RF Brissenden nació en Wentworthville, Nueva Gales del Sur, Australia. Fue educado en las universidades de Sydney y Leeds, y enseñó en la Universidad de Melbourne y luego en la Universidad Nacional de Australia hasta su retiro en 1984. Fue el autor de seis libros de poemas publicados entre 1971 y 1990, y dos novelas, Poor Boy y Wildcat. Fue miembro de la Junta de Literatura del Consejo de Australia desde 1977 hasta 1978 y su presidente de 1978 a 1981. En 1982, fue galardonado con la Orden de Australia por sus servicios a la literatura australiana.
Day after Day: Selected Poems by Salvatore Quasimodo, (translated with Geoff Page & Loredana Nardi-Ford), Indigo, 2002
Suddenly Evening , (ed. David Brooks), McPhee Gribble, 1993
The Oxford Book of Australian Light Verse , (edited with Philip Grundy), Oxford University Press, 1991
Sacred Sites: Poems , Phoenix Review/Bistro Editions, 1990
The Whale in Darkness , Australian National University Press, 1980
Sketches from Herodotus , Open Door Press, 1976
The Stake, 1633: After the Engraving by Jacques Callot , Open Door Press, 1975
Building a Terrace , Australian National University Press, 1975
Elegies: Nine Poems , Brindabella Press, 1974
Winter Matins and Other Poems , Angus & Robertson, 1971
New Currents in Australian Writing , (with Katharine Brisbane and David Malouf), Angus & Robertson, 1978
The Great Gatsby: A Critical Introduction , Ashton Scholastic, 1987
A Fire-talented Tongue: Some Notes on the Poetry of Gwen Harwood, Wentworth Press, 1978
Virtue in Distress: Studies in the Novel of Sentiment from Richardson to Sade , Macmillan, 1974
Patrick White , British Council and the National Book League by Longmans, Green, 1966
Samuel Richardson , British Council and the National Book League by Longmans, Green, 1958
Wildcat , Allen & Unwin, 1991
Poor Boy , Allen & Unwin, 1987
The Gift of the Forest , (edited with Rosemary Brissenden), Australian Conservation Foundation; Currey O'Neil, 1982
Southern Harvest: An Anthology of Australian Short Stories , (ed.), Macmillan, 1965
Samuel Johnson habla
"Dos cosas temía: la locura y la muerte"
Apestaba y gruñía todo su ser,
subía montañas, se afanaba en Londres,
o con su vieja esposa mugía torpe
en la cama. Al beber y comer
se le perlaba de sudor la frente.
Respirar lo agotaba. Su gran cuerpo
incontrolable al fin se le había vuelto
objeto más odiado que la muerte.
Pero amó e hizo suyas las palabras.
Para escucharlo hablar callaba el mundo.
Convertía el caos en arte con su voz.
La lengua fue la cuerda que él cruzaba
sobre el miedo y la culpa que en tumulto
bramaba cual torrente en su interior.
Traducción de Gabriel Linares
Samuel Johnson talking
“Two things he was afraid of—madness and death”
His great body shambled, groaned and stank,
Kicked stones, climbed mountains, rolled through London streets;
Or snorted in clumsy joy between the sheets
With ageing Tetty. When he ate and drank
Sweat dewed the straining forehead. Every breath
With every year grew harder: the huge frame,
Always ungovernable, in the end became
An enemy he hated more than death.
But words he loved and mastered; when he talked
Confusion died: the world grew still to hear
His voice commanding chaos into art.
Language became the tight-rope which he walked
Above the mindless rush of guilt and fear
That thundered like Niagara in his heart.
David Garrick Remembers
Mrs Margaret Woffington on the Day of her Death
London, 26 March 1760
I would kiss as many of you as had beards
That pleased me… —your last words upon the stage.
I was not there three years ago to catch you
As you fell, fainting, into the wings;
Nor by your bed, today, my Peggy. Long,
Too long, since we two touched and talked as once
We did. I cannot think of you as dead:
I see you now alive, laughing on stage,
Or turning to me on the pillow; hear
The words you spoke to me that night in Dublin
In your own flawed and lovely Irish voice.
Peg, Peg, you kissed too many, and too many
Pleasured you. Taafe I could have borne,
The Duke and even Darnley—not the rest:
Hanbury-Williams, Edmund Burke my friend,
Your choice Italian swordsman Dominic,
And Colonel Caesar, faithful to the last.
'Yourself you give without your heart,' I wrote
In bitterness: it was not true—you gave
Your heart to all who loved you, but yourself
You knew you could not give: nobody can.
Queen of our feigning, mimic art you held
Your mirror up to Nature, made us see
Ourselves for what we are. Now you are gone
This more than ever seems a world of mirrors
Where reflection glimmers at masked reflection
And voices echo voices. Even when
Our bodies meet—lover with naked lover,
Or murderer with victim—each still moves
And postures on some private playhouse floor,
At once the audience and the actor. Yet
Somehow we touch, speak, watch and love and kill
—And die, dear Peggy, as you died today;
Or as we died that night you danced and sang:
Time and Death shall depart, and say, in flying,
Love has found out a way to live by dying.
'Do those die easiest, too,' I asked, 'who've learned
To dance?' And with those words our dance
Began. Apt words—but not my own: stolen
Like all our words and attitudes. What were we
Then? What now? Who am I? Who are you?
How can we tell, whose lives were all illusion?
Other voices stretch our throats; the clothes
We wear are not our own. Where does our Art
Begin, our Nature end? That night I tossed
The prayer-book down in Goodman's Fields (and heard
Them gasp and felt my heart stop in the hush)
—Was that I, David Garrick? Or the Bard
In me? Could it have even been the crook-
backed King? Can David ever be himself
again? Ah, Peg, my dear lost Peg, we know
The mask can sometimes drop, the glass dissolve
If for a moment only: eyes can meet,
Blind hands can touch. It was my flesh you felt
In Dublin, in Smock Alley, on the bare
Boards of that darkened stage—it was your voice,
Your own voice, I heard then and still can hear:
David , you said, Oh, David, David, David
From Suddenly Evening , RF Brissenden, (ed. David Brooks), McPhee Gribble, 1993