Tim Thorne (25.03.44 – 16.09.21)


Tim Thorne was a leading contemporary Australian poet. A brilliant and generous polymath, mentor, activist and commentator; Tim Thorne leaves a profound legacy, and an extraordinary body of work.


Over a career spanning more than 50 years, Tim Thorne published 16 collections of poetry, edited several anthologies, and garnered numerous prizes, fellowships and awards for his work, including the Stanford Writing Scholarship, New Poetry Award, Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, Gleebooks Poetry Sprint, William Baylebridge Award, Christopher Brennan Award and the Gwen Harwood Prize. His poems have appeared in 16 anthologies and countless literary journals and publications, and he performed his work around the globe.


Tim also worked as, among other things, a language teacher, regional community arts officer, and newspaper columnist on current affairs. He engaged generously as a mentor in a variety of community contexts throughout his life, and worked as a poet in schools, universities, trade unions, museums, art galleries and prisons.


In 1985 Tim inaugurated the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, which he directed until 2001 and which still runs annually. The festival incorporates his invention, the Launceston Poetry Cup, a performance poetry concept now imitated all over Australia. In 1989 he set up the publishing venture Cornford Press which he ran for 16 years.


Tim Thorne was born in Launceston Tasmania, where he and his wife and comrade Stephanie (05.11.46 – 19.10.21) lived for most of their lives.


“Tim Thorne is not only an original writer, he is an original thinker” Gwen Harwood


Tense Mood and Voice. (Lyre-Bird Writers, Sydney, 1969)*

The What of Sane. (Prism Books, Sydney, 1971)*

New Foundations. (Poetry Society of Australia, Sydney, 1976)*

A Nickel in My Mouth. (Robin Hill Books, Flowerdale, 1979)*

The Atlas. (Black Lightning Press, Wentworth Falls, 1982)

Red Dirt. (Paper Bark Press, Sydney, 1990)

The Streets Aren’t for Dreamers. (Shoestring Press, Nottingham, 1995)*

Taking Queen Victoria to Inveresk. (QVM&AG, Launceston, 1997)*

Head and Shin. (Walleah Press, Hobart, 2004)

Best Bitter. (PressPress, Berry, 2006)

A Letter to Egon Kisch. (Cornford Press, Launceston, 2007)

I Con. (Salt, Cambridge, 2008)*

Yeah No. (PressPress, 2012)

The Unspeak Poems and other verses. (Walleah Press, 2014)

Running Out of Entropy. (Walleah Press, 2018)

Little Pataphysics. (PressPress, 2021)

*Out of Print


“Tim Thorne is the rare combination of a poet’s poet in his concepts and technique and a hugely enjoyable popular poet for the general reader. His political and social observations and personal enthusiasms are expressed in carefully chosen forms – from blank verse to tight rhyme – with consistent verve and clarity, making that which a fellow writer recognises as remarkably difficult technical complexity into impressive, deeply engaging poems, light-hearted, passionate, memorable discerning or downright hilarious as Thorne chooses.” Jennifer Maiden


“More musical than Mallarme with a twelve-string blues guitar, as far out as the Tasmanian wilderness, closer than country music, Tim Thorne rides the line of poetry from the page through the eye to the brain and the heart” John Tranter 


“Tim Thorne has a rare gift. His poems are always unpredictable. They continually spike the reader with wit and surprise. Tim Thorne has been around for a long time, but, thankfully, never writes like it” Dorothy Porter


“Reviewers have spoken of Thorne’s formal inventiveness and wit, his acerbic reflections on political absurdities, social absurdities and much else to admire in his work. Gwen Harwood praised his originality and ability to ‘escape the tyranny of the established masters’. This is true especially of the poems in The Unspeak Poems and other verses. By turns insouciant, urbane and profound, the collection is full of lines and acute angles that other poets might ache to have recorded. It’s a book that will rejoice his loyal readers and excite those who encounter Thorne for the first time. His self-depreciation rides shotgun on his exuberant and amused observations on everyday follies. It also underpins Thorne’s outrage at individual and institutional cruelties and injustices. This is a finely tuned, humane collection, confirming his claim that ‘a poetry book is not just a “commercial good”, but a good unqualified’. ” Michael Sharkey