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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Poet Robert Adamson at Parsley Bay

2008
Juno Gemes

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 54.1 cm x 72.7 cm, image: 40.4 cm x 53.2 cm)

Robert Adamson (1943–2022), poet and publisher, divided his childhood between Neutral Bay and the Hawkesbury River, where his grandfather lived. From his teens until his mid-twenties he spent most of his time in correctional institutions, where he developed an interest in poetry. He edited the magazine New Poetry from 1968 to 1982, for part of this time with his first wife, Cheryl Creatrix, with whom he also worked on Prism Books. In 1986 he established his own imprint, Paper Bark Press, with his wife Juno Gemes and Michael Wilding, and combined creative writing with reviewing, editing and publishing. Adamson's first book of poetry was Canticles on the Skin (1970); he took out the first of his many awards with his Collected Poems (1976), which won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize. The Clean Dark (1989) won him several major awards including both the NSW and the Victorian Premier's Awards, the Kenneth Slessor Prize and the Banjo Award. His autobiographical collection, Wards of the State, combining prose and poetry, was published in 1992, and the acclaimed autobiography Inside Out in 2004. In between, he and Juno Gemes collaborated on The Language of Oysters (1997). He won the prestigious Christopher Brennan Prize for lifetime achievement, the Patrick White Award, and the Age Book of the Year Award for The Goldfinches of Baghdad (2006). In 2012 he became the inaugural Chair in Poetry at the University of Technology Sydney. His last book, Reaching Light: Selected poems, was published in 2020. For most of his adult life, he lived on the Hawkesbury, near the place where he spent much time as a boy, and the river 'flows through' his poetry.

Purchased 2008
© Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2022

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Juno Gemes (age 64 in 2008)

Robert Adamson (age 65 in 2008)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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