Poetry notebooks of Peter Porter

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 4 folders and 4 exercise books containing notes and drafts for poems, some of which were published in After Martial and The last of England.

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Porter was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1929 and worked there as a cadet journalist before moving to London in 1951. He worked in bookselling and advertising and, from 1955 until about 1966, became involved with the writer's workshop The Group, where he met Philip Hobsbaum, Edward Lucie-Smith, Peter Redgrove, Martin Bell and others.

In 1961 he married Janice Henry with whom he had two daughters and in 1968 he became a freelance writer and broadcaster, working for The Observer as poetry critic. Apart from a brief visit in 1954 Porter did not return to Australia for more than twenty years, but 1974 was a turning point for him. His wife died and he received an invitation from the Adelaide Festival and began to reintegrate himself as an Australian poet. The events of this year formed the basis of the book The Cost of Seriousness, published in 1978 and considered by many to be his masterpiece.

Although a regular visitor to Australia for the past 30 years Porter remains resident in London. In 1991 he was married for the second time to Christine Berg.

Access Information

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/using/sc-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Peter Porter, 1973


This description was written by Gil Skidmore.

Other Finding Aids

There are no finding aids available

Related Material

The Group collection - RUL MS 4457. Other early poetry notebooks are in the British Library Add.Mss. 52591-52592