Poet and Novelist



A site. A trace.


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Philip Salom is a contemporary Australian poet whose books have attracted widespread acclaim. He has published seventeen books - fourteen collections of poetry and three novels - notable for their originality and expansiveness and for surprising differences from title to title.

(see Bio page)

(Note: SOME OF MY OLDER TITLES ARE NOW AVAILABLE - FREE. Please EMAIL me via the CONTACT link at the page bottom.)


Philip's third novel, Waiting, has received six outstanding reviews - in The Australian, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Book Review, The Saturday Paper, the West Australian and in TEXT Journal. Reviewers have been impressed by the novel's extraordinary characters and the overall wit and compassion of the writing. They also focus on the novel's unique sociological context: of outsiderness and rooming houses. It is a strikingly different book. One book club ordered 48 books (!) and Waiting seems perfect for book club discussion.


NEWS: Waiting has just been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction. The Wheeler Centre site has all the information, plus these words from judges

"At times cerebral, at times hilarious, and at times devastating, Waiting is peopled with misfit characters who have often been maligned by society. Salom takes great risks with language, plot and pacing, and his poet’s flair for expression resonates through much of the novel. This book is philosophical, erudite and serious, but never takes itself too seriously – a fine and difficult balance to achieve."



Several reviews of Waiting can be found on the Puncher and Wattmann website. This was the first off the rank.


Peter Pierce reviews Waiting in The Australian

Launch of ‘Waiting’ - photos




Thanks to everyone who made it to the launch of Waiting. With an introduction from David Musgrave, publisher (top right) and a wonderful launch speech from Marion Campbell * (top left). Thanks to Peter Stagg for the photos.

Melbourne Launch of ‘Waiting’ is in the perfect place

The Lithuanian Club has hosted many Comedy Festival events in recent years. It was the office of Alphonse Gangitano in the Underbelly series and is the sort of place where Jack Irish will get into trouble (in the current series). The perfect place, therefore, to launch my novel Waiting  - which is full of marginal characters local to North Melbourne. 



The terrific cover photo was taken by Tim Grey. 


* Marion May Campbell is a unique figure in Australian writing. She has published five novels including Not Being Miriam and Lines of Flight  - her dramatic entry into Australian literature. More recently she has published a hybrid prose/poetry book Fragments From a Paper Witch  and the novel Konkretion. Marion is currently Associate Professor at Deakin University.

If you didn't get to the launch, Waiting is available on the Puncher & Wattmann website.


Alterworld (poetry collection) and other news

In January 2015 Puncher & Wattmann published Alterworld, my most comprehensive collection yet. 

It is a slimmed-down and slightly re-written version of two previous books - Sky Poems and The Well Mouth - plus a full selection of new poems. This trilogy is made from collections interspersed over 27 years and forms a blend of observed and imagined existence. The Sky is an ironic and flawed C20th Heaven or Paradise, the Well is an end-stopped poem of Limbo, and Alterworld is the contingent world of the C21st we might just live in (it's funnier but just as strange as the others).

Despite their differences in age - 1987, 2005, 2015 - they are in a relationship. A metaphysical menage a trois.

Now that Sky Poems and The Well Mouth can be read together with Alterworld, they are in subtle ways changed, modified, and altered ... Alterworld 'remembers' the previous worlds of the Sky and the Well. Available for purchase on the Puncher & Wattmann website.

(For information on the two previously published books, see Books.)

Keepers trilogy

Two books I published in 2011 and 2012 carry the titles The Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter - written by Alan Fish and M A Carter, two heteronyms who took control of my head and insisted on a public text for their disembodied thoughts, ie: a collection of poems each. Closet poets closeted somewhere inside me. Now out of the closet in text if not in body. They are eccentric and very different. See my Blog entry for more about Fish and Carter. These two books also complete the trilogy begun with Keepers.

A week or two before the Melbourne launch, The Keeper of Fish sold out. P&W had it re-printed just in time. Carter is catching up!

My previous book, Keepers, is a variation on the verse-novel, with a poem on each page and a prose narrative under it. It is both serious and mischievous, a study of the kind of Creative Arts institutions I taught in for 20 years. It is a chance to place portraits of actual artists alongside fictional ones, and in that way keep the creative gate open. It's odd in the entertaining sense, but then there's nothing odder than teaching the thinking and the making of art. Staff and students and artists all... are characters. Finally, in the Books section of this site you can see some of the books I have published and a brief account of how each (currently available book) was developed. They are very different, so each genesis was a variation on the expected. One of the great pleasures of trying out original beginnings is finding the final form and the satisfaction (usually short-lived!) of holding a first copy of the book. There is also something about Why each book was begun, though that's tricky territory... There are six menu sections featuring books, poems, writings and musings, plus images - and even a video player (embedded in Shorts) to show off live links. I hope you enjoy the time spent.

KeepersThe Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter can all be found on the Puncher & Wattmann website.

Philip Salom April 02, 2011