Dr David Musgrave

Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (English)

Poetry in motion

With a recent revival in Australia's poetry scene, acclaimed poet Dr David Musgrave, from the University of Newcastle, is paving the way for others to follow his path to success.

David Musgrave at The Press Book House, Newcastle 

As a nationally significant poet and novelist, researcher, lecturer, critic and publisher, Dr David Musgrave has a deep familiarity with all aspects of the thriving contemporary Australian poetry scene.

He has authored five books of poetry, To Thalia (2004), On Reflection (2005), Watermark (2006), Phantom Limb (2010) and Concrete Tuesday (2011), and his work has won or been shortlisted for a swathe of awards, including the Henry Lawson, Broadway, Bruce Dawe, Somerset, Sidney Nolan Gallery, Grace Leven, Josephine Ulrick, John Shaw Neilson, Alec Bolton, SA Festival and WA Premier's and Newcastle Poetry Prizes.

As a lecturer in Newcastle's highly successful and rapidly growing creative writing department, his research is closely aligned with his teaching of creative writing in contemporary Australian poetry. He is also one of Australia's leading critics and publishers of quality writing.

 "It's a very exciting time to be working in this area, there's so much being produced at the moment and people's ability to research and criticise seriously doesn't keep up," he says.

But David also knows the downsides of trying to earn a living as a working poet. In 1997, having completed his PhD on Menippean satire at University of Sydney and written his first novel, he was unable to find a publisher. Shifts in the global publishing industry had seen major publishing houses stop taking on individual collections of poetry, and smaller publishers were unwilling to take risks on younger poets.

The only way David could earn a living was to take a job in IT for a health insurance company. He stayed there for nine years, writing creatively for several hours early every morning before going to the office as CIO.

"My foray into the corporate world was a holding pattern and it allowed me to continue to work," he says.

"IT and poetry are not that different. Poetry is about solving a problem, a need to express something, create something or say something, and the creative process is continuing to solve problems until you arrive at that point."

As well as continuing his creative writing during this period, David built a reputation as a critic and researcher, specialising in satire and the grotesque in English and Australian literature.

He was toying with the idea of publishing others' poetry when he was approached by a friend whose publisher had backed out of a book project. "I didn't want anyone to go through what I had had to go through again," David says, and used his own literary prize money to publish the book.

His independent publishing house Puncher & Wattmann was born in 2005 and has become Australia's leading publisher of Australian poetry, with 85 titles on its list by some of the country's major poets, novelists and biographers.

In 2010 David joined the University of Newcastle's creative writing department, which had grown from just one academic to a team of three renowned writers whose students are achieving some success in the literary world. In 2013, two UON Creative Writing RHD students were short-listed in the 2013 Premier's Literary Awards.

"Poetry offers people a way of discovering new ideas, of giving expression to things that otherwise can't be expressed," he says.

"If our understanding of the world consisted entirely of science and popular culture, it doesn't seem to me we would necessarily be able to think of new ways to perceive things or do things in non-rational ways. And most people would admit that, without that aspect, they would feel impoverished."

David is now considered to be among the foremost of his generation of contemporary Australian poets and, with the publication of his work in the United States and Britain, is gaining international acclaim.

A key theme of work is the continuity throughout English literature of satire, a sceptical and playful critical attitude toward knowledge itself. While there is a thread of satirical humour through his own work, it is at the same time serious.

"I have a joy of satire, of being in it and part of it, of making fun of it.  It seems to me there is something fundamentally human about someone coming up against a system of knowledge and blowing a raspberry at it," he says.

David's current research interests include the rise of free verse in Australian poetry; the so‐called Generation of '68 and the introduction of postmodernism into Australian poetry, and the ensuing conflict between conservative and avant garde camps; and the anti‐pastoral tradition in Australian poetry.

He is also exploring the synergies between his own creative work and his research, focusing on the contemporary avant garde and their influences and in particular poetic theories of 'voice' and 'voicedness' in poetry. His book-length poem Anatomy of Voice, which investigates these issues, is to be published in 2014.

He is also continuing to write poems for a new collection, Fabulae, and to work on his next novel, The Obituary Collector.

Dr David Musgrave

Poetry in motion

With a recent revival in Australia's poetry scene, acclaimed poet Dr David Musgrave, from the University of Newcastle, is paving the way for others...

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

Ba (Hons) first class from the University of Sydney (1991) and PhD from the University of Sydney 1997, Dissertation "Figurations of the Grotesque in Menippean Satire" Author of four books of poetry: To Thalia (Five Islands, 2004), On Reflection (Interactive, 2005), Watermark (Picaro, 2006), Phantom Limb (2010) and Concrete Tuesday (2011). To Thalia was commended for the Anne Elder Award and Phantom Limb was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier's Prize and the Adelaide Festival John Bray Poetry Prizes and was awarded the Grace leven Prize for Poetry in 2011. Author of one novel, Glissando: A Melodrama (Sleepers 2010), which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Award for Fiction and the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. Individual poems have either won or been shortlisted for the following prizes: The Newcastle Poetry Prize, the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, The Bruce Dawe Poetry Prize, The Broadway (Poets Union) Poetry Prize, The Sidney Nolan Gallery Poetry Prize, The Henry Lawson Poetry Prize, The FAW John Shaw Neilson Poetry Prize, The Alec Bolton Poetry Prize and The Somerset Poetry Prize.

Research Expertise
I am currently researching contemporary Australian poetry. I have published on modern Australian novelists such as Patrick White, David Ireland and Norman Lindsay. I have also published on Samuel Beckett. A particular area of focus is the grotesque in art and literature as well as satire, specifically Menippean satire.

Teaching Expertise
I currently teach Creative Writing at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I also teach Romantic Literature and Victorian Literature. I have experience in teaching Australian Literature, Modernism, Literary Theory, Analytical Reading and Writing Skills, Rhetorical Studies, Gothic Fiction and contemporary Australian Poetry.


Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Sydney

Keywords

  • Australian Poetry
  • Creative Writing
  • David Ireland
  • Grotesque
  • John Kinsella
  • Les Murray
  • Menippean Satire
  • Norman Lindsay
  • Patrick White
  • Romantic Literature
  • Satire
  • Victorian Literature

Languages

  • French (Fluent)
  • Spanish (Fluent)
  • Latin (Fluent)
  • Russian (Fluent)

Fields of Research

CodeDescriptionPercentage
200502Australian Literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)50
200525Literary Theory25
200599Literary Studies not elsewhere classified25

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/02/2015 - LecturerUniversity of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia
2/11/2009 - 30/01/2010Honours Thesis MarkerUniversity of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Academic appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/01/2010 - Membership - Australian Poetry LimitedAustralian Poetry Limited
Australia
1/01/2010 - Board MemberAustralian Poetry Limited
Australia
1/01/2008 - 31/12/2010Membership - Australian CouncilAustralian Council
Australia
1/01/2006 - Membership - Australian Publishers AssociationAustralian Publishers Association
Australia
1/01/2005 - Editorial Board - Puncher & Wattmann Pty LtdPuncher & Wattmann Pty Ltd
Australia
1/01/2004 - Membership - Australian Society of AuthorsAustralian Society of Authors
Australia
1/01/2002 - 31/12/2010Membership - Poets Union IncPoets Union Inc
Australia
1/01/2002 - 1/10/2010TreasurerPoets Union Inc
Australia

Professional appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
1/09/2002 - 1/09/2006Chief Information OfficerManchester Unity Australia Limited
Information Services
Australia

Awards

Recognition

YearAward
2012Prime Minister's Award for Fiction
Unknown
2011UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing
Unknown
2011Western Australian premier's Prize for Poetry
Unknown
2011Adelaide Festival John Bray Prize for Poetry
Unknown
2008The Newcastle Poetry Prize
Unknown
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (2 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Musgrave DB, 'Australian Poetry Since 1788 ed. Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray', Southerly, 72 263-267 (2012) [C3]
2012Musgrave DB, 'Australian poetry since 1788', Southerly, 72 263-267 (2012) [C3]

Review (2 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2010Musgrave DB, 'Reflective master of form is seizing the day', The Australian (2010) [O1]
2010Musgrave DB, 'David Foster: Satirist of Australia by Susan Lever', Australian Book Review (2010) [D1]

Creative Work (41 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2014Musgrave DB, On The Inevitable Decline into Mediocrity of the Popular Musician Who Attains a Comfortable Middle Age, Boston (2014) [J2]
2013Musgrave DB, Four Poems from 'Anatomy of Voice', Australia (2013) [J2]
2013Musgrave DB, The marquess of Bristol, Watsrel, 1954-1999, Australia (2013) [J2]
2013Musgrave DB, Coastline, Collingwood (2013) [J2]
2012Musgrave DB, Autoakhotic, Monroe Louisianna (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Phantom Limb, Sydney/Keiv (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Lagoon, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Musgrave DB, The Marquess of Bristol, Wastrel 1954-1999, Melbourne (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Notes to Lagoon, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Coastline, Hunter Writers' Centre, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2012) [J2]
Supanova
2012Musgrave DB, Curtains, Snorkel, Mosman, NSW, Australia (2012) [J2]
2012Musgrave DB, Skimming Stone, Azul Press, Maastricht, Netherlands (2012) [J2]
2012Musgrave DB, Minneapolis, Azul Press, Maastricht, Netherlands (2012) [J2]
2012Musgrave DB, Seaweed (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Hospital, Melbourne (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Watermark, Glebe (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Ripples, Glebe (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Reading Laurie Duggan in the Shanghai New Zhen Jiang Restaurant, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, To Thalia, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Minneapolis, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Medusa, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Velocity, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Phantom Limb, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Tears, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, The Dead (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Young Montaigne Goes Riding, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, A Glass of Water, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Skimming Stone, Macao (2012)
2012Musgrave DB, Lagoon, Macao (2012)
2011Musgrave DB, Concrete Tuesday, Glebe, NSW, Australia (2011) [J1]
2011Musgrave DB, Open Water, ULM Press/Turnrow Books (2011)
2011Musgrave DB, Reading Laurie Duggan in the Shanghai New Zhen Jiang Restaurant (2011)
2011Musgrave DB, The Baby Boomers (2011)
2011Musgrave DB, Lagoon, Putney, NSW (2011)
2010Musgrave DB, On the Inevitable Decline Into Mediocrity of the Popular Musician Who Attains a Comfortable Middle Age, New York, United States of America (2010) [J2]
2010Musgrave DB, Homecoming, Australia (2010) [J2]
2010Musgrave DB, Machine Code, Victoria (2010) [J2]
2010Musgrave DB, Phantom Limb, Melbourne, VIC (2010) [J1]
Supanova
2010Musgrave DB, Glissando: A Melodrama, Melbourne, VIC (2010) [J1]
Supanova
2010Musgrave DB, Open Water, Glebe (2010) [J2]
2010Musgrave DB, Phantom Limb, Glebe (2010) [J2]
Show 38 more creative works

Other (1 outputs)

YearCitationAltmetricsLink
2012Musgrave DB, 'Seeking the Sun', Seeking the Sun ( pp.1-5). Gosford, NSW: Central Coast Poets Inc (2012) [O1]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants2
Total funding$6,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20102 grants / $6,500

David Musgrave New Staff Grant 2010$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle
Project TeamDoctor David Musgrave
SchemeNew Staff Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2010
Funding Finish2010
GNoG1000887
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY

Patrick White: Modernist Impact, Critical futures, Senate House, University of London, 23 - 25 June 2010$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project TeamDoctor David Musgrave
SchemeTravel Grant
RoleLead
Funding Start2010
Funding Finish2010
GNoG1000600
Type Of FundingInternal
CategoryINTE
UONY
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Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015The Fin(n)ish Line: Cultural Identity Formation in Second Generation Australians
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2015How is Performance Writing Evolving in Oceania?
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2015Representations of Celtic Fairy Lore in Young Adult Fantasy Novels
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2013The Moment of Transformation: Women, Animals and Power Within Revisionist Fairy Tales
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2013Friend Me: a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel Exploring the Social Media Other
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2011The 'Legless' Novel Project
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2011The Weight of a Human Heart
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2011Watermark: a Liminal Approach to Autobiographical Short Fiction
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
2010Surface Inscriptions: Implications of the Postmodern in William Gibson's Future Worlds
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

YearResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015The Expressionist
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Principal Supervisor
2015Living Like Common People
Literature, Faculty of Education and Arts
Co-Supervisor
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News

Creative writing graduate research

Creative writing graduate research at Newcastle

March 1, 2014

Creative writing graduate research program – a University of Newcastle success story.

Michael Sala The Last Thread

Graduate's debut novel wins two awards

February 1, 2014

University of Newcastle creative writing PhD graduate Michael Sala Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize and the New South Wales Premier's Award for New Writing.

Dr David Musgrave

Position

Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

English

Contact Details

Emaildavid.musgrave@newcastle.edu.au
Phone(02) 4348 4056
Fax(02) 4348 4075

Office

RoomHO1.11
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