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Robert Adamson Biography

(1944– ), New Poetry, Canticles on the Skin, The Rumour, Swamp Riddles, Cross the Border

poems based experimental australian

Australian poet, born in Sydney. As a youth he spent some time in reform schools and in prison. Subsequently he became involved in the development of the ‘New Australian Poetry’ movement of the 1960s and 1970s becoming editor, in 1970, of the magazine New Poetry which was a platform for the movement's predominantly modernist and experimental outlook. His first collection, Canticles on the Skin (1970), is largely based on his adolescent experiences. The Rumour (1971), whose long title poem is an exploration of the poetic imagination, is experimental in form and was a significant contribution to the new romanticism evolving at that time. The poems in Swamp Riddles (1974) display a powerful response to the natural world and the scenery of the Hawkesbury River area where he lives. In Cross the Border (1977) the influence of Mallarmé and Arthurian legend is evident. Where I Come From (1979) contains poems based on recollections of his early life. Later collections include The Law at Heart's Desire (1983), The Clean Dark (1989), Selected Poems 1970–1989 (1990), and Waving to Hart Crane (1994). His experimental novel Zimmer's Essay (1974; with Bruce Handford) is based on his prison experiences; Words of the State (1992), an autobiographical novella, consists of prose passages, poems, and photographs that evoke his childhood and early life.

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