JOHN SHAW NEILSON photo   John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942)
Photo by Julian Smith.

Brief Biography

John Shaw Neilson was born in 1872 in Penola in South Australia. (His father was John Neilson who gained a reputation as a bush poet in the 1870s.) Due to the family's precarious lifestyle on the land, Neilson only completed two and a half years of schooling before returning to work on his family's farm. His first work was published in the Bulletin magazine in 1896 and he continued to write in the years that followed. During his lifetime he published 3 collections of his poetry: Heart of Spring in 1919, Ballad and Lyrical Poems in 1923 and New Poems in 1927. His Collected Poems edited by R.H. Croll was published in 1934. In the latter part of his life poor health and a move to Melbourne diminished his writing output and he died in 1942.


Poetry Collections
Heart of Spring 1919
Ballad and Lyrical Poems 1923
New Poems 1927
Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson 1934, edited by R.H. Croll
Beauty Imposes 1938
Unpublished Poems 1947, edited by James Devaney
Witnesses of Spring: Unpublished Poems by Shaw Neilson 1970, edited by Judith Wright
Green Days and Cherries 1981, edited by Hugh Anderson and Les Blake
Shaw Neilson: Selected Poems 1976, edited by A.R. Chisholm
Shaw Neilson: Selected Poems 1993, edited by Robert Gray

Shaw Neilson 1944, by James Devaney
Shaw Neilson 1968, by H.J. Oliver
John Shaw Neilson 1972, by Hugh Anderson and L.J. Blake
The Autobiography of John Shaw Neilson 1978
Poet of the Colours 1988, by John H. Phillips
The Folly of Spring 1990, by Cliff Hanna
John Shaw Neilson: Poetry, Autobiography and Correspondence 1991, edited by Cliff Hanna
John Shaw Neilson: A Life in Letters 2001, Helen Hewson

Selected Poetry

You can read the full text of the following Neilson poems:

Beauty Imposes
The Crane is My Neighbour
Native Companions
The Orange Tree
The Poor, Poor Country
Schoolgirls Hastening
The Smoker Parrot
Song Be Delicate
Song for a Sinner
You, and Yellow Air

This page and its contents are copyright 2002-07 by Perry Middlemiss, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 8, 2007.