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A D Hope and his circle

Monday 16 July until Sunday 16 September 2007
Alec Hope, c. 1985 (printed 2007) by David Brooks
Alec Hope, c. 1985 (printed 2007) by David Brooks

To celebrate the centenary of the birth of poet Alec Derwent Hope AC OBE (1907-2000), the National Portrait Gallery exhibited a selection from its many portraits of Australian poets and authors.

One of the very few internationally-recognised Australian poets, Hope was born in Cooma, NSW, and educated at Sydney and Oxford Universities. He taught at Sydney Teachers’ College and Melbourne University before becoming inaugural Professor of English at the Australian National University in 1951. He held this post until 1968, after which he remained for many years as Emeritus Professor, occupying an office in the building that bears his name, writing his verse and vigorous literary criticism.

The exhibition coincided with Wandering Islands, a major literary conference at the Humanities Research Centre at the ANU, taking its name from Hope’s stunning first verse collection of 1955. The conference was convened by poet and academic Professor David Brooks, a friend and editor of Hope’s, who took many evocative photographs of the poet and his Canberra circle in the 1970s and 1980s. 

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