robert adamson

Essential Gossip: Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan and U.S.-Australian Poetics

In 1985, when the bulky anthology Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (first published in 1968) was printed in a new edition, it was advertised with the curious dust jacket recommendation: ‘hailed by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as one of the hundred most recommended American books of the last thirty-five years’.

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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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J S Harry’s ‘tunnel vision’, Vicious Sydney and The Car Story

As I began this essay on J S Harry’s poem ‘Tunnel Vision’ several years ago (2006) the radio drive shows in Sydney were full of opinions, mainly angry, concerning a report that a male teacher, in an English class, encouraging students to find as many words in ‘Australia’ as they could, had led the way by showing them how it contains the word ‘slut’, and then, when asked what that meant – it must have been a young primary-school class – had told them that it was a word used to describe women.

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Ekphrasis as ‘Event’: Poets Paint Words and the ‘Performance’ of Ekphrasis in Australia

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery (NRAG) in 2007, Lisa Slade and Peter Minter co-curated the exhibition Poets Paint Words. The two curators commissioned some of Australia’s best poets to write poems in response to a selection of paintings held in the NRAG archive.

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Review Short: Robert Adamson’s Net Needle

Net Needle begins with the thoughtful interlacing of seven poems. The first poem, ‘Listening to Cuckoos’, highlights the bird’s ‘two unchanging notes’ during the start of spring. Then, ‘Summer’, with its ‘pallid cuckoo call’ through the poet’s garden threads into ‘Garden Poem’ and how sunlight spans the course of a day until ‘patches of moonlight’ travel into the next poem, ‘Dorothy Wordsworth’. Here, we find the Romantic poet’s sister ruminating near a window where the moon moves ‘across the star-decked dark’.

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Adam Aitken Interviews Martin Harrison

I’ve known Martin Harrison since 1985, when I first met him in Newtown, New South Wales. I had been an undergraduate and aspiring poet at the University of Sydney, and we were neighbours.

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Shining Worlds: On the Artist’s Book of Robert Adamson and Peter Kingston

I’m sitting in the Rare Books room of the State Library of Victoria, lost in time and strangely joyous as I encounter one of its new acquisitions, the late 2012 ‘artist’s book’ and collaboration between poet Robert Adamson and well-known Australian artist Peter Kingston, Shark-net Seahorses of Balmoral: A Harbour Memoir.

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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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Three Poems and Webb Lecture by the Inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry

Robert Adamson began his post as the inaugural CAL Chair in Australian Poetry at UTS in February 2012. Funded by the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) for three years, the Chair in Australian Poetry is the first of its kind in Australia.

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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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Chair Insider: An Intimate Access in Photo Narratives

Andrew Sayers, director of the National Portrait Gallery, wrote of my work, ‘Trust is an important quality in portraiture. Trust is self evident in Juno Gemes’ photographic portraits’. The portraits published here were created in trust with literary friends.

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Jal Nicholl Reviews Best Australian Poems 2010

It’s hard to write about a collection as diverse as this. It has no theme really except what Adamson mentions in his introduction, quoting Baudelaire’s poem ‘Correspondances’, a poem, to paraphrase blandly, about mysterious relations between things of different kinds. Anything can be compared to anything else, but is there a “ténébreuse et profonde unité” (“dark and deep unity”) in this collection, as Adamson seems to imply?

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Ryan Scott Reviews The Best Australian Poetry 2009 and The Best Australian Poems 2009

If we seek a division in Australian poetry, we will not find it represented among the poems in these two anthologies. Wearne puts it adroitly in his introduction when he says about the Poetry Wars, ‘for all the legendary brouhaha it may have all happened at one party (and perhaps that's how the eventual movie will see it). If some of us played for different teams (and still may) remember the operative words are 'play' and 'teams'.

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Mulloway (Envoi)

Welcome to the dreamy village of Mulloway, population 28.1, set in the backblocks of the Hawkesbury, somewhere in the vicinity of Sandy Bay, Peat Island and the Angler's Rest. The place is awash with ribbon-fish shaped streamers and the sound of a parade of Customlines passing down the main street toward the water, all to a sound track of late-period Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris …

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From River Cuts: Letters to Robert Adamson

canberra raining & the flight was shit / in the sticks somewhere off majura avenue (dickson) 19:39 0646 abstract & bearded hovering on a twelve foot cushion of evil / a still from eisenstein's ivan the terrible, mutation of reading …

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James Stuart Reviews Robert Adamson

From his earliest involvement, Robert Adamson has been an iconic figure for contemporary Australian poetry, both as a “post-symbolist”, lyrical poet, and as an editor and publisher. His achievements are testament to this, whether one is reflecting upon his 17 odd collections of poetry, and the consequent awards, or his various engagements on ventures such as the editorship of New Poetry and the founding of Paperbark Press.

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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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