Robert Adamson

(17 May 1943 - / Sydney / Australia)

Biography of Robert Adamson

Robert Adamson poet

Robert Adamson was born on 17 May 1943 at Neutral Bay, and raised in Sydney, Australia. He was educated at Neutral Bay Primary School and Crows Nest Technical College. His grandfather was a fisherman on the Hawkesbury River to the north of Sydney, where Adamson has lived, on and off, for most of his life. A series of juvenile misdemeanours resulted in him being sent to various detention centres. It was during this period that he first began writing poetry.

Adamson is one of Australia's leading poets, and is a successful writer, editor and publisher. His books have been published in the UK and the USA and his poems have been translated into several languages. He has published fifteen volumes of poetry and has organized and produced poetry readings, delivered papers, lectures and readings at literary festivals throughout Australia and internationally. He has been writer-in-residence at Australian universities, and was President of the Poetry Society of Australia, 1974-1980.

He was a key player in the growth of the 'New Australian Poetry' and was an editor of the Poetry Society of Australia's magazine, New Poetry, from 1968 until 1982. He taught creative writing classes for the W.E.A during the seventies and was the poetry reviewer for Australia's national newspaper, The Australian. In 1975-76 Adamson organized, as President of the Poetry Society, Australian reading tours for Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan.

Robert Adamson has worked as a poetry editor and consultant with Angus & Robertson/HarperCollins and he established several small publishing companies, including Prism Books and Big Smoke. He was the poetry editor the literary magazine Ulitarra from 1993 to 1997. In 1997 he became a founding editor, along with James Taylor, of the international poetry journal Boxkite.

Robert Adamson's Works:


Canticles on the Skin. (Sydney: Illumination Press, 1970)
Cross The Border. (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977)
Where I Come From. (Sydney: Big Smoke, 1979)
The Clean Dark. (Sydney: Paper Bark, 1989)
Waving to Hart Crane. (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1994)
Black Water: Approaching Zukofsky. (Sydney: Brandl & Schlesinger, 1999)
Mulberry Leaves: New & Selected Poems 1970-2001. (2001)
Reading the River: Selected Poems. (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)
The Goldfinches of Baghdad. (USA: Flood Editions, 2006)
The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2008)
The Kingfisher's Soul (Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2009)


Zimmer's Essay. With Bruce Hanford (Sydney: Wild & Woolley, 1974)
Wards of the State. (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1992)
Inside Out. (Text, 2004)

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A black summer night, no moon, the thick air
drenched with honeysuckle and swamp gum.

In a pool of yellow torchlight
on a knife-blade, the brand name
Hickey Miffle—
I give in to meaninglessness, look up
try to read smudges of ink
a live squid squirts

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