Poets’ Corner is WestWords’ monthly encounter with celebrated Australian poets, curated by David Ades. Each month a poet is invited to read and talk about their poetry on a theme of the poet’s choice.

Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a poet and painter, resident in the Myall Lakes of NSW. Published widely since the seventies, he has more than a dozen full length collections in English as well as translated books of poetry in Chinese (several), Portuguese (several), French, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Swedish, Norwegian, Filipino, in Greek – his bilingual (Greek and English) volume a postcard from the fires, a picture of the rains, published by Kaleidoscope in Athens, in 2022. Also in 2022, his bilingual Esperanto-English volume Rompitaj Labirintoj – Bung Mazes was published by the Australian Esperanto Association, to coincide with a painting exhibition of that title held at the Shop Gallery in Sydney. A large scale collection of Kit’s – Swimming in the Storm – has just appeared in Romanian, with launches planned for Romania in early 2023. Kit’s latest volume of poetry in English is Book of Mother, published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2022.

An Anne Elder and ABC/ Bicentennial Award winner in the distant past, in 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. In 2019 and 2020 Kit won the Hunter Writers & Centre award in the NPP. He was also shortlisted for the ACU prize in 2020. In 2021 he won the bronze medal in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. And this year he won the second prize silver medal.

Kit has been writer/artist in Residence in many parts of the world – in Australia, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Iceland, Finland and Cyprus. A number of these residencies have led to book publications, sometimes multiple – for instance Bundanon time produced his books Time with the Sky and To the Single Man’s Hut. Time at the Messen residency on the Hardanger Fjord produced Poor Man’s Coat and a book in Norwegian entitled Glasfjorden (the glass fjord).

As a visual artist, over the last fifteen years, Kit has has had ten solo painting and drawing exhibitions in Australia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Macao. Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught for many years, Kit Kelen is also a Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle.

In his scholarly writing, Kit has produced a string of books about poetry, the most recent of which is Poetics and Ethics of Anthropomorphism – Children, animals and poetry, published by Routledge in 2022.

In 2017, Kit was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malmo, in Sweden.

Series Editor for Flying Islands Pocket Poets Series, Kit has mentored many poets and translators from various parts of the world, and run a number of on-line communities of practice in poetry (most notably Project 366 [from 2016-2020]).

Kit is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW. You can follow Kit’s work-in-progress at the Daily Kit – https://thedailykitkelen.blogspot.com/