The story of this website.
A chain of accidents led to the creation of this website.
My name is Mark Carkeet. For many years I worked at a law firm in Brisbane. Over my time in professional practice I developed the habit of dropping into second-hand bookshops on the way back from business commitments, as a means of winding down before I started my next task.
One day in 2003 I was talking to the owner of a bookshop in Newfarm, Brisbane, who offered to sell me the remnants of the library of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, 100 books for $100. I couldn’t resist, and bought the books sight unseen.
That night as I took them from their boxes, I came across a carbon copy typescript poem pasted into the cover of one of the books, Poems Old and New by Paul Grano. It was called ‘Gilded Day’ by ‘June Saunders’; Ipswich. Inside the back cover of the book was a manuscript poem by Grano himself, called ‘To a Young Poet, Drowned, In Memoriam June Saunders’. I really had to find out Saunders’ story.
By the time I had researched and published an article about Saunders’ brilliant life and its tragic end, I realised that I knew a fair bit about the poets of her time. After that, it wasn’t too much work to gain an understanding of virtually all the significant Queensland poets of the first 100 years of the State’s separate history. Though there’s some excellent scholarship in the field, I realised that it was difficult for a general reader to gain access to the poets and the poems. I also wanted to learn about the internet from the inside.
So I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone, and build a website about Queensland poetry. The site you are now visiting is the result. Of course these things start out with one objective, but soon acquire others on the way. As a result, there are plenty of detours for the reader who is curious and has a little time. Take the story of Cyril Fitzgerald for example.
All in all, I’ve learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. I hope you do too.