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Vincent O'Sullivan (Vincent Gerard O'Sullivan) Biography

(1937– ), (Vincent Gerard O'Sullivan), Our Burning Time, Revenants, Butcher and Co, The Butcher Paper

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New Zealand poet, fiction writer, playwright, and editor, born in Auckland, educated at the Universities of Auckland and Oxford. The earliest of his poetry collections, Our Burning Time (1965) and Revenants (1969), rework classical themes to explore relationships and states of mind, while his ‘Butcher’ sequences (Butcher and Co, 1977, and The Butcher Paper, 1982) in their often macabre portraits of ‘the ordinary man’ demonstrate O'Sullivan's dramatic and satiric talents. Later collections include From the Indian Funeral (1976), Brother Jonathan, Brother Kafka (1980), and The Pilate Tapes (1986). Miracle, A Romance (1976) is a satire on rugby and the sexual mores of a provincial culture. The latter is a favourite theme of this firmly realist writer who frequently uses his work to comment on New Zealand as a territory of division and conformity. His Selected Poems appeared in 1992. Collections of short stories include The Boy, The Bridge and the River (1978), Dandy Edison for Lunch and Other Stories (1981), Survivals and Other Stories (1985), The Snow in Spain (1990), and Palms and Minarets: Selected Short Stories (1993). Among his plays are Shuriken (1985), Jones and Jones (1989), and Billy (1989). O'Sullivan edited The Oxford Anthology of New Zealand Poetry (1970), The Oxford Book of New Zealand Writing Since 1945 (1983; with MacDonald P. Jackson), The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield (1984; with Margaret Scott), an edition of Katherine Mansfield's poems, and The Oxford Book of New Zealand Short Stories (1993).

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