Portrait by Sue Taylor

About Kit Kelen

Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a poet, painter and recovering academic, resident in the Myall Lakes of NSW. Published widely since the seventies, he has a dozen full length collections in English as well as translated books of poetry in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Swedish and Filipino. His next volume of poetry is Poor Man’s Coat – Hardanger Poems, to be published by UWAP in 2018. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Emeritus Professor at the University of Macau, where he taught for many years, in 2017, Kit Kelen was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malmö, in Sweden.


Christopher (Kit) Kelen (客遠文) is a well-known Australian poet, scholar and visual artist, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught Creative Writing and Literature for many years.

Kit Kelen’s poetry has been published and broadcast widely since the seventies, and he has won a number of prestigious awards over the years, including an ABA/ABC Bicentennial Prize in 1988; and in 1992 an Anne Elder award for his first volume of poems The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees. He has also won Westerly‘s Patricia Hackett Prize and placed second in Island’s Gwen Harwood Prize. In 2012, his poem ‘Time with the Sky’ was runner up in the Newcastle Poetry Prize, an award for which he has been frequently shortlisted. In 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and, for the second time, won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Kit Kelen at gallery

Volumes of Kit Kelen’s poetry have been published in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Indonesian and Filipino. The most recent of Kelen’s dozen English language poetry books are China Years – New and Selected Poems (2012, ASM/Flying Islands) and Scavenger’s Season (2014, Puncher and Wattmann). He also has a mini-selected poems in the form of A Pocket Kit. His next collection of poetry, Poor Man’s Coat – Hardanger Poems is being published by University of Western Australia Press in 2018.

The most recent of Kelen’s ten solo painting exhibitions were Next Stop is the Stars (Rui Cunha Foundation Gallery, Macao) in 2015; in 2016, Dotze Pinturas (Estudio Nomada, Barcelona); and in 2017, Kelen’s exhibition up through branches – por árvores acima – held at the SNBA (National Society of Fine Arts) Gallery in Lisbon.

For the last decade Kelen has been facilitating the translation of Chinese poetry into English and of Australian poets into Chinese, projects which have so far produced a dozen large scale bilingual anthologies. These projects involved bringing poets and translators to Australia (notably to Bundanon, the University of Western Australia, and Kelen’s Australian home) to workshop with poets being translated. They have likewise involved hosting poets for workshops and meetings in Macao, and elsewhere in China. Apart from parallel-text anthologies Kelen has notably co-translated two volumes with the late Hong Kong poet Leung Ping Kwan (Ya Si), and four with Macao poet Yao Jing Ming (Yao Feng).

Kit Kelen has also worked with poets and translators to co-translate and publish volumes of poetry from French, Norwegian and Indonesian. A 2012 volume, Notes for the Translators, collected the work of 142 Australian and New Zealand poets, together with advice from authors on how their particular works might be translated into any language.

As an editor and anthologist more generally, Kit Kelen has published the work of hundreds of poets from around the world, but especially from China and Australia.

In 2008, he co-edited with Agnes Vong the first English-language anthology of Macao poetry, containing the work of more than 120 Macao poets, some writing in English, many translated from Chinese and Portuguese. In 2009, his critical volume City of Poets – Exploring Macao Poetry Today appeared to accompany the 2008 anthology.

In Australia, A Slow Combusting Hymn (co-edited with Jean Kent, in 2014) collected the work of more than sixty Newcastle/Hunter-region associated poets. Writing to the Wire (co-edited with Dan Disney and published by UWAP in 2016) brought Australians poets and poets in Australian immigration detention together in a sustained meditation on the question of ethos and the meaning of nation in the case of Australia.

Nation and nationalism have been an abiding interest in Kit Kelen’s own poetry and in his literary research. With Björn Sundmark, Kelen has edited two major international collections on Children’s Literature – The Nation in Children’s Literature and Where Children Rule (both with Routledge). He is currently working on a monograph (under contract with Routledge) about poetry, children and anthropomorphism.

Kelen’s published research into national anthems dates back to the 1990s and he has written many articles on this subject. This work has culminated in the publication of two monographs – Anthem Quality – National Songs: A Theoretical Survey (2014, Intellect/University of Chicago Press) and (with A. Pavkovik) Anthems and the Making of Nation States – Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans (2016, I.B.Tauris).

Kit Kelen has also published a more general monograph on poetics: Poetry, Consciousness and Community (2009, Rodopi)

Kit Kelen is Series Editor for ASM/Flying Islands books and, in this role, has cultivated a pocket poets series, publishing writers in various languages from around the world, but especially from Australia and China. Kelen is also Literary Editor for Postcolonial Text.

Since 2016, Kelen has co-ordinated Project 366 – an international on-line community of practice, involving poets and visual artists in daily postings of draft work. As a participant in this project (originally intended to run only for the duration 2016) Kit has now posted a new draft poem to the blog every day for more than 800 days.

A new on-line collaboration among poets and artists A Conversation in Poetry has recently commenced (in 2018). Participants in this project – including many of Australia’s best-known poets) respond in kind to each others’ work, without any time limits.

Kit Kelen lives and works on a five-acre block, in a valley between forests, in the Myall Lakes district of New South Wales. He writes and paints every day.

In 2017, Professor Kelen was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malmö, in Sweden.

Curriculum Vitae


Born: Sydney, Australia, 1958.
Titles: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education,
Emeritus Professor (English Dept, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Macau)
Justice of the Peace in New South Wales (#160524)


Academic Qualifications

B.A. (Double English Literature major), University of Sydney, 1979.

Dip.Ed. (Teaching Methods: English, ESL), University of Sydney, 1980.

Dip. Communications, University of Technology, Sydney, 1986.

M.A. (Applied Linguistics TESOL), University of Sydney, 1987.

Ph.D. (Poetry and Poetics), University of Western Sydney, 1998.

Ed.D. (Critical Pedagogy for Creative Writing), University of Western Sydney, 2009.


Creative Practice

Kit Kelen is a well-established Australian poet, with extensive publication record since the seventies. Winner of a number of awards and residencies, with twelve volumes of poetry published in English and many translated volumes. Exhibiting visual artist: poetry and painting work frequently combined in book production. The Aust Lit (Australian Literature Resource) Database at http://www.austlit.edu.au lists 443 entries for Creative and Critical work by Christopher / Kit Kelen. The National Library of Australia lists 250 works for Christopher / Kit Kelen / 客遠文.


Full-length Poetry Collections

New volume of poems, Poor Man’s Coat – Hardanger Poems – to be published by University of Western Australia Press, in 2018.

Kelen, C. (2014). Scavengers’ Season. Sydney: Puncher and Wattmann. ISBN: 9781922186591

Kelen, C. (2011). A Pocket Kit. Markwell, NSW: Flying Island Books. ISBN: 978-99965-4227-5

Kelen, C. (2010). To the Single Man’s Hut [Volume of poems and pictures and exhibition of paintings at Fantasia Galleries, Tap Seac, Macao]. Macao: ASM.  ISBN: 979-99-937-3205-0

Kelen, C. (2010). In Conversation with the River [Volume of poems]. Chicago: Virtual Artists’ Collective. ISBN: 978-09819-8985-3

Kelen, C. (2010). China Years – Selected and New Poems. Macao: ASM. ISBN: 978-99965-42-14-5

Kelen, C. (2009). God Preserve Me from Those Who Want What’s Best for Me—Homage to the Romanian Poets. Newcastle: Picaro Press ISBN: 978- 19-209-5780-3.

Kelen, C. (2008). After Meng Jiao—Responses to the Tang Poet. Chicago: VAC Publishing. ISBN: 978-09-798-8252-4

Kelen, C. (2008). As From the Living page: One Hundred Poems for Yao Feng [Trilingual volume of poetry]. Macao: ASM. ISBN: 978-99-937-9722-7

Kelen, K and A. Vong. (2007). Spring Wind Brings the Fireworks—Translations, Variations and Responses to the Poetry of Xin Qiji. Chicago: VAC Publishing.  ISBN:978-0977-297-49-8

Kelen, C. (2007). Dredging the Delta [volume of Macao poems and sketches]. UK: Cinnamon Press. ISBN: 978-19056-1420-2

Kelen, C. (2006). Eight Days in Lhasa. [Volume of Poetry]. Chicago: VAC Publishing.  ISBN: 978-0977-297-43-6

Kelen, C. (2003). New Territories, Hong Kong: Loudest Place on Earth. [Volume of poems and photographs]. Assisted by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Kelen, C. (2000). Republics. [Poetry Collection]. Wollongong: Five Islands Press, University of Wollongong. ISBN: 978-0864-18597-6

Kelen, C. (1998). Mobius. [Poetry Collection]. Nepean: University of Western Sydney. ISBN: 978-09-587-2934-5

Kelen, C. (1997). Green Lizard Manifesto. [Poetry Collection]. Sydney: Cerberus Press. ISBN:978-09-587-2931-4

Kelen, C. (1992). The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees. [Poetry Collection] Sydney: Hale and Iremonger. ISBN: 978-08-680-6466-6


Translated Volumes of Kelen’s Poetry

2015  Kidung Alam Terbuka (A Song out of Doors). Translated into Indonesian by Chrysogonus Siddha Malilang. Yogyakarta: Gita Dananjaya.

2014 Arbres et Etoiles (Trees and Stars). Translated into French by Béatrice Machet-Franke. Paris: L’Harmattan.

2014  梯間迷途 (As to the Ladders of Whichway). Translated into Chinese by Chris Song Zijiang. Macao: ASM

2013  Idolatria dos Antepassados. Translated into Portuguese by Andreia Sarabando. Lisbon: Centre for English Translation (CETAPS), New University of Lisbon.

2013  Sacred to the Memory and Secret of the Rain – in two Filipino languages (Kapampangan and Tagalog) plus English. Translated by Oscar Balajadia (Papa Osumbal). Published by The Center for Capampangan Studies – Holy Angel University.

2011   Snow – in Swedish monolingual edition. Genarp: Munart.

2010   The Whole Forest Dancing – in separate Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and English editions. New South Wales: PressPress Books.

2010 中國歲月:詩選及新作China Years: Selected and New Poems. Translated by Iris Fan Xing. Macao: ASM

2008   As From the Living Page – in Portuguese, Chinese and English. Macao: ASM

2007   客遠文看澳門 Kit Kelen’s Macao – in Chinese and English. Various translators. Macao: ASM


Poetry/Art Catalogues

Kelen, K. (2017). Up Through Branches – Por Árvores Acima – Painting and Poetry Exhbition Catalogue (in three languages: English, Chinese and Portuguese), SNBA (National Society of Fine Arts) Gallery, Lisbon.

Kelen, K. (2014). Pictures of Nothing at All. Catalogue [in three languages (English, Chinese, Portuguese) of painting and poetry exhibition held at Macau Museum of Art.

Kelen, K and C. Archer. (2010). Time with the Sky [Poetry/Painting Exhibition Catalogue]. Hong Kong: Loudest Place on Earth.

Kelen, C. (2009). The River Considered as Sea – Ten Sketches of Macao [Ten part poem, in three languages (English, Chinese, Portuguese) with accompanying  paintings]. Macau: University of Macau.

Kelen.K. (2006). Sketches of Macao. Macao: ASM.


Novels and Stories

Kelen, C. (2007). The Boy Who Went Under the Border and Other Stories. Macao: Macao Closer. ISSN1994-4470

Kelen, C. (2006). Macao: A Map of the Seasons [Volume of Stories and Poems]. Macao: ASM (Association of Stories in Macao). ISBN: 999-37-864-0-3

Kelen, C. (2006). A Wager With the Gods [novel]. Macao: ASM (Association of Stories in Macao). ISBN: 999-37-864-1-1

Kelen, C. (1980). Punks travels[Novel]. Sydney: Backdoor Press. ISBN: 095944310X


Prizes for writing

2017 Winner of Local Award, Newcastle Poetry Prize, for the long poem ‘A Field Guide to Australian Clouds — Prolegomenon’.

2017 Shortlisted for the Montreal Poetry Prize

2013 Winner of Local Award, Newcastle Poetry Prize, for the long poem ‘Shed’.

2012 Shortlisted (Highly Commended) for the Blake Prize for Religious Poetry.

2010 Second Place in the Newcastle Poetry Prize for the long poem ‘Time with the Sky’.

2009 Shortlisted for PressPress Poetry Chapbook Award.

2008 Winner of the Patricia Hackett prize (Westerly — literary journal of the University of Western Australia)

2005 Shortlisted, Newcastle Poetry Prize.

1999 Winner, Blundstone National Essay Competition (Island Magazine) for the essay ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

1999 Second Prize Winner, Gwen Harwood Poetry Award.

1993 Anne Elder Award – Victorian Fellowship of Australian Writers – for The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees.

1991 Second Prize Winner, Printed Matter International Poetry Award, Tokyo.

1988 First Prize Winner, Poems to 80 lines ABC/ABA Bicentennial Poetry Competition.

1988 Second Prize Winner, Poetry Australia/UTA Bicentennial Poetry Award.


Writing and Artist’s Residencies

2016   Estudio Nomada, Barcelona, Spain

2015   ARNA, Skåne, Sweden

Kunstahuset Messen, Ålvik, Norway

Boubouki, Mesana, Paphos, Cyprus

2014    Kunstahuset Messen, Ålvik, Norway

2012    Booranga Writer’s Centre, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

2009, 2010, 2011    Bundanon, NSW.

1997    B.R. Whiting Library in Rome.


Painting/Drawing Exhibitions

Solo Exhibitions

Kelen, K. (2017). Up Through Branches – Por Árvores Acima – SNBA (National Society of Fine Arts) Gallery, Lisbon.

Kelen, K. (2016). Dotze Pinturas, Estudio Nomada, Barcelona.

Kelen, K. (2015). Next Stop is the Stars, Rui Cunha Foundation Gallery, Macao.

Kelen, K. (2014). Pictures of Nothing at All. Painting and poetry exhibition, Macao Art Window, Macau Museum of Art.

Kelen, K. (2014). Last Patch of Blue. Butcher Gallery. Malmö, Sweden

Kelen. C (2013). ‘Imagens de Nada’. Galeria do Salao Medieval, University of Minho, Braga, Portugual.

Kelen, C. (2012) ‘First Rungs on the Ladders of Whichway’. H.R. Gallop Gallery, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia.

Kelen, C. (2010). ‘To the Single Man’s Hut’ — Exhibition of Watercolour and Ink Paintings to Accompany a Volume of Paintings and Poems of the Same Title, Fantasia Galleries, in Tap Seac, Macao.

Kelen, C. and C. Archer. (2009). Near and Far and Mainly Macao – in the Anthony S.W. Lau Exhibition Hall, University of Macau Library.

Kelen, C. (2008). PALIMPS-ink – Exhibition of Abstract Watercolour Paintings at the Albergue Gallery, Macao.

Kelen, C. (2007). Boats and Bridges- A Calendar in Sketches – Exhibition of (35) Paintings at CCI (Creative Macau), Macau Cultural Centre.

Kelen, C. (2006). Sketches of Macao: Some Views for the Island of Taipa – Exhibition of Watercolour Landscape Paintings at the Gallery of the International Library, University of Macau.


Published Scholarly Books

2016. (with A. Pavkovik) Anthems and the Making of Nation States – Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans (London: I.B.Tauris).254pp. ISBN 978-1-78453-126-3

2014. Anthem Quality – National Songs: A Theoretical Survey. (Bristol/Chicago: Intellect/University of Chicago Press). 204pp. ISBN 978-1-84150-737-8

2009 Poetry, Consciousness and Community. Vol. 23 in the series Consciousness, Literature and the Arts. Amsterdam: Rodopi Press. 199pp.  ISBN: 978-90-420-2724-4

2009. City of Poets – Exploring Macao Poetry Today. Macao: ASM. 267pp. ISBN: 979-99937-32-00-5 (Culmination of work on Macao poetry listed in journal articles below).

Essay Collections

2017. with B. Sundmark. Child Autonomy and Child Governance in Children’s Literature: Where Children Rule. New York: Routledge. 240pp. ISBN: 978-1-138-93164-0

2012. with B. Sundmark. The Nation in Children’s Literature: Nations of Childhood. New York: Routledge. 282pp. ISBN: 978-04-156-2479-4

Volumes of Pedagogic Work

Kelen, C. (2012). Notes for the Translators – from 142 New Zealand and Australian poets. Macao: ASM.  447pp. ISBN:978-99-965-42-48-0

Kelen, C. (2011). Throwing Words Together – 101 Poetry Making Exercises. Macao: ASM.  245pp.ISBN: 978-99-965-42-28-2

Kelen, C. (2006). Story Circle Manual. (Third Bilingual English-Chinese edition [2012]). 317pp. Macao: ASM. ISBN: 978-99965-42-47-3

Kelen, C. (2007). An Introduction to Rhetorical Terms.

Humanities E-Books (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84760-024-0 711

The Aust Lit (Australian Literature Resource) Database at http://www.austlit.edu.au lists 448 entries for Creative and Critical work by Christopher / Kit Kelen. The National Library of Australia lists 250 works for Christopher / Kit Kelen / 客遠文.

(Collections of poetry received the following comments in reviews and articles)

This collection marks another level of attentiveness in Kelen’s work. His poems have always delighted with their wordplay, cryptic lyricism and wry wisdoms. Now he moves closer still to the natural world that so absorbs him, close enough to smell its breath, to comprehend its agency.
– Judy Johnson


In this new collection he has become a bold namer of mountains who wears the rain like a hat because he knows that everything that lives has once upon a time been water.
– Peter Kirkpatrick


“In Kit’s poems, we are treated to a sensibility tuned to the wonders of the world. He celebrates so many ‘small things’ in the landscape – wings and grasses, fences and creeks – and even the way a human might need to ‘puzzle a way in my limbs / as roos do’ in order to follow, or pause, on a track … There is a sense of not only the words but the whole human being behind the words being immersed within beautifully lived-in moments… There are poetic echoes here of Gerard Many Hopkins and Les Murray, the rhetoric of Dylan Thomas and the almost under-silence strangeness of e.e. cummings … Sometimes the result is a multi-layered tour de force like ‘for the bears, a leg-up’ or ‘The Shed’, where page after page carries on in a mesmerising engagement with humour and lyricism, rhetoric and laconic throwaways. Sometimes, the poems are small snapshots, often homages to something in nature – a frog, for instance, brings the lines

no one’s as loud as you
no one’s as green

One of my favourite poems, ‘Time with the Sky’, contains this line:

oh how I love the way words make off with day itself

This is what happens in Scavenger’s Season, over and over again … Words are Kit’s work and his play, and he plays and works with them with an uncanny blend of skill, intuition and serendipity.”
– Jean Kent, Rochford Street Review


“The tone is set early on with the long poem Shed, (which won the Newcastle Poetry Prize local award in 2013). The shed is the ultimate rural assemblage — made up of all sorts of scraps, it is a place to work and ponder, and the bush is all around, and in and out of it all the time. There is almost no concept that can’t be worked into a shed metaphor, and Kelen gets to most of them:
Why bother with the grid? / A blowfly drone’s annoying / but one day it will power the place. The thing just needs / some nutting out. So leave it on the bench. / The peasant / is the king here. Where monarchs tinker with old crowns / no need for revolution.
Later in the book, with in my tin kingdom the shed seems to have diffused out into the landscape: “and a stretch / spring is such / with gums of their own volition / my kingdom / ‘tis of tin I sing”. In between these galvanised ruminations, Kelen’s experience of the land, the wildlife, of himself, is conveyed in short, rhythmic, rhetorical phrases, bucolic and ode-like, and Horace makes an appearance, in case we were in any doubt as to what is going on.
Kelen’s engagement with the country is a wry one: he is amused by the fact that within his boundaries nothing much happens of any utility, and he engages with the land in an almost Berkeleyan fashion: it seems to exist only if he writes about it. He is self-consciously a bricoleur, making his life and art out of what he finds lying around, and makes the Australian bush appear far more charming than it has any right to.”
–Peter Kenneally, The Weekend Australian


“Kelen is not beyond using apostrophe (the addressing of absent or inanimate beings) and occasional inversions of word order. A typical line (from Clocks Run out of Steam) is: “sun I’ve praised and sunshine too”. It’s a straight trochaic tetrameter and could have been written any time in the past four centuries. There’s also a playfulness in this line, which is prevalent throughout. Kelen’s narrator (surely the poet himself?) is often a little apologetic and self-deprecatory. He seems to acknowledge that the land needs closer attention than he is able to give it.
More than a hint of this is caught in the poet’s implied response to the advice he gets from locals in his “set-piece” poem, Blokes: “Arriving in their utes and vans / they’re always round here, day and / night, courting our Penelope. / Know what’s next, what’s what, when / why. Blokes know what to do and / what you need and even if you / can’t decide. Blokes’ll sort your / trouble out.” The poem runs on in this style for another four pages and is a bemused, if comprehensive, account of a certain kind of Australian masculinity. Like Geoffrey Lehmann’s Parenthood, it seems destined for the anthologies…While Scavenger’s Season may not be much use as a manual for block-holders (hardly its intention), it is certainly likely to provide smiles of recognition and a re-affirmation of their chosen lifestyle.”
– Geoff Page, The Sydney Morning Herald


“It’s a little like reading in a language one learned long ago and has a rusty hold of – there’s a deep pleasure in feeling meaning emerge… So there you have it: a book that invites you to join the poet in an immersive experience of the Australian bush, flavoured by a deep familiarity with Chinese culture and language. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers. I’ve read and re-read, used and abused it so much I may have to buy a fresh one with my own money!”
– Jonathan Shaw


“Kelen goes some way to warning the reader that getting things down is a priority, as in the title of the poem ‘all lines a mantra till they’re down’, which begins: ‘wild garden I dream / and the journal of paws // cows beyond cud rumble’. The pace is freeing and stays close to the moment of making, following the contour of the land/language. Similarly, this from ‘I hear the beating louder and louder’:

stone in my pocket
travels for meaning
of elsewhere it is and so I feel
however torn
one track time makes

In keeping with a mostly scattered approach to meaning, Kelen retains two manifestoes until late in the book. These are revealed in ‘minor manifesto’ which seems to give precedent to the accidental, and the direction of natural surroundings: ‘see how the storm’s hung our antenna’; and also the quiet underside of things – ‘let there be also / lacking effects / passing unnoticed // let lack itself / set free’. Here is the last poem, ‘manifesto’, which reads (in its entirety):

from my door
everywhere leads me
every way home
nowhere but the way

This is delivered in clear unpunctuated language, a quick sweep through the lines and hints at meaning. In Scavenger’s season there’s the feel of remembrance, of talking to oneself in the dead of night, working at a type of language that might speak of universality; a formal language with which to address notes to the self.”
– Luke Beesley, Cordite


“Kelen has always had an element of playfulness in his work, thoroughly Australian. But his immersion in Chinese culture has seen a hybridisation of great vitality. The book leaps from a range of springboards – Li He, Xue Tao, Su Xiaoxiao etc and is infused with a rambunctious , occasionally drunken Taoist glee…Combine this writing with his ink sketches throughout and you have a memorable publication.”
– Les Wicks (Famous Reporter)


“The language here is almost Blakean: watching, noting, pared,
judging, but unlike Blake never judgemental. Beneath the slim cut lines there is a plangent, elegaic appeal to forces which might be moral, but which are in no hurry… There is an astuteness of judgement infusing the verse… Reading Kelen’s seductive, witty verse, one knows that humans bring about change, but that all effects will slide seaward, subject to ‘ambling centuries’ and the processes and layerings of air and sea and time…”
– Lyn McCredden, in Westerly


“an intriguingly rich collection… I, for one, look forward eagerly to where he goes from here… He is already atop an impressive coastal range and we can hear his coo-ee splendidly.”
– Tom Shapcott in Text


“Kelen has the uncanny ability to disappear into a poem, lose his self, and achieve a directness of language and vision that seduces the willing reader into doing the same”abc australia
– Jeff Hodges in The New England Review


“Perhaps it’s only now at the beginning of the third century of white colonisation that an authentic Australian voice can be heard. Kelen’s is one such voice – rich with contradiction, diversity and detail, giving a complex and troubling view of Australia”
– John Tranter


“reminiscent of some parts of Ashbery – what handling of flashy language and helter-skelter rhythmic drives. These pages dazzle with their own delight; one transferred to the reader. Yes, they’re fun – a bitingly satyrical fun – and there’s nothing wrong with that”
– Jeff Doyle, Canberra Times


“a rich mix that grows, with successive readings, into something rewarding….. strong and eloquent ”
– Martin Duwell, The Australian


“infused with an awareness of global concerns… imaginative, creative and fun”
– Alison Bartlett, Australian Book Review


“One of Australia’s most exciting and accomplished younger poets”
– Philip Mead, University of Melbourne


“powerful, distinctive and in tune”
‘The Naming of the Harbour and the Trees is a powerful book that deserves a wide readership. Kelen has a distinctive voice and a highly tuned ear. He has a surefootedness in a world made
– Keith Russell, Newcastle Herald


“something of a virtuoso performance…..
an Australian poet of considerable stature,
whose best work, I suspect, is yet to come”
– John Knight, Social Alternatives


“typically innovative and intellectually sharp”
– The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature