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Robert Adamson

b. 1943

Robert Adamson (b. 1943), poet, divided his childhood between Neutral Bay and the Hawkesbury River, where his grandfather lived. From his teens until his mid-twenties he spent most of his time in correctional institutions, where he developed an interest in poetry. He edited the magazine New Poetry from 1968 to 1982, for part of this time with his first wife, Cheryl Creatrix, with whom he also worked on Prism Books. Since then, he has combined creative writing with reviewing, editing and publishing, from 1986 onward with his own imprint, Paper Bark Press, on which he collaborates with his wife Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding. Adamson's first book of poetry was Canticles on the Skin (1970); he took out the first of his many awards with his Collected Poems (1976), which won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize. The Clean Dark (1989) won him several major awards including both the NSW and the Victorian Premier's Awards and the Banjo Award. His autobiographical collection, Wards of the State, combining prose and poetry, was published in 1992, and the autobiography Inside Out in 2004. In between, he and Juno Gemes collaborated on The Language of Oysters (1997). For some time now, Adamson has lived on the Hawkesbury, near the place where he spent much time as a boy, and the river 'flows through' his poetry. His recent volumes include Reading the River (2004) and The Goldfinches of Baghdad (2006).

Updated 2018