Guide to the Papers of John Forbes [MSS 294]

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Manuscript Name Papers of John Forbes
Manuscript Number MSS 294
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 75 cm (6 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection includes correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts of poems, book reviews, reader's reports and articles by Forbes. There are also interview transcripts and writings regarding Forbes, and drafts of poetry and prose sent to Forbes.

Scope and Content

The papers of John Forbes feature personal and professional correspondence between Forbes and writers such as Laurie Duggan, John Kinsella, Les Murray and John Tranter. There are also drafts and page proofs of Forbes' book New and selected poems (1991). Other elements of the collection include drafts of poems and prose writings by Forbes, interview transcripts and book reviews, and manuscript and typescript drafts of poems sent to Forbes. Poems by other writers include poems sent to Forbes for the journal Surfers Paradise, No. 5. The collection covers a small but intense period of Forbes' literary work.

Date Range of Content



This collection has been rearranged into eight artificial series to describe and preserve context and relationships.

Biographical Note

John Patrick Edward Forbes was born in Melbourne, on 1 September 1950, and lived most of his early life in New Guinea, Malaya and Sydney. He completed is Higher School Certificate at De La Salle College, Cronulla in 1968. He graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in 1973. He was a poet, teacher, editor and reviewer and had been publishing his own poetry since 1969. From 1984, he taught creative writing and was writer-in-residence at various secondary schools, colleges and universities in Australia and England. He was invited to read poetry at schools, colleges, universities, libraries and at festivals.

Forbes' poetry, reviews and articles were published in various Australian anthologies, journals and newspapers. His poetry was widely reviewed; he has been the subject of a variety of biographical works, and critical analyses have been written regarding his work and contribution to Australian literature. He edited and produced Surfers Paradise 1974-c. 1992; he reviewed poetry, prose, art and non-fiction for the Age, Australian, Sunday herald, Melbourne, 1990-1991 and the Sydney morning herald; he was poetry editor of Scripsi 1990-1993, poetry reader/editor for Freemantle Arts Centre Press 1990-1993, poetry editor and consultant Angus & Robertson (HarperCollins) 1994, and non-fiction consultant for Meanjin 1995-1997.

Forbes was awarded several scholarships, prizes and grants, including the Teachers and Commonwealth Scholarship 1968, Commonwealth Post-graduate Scholarship 1973 and the Arthur Macquarie Travelling Fellowship 1975; the Poetry Society of Australia Award 1972, New Poetry Award 1973, H.M. Butterley - F. Earle-Hooper Memorial Award 1976 (for best contribution to Southerly). His writing has been recognised with the award of numerous grants, from the Literature Board of the Australia Council in 1974, 1982, 1988 and 1990, the residency award at the Australia Council B.R. Whiting Library, Rome 1993, and a four-year Senior Writers Fellowship 1995. He also received an Australian Bicentennial Authority grant 1984, and an Arts Council of Victoria grant 1994.

Forbes' publications have been produced by main stream publishers and in various ephemeral and small press formats. They include Tropical skiing (1976), On the beach (1977), Stalin's holidays : poems (1980), Drugs (1981), The stunned mullet & other poems (1988, partially funded by the Australian Bicentennial Authority - contains the poem 'On the beach : a Bicentennial poem'), Thin ice & other poems (1989), New and selected poems (1991), Troubador : poems (1993) and Roman poems (1994); the following books were published posthumously Humidity (1998), Damaged glamour (1998) and Collected poems, 1970-1998 (2001).

Forbes died on 23 January 1998, aged 47 years. In 2002 Brandl & Schlesinger published a collection of essays, poems, interviews and letters, illuminating the life and work of Forbes entitled Homage to John Forbes, edited by Ken Bolton.

Administrative Information


This collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Papers of John Forbes, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MSS 294, Series [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from John Forbes in 1992 and 1993, and from his family in 2002.

Separated Material

This collection originally included a number of publications, listed below. These works have been separately catalogued.

Drawings, A. F. (Ken Bolton). 'A small portfolio of drawings of covers'.

Nash, Ken (Mark O'Connor). Ode to Iggy Pop.

Salmon, Philip and Kinsella, John. Poems.

Leatherjacket, No. 2, June 1974.

Slug, No. 2.

Surfers Paradise, Nos. 1-4.

Your friendly fascist. Nos. 17, 21, 22.

Forbes, John. Humidity. Cambridge: Equipage, 1998.

Forbes, John. The stunned mullet & other poems. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988.

Forbes, John. Roman poems. [Sydney]: Michael Forbes, 1994.

Forbes, John. Troubador. Applecross, Western Australia: Folio Press, 1993.

Fern Hill edited by Robert Peters. Wentworthville: Robert Peters, c. 1970.

Landbridge : contemporary Australian poetry edited by John Kinsella. North Fremantle, Western Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1999.

Kelen, Christopher. Eleven poems. Bulahdelah: Chris Kelen, 1992.

Ear in the wheatfield, Second series, no. 9, July 1974.

Ear in the wheatfield, Second series, no. 17, Autumn 1976.

New poetry, Volume 25, no. 1, 1976.

New poetry, Volume 25, no. 2, 1976.

Meanjin, Volume 47, no. 1, Autumn 1988.

Poet's choice, 1974.

Further papers relating to John Forbes are held by the Fryer Library, University of Queensland, at UQFL 148; University of Sydney Library, University of Sydney, at MS 0012 Guide to the Papers of Erica Bell; Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, (call number not provided) John Forbes literary papers, and the Oral History Section, National Library of Australia.

Access Terms

Personal Names

Forbes, John, 1950-1998 -- Archives.

Topical Subjects

Poets, Australian -- 20th century -- Archives.

Australian poetry -- 20th century.



Series List and Descriptions


Series 1 Correspondence, 1980-2000

This series comprises correspondence between Forbes and numerous Australian literary associates, his friends, family, agents and publishers. Topics discussed include poetry criticism, literary works and publications, as well as personal matters. The series includes several postcards. There are also a small number of letters relating to the publication of New and selected poems (1991) in Series 3.

Folder 1
General correspondence and photocopies of poetry, 1983-1992

Correspondents include Don Anderson, Bruce [Beaver], Ken Bolton, Laurence Bourke, Peter Craven of Scripsi, Robert Crawford, Louise Crisp, Laurie Duggan, Carl Harrison-Ford, Yang Guobing, Kevin Hart (re The trespass of the sign), John Kinsella (with poem 'The Dam Busters'), Anthony [Lawrence], Jennifer [Maiden], Les Murray, Gregory O'Brien, Peter [Porter], John Tranter (with poem 'An absolutely extraordinary recital'), Alan Wearne and Michael [Wilding]

Folder 2
General undated correspondence and notes

Correspondents include Ken Bolton, Robert Crawford, Louise Crisp, Laurie [Duggan], Gisela Ervin-Ward, John Forbes (first page missing), Carl Harrison-Ford, Gwen Harwood, Meaghan Morris, Victoria Morrison (biographical notes for Lehmann-Grey anthology), Les Murray, Gregory O'Brien, John and Lyn Tranter, Alan Wearne, Andrew [?], Judith [?], Lawrence [?], Michael [?] and Ron [?]

Folder 3
Postcards sent to Forbes, 1980-1992

Folder 4
General correspondence A-G, 1988-1997

Correspondents include Chris [Wallace-Crabbe], Angie Angel, Angus & Robertson, Joy Hooton, Michael Denholm and Lynn Hard of University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, Australian Society of Authors, Irene Stevens of Australia Council for the Arts, K.E. Baumber of the University of Wollongong, Michele Beale, Ken Bolton, Tony Bond, Paul Brennan of Primavera Press, Chris Burns, John Cain, Heather Cam of Hale & Iremonger, Ed Campion, Kiernen Carroll, Gary Catalano, Sherryl Clark of Footscray Community Arts Centre, Robert Crawford of University of Saint Andrews, Laurie Duggan, Felicity Edge and David Hamilton of Oxford University Press, Michael Forshaw, Helen Garwood of Fremantle Arts Centre Press and John Frow

Folder 5
General correspondence, H-W, 1988-1997

Correspondents include Carl Harrison-Ford, John Hawke, Robert Hefner, Margot Hilton, Moira Hyland, Ivor Indyk, Ingrid Squirrell of East Midlands Arts Board and Sandra Jasper Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, John Kinsella, Rudi Krausmann, Jenny Lee of University of Melbourne, Amanda Lohrey, Angelo Loukakis, Hilary McPhee, Simon Millward of Broadwords, Peter Minter, Mal Morgan, Meaghan Morris, Stephen Muecke, Brian Musgrove, Mark O'Connor, George Papaellinas, Pharos Magazine, Peter Porter, Ron Pretty, Peter Rose, Mark Rubbo of Readings, Round Table Publications, Ken Searle, Tom Shapcott, Tom Thompson, Hugh Tollhurst, Ross Willis and legal correspondence and Memorandum of Agreement with Hale & Iremonger for 'On the beach', 25 October 1985

Folder 6
Copies of general correspondence from Forbes, 1983-1997

Including to Judith of Angus & Robertson (with five poems), Bruce Bennett and Susan Lever of University College, Australian Defence Force Academy, Sandra Jasper of East Midlands Arts Board, David Foster, Michael Hulse, Andrew Wilkins of Hyland House, Ivor Indyk, Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, Angelo Loukakis, Les Murray, Peter Porter, Mandy Sayer, Marianne Shaw, Brian Stonier, University of Technology Sydney and University of Wollongong

Folder 7
General correspondence relating to issue no. 5 of Surfer's paradise, and to Sacrophogus & unnerved alms, prose writing, 1992-2000

Surfer's paradise: correspondents include Lynn Hard, Luke Davies, John Kinsella, Pam Brown, together with a copy of the cover and a photocopy of an article by Forbes on the magazine for Salt Volume 11, 1999
Sacrophogus & unnerved alms, prose writing (1980) by Kris Hemensley (variant title: 'Rare birds with sticky wings'); the book contains a copy of Forbes' poem 'Stalin's holiday': correspondents include Pam Brown, Kris Hemensley, E.L. Forbes, Gillian Currie and Anne McDonald of the National Gallery of Australia and Michael Callaghan of Redback Graphix, together with a photocopy listing the contributor's and the title of their work, 2000


Series 2 Notebooks

This small series comprises seven notebooks kept by Forbes containing drafts of poems and articles; correspondence; research notes and ideas; contacts, and ink and pencil drawings. Only one notebook is dated.

Folder 1-2
Notebooks (7), one dated 1996


Series 3 Poetry

This series comprises manuscript, typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of published and unpublished poems, together with correspondence, notes and page proofs. The papers document the development and publication of Forbes' poetry collection New and selected poems (1991). There are also drafts of early and unpublished poems. In addition, the notebooks in Series 2 include often extensive notes, ideas and drafts for many of Forbes' poems.

3.1 New and selected poems (1991)

Comprises typescripts, page proofs and correspondence with the publisher's relating to New and selected poems, which was published by Angus & Robertson, Pymble, NSW, 1991. Reviews of the book are included in Series 6.

Folder 1
Computer typescript draft, 113 p. and notes, 18/4/1990

Folder 2
1st annotated page proofs, 112 p., together with related correspondence, 15/10/1990

Folder 3
Annotated master of 1st page proofs, 121 p., 15/10/1990

Folder 4
Final 2 annotated page proofs, 121 p. 15/10/1990

Folder 5
Annotated page proofs photocopy, 98 p.; author's copy of page proofs (incomplete), 15 October-21 November 1990; signed Memorandum of Agreement, 1/8/1989

3.2, Damaged glamour (1998)

Comprises typescript drafts of 'The banquet of Cleopatra & other poems', prepared by Forbes before his death for his collection Damaged glamour, which was published posthumously by Brandl & Schlesinger, Rose Bay, NSW, 1998. Also includes explanatory notes by his father E.L. Forbes.

Folder 1
Computer typescript drafts of 'The banquet of Cleopatra & other poems', 1995

Photocopy computer typescript draft containing twenty-eight poems entitled 'The banquet of Cleopatra & other poems', including
'love poem', 'On the very idea of a conceptual scheme', 'Panto', 'Entartete Kunst', 'Sydney', 'Humidity', 'The harbour bride', 'Warm snipers', 'Roman poem', 'Satori in Viterbo', 'Rocket to Rome (homage to the Ramones)', 'Cairns - after Ian Smith's drawings', 'Europe, endless', 'Ode to Karl Marx', 'The Return', 'troubadour', 'Anti-romantic', 'Personal poem', 'Admonition', 'Holy week', 'Lessons for young poets', 'On Tiepolo's banquet of Cleopatra', 'song' (first line: ablative to excellent), 'Social policy - after Raymond Queneau', 'Sydney Harbour considered as a Matisse', 'Homage to Kenneth Slessor', 'IRA dreaming', 'Scottische'
Computer typescript draft containing forty-one poems entitled 'The banquet of Cleopatra', 49 p., including
'On the very idea of a conceptual scheme', 'Love poem', 'Sydney Harbour considered as a Matisse', 'The Return', 'Sydney', 'Panto', 'Roman poem', 'Rocket to Rome (Homage to Ramones)', 'Satori in Viterbo', 'The Harbour bride', 'Homage to Kenneth Slessor', 'troubador', 'Europe, endless', 'Ode to Karl Marx', 'On Tiepolo's Banquet of Cleopatra' 'song', 'Poem for Greg Forbes', 'Entartete Kunst', 'Cairns', 'Lessons for young poets', 'The Drowned ones', 'Holy week', 'Warm snipers', 'IRA dreaming', 'the lesson', 'Anti-romantic', 'post-colonial biscuit', 'Admonition', 'Satellite of love', 'Mazda', 'Muddy Waters relaxing between gigs', 'Spleen', 'Ode to cultural studies', 'lassua in cielo', 'fletcher jones', 'Queer theory', 'Homage to Brian Wilson', 'Indus Valley script', 'Humidity', 'Ode to Cambridge poetry', 'Anzac Day'

3.3 Miscellaneous Poetry

Manuscript, typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of published and unpublished poems, together with notes from E.L. Forbes. Most poems are undated. Also included is a transcript from the floppy disc in Series 7.

Folder 1
Manuscript, annotated typescript, and annotated photocopy typescript drafts of unpublished poems arranged alphabetically according to final title

Including: '10am Mass, St. Carthage's', 'A dog's tongue', 'The Awkward load', 'Ceci n'est pas une pipe', 'Clock radio : a modern Anglican's morning', 'Clue', 'Crazy feeling / Argument with Les Murray', 'The Creek behind our house', 'Dean Martin's definition of happiness', 'Fragments', 'Gig's opinions', 'Homage to Chekhov', 'How to be romantic', 'Identity crisis', 'it goes with anything they spell', 'Like a bodgie in a milk bar', 'Letter to Sydney', 'little language poem', 'Melbourne spring', 'non-love poem', 'The ritual of days', 'Roadrunner, roadrunner', 'Romantic poet', 'self-portrait of a ratbag', 'Sermon on a line by James Gleeson', 'So bad', 'Song' (first line: Underneath the glass I fly), 'Spleen' (first line: the smooth blank verse), 'Theatrum cagnitoum', 'Thrash band song', 'Two genteel poems'

Folder 2
Manuscript, annotated typescript, and annotated photocopy typescript drafts of poems arranged alphabetically according to title

Including: 'aubade', 'Anti-Romantic', 'Cairns', 'Chapel St. / personal poem', 'Drinking song', 'Elegy for the 80s', 'The Hammer song', 'Melbourne', 'Moondance', 'My twin', 'personal poem', 'Puritan idyll', 'Red dress', 'Song' (first line: ablative to excellent), 'Subject poem No. 1', 'Theory', 'to the PLO', 'troubador', 'Watching the Treasurer'

Folder 3
Manuscript, annotated typescript, and annotated photocopy typescript drafts of incomplete, corrected and variant poems arranged alphabetically according to final title or first line

Including: '3 songs for Charles Darwin', 'Admonition', 'Anzac Day', 'Autobiography', 'The Big ask', 'The Chinese exhibition', 'A Dream', 'The Drowned ones', 'Elegy', 'Entartete Kunst', 'Here', 'Holy week', 'Indus Valley script', 'Kore', 'The Lesson', 'Lessons for young poets', 'Letter to Ken Bolton', 'love poem' (first line: warm, articulate), 'Love poem' (first line: Spent tracer flecks Baghdad's) 'Mazda', 'Muddy Waters relaxing between gigs', 'My way', 'Ode to Cambridge poetry'

Folder 4
Manuscript, annotated typescript, and annotated photocopy typescript drafts of incomplete, corrected and variant poems arranged alphabetically according to final title

Including: 'Ode to cultural studies', 'Ode to Karl Marx', 'On Tiepolo's banquet of Cleopatra', 'Panto', 'Poem for Greg Forbes', 'Popular classics', 'Postcard', 'Post-colonial biscuit', 'The Return', 'Roman poem', 'Satellite of love', 'Satori in Viterbo', 'Spleen' (first line: I rent a lot of sentences & buy a few), 'Still life with cake', 'Stunting for blondes', 'Sydney', 'Sydney Harbour considered as a Matisse', 'Tranteresque', 'the Venice letters', draft of poem on verso of previous poem entitled 'exploring the headache', 'Warm snipers'

Folder 5
Photocopies of poems as they appeared in a variety of magazines, arranged alphabetically according to title, 1970-1997

Photocopies of sixty poems as they appeared in a variety of magazines, 1970-1997, including:
'4 heads & how to do them', 'Admonition', 'Admonitions', 'After Richard Wilbur's A Baroque wall fountain in the Villa Sciarra for Greg Forbes', 'Afternoon papers', 'Am I a door? / six poems say yes', 'Angel', 'Anti-romantic', 'the big ask', 'Bolt hole', 'Cairns (after Ian Smith's drawings)', 'clear plastic sugar', 'Cultural studies', 'Dancing in the dark', 'A Dream', 'The Drowned ones', 'Drugs', 'Elegy for the middle classes', 'Floating', 'A Floating life', 'The Hammer song', 'here', 'IRA dreaming', 'Jacobean', 'The Joyful mysteries', 'Lassu in Cielo', 'the lesson', 'Lessons for young poets', 'Love's body', 'Malta', 'Melbourne', 'Miranda 2228', 'Moondance', 'Muse descending a staircase', 'My twin', 'The Numbers', 'Ode to doubt', 'Ode: Inspired by The last outlaw a TV mini-series 'Brought to you by the Australian Mining Industry'', 'On the very idea of a conceptual scheme', 'orange sonnet / imitation', 'Panto', 'The Photograph', 'poem', 'Popular classics', 'Postcard', 'The Return', 'Rolling in money', 'Roman poem', 'Scottische', 'Speed, a pastoral', 'Subject poem', 'Sydney Harbour considered as a Matisse', 'Sydney', 'Topothesia', 'trenku (with Mark O'Connor)', 'Tropical drinking', 't v', 'Two poems on style', 'Up, up, home & away', 'The Venice letters', 1970-1997
Photocopies of pages from magazines containing copies of Forbes' poetry, 1973-1996, including:
'On Tiepolo's banquet of Cleopatra', 'Ode to tropical skiing', 'Ode (Goodbye memory...)', 'A Bad day', together with notes on Forbes, 'Drugs', 'The search for the golden boomerang', 'Ode: Inspired by The last outlaw a TV mini-series 'Brought to you by the Australian Mining Industry'', 'Up, up, home & away', together with package/assembly concept details and a note from Pam Brown, 'Pacific', 'Baby'
Computer printout with details of some of the small press magazines in which Forbes' poems appeared

Folder 6
Photocopies from original sources of thirty previously uncollected poems in the order in which they appear in Collected poems, 1970-1998, which was published by Brandl & Schlesinger (2001), including:
'Large areas of Germany...', 'Report', 'Requiem', 'Nightwalker', 'Bolt hole', 'Muse descending a staircase', 'The Chinese exhibition', 'The blue', 'Malta', 'My way', 'Pillow talk', 'Ode: Inspired by The last outlaw a TV mini-series 'Brought to you by the Australian Mining Industry'', 'The end of history', 'Rich & rare', 'Pacific', 'Unemployment', 'Drinking song', 'Boeing', 'Subject poem', 'the big ask', 'Postcard', 'Kore', 'Elegy', 'Homesickness', 'Reading', 'Scottische', 'Social policy', 'Didactic poem', 'autobiography', '3 songs for Charles Darwin', 1969-1999

Folder 7
Computer typescript photocopies of poems sent to the Academy Library by Forbes

Including: 'Elegies & other poems' with a handwritten inscription by Forbes to Marie-Louise Ayres, 9/11/1994, including: 'spleen', 'Sydney', 'The Return', 'On the very idea of a conceptual scheme', 'Personal poem', 'Holy week', 'Cairns', 'Europe, endless', 'Rocket to Rome (Homage to the Ramones)', 'Warm snipers', 'Roman poem', 'Elegy', 'The harbour bride', 'love poem', 'Homage to Kenneth Slessor', 'troubador', 'song', 'Lessons for young poets', 'the big ask', 'anti-Romantic', 'Roadrunner, roadrunner', 'Didactic poem', 'Her new dress', 'Satori in Viterbo', 'Homesickness', 'IRA dreaming', 'Admonition', 'Endus Valley script', 'Endartarte Kunst'
Computer typescript photocopies of poems sent to Special Collections by Forbes, including: 'Queer theory', 'Ode to cultural studies', 'autobiography', 'Muddy Waters relaxing between gigs', 'Mazda', 'post-colonial biscuit', 'Spleen', 'Satellite of love', 'fletcher jones', 'The Drowned ones'

Folder 8
Transcript of Forbes' poems (the works are listed and numbered for reference in rough chronological order), floppy disc containing copies of poems is included in Series 7 1974-1998


Series 4 Prose, c. 1977-1997

This series includes a selection of Forbes' articles, reader's reports, book and art reviews and other unpublished prose writings and projects. Related correspondence is included in Series 1, notes and drafts are included in the notebooks in Series 2, and a CD-ROM of his MA thesis on Frank O'Hara is housed in Series 7.

4.1, Reviews, 1990-1996

Comprises manuscript and annotated typescripts and photocopies of book and art reviews for magazines, newspapers and radio, and unpublished reviews by Forbes.

Folder 1
Manuscript and annotated typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of titled reviews, 1990-1996

Including 'Blurred fantasy', 'Domestic surrealism', 'A diagram of how it works : Ken Searle's North Geelong' (incomplete), 'Four reasons to celebrate', 'A Great world brought home from the war', 'Full of humour', 'Meet the new boss (same as the old boss)', 'New impressions of an angry Penguin', 'Something English and out of a book', 'Striking images gone walkabout', 'Tough elegies' and 'A Very private life'

Folder 2
Manuscript and annotated typescript and photocopy typescript drafts of untitled reviews, 1990-1996

Including Kingsley Amis, Ken Bolton, Fernand Braudel, William Burroughs, Slim Dusty and Joy McKean, Shelby Foote, Richard Ford (unpublished), John Fuller, Seamus Heany and Ted Hughes, Kevin Hart, David Horner, James Knowlson, Jennifer Maiden, Jan Morris, Les Murray, Evgenii Pasternak, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, D.S. Richards, John Scott, Bernard Smith, Paul Theroux and three for the Oxford Australian writers (Melbourne, Vic.) series

4.2, Reader's Reports, c. 1990s

Comprises manuscript and annotated typescripts and photocopies of reader's reports by Forbes.

Folder 1
Reports for Chris Kelen, Anthony Lawrence, Stephen Hall and Roland Leach, c. 1990s

4.3, Critical Works, 1980-1997

Comprises manuscript, annotated typescript, and photocopy typescripts of published and unpublished criticisms, essays, addresses and biographical prose by Forbes. There are also transcripts of interviews by Forbes with Amanda Lohrey and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o.

Folder 1
Manuscript and typescript drafts, 1980-1997

Including 'Go ask Alice' (incomplete), 'Language at the edge', 'The Pill', 'Regional art & its enemies', 'Sydney a place for poetry?' 'Sydney Push', 'The village explainer' and Wayne's world
Interviews: photocopy of a published interview with Amanda Lohrey entitled 'Writer from the waterfront gives politics a berth' and a transcript of an interview with Ngugi Wa Thiong'o entitled 'Profile of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o'
Manuscript draft of a speech by Forbes for his mother's 70th birthday, 3 p.
Typescript report on Arts Victoria grant
Computer typescript of a judge's report for Victorian Premier's Literary Awards - Poetry
Flyer by Forbes advertising a party

4.4, Material Relating to Frank O'Hara

Comprises material relating to Forbes' unfinished M.A. thesis and a published essay on the American writer and art critic Frank O'Hara. The Fryer Library, University of Queensland, holds a substantial amount of material in MS UQFL 148, Guide to the Papers of John Forbes, Series B, box 2, folders B/3 to B/9, relating to Forbes' work on O'Hara.

Folder 1
Annotated manuscript photocopy draft on foolscap lecture pad of Forbes' untitled and unfinished Master of Arts in English Literature thesis on Frank O'Hara, University of Sydney, iv, 126 p., 1979
Annotated typescript of a critical article entitled 'In memory of my feelings' (incomplete), together with a photocopy of the published version entitled 'Frank O'Hara's In memory of my feelings', published in Scripsi, volume 2, numbers 2 & 3, Spring 1983, p. 199-219

4.5, Biographical Material by Forbes, 1977-1997

Comprises manuscript, typescript and photocopies of biographical writings by Forbes.

Folder 1
Photocopy of published version of 'Loughborough diary', which was published in Meanjin, volume 56, no. 2, 1977; 'Work', typescript biographical note, manuscript, 14 p., annotated photocopy typescript, 11 p., annotated page proofs, 8 p. (30 July 1991) and photocopy of published version, which was published in Toads : Australian writers : other work, other lives (1992), edited by Andrew Sant, p. 24-35, 1977-1992

Folder 2
Curriculum vitae's (7, some incomplete); manuscript and photocopy typescript autobiography by Forbes written in the third person


Series 5 Poetry and Prose sent to Forbes, 1988-1992

This series comprises manuscript and typescript drafts of poetry and prose sent to Forbes for criticism, advice or perusal. It includes drafts of poems by various writers for Surfers Paradise No. 5, together with a copy of the journal issue.

Folder 1
Manuscript and typescript drafts

Including:'Sex chemistry : a sequence of new poems', typescript photocopy of a sequence of poems from Under Berlin : new poems 1988 by John Tranter (1988)
'The shadow of doubt : and derivations in Australian poetry', typescript photocopy essay by Robert Adamson, 10 July 1990
'The clean dark', typescript photocopy poems by Robert Adamson, c. 1989
'Halothane', typescript photocopy poem by John Tranter, c. 1988
'John Forbes : 'Topothesia'', manuscript essay by Bridge Weller [nd]

Folder 2
'Blue notes' annotated computer typescript poems by Laurie Duggan, 80 p.

Folder 3
'Well you needn't (Miles Davis 1926-1992)', typescript photocopy poem by Laurie Duggan, p. 2-26, February 1992, published in Duggan's book entitled Memorials (1996)
'Dazed', annotated typescript photocopy poem by Ken Bolton, together with a note from Forbes
'Getting to know the general', 'Tabula Rasa' and 'His wife is a well known criminologiste', typescript photocopy poems by [Martin Johnston], 12 January 1988
'Greedy and dumb The true believers', notes toward the construction of a context for reading by Meaghan Morris, computer transcript of a talk delivered at the Claire Johnston Memorial Lecture, Edinburgh Film Festival, 19 August 1988, 22 p., together with an explanatory letter from Morris, 29 January 1989

Folder 4
Surfers Paradise, No. 5 (unpublished), this issue was produced in an edition of 150 copies, of which 26 were lettered and signed by Forbes - annotated manuscript, typescript and typescript photocopy drafts of poems by various writers, 19 p. c. 1992, together with a copy of the journal issue (undated)

Contents list of poets: John Kinsella, Louise Crisp, Alan Wearne, Luke Davies, Pamela Brown, Stephen K. Kelen, John Tranter, Laurie Duggan, John Forbes, Gig Ryan and Ken Bolton


Series 6 Works about Forbes, 1988-2002

This series comprises biographical and publicity material, including interview transcripts, published and unpublished criticisms of Forbes' work and various newspaper cuttings relating to his career; copies of drawings by Frank Littler; referees reports and two essays included in Homage to John Forbes (2002). There is an audio cassette copy of the Keneally radio interview in Series 7.

Folder 1
Interviews with Forbes

Photocopy of published version of an interview with Trevor Code entitled 'Speaking with John Forbes, August 1989', appeared in Mattoid, no. 34 1989, p. 108-129
Transcript of a radio interview with Catherine Keneally on Radio 5UV, Adelaide, 20 September 1991 entitled 'John Forbes - form, intuition and (a) song : interview', also appeared in Otis rush : new writing, new art & reviews, no. 8 February 1993, p. 88-102
Computer typescript of an interview with Erica Travers entitled 'The free world, furniture, and fables : chapter two : interview with John Forbes', [nd] 21 p.

Folder 2
Critical analyses, biographical material, cuttings, referees reports and drawings

Photocopy typescript entitled 'John Forbes : a ludic voice' by Jennifer Strauss
Typescript entitled 'Red wheelbarrow poetry : John Forbes in Wollongong' by Joseph Davis, August 1990
Photocopies from various published sources containing biographical details of Forbes (8)
Copy of Humanities research, 2, 1998 containing the poem 'Lassu in Cielo', p. 62 and 'In memoriam John Forbes' by Christopher Burns, p. 63
Newspaper cutting of 'Behind the lines' by Don Anderson, Saturday, July 1, 1989, p. 78
Newspaper cuttings of reviews of The stunned mullet (1988) and New and selected poems (1991)
Photocopies of Frank Littler's drawings, some of which appear in The stunned mullet
Typescript photocopies of referees reports supporting Forbes' applications for Australia Council grants, 1994-1995
Two typescripts of essays included in the publication Homage to John Forbes edited by Ken Bolton (2002)


Series 7 Audio Cassette, Disc and CD-ROM, 1991-1999

This small series comprises one audio cassette tape, one floppy disc and one CD-ROM.

Folder 1-3
Audio cassette of the Radio 5UV, Adelaide interview between Forbes and Catherine Keneally, 20/9/1991
Floppy disc containing 157 poems by Forbes (the works are listed and numbered for reference in rough chronological order), 1974-1998, transcript housed in Series 3.3, folder 8
CD-ROM of the manuscript photocopy of Forbes' unfinished Master of Arts in English Literature thesis on Frank O'Hara, University of Sydney, 126 p., 1979, photocopy housed in Series 4.


Series 8 Photographs

Photograph of John Forbes and other writers at a book launch.

Folder 1
Black and white photograph of Rae Desmond Jones, John Forbes, John A. Scott, Laurie Duggan and three unidentified people at a book launch, Courthouse Hotel, Newtown, Sydney, nd