aj carruthers

The Lives of the Experimental Poets

The lives of the experimental poets 1–3

Harry Hooton, Jas H. Duke, Ania Walwicz

After Christopher Brennan’s 1897 post-Mallarmean experiment, the Musicopoematographoscope, a handwritten, part-parody, part-founding poem in the history of Australian inventive poetics, it is difficult to find sustained instances of avant-garde or neo-avant-garde poetry in Australia. But there is one figure from the postwar period that stands out as coming close to such a representative: Harry Hooton (1908–1961). Hooton was a member of the anarchist Sydney PUSH movement, a leftist interlectual subculture that thrived from the ’40s to the ’70s and gathered loosely around the University of Sydney, and editor of the literary magazine 21st CenturyPhilosopher, poet, and raconteur, “unjustly neglected,” “forgotten,” “scorned by the literary establishment,” Hooton, who fashioned his own philosophy of “Anarcho-Technocracy” was a “cult figure in Sydney’s libertarian circles,” as the back cover of his 1961 collected poems Poet of the 21st Century put it. Harry Heseltine is similarly prophetic: “occasionally such a figure is suddenly seen to redefine himself at the center and to generate a whole new output of mainstream poetry.”

1. Harry Hooton (1908–1961)

After Christopher Brennan’s 1897 post-Mallarmean experiment, the Musicopoematographoscope, a handwritten, part-parody, part-founding poem in the history of Australian inventive poetics, it is difficult to find sustained instances of avant-garde or neo-avant-garde poetry in Australia. But there is one figure from the postwar period that stands out as coming close to such a representative: Harry Hooton (1908–1961).