematically a ground-breaking book. One emerges from the experience of reading it disturbed and challenged. Its haunting rhythms do not easily let go. It reinforces insights many of us already possess, but reminds us of the need to reject complacency, to become involved.’

Kardoorair published her Love Poems in 2006 and Letters  in 2009. Spine Lingo: new & selected poems was published by Kardoorair in 2011. Schadenvale Road, a collection of short stories, was published by IP, Brisbane, in 2011.

In 2013 she collaborated with composer Andrew Batt-Rawden to write a song cycle, Seven Stations, which had its premiere in Sydney in March of that year. Hospital Hill released the CD in 2014. Her new experimental collection of quad poems, Stung, also came out in 2014.

Collections of her poetry or prose include:

Seven Stations (CD) Music by Andrew-Batt Rawden and poetry by Chris Mansell (Hospital Hill, 2014), Stung (Well Sprung Productions, 2014), Seven Stations (text only) (Well Sprung Productions, 2013), Spine Lingo: new and selected poems (Kardoorair, Armidale, 2011), Schadenvale Road (Interactive Press, Brisbane, 2011), Letters (Kardoorair, Armidale, 2009), Love poems (Kardoorair, Armidale, 2006), Mortifications & Lies (Kardoorair, Armidale, 2005); Fickle Brat  (audio + text) (IP Digital, Brisbane, 2002); ; Day Easy Sunlight Fine in Hot Collation (Penguin, Melbourne, 1995); Shining Like a Jinx (Amelia, Calif., USA, 1992); Raptors Blue (audio) (Well Sprung Productions, Sydney, 1989) with music by Rob Cousins; Redshift/Blueshift (Five Islands Press, Wollongong, 1988); Head, Heart & Stone (Fling Poetry, Melbourne, 1982).

Smaller publications include:

The secret lives of birds (2012), A View from the Beach (PressPress, 2010), poem about the road (2004), [five n twenty] (2004),  Stalking the Rainbow (PressPress, 2002), Fantasy suite (2000), honey honey (1999), On Edge (1998), the other river (1998), Death of a poet (1988), Being there at the birth (1998), Epitaphs (1998), Words on Words (1998), The event horizon (1992), On the railway near the sea (1992), Zoom poems (1988), Taking heart (1987), Delta (1978).

Limited edition poetic objects/digital poems include:

Any prt in a storm (digital + book), boxed poems (poetry in various forms), The Quiet Book, Prepositional #1: Wirds mainly Hinges, Handwritten #1, words for girls, Look (photographs and poetic texts, part of the Handwritten series), S/He.

Children's book:

Little Wombat (New Holland, Sydney, 1996).

Non-fiction and scripts

Chris Mansell has also published other non-fiction books and a number of playscripts written on commission.

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