James Lucas was born in Sydney in 1965. He was educated at the University of New South Wales, where he won the University medal, and then Cambridge, where he completed a Ph D in modernist poetry in 1997. He published two chapbooks in the 1990s in the UK, his first Australian poetry publication being in Southerly in 1994. Since then his poems have appeared in Communion, Contrappasso, Cordite Poetry Review, Heat, Island, Meanjin, New England Review, Overland, Quadrant, Salt, Scarp, Southerly, the Henry Kendall Award Anthology, and the 2020 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology. For many years he has taught English at Sydney Grammar School. Rare Bird is his first book.
Intellectually ambitious and culturally engaged, these poems speak of Sartre, Zola and Jackson Pollock, of Western Australia’s firewatch trees and Dubbo’s gibbons, of the poet-batsman Stevie Smith, of youth and age. Ranging in form, James Lucas’s poems ask to be reread rather than assented to, and are written in the belief that poetry is both solvent and fresh lick of paint.
‘James Lucas’s poems explode with brilliance, warmth and music’— Stuart Barnes