Tim Thorne has lived in Tasmania for most of his life. Educated at various institutions, including Yolla Area School and Stanford University, he has worked as, among other things, a language teacher, storeman, glass packer, community arts officer and columnist on current affairs for the Hobart Mercury. In 1985 he inaugurated the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, which he directed until 2001 and which incorporates his invention, the Launceston Poetry Cup, a performance poetry concept now imitated all over Australia. In 1989 he set up the publishing venture Cornford Press primarily to promote the work of Tasmanian poets.
He first came to notice as a member of the “Generation of ’68”, a grouping of young poets around the Sydney-based journal Poetry (later New Poetry), other members of whom were Robert Adamson, John Tranter and Vicki Viidikas. He won the Stanford Writing Scholarship in 1971 and spent a year in California studying under Donald Davie and Kenneth Fields. In 1973 he won the New Poetry Award for his poem ‘Autumn’ and in 1978 he was awarded the Marten Bequest Travelling Fellowship for poetry, which enabled him to travel to the UK for the 1979 Cambridge Poetry Festival. He won an Eleanor Dark Foundation fellowship in 1993.
Thorne has always been passionately interested in political issues, and during the 1970s was a leading activist in the movement to end conscription in Australia and Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Twice a delegate to the National Conference of the Australian Labor Party, he left the party in 1980. In 2008 he was elected to the Board of the SEARCH (Social Education and Research Concerning Humanity) Foundation. More and more in recent years, his poetry has come to reflect his concerns with political and environmental issues and the links between these and language.
His A Letter to Egon Kisch (Cornford Press 2007), which is a survey of contemporary Australian society and politics written in a form of ottava rima, won the William Baylebridge Memorial Prize for the best book of poetry by an Australian for 2007. He won the Launceston Poetry Cup in 2006 and 2008, and in 2008 he was selected as the Tasmanian writer for the exchange residency program between Tasmania and Prince Edward Island, Canada. He has also been writer-in-residence with a number of organisations, including the Miscellaneous Workers Union and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and has worked as a poet in schools, universities and prisons. He has been commissioned to write and perform poems for conferences of groups as varied as the Australian Fertiliser Services Association, Australian Pig Breeders and Southern Cross Television Producers. Married to Stephanie since 1969, he has two daughters and two granddaughters, and now divides his time between writing, travelling, gardening and watching AFL team Richmond lose matches. His poems have appeared in 16 Australian anthologies and most major Australian literary journals.
Thorne's poetic career was celebrated as part of The Red Room Company's 'The Poet's Life Works' series in 2009.
Tense Mood and Voice (Lyre-Bird Writers, Sydney, 1969)
The What of Sane (Prism Books, Sydney, 1971)
New Foundations (Prism Books, Sydney, 1976)
A Nickel In My Mouth (Robin Hill Books, Flowerdale,1979)
The Atlas (Black Lightning Press, Wentworth Falls, 1982) (as editor)
Civil War/North (Cornford Press, Launceston, 1989)
Red Dirt (Paper Bark Press, Sydney, 1990) (as editor)
I Am Here (Community Arts Network, Hobart, 1992)(as editor)
Lozenge (Cornford Press, Launceston, 1992)
The Streets Aren't for Dreamers (Shoestring Press, Nottingham, 1995)
Taking Queen Victoria to Inveresk (QVM&AG, Launceston, 1997) (as editor)
Creative Parlance (Arts ’R’ Access, Launceston, 2000)
Head and Shin (Walleah Press, Hobart, 2004) http://walleahpress.com.au/thorne.html
Best Bitter (PressPress, Berry, 2006) http://members.ozemail.com.au/~writerslink/PressPress/PressPress__-_How_to_buy.html
A Letter to Egon Kisch (Cornford Press, Launceston, 2007) http://www.cornfordpress.com
I Con (Salt Publishing, Cambridge UK, 2008) http://www.saltpublishing.com/books/smp/9781844713370.htm