Robert Adamson

Robert Adamson has worked as a poetry editor and consultant with Angus & Robertson/HarperCollins and has 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. Adamson, with Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding, established Paper Bark Press in 1986 – a small press that went on to become one of Australia's major poetry publishing companies with a backlist of over thirty books. His autobiography, Inside Out, was published in March 2004 by Text Publishing. Inside Out was shortlisted for the Melbourne Age's Book of the Year Awards 2004, the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards 2004 and NSW Premier's History Awards 2004, State Library of New South Wales National Biography Award 2004, and the NSW Premier's Literary Award's Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction. Adamson has presented two new anthologies of poetry, The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems in 2008 (Black Inc.) and The Kingfisher's Soul in 2009 (Bloodaxe Books UK). Recent publications include Net Needle, (Black Ink) (Bloodaxe UK) and (Flood Editions USA) (Shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards) 2020, and his latest volume is Reaching Light (2021 Flood Editions US).

Introduction to Teena McCarthy’s Bush Mary

When Teena McCarthy told me she had constructed this book from poems, lines, phrases and images that she had written on odd-sized pieces of paper and had gathered them until they formed a manuscript, I immediately thought of Emily Dickinson, who also wrote many of her poems on the backs of envelopes and scraps that had been used as shopping lists.

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The River Caves

We were keen young cubs, members of 3rd Mosman Bay Sea Scouts. Twelve years old and full of excitement, collecting donations for the club house charity. On bob-a-job week we walked up and down steep streets around the harbour, mowing …

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Internal Weather, for Randolph Stow

I dwell in this bone-cave     rocking cup of skull histories constantly re-writing themselves     weaving ‘brain-waves’          thoughts drift out from a fatty backwash   veins crawl with grainy information blood-cells pushed into the white country in multiples of ten                           you know nothing is lost we remembered     sand streamed …

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Driving through Kangaroo Valley I glimpsed a low slung animal in my headlights; pulled over and recognized a wombat — fog lifted its gauze, a clump of ferns moved apart. Another animal trundled out, then a third came into view, …

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Listening To Cuckoos

Two unchanging notes; to us, words—always those high elongated notes. Red-eyed koels with feathered ear-muffs, downward ending notes that pour through a falling of night coming over the distances, words that don’t change. The two notes remain, a split phrase, …

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Eurydice In Sydney

What did he think, while I was gone he’d done time in his head, was he still a mirror did he waste his brain dancing in the abstract darkness? Pain comes and goes, I notice things I hadn’t before, in …

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The Speaking Page

When the tide moves again comes up over the point here and spills into Parsley Bay, goes over the river’s torn entrails – your breath becomes tidal atmosphere, it heals deeply thoroughly then you begin to understand that the river …

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