The Australian poet Robert Adamson has won the prestigious 2011 Patrick White Award. He is the author of twenty-one collections of poetry including The Goldfinches of Baghdad (Flood Editions). The annual award, currently worth $18,000 AUD, 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. 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. News of the award can also be found here.