Guide to the Papers of Stephen Edgar [MSS 120]

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Manuscript Name Papers of Stephen Edgar
Manuscript Number MSS 120
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 6 boxes
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Literary papers, including drafts of prose, poems, and translations.  Also includes correspondence, including with publishers, proofs, and an interview on cassette with Peter Reading.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

A collection of literary papers of Stephen Edgar, created principally during the 1980s and 1990s, but including material until 2003. The earliest material dates from 1968, when Edgar was 17. The collection consists in the main of drafts of Edgar’s literary output, especially poetry but including prose work. The collection also includes general and literary correspondence, a typescript of Queuing for the Mudd Club (1985), and a 1989 interview on audio cassette with Peter Reading.

Date Range of Content

1968 - 2003

Biographical Note

Wikipedia article:

Stephen Edgar is an Australian poet and editor. After having his first published poetry appear in The Tasmanian Review in 1979, he became a subeditor of that magazine (after it became Island)in 1986 and served as poetry editor from 1989 - 1994. He has been extensively published in print and online, including at Poetry Foundation.

His published works include Queuing for the Mudd Club (1985), Ancient Music (1988), Lost in the Foreground (2003).

Edgar has received a number of awards for poetry, including the Harri Jones Memorial Prize for Poetry (1984), Grace Leven prize for Poetry (2003), Australian Book Review Poetry Prize (2005).

Author record, Stephen Edgar, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002-. [Retrieved from 14/01/2019].

Poetry Foundation. (2019). Stephen Edgar. Retrieved from, 14/01/2019.


Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: The permission of Stephen Edgar is required to access this collection.

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: No copying is approved. 

Preferred Citation

Papers of Stephen Edgar, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 120, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from Stephen Edgar in nine consignments.

Related Material

The Academy Library holds the Papers of Island Magazine at MSS 026.

Subject Keywords


Australian poetry, poets, Australian poets, 20th century poetry

Personal Names

Stephen Edgar 1951-

Corporate Names

Island Magazine


Poet, writer, editor


Container List

Box 1

Folder 1
Queuing for the Mudd Club, typescript and galley proofs.

Folder 2
Ancient Music

Folder 3
‘Days of Heaven’; ‘Patrimony’;‘History of the Emotions’

Folder 4
‘Bluebeards Castle’; ‘The Silkworms’; ‘Cold Lady Trilogy’; ‘The Tray’; ‘The Book’; ‘To the Wheatlands’

Folder 5
‘La Vie Inter’iene’; ‘Imaginary Foreground’; ‘Secret Life of Books’ - version ….only; ‘The Fern’; ‘A Portrait of the Beloved’; ‘A Toast to Pip’; ‘Ode to the Eve of Gwen’s ….Doctoring’; ‘Charoscuro’; ‘Closed Orders’; ‘Glass’; ‘Icebergs’

Folder 6
MSS drafts: ‘Haunting’; ‘In Mountain Air’; ‘Le Silence Eternal’; ‘Ergo Sun’; ‘Sky with Hot Air Balloon’; ‘Stone Mirror’; ‘Fearful Symmetry’; ‘Ghost Sonata’; ‘Cosmogophy’; ‘The Water Beetles’;  ‘Vamp Till Ready’; ‘The Food Program’; ‘The Alphabet Murder’; ‘Stopping the Show’.

Folder 7
Poetry drafts, 1984-1989

Folder 8
Poetry drafts, June - October 1989.


Box 2

Folder 9
Poetry drafts, October 1989 - February 1990

Folder 10
Poetry drafts, February - May 1990

Folder 11
Poetry drafts, May - September 1990

Folder 12
Poetry drafts, September 1990 - January 1991

Folder 13
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 12 September, 1979 – 26 April, 1985;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 28 February, 1986 – 2 December, 1989;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 8 Februrary-30 December, 1990

Folder 14
Kevin Hart letters, 12 September, 1989 – 4 September, 1992;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 28 January, 1991 – 17 December, 1992;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 13 January-21 December, 1993

Folder 15
Edith Speers letters, 10 January, 1993 – 25 June, 1994;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 24 January-31 May, 1994;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 1-30 June, 1994;
Letters, notices, memoranda, notes, complimentary slips, etc. for 4 July-12 December, 1994

Folder 16
‘Miscellaneous Correspondence’, 1992 – 2002. Specific ‘sheaf’ (prefaced by index) of communications with the following:

Alan Gould (1997-2002); Graeme Hetherington (1995-2000); Jamie Grant (1992); Kevin Hart (1995-1999); Kris Hemensley (1996-1997); Vivian Smith (1995); Rosyln Follett (1996-2000); Alison Hoddinott (1995); Judith Beveridge (1993-2001); Paul Hetherington (1994-1996); Andrew Sant (1995); Dick Bett (1996); Norman Talbot (1995); Elizabeth Webby (1996); Peter Rose (1997); Gregory Kratzmann (2000); John Kinsella (2000); Paris Review (2001-2002); Ivor Indyk (2002); and Edith Speers (2002)


Box 3

Folder 17
‘Correspondence, Contracts etc. relating to publication’. Specific ‘sheaf’ (prefaced by index) of communications and publishing contracts with the following:

Twelvetrees Publishing Co.; Angus & Robertson; Reed/William Heinemann; Random House; Ginninderra Press; Oxford University Press; ABC; University of Tasmania; Island Magazine; and Harper Collins

Folder 18
Undated letters and other communications, 1980s and 1990s, organised into (i) handwritten, (2) typed, and (3) publishers’ complimentary slips, acceptance/reject notes, messages

Folder 19
Correspondence - cards
Christmas cards, greetings cards, postcards, etc., organised into dated (1986-1995); and undated

Folder 20
Literary Drafts
File: ‘Juvenilia 1968 to May 1976’

Folder 21
Literary Drafts
File: ‘August 1976 to September 1983 including Queuing for the Mudd Club’

Folder 22
Literary Drafts
File: ‘November 1983 to August 1986 including Ancient Music’

Folder 23
Literary Drafts
File: ‘August 1986 to December 1988 including the unpublished That Green Evening (part) and Corrupted Treasures (part)’

Folder 24
Literary Drafts
File: ‘January 1989 to December 1991 including the unpublished That Green Evening (part) and Corrupted Treasures (part)’


Box 4

Folder 25
Literary Drafts
File: ‘January 1992 to December 1996 including Where the Trees Were’

Folder 26
Literary Drafts
File: ‘January 1997 to March 2000 including Lost in the Foreground’

Folder 27
Literary Drafts
File: ‘April 2000 -‘

Folder 28
Literary Drafts
File: ‘Stephen Edgar Miscellaneous Prose’

Folder 29
Literary Drafts
Prose pieces / reviews and newspaper articles, dated 1985-1990, also undated materials, with copy of Tasmanian Writers Union Newsletter, vol. 13, no. 1, March, 1993

Folder 30
Literary Drafts
File: ‘MSS of Translations’ – contains (1) Jorge Luis Borges (I) (2) Euripides (3) Osip Mandelstam (4) Jorge Luis Borges (II), prefaced by letters dated 20 September, 1996 and 6 March, 1997

Folder 31
Literary Drafts
‘Manuscripts of Poems 1991 – 1992


Box 5

Folder 32
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems and prose pieces, 2 July, 1993 – 3 December, 1996; prefaced by ‘List of Materials Enclosed’, 2 pages, listing (A) Prose, 6 pieces and (B) Poems, 35 pieces

Folder 33
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems and prose pieces, January 1997 – December 1999, prefaced by letter dated 21 February, 2000, and ‘List of Poems’, 1 page, listing poems written in 1997, 1998 and 1999


Box 6

Folder 34
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems and prose pieces, 9 January, 1993 – 7 January, 1995

Folder 35
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems, 22 February-12 December, 2003, prefaced by index list

Folder 36
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems, 1 January, 2002 – 13 February, 2003

Folder 37
Literary Drafts
Handwritten drafts of poems, 26/29 November, 2001 – 2 January, 2002; prefaced by ‘Stephen Edgar – List of enclosed poems’, 1 page, and notes for Gwen Harwood interview, 1985

Folder 38
Literary Drafts
‘Lost in the Foreground’, undated;
Submissions: handwritten lists of writers and submitted work 10 January, 1990 – 10 May, 1994

Folder 39
Audio tape, 8 December 1989
Interview with Peter Reading