Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bishop, Graham

[Photograph: Julie Leibrich]

Graham Bishop (b. 1938)


Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):


1. Stone Walls
2. Soot
3. A Matter of Opinion
4. Dual Diagnosis
5. Keep the Change
6. On Returning to Dunedin in Spring after a Long Absence
7. Fathers
8. A Little Girl Told Me
9. Childhood
10. On Flagstaff Hill
11. Initiation
12. Do You Remember …?
13. Virtue Rewarded
14. A Game of Chance
15. How to Talk to Policemen

Bio / Bibliography:

Graham Bishop was born in Wellington in 1938. When he was in his early teens, he moved with his mother and sister to Dunedin, where he attended Otago Boys’ High School and the University of Otago. After graduating with a Masters’ degree in geology, Bishop was accepted into the Ph.D. programme at the University of Sydney. However, for ‘various reasons’, he did not stay to complete his degree, instead returning to New Zealand to work as a field geologist with the New Zealand Geological Survey. In 1967, he enrolled in a doctorate at the University of Otago.

In the two decades after graduation, Bishop published numerous scientific papers (many drawing upon field work he had undertaken for his Ph.D.) and continued working with the Geological Survey for which he surveyed and produced maps. He also published several books relating to his interests in mountaineering and glaciology.

When he was 45, Bishop was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. In the early 1990s, he descended into a prolonged manic depressive cycle, during which time he was admitted several times to psychiatric hospitals. He also suffered a major stroke. It was at this time that he first began seriously writing poetry. In the mid to late 1990s, following divorce and redundancy, he was admitted once more to Waikari psychiatric hospital, near Dunedin. His book, Poles Apart: a Touch of Madness (2000), documents his response to these experiences, combining prose autobiography, poetry, and case history with a personal critique of the psychiatric establishment.


Poles Apart: a Touch of Madness (with artwork by Claire Beynon; Wellington: Steele Roberts, 2000)

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