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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Grano, Paul Langton (1894–1975)

by Cecil Hadgraft

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Paul Langton Grano (1894-1975), journalist and poet, was born on 22 October 1894 at Ararat, Victoria, fifth child of Theodore George Grano, barrister, and his wife Kate Cecilia, née Patten, both of whom were born in Victoria. He was educated at Ararat and at St Patrick's College, Ballarat. Matriculating at the University of Melbourne on 27 March 1912, he entered on a law course and graduated LL.B. on 20 December 1916.

For a time Grano practised law at Stawell. On 11 December 1919 he married at St Mary's, Hawthorn, Violet Irene Galloway, a professional musician, by whom he had a son and twin daughters. Early in the 1930s, probably in 1932, he moved to Brisbane, where his literary life really began. He became friendly with Father A. J. Mills of St Vincent's Hostel, editor of Australia, to which he contributed. He also wrote for the Brisbane Catholic Advocate. At that period there were writing in Brisbane several poets—though they never formed a school—among whom were James Picot, Brian Vrepont, Martin Haley, Frank Francis and James Devaney; Grano was a respected voice among them. In 1944 he was the chief mover in establishing in Brisbane the Catholic Readers' and Writers' Society which, apart from purely religious aims, tried to encourage young writers and published the periodical Vista. In 1946 he edited Witness to the Stars, an anthology with notes on living Australasian Catholic poets.

His own poetry was published in several volumes: Poems Personal and otherwise (1933), The Roads, and Other Poems (1934), Quest (1940), Poet's Holiday (1941), Poems, New and Old (1945), Selected Verse of Paul Grano (1976).

Grano joined the public service and in 1939 began as a tally clerk with the Queensland Main Roads Commission. In October 1950 he moved to Townsville, where he was employed, still in the Main Roads Commission. Refused a transfer to Brisbane when his health broke down in February 1953, he was retrenched in May and returned to Brisbane. These three years in the north he looked back on with some detestation. From 1954 until 1960 he worked for the Queensland Housing Commission. On 5 December 1959 he married Bobs Victoria, née Sears; they had one daughter.

As a poet Grano was minor, as he admitted to his son. He was always a devoted son of the Church, and much of his verse concerned religious faith and religious themes. Here the influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins was sometimes obtrusive. And unfortunately Grano's professions were often expressed in abstractions, terms which poetry for the most part does not readily assimilate. Fortunately, as he continued he turned more to the concrete, the visual, and some of the images in his later verse have an immediacy that can help preserve his name. So it is not surprising that poems of locality are among his best work.

Grano was always a man of independent mind—he did not wait for others to act on his behalf. When he felt himself failing, he put himself into Canossa, a Catholic institution at Oxley, Brisbane. There for some years he was ailing, and there he died on 11 January 1975. He bequeathed his body to the medical faculty of the University of Queensland.

Select Bibliography

  • Meanjin Quarterly, Dec 1973
  • Courier Mail (Brisbane), 12 Jan 1975
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Cecil Hadgraft, 'Grano, Paul Langton (1894–1975)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 25 November 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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