Friday, December 09, 2011

Adamson Emeritus

A special Bluepepper congrats to Hawkesbury poet, Robert Adamson, on his appointment to the chair in Australian poetry at the University of Technology, Sydney (or "ootz" as I like to call it). It is an inspired choice and only serves to further enhance the reputation of the Broadway campus as the most dynamic and innovative literary institution in the country.

Along with the likes of of the sage-like Kris Hemmensley, Adamson is one of the few 68-ers Bluepepper can abide as anything more than aperitif, and true to character he makes only passing reference to that tired old feud that still preoccupies some of the more Jacketed of that generation, preferring to highlight the "...renaissance among younger poets." Adamson was also, characteristically, the only one of the candidates to mention the word "passion", which, when applying for such a post does not ring quite as hollow as applications for call centre manager. 

In spite, or perhaps because of, his rudimentary childhood education (the poet was as a teenager held for some time at Her Majesty's Pleasure), Adamson has always approached his chosen craft with a clear eye and a refreshing lack of ego. Bluepepper has all confidence his students will find him engaging and approachable, free of that donnish ennui that so plagues the halls of literary academia in this country. As already stated, Adamson's appointment is an inspired choice, not just in light of the future prospects for Australian poetry, but for the prospects of seeing two more collections from the great man appear sooner rather than later, works the poet himself describes as "corkers", and we have no reason to doubt him.

With Robert's (tacit) permission, I have posted a sample of his work below.


Morning shines on the cowling of the Yamaha
locked onto the stern of the boat,
spears of light shoot away
from the gun-metal grey enamel.
Now I wait for God to show
instead of calling him a liar.

I’ve just killed a mulloway –
it’s eighty five pounds, twenty years old –
the huge mauve-silver body trembles in the hull.

Time whistles around us, an invisible
flood tide that I let go
while I take in what I have done.
It wasn’t a fight, I was drawn to this moment.
The physical world drains away
into a golden calm.

The sun is a hole in the sky, a porthole –
you can see turbulence out there,
the old wheeling colours and their dark forces –
but here on the surface of the river
where I cradle the great fish in my arms
and smell its pungent death, a peace
I’ve never known before – a luminous absence
of time, pain, sex, thought of everything
but the light.

© 2001, Robert Adamson

From: Mulberry Leaves: New and Selected Poems
Publisher: Paper Bark Press, 2001

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