THORNE, Tim—poetry, ‘Running out of Entropy’


This is Tim Thorne’s fifteenth collection of poetry. Over a career spanning more than fifty years, he won a number of prizes for his work, including the Stanford Writing Scholarship (1971), New Poetry Award (1973), Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship (1978), Gleebooks Poetry Sprint (1995), grant & fellowwhips from Australia Council (1975, ’77, ’78 & ’79), from Arts Tasmnia (1986 & ’82), and from the Eleanor Dark Foundation (1993), Launceston Poetry Cup (2006, ’08), William Baylebridge Award (2007), Christopher Brennan Award (2012), and the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize (2014).


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(From a review by Anne Kellas of Tim Thorne’s poetry collection, Running out of Entropy


Running out of Entropy is a fine example of how a poet can take such concerns and turn them into poetry. The word “concern” in its origins melds the idea of expressing intensive force (con) with the action of sifting, discerning (cernere), and this describes the alchemy Thorne’s poetry achieves in its marrying of powerful expression with a highly charged subject matter – a poetry concerned with the personal and the public, with politics and the environment – and with our very survival. This is a poetry that shows us something of the mettle, the genuine morality and humanity of Thorne himself. However he might play with language, irony, ideas, however cavalier his own special brand of biting wit and irony might be, always underneath his lines is an instinct for the heart, for the heart’s rhythm. The straight-shooting fist-shaking poems and the keen eyed laughing, compassionate man are one: at their base is an authenticity like few other poets I encounter. The Thorne I know in person and the Thorne I read on the page are one. This is a real poet.


Thorne signals his approach to the work of poetry as more than the mere writing of poems from the outset by dedicating Running out of Entropy to a serious writer much neglected in Australian letters, Pete Hay, Tasmanian poet Australian environmentalist. Thorne is both Hay’s compatriot and to some extent his rival. Both poets are fearless in taking on large themes, world issues, environmental themes and the political class. Thorne pitches his battle at the heartland of Australia, at the morality of its very foundations, and does so while remaining accessible, and often very funny – and with a kick in the tail at times.