Acclaimed poet Robert Adamson wins the 2011 Patrick White Award - Perpetual
November 04, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business NewsPerpetual has today announced Robert Adamson, acclaimed for his poetry inspired by Sydney's Hawkesbury River, as the winner of the 2011 Patrick White Award.
The annual award, currently worth $18,000, was established by Patrick White with the proceeds of his 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature to acknowledge writers who have made a significant contribution to Australian literature. Writers are automatically eligible without the necessity for submissions. The philanthropic trust backing the award is managed by Perpetual as trustee.
Andrew Thomas, General Manager of Philanthropy at Perpetual said "Patrick White generously used his Nobel Prize proceeds to establish this award, which has now distributed almost $750,000 to Australian writers over the past 37 years."
"Robert Adamson is a deserving recipient of the Patrick White Award, having been at the heart of Australian literature as an acclaimed poet, successful editor and publisher in a career spanning over 40 years," said Mr Thomas.
On winning the Patrick White Award, Adamson said: "I am thrilled to be part of White's marvellous legacy in the company of previous winners like Christina Stead, Gwen Harwood and Randolph Stow."
The 2011 judging panel praised noted Adamson's "outstanding contribution to Australian literature" and added that "his continued willingness to explore new poetic territory and his evident potential to produce more significant work made him an excellent recipient of the prestigious award."
The judging panel described Adamson as "one of Australia's truly great poets of place."
Adamson's place, the landscape of the Hawkesbury River, is both a real and imaginative homeland and informs much of his poetry.
Adamson explains: "I grew up fishing on the Hawkesbury River and during those early years it seeped in, beyond the reach of conscious memory. I love it, it's beautiful, it is the world flowing through my life, full of birds, fish, mangroves, mud and stars. And yet it's not the river I try to write, my poetry's landscape is darker. I am writing about the internalised landscape."
Adamson is the author of twenty-one collections of poetry as well as three autobiographical works, a play and, with Dorothy Hewett, a two-part opera. His most recent collection of poetry, The Kingfisher's Soul, was published in the United Kingdom in 2009. Adamson's acclaimed work, The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems, won the 2009 Victorian Premier's Award (Poetry).
The 2011 judging panel members are Dr Michael Costigan, Dr Debra Adelaide, Professor David Carter and Dr Bernadette Brennan.
About the Patrick White Award
Established by Patrick White with the proceeds of his 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature, and managed by Perpetual as trustee of the philanthropic trust behind it, the Patrick White Award has been given annually to an author who has 'already made a contribution to Australian Literature' but who may not, in the opinion of the judging committee, 'have received due recognition for that contribution'.
The broad and generous terms of the Award mean that authors of different status and experience may qualify for consideration. Many have been older writers, for whom the Award has meant a significant boost to their creativity. Some have been younger writers, who have been encouraged by the prize to continue writing.
The Award is not confined to a particular genre. Poets, novelists, playwrights and short story writers have been among the now 38 recipients who have so far benefited from Patrick White's generosity and vision. Past winners have included Christina Stead, David Campbell, Randolph Stow, John Romeril, Thea Astley and David Foster.
The judging committee's current members are Dr Michael Costigan, Dr Debra Adelaide, Professor David Carter and Dr Bernadette Brennan.
About Robert Adamson and his work: the Judging Committee's citation
Robert Adamson, 68, is the author of 21 collections of poetry as well as three autobiographical works, a play and, with Dorothy Hewett, a two part opera. His most recent collection of poetry, The Kingfisher's Soul, was published in the United Kingdom in 2009. The year before Black Inc published The Golden Bird: New and Selected Poems which won the 2009 Victorian Premier's Award (Poetry).
Robert Adamson was born in Sydney in 1943. He first came to prominence as a poet in the 1960s when, along with John Tranter and Michael Dransfield, he was one of the key figures in the so-called Generation of '68. The Generation of '68 poets were committed to experimentation, to making poetry new. For over four decades he has continued to chart new poetic territory. He is a master of his craft, interrogating the ability of language to convey lived, visceral experience.
In Inside Out (2004), his powerful, funny and somewhat harrowing account of his childhood and early adult years, Robert Adamson narrates his journey from troubled, dyslexic, rebellious adolescent through the horrors of various correctional facilities and, ultimately, to the saving grace of poetry and finding his own poetic voice.
Robert Adamson is one of Australia's truly great poets of place. His place is the Hawkesbury River, north of Sydney, where his grandfather was a fisherman and where he has spent much of his adult life. The Hawkesbury operates as both a real and an imaginative homeland in his poetry. As Peter Craven has noted: 'His has always been a poetry of epiphanies in the face of nature but a nature which was commingled with the play of language across the surface of a physical world apprehended as personal, physical and violent'. Adamson himself explains:
I am lucky to have the actual Hawkesbury, I love it, it's beautiful, it is the world flowing through my life, full of birds, fish, mangroves, mud and stars. I'm fortunate enough to be able to live here because my grandfather gave me the river. And yet it's not the river I try to write, my poetry's landscape is darker. I am writing about the internalised landscape.