Dolan, John

Dolan, John



In Brief

Poet, short story writer and critic, John Dolan, was born in Colorado and moved to New Zealand in 1993. His first collection of poems Slave (1988) was printed in California, while his second collection, Stuck Up (1995), was published in New Zealand. A wide range of his writing has appeared in local and international journals. His critical study, Poetic Occasions from Milton to Wordsworth (1999/2000), was published in both the United States and Great Britain.


Dolan, John (1955-) is a poet, short story writer and critic.

John Dolan was born in Denver, Colorado in 1955. He grew up and was educated in California, before settling in Dunedin in 1993, where he lectured in the English Department at Otago University.

Dolan’s first collection of poems Slave (1988) was published in California. The collection described as 'a painfully honest look at the alienation, envy, self-pity, self-loathing and lust he sees in himself and others' went on to win the 1988-89 Berkeley Poetry Prize.

His second collection, Stuck Up (1995), was published in New Zealand. Stuck Up, is according to the blurb, 'the record of one summer in the life of a failure. With only a gargantuan dog as company.' In The Evening Post, John Newton writes, 'it’s a book about the gestures it refuses: the refusal of Romanticism, the refusal of the Great Outdoors, the refusal of confessive interiority.' Gregory O’Brien, writing in Landfall, argues that there is in these poems, 'a gregarious energy and interchange between their twisted meditations. In their high-voltage assemblage of images and tones, the poems voice all kind of awkwardness of sound and sense, creating an eccentric harmony.'

Dolan has published book reviews in the NZ Listener, Landfall, Glottis, AUMLS and The eXile (Russia). His poetry has appeared in New Zealand journals as well as in The London Review. He’s published short stories in Occident, Landfall, Glottis and Sport. His translation work has appeared in Sulfur, Deep South and Renetsants (Ukraine).

Dolan has also published a textbook, Writing Well, Speaking Clearly (1996/2ed.1999) and a critical study: Poetic Occasions from Milton to Wordsworth (1999/2000), the latter being published in both the United States and Great Britain. His new collection of poems, Find the Leopard in this Picture was published in 2003.

In 2001 Dolan resigned from his academic post and moved to Moscow to become co-editor of the eXile, a bi-weekly, English-language publication.

People With Real Lives Don't Need Landscapes (2003). The poems in this book continue Dolan's vitriolic style where the bitter and the ugly clamour. 'They all felt it - the bitterness: that all misery should be so vivid' - from 'Talking to a Wall'.

Double Jointed by Jenny Powell-Chalmers (2003) features poetry by the author with Rob Allan, Martha Morseth, John Allison, Larry Matthews, Emma Neale, John Dolan, Peter Olds, Claire Beynon, Trevor Reeves and James Norcliffe.


Updated July 2022.