Guide to the Papers of John Foulcher [MSS 281]

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Manuscript Name Papers of John Foulcher
Manuscript Number MSS 281
Last Updated August 2021
Extent 5 boxes + 1 AV box
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Literary papers, including drafts of poems, notebooks, manuscripts. Also includes correspondence and photographs.

Collection Subject Type


Scope and Content

A collection of literary papers of John Foulcher. The collection mostly relates to his poetry, including notebooks, drafts, manuscripts, poems rejected from published collections, including Paper Weight (1991), New and Selected Poems (1993), The Honeymoon Snaps (1996). The collection also includes correspondence, dated 1981 - 1994.

Date Range of Content

1981 - 1994

Biographical Note

John Foulcher is an Australian poet and editor. His work has been published nationally, including in newspapers such as the Age, Bulletin, as well as journals including Quadrant, Poetry Australia, Overland, Meanjin. His work was studied on the NSW Higher School Certificate syllabus, 1986-1994.

Foulcher served as poetry editor for the National Library of Australia’s quarterly poetry journal Voices in 1993 and at The Canberra Times. His works include Pictures from the War (1987), Paper Weight (1991), New and Selected Poems (1993), The Honeymoon Snaps (1996).

He has received several Australia Council grants and fellowships. His anthology New and Selected Poems (1993) was the 1994 winner of the Australian Capital Territory Book of the Year Award. In 1988, ‘Kosciusko in Summer’ was joint winner of the National Library Poetry Competition.


Author record, John Foulcher, AustLit (, St Lucia: The University of Queensland, 2002-. [Retrieved from, 31/01/2019].


Administrative Information

Access and Copying Conditions

Access: Open Access

This collection contains a variety of copyright material. Copyright is held by the creator of each item. Specific conditions for this collection are listed below. If no conditions are stipulated then the standard terms of the Copyright Act apply for published and unpublished items. Digitised material from manuscript collections is provided to clients by UNSW Canberra in good faith for private study and research only, and may not be published or re-purposed without the express and written permission of the individual legal holder of that copyright. Refer also to the UNSW copyright, disclaimer and takedown policy. 

Copying: No copying is approved without the written permission of John Foulcher.

Preferred Citation

Papers of John Foulcher, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, MSS 281, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


The collection was acquired from John Foulcher in two consignments, 1989 and 1996.


Subject Keywords


Australian poets, Australian poetry, 20th century poetry

Personal Names

John Foulcher 1952-

John Stephen Foulcher


Poet, editor


Container List

Box 1

Folder 1 
Poetry manuscripts - Paperweight and Pictures from the War.

Folder 2 
Notebooks - first drafts of poetry.

Folder 3 
Notebooks - first drafts of poetry.

Folder 4 

Notebook - 1989

Notes on hospital (and Mother) together with miscellaneous notes.

Notebook - 23 October, 1988 - 8 July, 1993.

Notes and drafts:

‘Above the Weather’; ‘Auntie Sue and Uncle Ted’; ‘The Resort in Fiji’; ‘On the Rocks’; ‘Rays’; ‘From a Cliff’; ‘Mid-afternoon. . The beach .....’ (Onx (??); ‘Sex on the Wing’; ‘Behind the Wheels’; “Blowfly and Glass’; ‘The Water-Nixie at Church’; ‘Aubade’; ‘Wesley Hall’; ‘Church’; ‘School’; ‘Dreams - rooms, dark and crumbling’; ‘On Pigeonhouse Mountain’; ‘Shoes’; ‘Fire and Water (for David Lawler)’; ‘A Super Day’; ‘At Red Hill Lookout’; ‘The Perfect Morning at the Hyatt Hotel)’; ‘Felicity’; ‘Jane’ (?); ‘Wisteria Pods’; ‘The Mice’; ‘The Day Ends’; ‘Lessons’; ‘Fear’; ‘The Sheltering Sky’; ‘Dylan at the Piano’; ‘House Maintenance’; ‘Paperweight’; ‘The Window’; .... (became ‘Sandflats, towards evening’); ‘Dying’; ‘Brisbane  -  This World’; ‘One Place (?)’; ‘Magic’ (for Jane); ‘Trip to the Gold Coast Movie World .....’; ‘The Cheque’; ‘The Gold Coast’; ‘Terraces and Cars’; ‘The Glasshouse Mountains’; ‘First Sight’; ‘At the Football (Lang Park, 1992); ‘Sex Poem’; ‘Open Day at Boggo Road’; ‘On a Wall in Maximum Security’; ‘Being Alone’; ‘Adelaide’; notes on play production (?); ‘Speaking Insight’.

Notebook  -  11 July, 1993 - 6 June, 1994.

Drafts and notes:

‘Flinders Ranges  -  Arkaroo Rock’; ‘In the Flinders’; ‘Early Afternoon’; ‘Last Supper’; ‘The Picture of David Bowie’; ‘Brother Des’; ‘Unplugged’; ‘The List’; ‘For Jane’; ‘What the Sea Means to Me’; ‘This is how it happens Always’; “The Purpose of Life”; “At first, there are scratches on the glass, ......”; “After he’d gone, we reclaimed the house .....”; “When we lived by the sea ......”; “It was as if someone’s dream had invaded us .....”; ‘Poem for River Phoenix’; ‘Am wandering with the sombre mob ....’; ‘Going Back’; ‘Sketches’; ‘Jogging’; ‘Why I go to Church”; ‘The Americans Have Gone’; ‘The body forms during sex”; ‘The Dead Seagull’; ‘Memory’ (Coff’s Harbour); ‘The Honeymoon Snaps’; ‘to Philip Hodgins and Kurt Cobain’; ‘Thomas’; ‘Pacific Bay Resort, Coff’s Harbour’; ‘The Outback Parks’; ‘Desolation Sonnet No. 4’; ‘Bosnian Woman’; ‘2060’; ‘The Student Poet Speaks’; “Looking Down on Sydney’; notes ‘Light Pressure’ poems.

Folder 5 
Poetry - “The Elements’ (‘The List’); ‘Asteroids’ (a story which involves two worlds).


Box 2

Folder 6
Poetry - ‘Walking at Dusk’; ‘The Sack’; ‘This Afternoon’; ‘Mother and Child’; ‘Insect Poems’ (‘Insect Haiku’); ‘Botany Bay’; ‘Houses’ (‘Two Houses’); ‘Bora Ground’; ‘First Fleet’; ‘The Passenger’; ‘The Day Ends’; On Pigeonhouse Mountain’; ‘The Desolation Sonnets’; ‘Listening’ (‘A Saturday’, ‘Radio, (1968)).

Folder 7 
‘Poetry - ‘Love, etc) - ‘Jane’; ‘Judy’; ‘Elizabeth’; ‘Janet’; ‘Helen’; ‘Wendy’; ‘Julia’; ‘Catherine’; ‘Angie’; ‘Alice’; ‘Performance’; ‘The Sheltering Sky’; ‘Telephone Conversation with My Mother’.

Includes some suggestions by Geoff Page.

Folder 8
Poetry - ‘Glacier and Photograph’; ‘Living Alone’; Canberra - ‘From Red Hill Lookout, Over Canberra’; Poems from the Sea  -  ‘On the Rocks’, ‘Rays’, “Interiors’; ‘Sandflats, Towards Evening’ (‘At Maionbar’, ‘Afternoon, Sandflats and Crabs’); ‘Taking the Garbage Out’; ‘Auntie Sue and Uncle Ted’; ‘Wardrobe’; ‘Architraves’ (‘Frame’, ‘The Window’); ‘Simply the Best’ (‘At Lang Park, 1992’); ‘The Next Life’ (‘Speed, Speed, Speed’); ‘First Sight’ (for Janice).

Folder 9
Poetry - ‘Notes’ (‘The Bells’); ‘This Paperweight’; ‘Aubade’; ‘Skies’; ‘Annunciation’ (two versions); ‘Scars’; ‘International Flight’ (“Lovers’); ‘Interiors’; ‘Sex Poem’.


Box 3

Folder 10 
Poetry - Paper Weight / New and Selected Poems

Contents list; ‘The Black Paperweight’; ‘Beginnings’; ‘The Rat’; ‘At Dusk’; ‘Speaking’; ‘Lace’; ‘Kosciusko in Summer’; ‘The Ferry Drive’; ‘Poems for Julia’; ‘Wind’; ‘Yesterday’; ‘Skipper’; ‘Man Boarding a Bus’; ‘My Mother and Harry’; ‘The Day My Mother went back into Hospital’; ‘Hospital Kitchens’; ‘t’; ‘Dusk Poems’ (‘The Necklace’): ‘Living’.

Folder 11 
Poetry - ‘Death’ (from Pictures from the War, second book); ‘Six Poems on the Death of My Mother’ (scattered!).

New and Selected Poems - versions I and 2/3.

Various title pages - ‘Spiders’; ‘Traffic on the Roof’; ‘Open Day’; ‘Asteroids’; ‘The Body Form’; ‘Time Clocks Off’.

Folder 12 
Poetry - ‘Costumes’; ‘The Honeymoon Snaps’; ‘Centre’ (‘he’,  ‘The Hay Plain / on the bus’,  ‘Ubirr’,  Uluru / summit’, ‘Uluru / base’,  ‘Mataranka’,  ‘Darwin / flying home’,  ‘Coober Pedy’,  ‘Kakatjuta’,  ‘Ormiston Gorge’,  ‘Above Kakadu’); ‘The Gold Coast’; ‘Looking down on Sydney’; ‘Thomas’; ‘Open Day at Boggo Road’ / ‘On a Wall in Maximum Security’.

Folder 13
Poetry - ‘The Body Forms’; ‘A Memory’; ‘Going Back’ (January, 1994); ‘A Sunday in Winter’; ‘Lessons’; ‘An Accountant Speaks’; ‘The Picture of David Bowie’; ‘Spiders’ (‘Melody’ for Dylan); ‘Why I go to Church’; ‘Holiday’ (‘Resort’, ‘End Up’, ‘End Out’).


Box 4

Folder 14
New and Selected Poems
Contents pages; cover page; poetry collection; correspondence with Suzy Norton (Harper Collins, Angus & Robertson).

Folder 15
New and Selected Poems - rejected poems.
‘Mid-week’; ‘Exam in Progress’; ‘Towards the Dawn’; ‘Haiku for My Mother’; ‘Listening’; ‘Fire and Water’ (for David Lawler); ‘David and the Fires’; ‘Poems for David’; ‘Clouds, Sky’; ‘House Maintenance and Rain’; ‘Significant Things’; ‘The Past’; ‘Shoes’.

Folder 16
New and Selected Poems - rejected poems.
‘The Water-Nixie at Church’; ‘Sex on the Wing’; ‘Fear’; ‘The Economy Pack of Fear’; ‘The Mice’; ‘Blowfly and Glass’; ‘Between the Sheets’; ‘Angophoras’:  ‘Remembering Fiji’; ‘Wesley Hall’; ‘Grapefruit’.

Folder 17
The Honeymoon Snaps - rejected poems.
‘Early Afternoon’; ‘Snow’ (for Lyn); ‘Vanishing’; ‘Grass’; ‘The Liberal Jog’; ‘After the Stars’; ‘The Perfect Morning’; ‘Brother Des’; ‘Blown Grass and Low Clouds’; ‘Touching the Names’; ‘Violin’ (‘Alice’); ‘At Yarrangobilly Caves’; ‘Phone-call to Rose’; ‘Poem for River Phoenix’.


Box 5

Folder 18
The Honeymoon Snaps - rejected poems.
‘What the Sea Means’; ‘2060’; ‘Canberra, Sunday Morning’; ‘Bosnian Woman’; ‘For Philip Hodgins and Kurt Cobain’; ‘The Dead Seagull’; ‘For Chris, in Her Seventies’; ‘A Last Supper’ (for Margaret Ackland); ‘Adelaide’; ‘Birds, Rain and the Poem’; ‘Sketches’; ‘The Middle Class’; ‘Insomniac’; ‘For Jane’.

Folder 19
Paper Weight - rejected poems.
‘Haiku for My Mother’; ‘Rain’; ‘Into the Rainforest’; ‘The Argument’; ‘Poem for Robert Gray’; ‘Brother Paul’; ‘The Paper from Monday’; ‘Fronds’; ‘Flares’; ‘In the Park’; ‘Sunday’; ‘For Jane’; ‘The Deputy Principal’; ‘Prize Fight’; ‘Poems for a Survivor’; ‘Leaves’; ‘The Swallow’; ‘The Street’; ‘Navel’; ‘On the Rolling Ground’; ‘Palm Trees’; ‘Houses’; ‘Graham’; ‘Southerly’; ‘Among the Lions’; ‘Green’; ‘Three Brothers’; ‘In the Middle’; ‘Changing Cars’; ‘Her Last Country Morning’’;  ‘From a Classroom’; ‘Mid-week’; ‘The Brides’.

Short story (?) - untitled - ‘Let’s call her Julia …’.

Folder 20
Correspondence, 1981 - 1994
From Andrew Lansdown; David Gilbey (Wagga Wagga Writers); Michael Denholm (Writers Against Nuclear Arms (WANA)); Les Murray; Patrick Hutchings’; Stephen Edgar (Island magazine); Mark Miller; Jan Owen; Margaret Barbalet; Paul Hetherington (The National Library of Australia); Robert Gray.


AV Box 1

AV 1.1
Photo album.
Photographs - of statue by Peter Corbett (letter from Patrick Hutchings); Geoff Lehmann dinner (taken by L. Hard).