Robert Adamson and the Spirit of Place

I was saddened to hear last week of the passing of Australian poet, Robert Adamson at the age of 79.

Adamson was a force in Australian poetry, part of the ‘new poetry’ push in the 1960s and 1970s and edited New Poetry magazine for fourteen years. By the time I came across his work, in the early 1980s, he was well established as an important voice in Australian poetry.

Personally, I was particularly drawn to the spirit of place in Adamson’s work, the belief in the importance of the ‘local’ that I have found so often in writers I admire, particularly in his case, the Hawkesbury River region. His writing about landscape and birds has been something I’ve enjoyed most in his work.

This week, after the news, I pulled some of the Adamson books from my collection and re-read some of those poems. I also re-read his memoir of prose and poetry, Wards of the State. They remain impressive work, grounded in the real world, but ‘fishing in a landscape for love’

Selected Poems (A&R, 1978)
The autobiographical memoir, ‘Wards of the State’ (A&R, 1992)
‘Waving to Hart Crane’ (A&R, 1994)
‘The Golden Bird – New and Selected Poems’ (BlackInc 2008)

Web Work

I spent some time today in tidying up my poetry page and finally grabbing the domain name that WordPress promised me when I went from the ad-free version of that site earlier this year. So, as well as I now have

I’ve made the ‘books’ clearer on that site too , with an individual page not only for the three print books but also for two Kindle only editions and the new selected poems (The Other World) I published earlier this year.

I also plan to do another Kindle only electronic chapbook edition of poems about my first trip to Europe with the family, in 1993, early in the new year. More on that later!

Finally, I’ve tinkered a little with my Amazon Author Page to make sure that it’s all working and that the blog posts made here are reflected on that page to keep it topical. Below is what the Amazon page looks like.

Next thing for me is working out my annual Book of the Year awards; always a challenge and always a nice signifier of the end of the year. I don’t think I’ll quite make my goal of 40 books read this year, but I’m looking forward to revisiting what I read, and what I enjoyed most. I’ll post that list here soon. Meanwhile, click through to READING on this page for a quick summary of all the previous winners or check out the warrickwynnepoetry site if you’d like to dig deeper on my favourite books over the last eighteen years!

Planning for a Selected Poems

I’ve spent some time over the past few months planning a ‘selected poems’ based on poems from my three published collections and some new work. The idea is to collect together the ‘best’ poems from those original books and make them accessible in a new format. This will be something I’ll publish myself and make available in a Kindle edition and a paperback.

The process began with a look back at the original collections and choosing the poems from them that resonated most with me now. It’s a challenging thing to do at times, especially given that my first book was published thirty years ago, in 1992. They are different poems to what I’m writing now and I’ve resisted the impulse to re-do them as I work through them, and have left them in their original state.

Some of the work has involved actually typing up the poems from the hard cover book version; in some cases the poems have not been digitalised at all or were originally in some early computer format, perhaps on an Apple II, that has long since disappeared. The book will also include some ‘new’ work published since the third collection.

The cover will incorporate an image of Atlantis from an early edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (edition unknown, if any Jules Verne fans could shed any light on what edition it was, I’d appreciate it). It’s an image I’ve had framed in my study for many years. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of Atlantis and considered using the image for my first book Lost Things & Other Poems. In some ways, Atlantis is the original lost thing. It also connects nicely with the title I’ve been working on: The Other World: New and Selected Poems

I’m looking forward to finalising the project by the end of this month and will announce details here then.


Hinterland Magazine

I was interested to learn about a magazine called Hinterland, coming out of the University of East Anglia in the UK, which looks really interesting. I’m not sure how I’m going to go accessing hard copy editions in Australia (there doesn’t seem to scope for international orders) but digital subscriptions are available for about $34AUD a year.

They say:

Hinterland offers an answer to the question ‘what is creative non-fiction?’ by showcasing the best new writing across the fields of memoir, essay, travel and food writing, reportage, psychoscape, biography, flash non-fiction and more. Our pages bring together work by established, award-winning authors alongside new writers, many of whom we are thrilled to publish for the first time and whose work, we promise, will merit your full attention. Often, the pieces you’ll find in Hinterland will straddle the boundaries between strands and be difficult to classify: we see this as a strength. Hinterland intends to challenge, move, entertain and, above all, be a fantastic read.

The forthcoming issue is the one that grabbed my interest; with a theme on place-based writing. They’ve done earlier issues with themes too, such as essay writing and food writing. I liked the lively covers too, especially issue 2 which features some of my favourite books! They appear to be the work of Tom Hutchings from Thorn Graphic Design

Forthcoming issue; on place writing.

Remembering Liam and Frankie Davison

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I was shattered at the news last Friday of the death of our closest friends, Liam and Frankie Davison in the Malaysian Airlines disaster in the Ukraine. He was a fine novelist and short story writer, and a wonderful human being. We were friends for over forty years, since Teacher’s College. He was my mentor, my listening post, my fellow editor at Peninsula Writing, cycling friend, just friend. At some time, when I’m a bit stronger, I intend putting up something more substantial online to honour his writing and try to bring together various pieces of writing. Meanwhile, you can read an obituary by Nat O’Neill HERE, read some of Liam’s writing at his Gillhaney blog HERE or read his most recent piece in The Griffith Review HERE.

There was also a piece about Liam’s writing in the Sydney Morning Herald by Gregory Day HERE.

Some details about the memorial service on Sunday are below:

Sam and Milly, along with their extended family, invite friends to gather at Toorak College on the upper playing field overlooking Port Phillip Bay on Sunday 27 July 2014 at 2:30pm, to pay tribute and share our love for Liam and Frankie.

Liam and Frankie’s family’s have been extremely touched by the love and support received over the past week. In 2011 Frankie and Liam visited The Annapurna Self-Sustaining Orphan Home in Pokhara, Nepal, where they were both touched by the incredible work being done there. These efforts rely largely on donations, in which the Davisons were instrumental over the last few years.

A trust has been set up for the Orphan Home in Liam and Frankie’s memory. Rather than flowers, we ask that those wishing to continue their support to the Davison family make donations to this fund.

With much love and thanks.

Annapurna Self-Sustaining Orphan Home, Pokhara, Nepal

Account Name: Amelia Davison Annapurna Orphanage

BSB: 06 3550

Account Number: 1036 2702


Exploring the Depths

I received this week my contributor’s copy to a new collection of poems called Exploring the Depths, a collection of poems based on the concept of exploration. It’s a lovely collection, edited by Janette Fernando, and it includes a poem of mine called ‘Driving Lake Mungo’, on the strange and beautiful experience of visiting Lake Mungo for the first time.

You can learn more about this, and order a copy from Poetica Christi Press.