Philip Ian Hodgins (28 January 1959 – 18 August 1995) was an Australian poet, whose work appeared in such major publications as The New Yorker.[1][2] Peter Rose called him 'probably the most loved [Australian] poet of his generation', noting that 'his admirers ranged from... Alan Hollinghurst to Ron Barassi and Peter Porter to Les Murray'.[3] Clive James ventured that 'if he had lived as long as his admired Goethe, he would probably have been Goethe',[4] although it must be said that he was receiving the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal at the time.


Philip Hodgins was born in Shepparton, Victoria, in 1959 and spent his childhood on his parents' dairy farm at nearby Katandra West. He went to school in Geelong and later moved to Melbourne where he worked for several years with a publishing house, before moving to Maryborough in central Victoria.

Hodgins' experience of farm life is strongly present through much of his poetry. His verse novella Dispossessed describes the last weeks of a poor rural family about to be evicted from their farm. Hodgins also wrote about Australian Rules football.

In November 1983 Hodgins was admitted to hospital and diagnosed as having chronic myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. His experiences as a leukaemia patient form the subject of much of his later work.

In 1990, Hodgins married the writer Janet Shaw,[5] with whom he had two children, Anna and Helen.

Hodgins was a co-founder of the Mildura Writers' Festival.[6] He died of leukemia in Maryborough on 18 August 1995. A few weeks before Hodgins' death, the writer Peter Goldsworthy wrote his obituary and sent it to him for perusal. He received a bottle of Hodgins' favourite wine, and a note saying it was "an obituary to die for".[7]

His papers, writing and correspondence are held in the Australian Defence Force Academy Library in Canberra. The annual Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal is awarded each year to a consistently outstanding Australian writer. A photograph of Philip Hodgins by A. T. Bolton (1926–1996) is in the National Library of Australia online collection: Portrait of Philip Hodgins, 1993



  • Blood and Bone (1986)
  • Down the Lake with Half a Chook (1988)
  • Animal Warmth (1990)
  • The End of the Season (1993)
  • Up On All Fours (1993)
  • Dispossessed (1994)
  • Things Happen (1995)
  • Selected Poems (1997)


  1. ^ "Hodgins, Philip". Austlit Agent. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  2. ^ Philip Hodgins, 'At the Sheep-Parasite Field Day', The New Yorker, 17 January 1994. p.62.
  3. ^ Peter Rose, 'Only one numero uno', Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum, 25 November 2000. p.13.
  4. ^ Clive James, 'The Meaning of Recognition'. Australian Book Review, September 2003.
  5. ^ "Papers of Philip Hodgins: Biographical Note". Academy Library, UNSW@ADFA.
  6. ^ Wallace-Crabbe, Chris, "Hodgins, Ian Philip (1959–1995)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, retrieved 27 December 2019
  7. ^ Don Anderson, "Essay is not a dirty word", review of Peter Goldsworthy, Navel Gazing, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 1998, Spectrum, p. 10s


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