Poet and Novelist


A site. A trace.


This site is still being developed, so there may be a bit of Latin in some corners. I like it, but it’s temporary.

Please email your comments through the CONTACT link at the bottom of any page.

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


In January 2015 Puncher & Wattmann published Alterworld, my most comprehensive collection yet. (Cover image below.)
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 are readable together with Alterworld, they are in subtle ways changed, modified, and altered ... Alterworld 'remembers' the previous worlds of the Sky and the Well. 
(For information on the two previously published books, see Books.)

NEWS: my third novel, Waiting, will be published by Puncher & Wattmann in early 2016. Set in North Melbourne and featuring my version of people who might (but only fictionally) live hereabouts!


Pics: Launch for Keeper of Fish and Keeping Carter

Book Launch, 25 Feb 2012


Above: Philip Salom with publisher and poet David Musgrave - a hurried conference on receiving news that Alan Fish and MA Carter were unable to attend.

Left: The enigmatic Professor Ross Bennett. 


The Launch Speech is now available in my SHORTS section. And the books can be purchased either from me, through CONTACT link, or through the Puncher & Wattmann website:



New Books


My most recent book is Alterworld. It is now available (2015) from the Puncher & Wattmann website (order online) and from Collected Works in Melbourne and Readings in Carlton. It can always be ordered through local bookshops.


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 the latest news 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!

'The Keeper of Fish' by Alan Fish, 'Keeping Carter' by MA Carter

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.



Philip Salom April 02, 2011
Poetic Intelligence

I have been wondering about this quality for some time, an aspect of writing/language which I can only call poetic intelligence, a something far more than ‘intelligence’ normally accounts for ... and yet it is a kind of mental accuracy of skill and knowingness. An ability to understand and almost calculate language and knowledge – but also allow the aleatory interventions that ‘work’. It is normal intelligence in reverse – it happens as answer before the question is consciously put. And may never be put. It invents responses from within which the ‘problems’ are seen. Poetry as speculation. This might be as different as that line from Stevens, to Ashbery to Jorie Graham.

READ MORE - Poetic Intelligence .. Phil July 21, 2011
Tagore: an Amazing Life

If the dates are correct, Rabindranath Tagore – whose 150th birthday has just passed - lived a life as brilliantly symmetrical as he was brilliantly talented: born on May 7 in 1861 and dying on August 7, 1941. In the west he is usually considered a great poet (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1913) but throughout his remarkable 80 years he proved himself the most extraordinary person of the ‘Indian Renaissance’, publishing 30 or so collections of poetry, eight novels, four novellas, ten books of essays, several collections of critical writings and speeches on the culturally central subjects of literature, history, politics and religion. He wrote possibly as many as 2000 songs, including the music, and a large number of dramas, many of them also ‘musicals’. Just for variety, towards the end of his life he took up painting and print-making. But there was more...


read Tagore: An amazing life .. Philip Salom- June 10, 2011


Curiosity is essential and energising for a writer (well, for anyone!) and the sections Shorts and Favourites reveal some of the raw interest behind much of my daily work. 

It is a small library of images, books, sound files and videos. A personal library could go on forever but is probably best kept to this more sober sampling. 
Philip Salom June 16, 2011