A gay, light-hearted bastard, Ken Bolton cuts a moodily romantic figure within the dun Australian literary scene, his name inevitably conjuring perhaps that best known image of him, bow-tie askew, lipstick-smeared, grinning cheerfully, at the wheel of his 1957 Jaguar D-type, El Cid. Born in Sydney in 1949 he works at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide & edits Little Esther books.
2009 saw publication (by the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia) of his Art Writing—Art in Adelaide, the 1990s & 2000s and also (issued by Wakefield Press) The Circus. A Whistled Bit Of Bop (from Vagabond) and Sly Mongoose (from Puncher & Wattman) are more recent collections. In 2012 Shearsman Books (UK) released his Selected Poems.
Ken and his partner Cath Kenneally visited the University of Auckland in September 2006. Both poets read at STRATA #9, made videos for nzepc in Albert Park, and were presented with Tapa Notebooks. In 2010 Ken was MC for one of the Sydney HOME & AWAY readings with New Zealand and Australian poets.
Ken Bolton writes:
I think my Tapa notebook is self-explanatory: it means to be—or ‘meant to be'. Doesn’t it talk about how I never thought I would complete it & then suddenly I did? It’s ‘true’. It seemed a little self-indulgent as an exercise—writing about favourite drawings of my own. Who can be objective? But I find them amusing because they are so bad, so they better be, in their way. Right?
Read Ken’s Tapa Notebook poem
Watch Ken’s reading in Albert Park, September 2006
Ken Bolton. Credit: Teri Hoskin