Alex Skovron was born in Poland, lived briefly in Israel, and emigrated to Australia in 1958 aged nearly ten. His family settled in Sydney, where he grew up and completed his studies. From the early 1970s he worked as an editor for book publishers in Sydney and (after 1980) Melbourne. His poetry has appeared widely in Australia and overseas, and he has received a number of major awards for his work. The most recent of his six collections, Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (2014), was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His collection of short stories The Man who Took to his Bed (2017), and his novella The Poet (2005, joint winner of the FAW Christina Stead Award for fiction), have been published in Czech translations; The Attic, a selection of his poetry translated into French, was published in 2013, and a Flying Island bilingual volume of Chinese translations, Water Music, in 2017. Some of his poetry has appeared in Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Macedonian and German, and he has collaborated with his Czech translator, Josef Tomáš, on English translations of the twentieth-century Czech poets Jiří Orten and Vladimír Holan. The numerous public readings he has given include appearances in China, Serbia, India, Ireland, Macedonia, Portugal, and on Norfolk Island. An 80-minute CD in which he reads from his work was published in 2019 under the title Towards the Equator. His next poetry collection, Letters from the Periphery, is due in 2021.
Concerns that have driven Alex’s poetry and fiction are many and various: history, language and music; the riddles of time and the allure of memory; philosophy, faith and the quest for self-knowledge; art and the creative impulse; fantasy, eros and the affections. His interest in speculative fiction has played a recurring role in his thinking and his work, as has a lifelong passion for music. As a poet, he enjoys both the disciplines and the aesthetics of formal design and the diverse challenges of freer structures. Integral to his project has been a focus on musicality and the primacy of rhythm. He likes probing the elasticities of syntax, and exploiting the ‘contrapuntal’ layerings available to imagery and meaning via compression, connotation, ambiguity.