Literary Birthday – 16 February – Peter Porter

Peter Porter was born 16 February 1929 and died 23 April 2010.


  1. I like poems of ingenuity, poems of skill, poems of cleverness, poems which use words in ways other than the Wordsworthian ‘voice of true feeling’. In other words, I like poems to have a kind of plot of their own over and above the kind of worthwhile feelings of the poets. (via)
  2. Poetry is either language lit up by life or life lit up by language.
  3. A poem is a form of refrigeration that stops language going bad.
  4. Writing poetry is the only form of literary labour which gives me entire satisfaction.
  5. Somewhere at the heart of the universe sounds the true mystic note: Me.
  6. No-one can say why hearts will break / And marriages are all opaque: / A map of loss, some posted cards, / The living house reduced to shards / The abstract hell of memory / The pointlessness of poetry. (via)

Peter Porter was an Australian-born British poet. He wrote about European and American art, music, and literature, with a touch of social satire. ‘His works are characterised by a formal style and rueful, epigrammatic wit.’ His first volume of poetry was Once Bitten, Twice Bitten (1961). Some of his works are collected in The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems. His awards included the Duff Cooper Prize (1983), the Whitbread (now Costa) Poetry Award (1988), the Gold Medal for Australian Literature (1990), and the Queen’s Gold Medal (2002). In 2007 he was made a Companion of the Royal Society of Literature.

Source for quotes/Click here to see a photograph of the author

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 15th February 2021