Spence, Pete

Australia, poet and filmmaker

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Pete Spence was born, Ringwood 1946, into a poor and struggling family I survived Pink’s Disease to have a childhood that dreams are made of. I started writing in my early teens, destroying such novice work years later, now to my regret. I was first published in Makar magazine (early 70′s) then for ten years I did no writing whilst attending to numerous adventures (e.g. sapphire mining in Queensland and New South Wales). In the early 80s find me published in Meanjin with a poem written during a New Years Eve party (as-it-is-happening, à la Frank O’Hara who in my view then was top dog!). In 1984 I began Post Neo Publications a fiasco that produced a handful of good books by Australians and an American (Hannah Weiner). You cannot do publishing financed via forklift driving! Three main areas developed in my art at this time: Visual Poetry, Mail Art, & traditional writing. The writing split into three different styles one inspired by the New York School, one by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E School, and an odd group of things that don’t fit into any school. My first published book was FIVE Poems (Nosukomo 1986). Through 1989 to 1996 I made a number of films, some screened internationally at Oberhausen (Germany) Viper (Switzerland in a programme with Stan Brahkage) and festivals in Australia, with 2011 screenings in UK and Melbourne. My recent adventures include learning to paint (very Rothko!) and making small three-dimensional works with wood à la Louise Nevelson and Ben Nicholson. I live in Kyneton, Victoria with my partner of many years Norma Pearse and our son Perren.


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