Keith Harrison was born in Melbourne, Educated at Fort Street High School and graduated in English and French from the University of Melbourne. He taught for three years at Warrnambool High School then went to England where he was a freelance writer, reviewer and broadcaster, and a lecturer in English at the University of London.
He later taught at the University of Iowa, York University, Toronto, then spent almost thirty years as Professor of English at Carleton College, near Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was also Writer-in-residence. He is author of ten books of poetry and translation, of which the main ones are Points in a Journey and Songs from the Drifting House (both Macmillan, London) The Basho Poems, A Burning of Appelewood (New & Selected Poems) and Words Against War. His verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, originally published by the Folio Society, London, appeared, in a revised verson, with Oxford University Press in 1998, in their World's Classics series.
He has also written a number of plays, including a radio play in verse called The Water Man which was broadcast on the B.B.C. and the A.B.C.
He has published poems and translations in many places in the English speaking world, including The New Statesman, the Observer, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, the Australian, Meanjin, Quadrant, Overland, Island, and many others. He has given readings of his work at colleges and universities and festivals in England, America, Canada and Australia.
Has received awards and fellowships from the British Arts Council, the University of Melbourne, and the Bush Foundation (Minneapolis).
With Australian poet and friend, Philip Martin, he was a lecturer in the William Vaughn Moody Series at the University of Chicago. (Previous artists in the series include W.B. Yeats, Igor Stravinsky and Ralph Vaughn Williams.)
Now an Emeritus Professor, he spends half the year in Australia and half at his farm-house in southern Minnesota. He is presently working on a New & Collected Poems, an autobiography called Not Quite Ithaka, and a text on academic writing designed for American and Australian students called How to Stop Your Papers from Killing You (and Me).
New: 18 March, 2002 | Now: 6 May, 2015