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’
I’m pretty much as digital as the next person but it’s one thing seeing an emailed picture of the new ‘Best Australian Poems’ and quite another seeing a couple of hard copies right there in the letter box in real life so to speak.
Two copies arrived this week and I love the reverse alphabetical order of authors that John Tranter has adopted this year. Well I would wouldn’t I! In the introduction he talks about the urge to the ‘narrative’ that he’s seen in this year’s selection.
I like the cover, and I like the company I’m in: Alan Wearne, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Mark Tredinnick, Les Murray, Jennifer Maiden, Geoff Goodfellow, Katherine Gallagher, Sarah Day, Bruce Dawe and many more. I recommend this as the ultimate ‘stocking-filler’ for grown-ups.
I was delighted to hear recently that a poem of mine called ‘Hands’ has been selected for inclusion in Best Australian Poems 2013, published by BlackInc. John Tranter is editing this year’s collection and writes on the BlackInc website:
‘I was struck … by just how many poems depended on the ancient devices of the storyteller … Many have a lyrical or meditative feel, but most have a story to tell, captured in a brief glimpse of the meaning of life, or a dramatic climax.’—
I’m really pleased because the annual BlackInc collections are so impressive; they do an annual one on poems, essays and stories. Long-time readers of this blog will know I was featured last year too.
You can read more, and look at lists of all the contributors here: http://bestaustralianwriting.com.au The books will be available in hard-copy and digital form from November 5th and make fantastic Christmas presents!