Richard James Allen is an Australian poet. He was born in Kempsey, New South Wales, on the unceded lands of the Dunghutti Aboriginal People. His writing has appeared widely in journals, anthologies, and online over many years. His latest volume of poetry, The short story of you and I, was published by UWA Publishing in February 2019. A suite of recent poems, Minimum Correct Dosage, commissioned by Red Room Poetry, was published in December 2019. Previous critically acclaimed books of poetry, fiction and performance texts include Fixing the Broken Nightingale (Flying Island Books), The Kamikaze Mind (Brandl & Schlesinger) and Thursday’s Fictions (Five Islands Press), shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry.
Former Artistic Director of the Poets Union Inc., and director of the inaugural Australian Poetry Festival, Richard is the creator of #RichardReads (https://soundcloud.com/user-387793087), an online compendium of Global Poetry, Read Aloud, and an editor of the landmark anthology, Performing the Unnameable: An Anthology of Australian Performance Texts (Currency Press/RealTime).
Well known for his multi-award-winning career as a filmmaker and choreographer with The Physical TV Company (http://physicaltv.com.au/), and critically acclaimed as a performer in a range of media and contexts, Richard has a track record for innovative adaptations and interactions of poetry and other media, including collaborations with artists in dance, film, theatre, music and a range of digital platforms.
The recipient of numerous awards, nominations, and grants, as well as multiple opportunities for presentations, screenings and broadcasts, he graduated with First Class Honours for his B.A. at Sydney University and won the Chancellor’s Award for most outstanding PhD thesis at the University of Technology, Sydney.
how many umbrellas or love letters
how many umbrellas have I lost in my lifetime – left in the pristine
foyers of yoga centres, in the muddy corners of coffee shops, in the
mysterious worlds that exist under the seats in bus shelters, dangling
like bats off park benches?
I imagine each of these umbrellas, all dead and forgotten now of course, as giant origami love letters, which people I don’t know opened to the plunging sky with delight and relief.
looking back, these random forgetfulnesses may have been the major contribution of my life, popping up in the lives of others like the tips of islands emerging in a world where the sea levels are actually dropping to save beautiful but bedraggled shipwrecked wayfarers in a lost play by a man still named Bill.
the rainless dawn.
(from Richard James Allen, Fixing the Broken Nightingale, Flying Island Books, 2014)