‘The name of the product I tested is Life’: The Life and Poetry of Peter Porter - ‘Duelling with diffidence’

In a time of debased international politics and media manipulation of truth, the spin-and-cant-skewering precision of poetry is more important than ever.

This talk argues for a new look at Peter Porter (1929-2010), lauded Australian poet whose broad international span (poems on subjects as diverse as Auschwitz and the Australian magpie) and acute satirical lens are cultural gifts we would do well to revisit and celebrate. It is thirty-three years since the last major critical exploration of his life and work. Time for a new one.

Porter was an overtly public, and yet enigmatic figure, one whose work explores the depths of human experience (occasionally even the heights), a man who could out-talk Clive James, and yet would not write his own autobiography. Too diffident? Let’s see.


Morag Fraser is a writer and one of Australia’s most experienced arts commentators.

Her B.A (hons) is from University of Melbourne. Her M.A. (La Trobe) focused on the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. From 1990–2003 she was editor of Eureka Street magazine, and from 2003–2009, Adjunct Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe.

She has been chair of Australian Book Review; of Montsalvat, Australia’s oldest artists’ colony; Melbourne Writers Festival; and the John Button Prize, and board member of Adelaide Festival of Ideas.

In 2004 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia, for services to journalism.

Date & time

Thu 27 Jun 2024, 11am–12.30pm


Seminar room 6.71, level 6, RSSS Building AND Zoom: bit.ly/BioWorkshop2022


Morag Fraser

Event series


National Centre of Biography


Dr Stephen Wilks
(02) 6125 2349


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