Robert Adamson (1943–2022) was one of Australia’s most important poets. He was born in Sydney and grew up in Neutral Bay and on the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales. During a tumultuous youth, he found his way to poetry, and over five subsequent decades he produced over 20 books of poetry and three books of prose. From 1970 to 1985 he was the driving force behind Australia’s New Poetry magazine, and in 1987, with Juno Gemes, he established Paper Bark Press, for two decades one of Australia’s leading poetry publishers. He was the inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry at UTS in 2011–14. He won many major Australian poetry awards, including the Christopher Brennan Prize for lifetime achievement, the Patrick White Award, The Age Book of the Year Award for The Goldfinches of Baghdad (Flood Editions, 2006) and the Victorian Premier’s Poetry Award for The Golden Bird (Black Inc, 2009). His work has been published internationally with Reading the River: Selected Poems (2004), The Kingfisher’s Soul (2009) and Net Needle (2016) appearing in the UK published by Bloodaxe Books and most recently, Reaching Light: Selected Poems was published by Flood Editions in the USA and released in Australia in 2020.
Photo credit: Juno Gemes
The Poet of the Hawkesbury River
The Last Interview: Robert Adamson on poetry, life and facing death